How to Contribute Articles to a Blog or Magazine

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This post is by Precilla Sedney of FashionArtExpression.

The reason I started blogging was to share my opinion and help other people out. I've talked to a lot of bloggers, and I found out that a lot of them don't really know how to pitch a story to a blog or a magazine. I used to have the same problem, but some how I figured it out just by sending emails and hoping that someone might like my idea. But I want to make it easier for other people, so that's why I'm sharing a few of my tips that I've learned a long the way.

Know why you want to write a guest post

Everyone has different reasons why they want to contribute. For me it was to help other bloggers out and inspire people through different fashion, art and lifestyle topics. But it can also be to drive traffic to you're blog, getting to know more people or to express your opinion on a certain topic. So figure out why you want to start guest posting, so that you can focus all your energy on those things.

Know the concept of the Blog/Magazine and ask yourself how would your article be beneficial to the owner

Every Blog/magazine has a different focus, theme, style, tone and audience. Match your idea to that. Read several back issues of the magazine(s) or check the on-line archives for blogs to get a feel for the readership, the topics covered, and the general tone of the articles. Be certain that your story hasn't been covered already. Be original!

Also ask yourself if your idea is beneficial to the owner. The point is to make it as easy as possible for the owner. YOU need to surprise him with a good article. Once you’ve decided how it would benefit the blogger, you can move on making the pitch.

Contact the right person

You may have a great story idea, but if you send it to the wrong person, you may never get the assignment. If you're pitching to a magazine, make sure you spell the editor's name right. Spell it wrong, and you'll not only annoy the editor, but you'll show that you don't pay attention to details – and that's the last thing an editor wants in a writer. Tip, Avoid the biggest rookie mistake: sending a finished, unsolicited manuscript. Instead, find out how the magazine accepts article ideas. Ask to see a copy of its writers' guidelines and follow them to the letter.  Try to think at least three months ahead–the minimum time table most magazines work under.

Also be persistent. Follow-up on your idea if you don't get a response within a few weeks. Then, send more ideas. Often, your first idea won't be a winner, but your fifth, 10th or 50th will.  By showing your interest and your wealth of ideas, you might end of being one of the writers who gets stories assigned to them – without even having to pitch!

Another tip is to have prior contact with the owner. One of the best ways to establish a relationship is via twitter. Have the occasional contact so they know who you are. Occasionally respond to questions and comment on some of the links they tweet. If you find a really good site, send it along and often, you are rewarded with credit. This establishes you as someone who is reliable and provides value to others.

Prepare your article

Suggest a time-line of when you can deliver the article. And don't sent it late, because there's a big chance you wont be able to contribute there ever again.Search the internet for information, pictures etc. Make sure you check the spelling.
NOTE: don't copy and paste someone else's there article, that's just rude. And you'll lose a good contact if they find out!

Be open for editing

I know you've worked hard for your guest post, and the last thing you want is that it's being completely altered. But you have to be open for editing. Every a-list blog/magazine has an editor who will edit your content, but it's not necessary a bad thing. Editing is to make sure that all the grammar faults are gone and that the article truly fits the needs and wishes of the concept of the blog/magazine. Even this article is going to be edited – but I don't mind, because I know that everything is going to be double checked and made to fit the standards of IFB

Common mistakes with guest posts

Read these through! It's very important to not make these mistakes.
•    Not doing your research.
•    Not sending writing samples.
•    Limiting yourself to guest posts in your domain.
•    Making the blog post all about your opinion.
•    Underestimating how long it takes to write a good post
I hope this article was helpful to you. I just want to say one more thing, always stay true to your self and trust in your creativity and knowledge.

If you have any questions you can contact me by twitter @precillasedney

Image by Capture Queen ™

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26 Responses

  1. Sandra

    Thanks for this interesting article! I just started my own fashion blog, therefore I feel not ready yet for writing guest posts. First I have to focus on my blog, but I love writing and researching entertaining fashion topics. Writing guest posts is what I will definitely try in the future, when I gained more knowledge and I will take this article here as an advise. ^^
    xoxo Sandra
    .-= Sandra´s last blog ..Glamoureads =-.

    • Stacey

      Hi Sandra. What’s the name of your blog? If you don’t mind, I’d like to read some of your posts.

  2. AlysonIsNeat

    This is a really great post! Thank you so much for writing on this topic. (Filing it away in my bookmarks!) I think most bloggers do not want to admit how much we want more traffic… but it takes a LOT of work to get it up there in the numbers you want… and a lot of time.
    .-= AlysonIsNeat´s last blog ..I hate my clothes =-.

  3. holierthannow

    GREAT article. people ask me often how i came to write here and at style sample and i never take the time to explain it properly, now i can just send them this link ; ) !!

    i actually have time on my weekly schedule to think about article ideas for IFB and SS, not that I always come up with good ideas – and if i can’t develop an outline that i can send to them (which would then serve as the outline for the piece, with their feedback) then i just put the idea aside so as not to waste anyone’s time.

    xo htn

    Holier than Now

  4. Lindsay

    “Make sure you check the spelling.
    NOTE: don’t copy and paste someone else there article, that’s just rude. And you’ll lose a good contact if they find out!”

