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September 28, 2015 // 8:00 AM

From HBR to Mashable: How to Be a Guest Writer on 11 Popular Sites

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Guest blogging is a wonderful and mutually beneficial relationship between writer and publication.

It's great for the writer, of course, who might be looking to get her name out there as a thought leader and industry expert while also helping grow her own readership.

At the same time, it's great for the folks at media outlets. It's a good look for them to publish a diversity of voices and opinions on their site -- not to mention more articles means more indexed pages, which can be a boon for a site's SEO.

Most media outlets allow people to submit authentic, original articles on topics that are relevant to their readership. But each one has different requirements and submission instructions. While some require you to submit full articles, others accept topic pitches and are willing to work with you on an outline. Some will get back to you in a few days if they like your post, while for others, it could be a good few weeks if at all.

When you're trying to submit a guest post, it can be confusing to sort through all these different requirements. That's why we've scoured the websites of top media outlets for their submission guidelines and instructions. From HBR.org to The New York Times to Business Insider and more, check out the list below of top media outlets and their guest blogging guidelines.

Before you submit anything, remember to spend time reading through the site to get a good idea of the topics and formats they like to publish. (For more tips, read about the 12 essential elements of a guest blog post.)

Guest Blogging Instructions & Guidelines for 11 Top Media Outlets

1) Entrepreneur.com

Entrepreneur.com is geared toward business owners who are starting and/or growing their own businesses. Their writers cover "actionable information and practical inspiration for business owners."

To Contribute:

Here's their "Become an Entrepreneur Contributor" page.

  • To become a contributor, go to their "Become an Entrepreneur Contributor" page and fill out the form.
  • Along with your basic information, it'll ask for links to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, themes or story ideas you'd cover, why you're an expert on the topic, and links to samples of your work.

Do you create video content? If so, they also offer the opportunity to apply to become a part of their growing video network. Read more about that here.

2) HBR.org

HBR.org is Harvard Business Review's online publication, which covers a wide range of topics including strategy, leadership, organizational change, negotiations, operations, innovation, decision making, marketing, finance, work-life balance, and managing teams.

The content is original and sometimes even disruptive -- if it's about a well-worn topic, they'll be looking for a unique argument or insight. ""HBR readers are smart and skeptical and busy," they write. "If you don’t capture their interest right away, they will move on to something else."

They publish articles written by subject matter experts. Ideas and arguements should be backed up by evidence, whether it's in the form of supporting research, relevant examples, or interesting data.

To Contribute:

Here's their "Guidelines for Contributors" page.

  • Send a short pitch to web submissions@HBR.org.
  • They prefer you send them a short pitch instead of a full article so they can give early feedback. However, they do need to see a full draft before officially accepting your piece, even if they've asked you to write it.
  • You may be asked to do multiple rounds of revisions, as they have a very thorough editorial process.
  • If they’ve passed on something you’ve submitted, they encourage you to try again with another idea. If their editors have said no multiple times, it may mean your work isn’t a good fit for their audience.
  • Article length can vary. They also publish graphics, podcasts, videos, slide presentations, and just about any other media that might help us share an idea effectively.
  • They retain final decision rights over headlines.
  • The piece must be original and exclusive to HBR.org. They don't publish pieces that have appeared elsewhere, that come across as promotional, or that do not include rigorous citations (though these may not appear in the finished piece).

3) The New York Times' Op-Ed Section

The folks over at The New York Times allow submissions to their Op-Ed section only. What does that cover? Op-Ed and Sunday Review Editor Trish Hall explains: "Anything can be an Op-Ed. We're not only interested in policy, politics or government. We're interested in everything, if it's opinionated and we believe our readers will find it worth reading."

In particular, Hall says they're partiucularly interested in publishing points of view different from those expressed in Times editorials, which tend to be pretty liberal. They're interested in presenting the points of view that are to the left or right of those positions.

To Contribute:

Here's their "How to Submit an Op-Ed Article" page.

  • Submit a finished op-ed article to opinion@nytimes.com
  • Alternatively, you can fax it to +1(212) 556-4100 or send it by mail to the following address:

The Op-Ed Page
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

  • Articles tend to be 400–1,200 words long, but they'll consider submissions of any length.
  • The piece must be original and exclusive to The Times. They won't consider articles that have already been published either in print or online.
  • They like writing that's in "conversational English that pulls us along. That means that if an article is written with lots of jargon, we probably won’t like it."
  • You can also submit an opinion video. Read more about that here.

4) Inc.com

Inc.com is an online publication that publishes articles with advice, tools, and services to help small businesses grow. You'll find their contribution guidelines are fairly short.

To Contribute:

Here's their "Contact Us" page.

We recommend keeping your email pitch as simple and straightforward as possible.

5) Business Insider

Business Insider is an American business, celebrity, and technology news website. Most of their contributors are experts on one or more of the wide range of topics they cover. Contributors include professors, investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, executives, attorneys, consultants, authors, professional service providers, journalists, technologists, and engineers.

To Contribute:

Here's their "How to contribute to Business Insider" page.

  • Send the final draft of your piece, a proposed headline, brief bio, and links to any other pieces you've published to contributors@businessinsider.com.
  • Their syndication team will review your submission and get back to you if it's something they're interested in posting. They can't make publishing guarantees.

6) Fast Company

Fast Company is an online business publication that covers topics in technology, business, and design. They publish leadership-related topics like productivity, creativity, career development, culture, strategy, and innovation.

What type of articles do they like? Ones that "introduce new ideas and advance conversation around topics and trends that engage our readers -- think op-ed rather than marketing," they write. "We appreciate lively, polished writing that balances research or news with fun and memorable anecdotes or examples that help illustrate your point of view."

To get a better idea of the types of pieces Fast Company likes to publish, read their post, "How To Write Thought-Leadership Pieces That Get Published And Don't Make Editors Want To Die." 

To Contribute:

Here's their Guidelines for Submission page.

  • Send completed articles to Leadership Editor Kathleen Davis at kdavis@fastcompany.com.
  • If you think your article would be better suited for one of Fast Company's sub-publication Co.Design, Co.Exist, Co.Create, or Co.Labs, then consult their masthead and send your idea or completed article to the appropriate editor for consideration.
  • Article length is typically 1,000 words or fewer.
  • They request that guest posts are exclusive to Fast Company's site for 24 hours, after which time they can be reprinted in part or full on other sites, with a link back to the original article on Fast Company. (They'll syndicate articles that have already run on another website occasionally, but typically would rather print original and exclusive content.)
  • If they like your article, they'll likely get back to you within a few days. They review submissions about once a week and aren't able to respond to all submissions. They're cool with you sending one follow-up email to check in, but after that, you can assume it wasn't a fit.
  • Contributed articles run online only. The print magazine is almost exclusively written by staff or by professional journalists who contribute regularly to the magazine.

7) Mashable

Mashable is a social networking and web news blog. While they do write a lot about technology, it's not their core focus -- so they're not necessarily interested in online tools, software, and similar topics.

To get a better idea of what the folks at Mashable are looking to publish, read their posts "12 Tips for Getting Your Startup Featured on Mashable" and "12 Things Not to Do When Pitching a Story to Mashable."

To Contribute:

Here's their "Submit News" page.

  • Submit a pitch, tip, or full article by filling out the form on their "Submit News" page.
  • The form asks for the topic of submission, asks "What's the scoop?", allows you to attach up to two files, and asks you to check off whether it's an exclusive story, a news update, a hot tip, an editorial suggestion, or something else.

Want them to write about your startup or business? You can also submit to their Startup Review series by sending an email to news@mashable.com.

8) Forbes' Opinion Section

Forbes publishes content on business and financial news, covering topics like business, technology, stock markets, personal finance, and lifestyle. They allow guest contributions to their opinion section on any topic related to public policy, politics, arts, and culture.