    Can you guys find the error in this sentence???

    • Jennine

      sometimes spell check doesn’t catch words spelled correctly.
      thanks for pointing that out.

  5. Mary

    Thanks for the great tips. Hopefully I’ll be able to put them to use in the future.

  6. Madeleine Gallay

    Very, very good advice. I took a workshop at MediaBistro on submitting to a magazine and you just hit the highlights. As well, really knowing the difference between each media style – they actually do try to have a style and it’s better to write to that.

    Thanks for this.

  7. lisa

    Great tips!
    .-= lisa´s last blog ..Product Review: myfaceworks Paper Facial Masks =-.

  8. SJP

    Thanks so much for this informative post! I’ve been pitching ideas to a few magazines for some time now and it’s difficult to stay focused when you don’t receive a response. I’ll be sure to try out some of these ideas in my next pitch.

    Thank you.
    .-= SJP´s last blog ..Calling All Students! =-.

  9. Shannon

    This is the post I’ve been trying to find. While I always hear bits and pieces as to what to do to submit, I feel like I’m always missing some information. Your tips are very easily understood, and I look forward to putting them to work. Patience, persistence and passion! Okay, here we go! Thank again. This will be bookmarked for me as well.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Why Not . . .Enjoy April Showers? =-.

  10. DailyDivaDish

    Great post! Up until now, the info I’ve been able to find on guest-posting has been slim. This is exactly what I needed. Thank you!
    XO Piper

  11. misslikey

    once I made a mistake with one internet magazine and it was my fault. Article was too subjective, I had a lot of other work so I wrote it pretty in-a-minute. Editor didn’t contact me later. I regretted but I learned my lesson.
    p. s. great advices
    .-= misslikey´s last blog ..Made-at-home haute couture =-.

  12. Rollergirl

    Great advice and succinctly put. Pitching is SO time-consuming, I swear sometimes it takes longer to research/write the pitch than it does to write the article! Thanks for this 🙂

  13. Jimmy

    Thanks for the this informative post Precilla. I always wanted to contribute and guest blog for other sources and now I feel like I’m ready. I’m contributing for this blog and I’m also working on an article for Parle Magazine, so I’m just trying to get my feet wet. I would also like to guest post for other blog, so people I’m open for suggestions and e-mails. NETWORK!

    .-= Jimmy´s last blog ..Pop =-.

    • precilla sedney

      Good for you! I’m happy that you found my article informative =)

  14. Suzanne aka Punk Glam Queen

    Great info! Something struck me though, and no one seems to have picked up on it, so I will:

    “NOTE: don’t copy and paste someone else’s there article, that’s just rude.”

    First and foremost it’s outright plagiarism, and as such you open yourself and the publication to legal action. In addition if you get labeled as a plagiarist I can guarantee you will never get any writing work, anywhere. So be original in your content and definitely think before you copy and paste!
    .-= Suzanne aka Punk Glam Queen´s last blog ..Earth Day: Garden and a Mystery Tree =-.

  15. Tamia

    Great tips, Precilla! A few more from the “other side” of the screen:

    Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. If you pitch an article about an interview with a designer/blogger/editor, that’s what you need to submit. Work this out before you pitch.

    If you’re pitching a guest post, submit it in HTML format, with section headers in bold, images (hosted elsewhere) in the appropriate tags, and hyperlinks included. This way, the online pub can just copy and paste everything without having to find and insert hyperlinks, formatting, etc.

    Please note that there is a difference between writing for print vs online publications. We’re all used to blogging, which is a much more informal writing style. That’s fine on the web, but for magazines and the like, a more formal tone is appropriate. No slang! Check for grammar and spelling, read it aloud for comprehension, etc.

  16. Brigitte

    Great Article! Really helpful as well.

    I’m actually looking for some contributors or bloggers who would like to guest-write an article for a fashion & beauty magazine that I’m launching. 🙂 If you want to know more info on how it will work, (you can send your blog link or any sample article), please email fashiongalz@gmx.com

    Once again, great tips! Tamina is also right about “Don’t promise what you can’t deliver” now that’s a good rule too!


  17. marie

    Great article!



  18. Betty @ Wholesale Fashion Handbags

    These are great tips. May I just add to never stop improving your proposal letter. Make sure the proposal is not generic and should be customized according to who you are submitting it.

  19. Clarky

    Hey, this is a very informative article but I believe I have to say this – I find it ironic how you said “Every a-list blog/magazine has an editor who will edit your content, but it’s not necessary a bad thing.” Should it not be ‘necessarily’ instead of ‘necessary’? Very helpful though 🙂

  20. Spenser

    Hi there,

    I appreciate you writing this article. I have one question: what if I have written an article and published it on my own blog and then ask another site to publish it on their blog? Would this be considered bad manners? Can you offer any advice on how to approach this?

    Any help will be appreciated.

    Thanks, Spenser