To Contribute:

Here's their "Submitting an Article to Forbes Opinion" page.

  • Submit your completed article to opinion@forbes.com.
  • The article can be any length.
  • The piece must be original and exclusive to Forbes. They won't consider articles that have already been published either in print or online.
  • They ask that you allow five business days (i.e. excluding weekends and holidays) for them to review your article. If you haven't heard from them after five business days, you can submit your article elsewhere.
  • No follow-up emails.

Want to become a regular contributor to Forbes?

  • To become a contributor, fill out this Google Form.
  • It'll ask you for links to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, the concept for your Forbes page (an overall theme and a few story ideas), why you're an expert on the topic, and links to samples of your work.

9) TechCrunch

TechCrunch is an online publication that covers the current and future state of technology, entrepreneurialism, and investment. Any of these topics are great for guest submissions -- they say they're "always willing to give every good piece a read, so no matter the topic, keep the words coming."

If you're looking for ideas, they explore a different, specific theme each month -- everything from health and religion to robotics and education. Here's the full list by month.

To Contribute:

Here's their "Got a Tip?" page.

  • Send a tip, pitch, or full article by visiting their "Got a Tip?" page and filling out the form.
  • The form asks for your name, headline, and the tip or pitch.

Want to become a regular contributor to TechCrunch? 

10) Moz

The Moz blog publishes content from the SEO and online marketing industry's "top wizards, doctors, and other experts." They look for content with in-depth and actionable information.

What's a good fit? "Actionable, detailed content with references tends to do the best on YouMoz, and case studies or examples are particularly popular," they write. "Think about the readers of this post, and try to make it so this is something that the reader could take to their boss and say, 'Let's give this a try. Here's a post where this person tried it, they got good results, and they explain how to implement it.'"

For a much more detailed description of what they're looking for, read their "How to Guest Blog for Moz" post.

To Contribute:

Here's their "YouMoz Guidelines" page.

  • Read all the information on the YouMoz Guidelines page. Then, scroll to the bottom, check the box to accept their terms, and press the "Submit a YouMoz Post" button. You'll have to log in or create a Moz account if you don't have one already. From there, you'll be taken to a form where you can submit your full article text.
  • Must be original and exclusive to Moz. They won't consider content that's been published elsewhere.
  • Article length is generally 1,000–3,000 words, but they don't have a minimum or maximum word count.
  • Relevant links are encouraged, but affiliate links aren't allowed.
  • It can take up to several weeks to review your post. They'll contact you at the email listed on your profile. You can check the status of your post at https://moz.com/posts/manage.
  • They ask that you resize images to a maximum of 738 pixels wide. Observe any copyright or usage restrictions regarding images, obtain permission for use, and cite the source of your image.
  • Send any questions to editor@moz.com.

11) Medium

Unlike the first ten media outlets in this post, Medium is a blogging platform where anyone can create an account and publish a blog post without having to submit it for approval. It was created so people could publish their thoughts, tips, and learnings and then share them with a built-in audience.

Through a combination of algorithmic and editorial curation, posts on Medium get spread around based on interest and engagement. You can learn more about posting on Medium here.

To Contribute:

  • First, sign in to Medium or create an account. Once you're signed in, click "Write a Story" on the top righthand side of the homepage.
  • Consult their Help Center page for writing for tips on titles, formatting, images, publishing, and more.
  • If you want, you can request notes from other Medium users before you publish. Any collaborators or editors you invite to add notes can do so throughout the article, kind of like a collaborative document in Google Drive.
  • Article length can be whatever you want, but some of the best advice on length, timing, etc. with Medium posts comes from Medium's data team. They've reported there's a direct correlation for how long people spend on their posts and how well the posts perform.
  • You're free to repost content from your blog or website on Medium to expose it to a new audience.
  • You can add any links you want back to your own website, or add any type of call-to-action you want, whether it's to a piece of long-form content, a subscribe page, or something else.

Want to contribute to HubSpot's blog? Check out our Guest Blogging Guidelines

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