Over the last couple of years, writing for online publications has become more and more popular. With the increase in aspiring contributors submitting articles to be reviewed, the work load for publication editors can become overwhelming.
As an editor of a large publication myself, there are times when it’s so busy I only look for contributors with great content who make my life -- and my team's -- easier. The submissions we get that will take time going back and forth with the author are put at the bottom of the list. On the flip side, as a contributor to many other online publications, I take my insights as an editor on board. My goal is make it as easy as possible for other editors to go through my article with little fuss.
Here are five things editors wish writers did more often:
1. Follow the guidelines.
It sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised how often contributors don’t even read the guidelines. They just find the email contact to submit their article to, and submit it with their bio. Editors can tell when a writer has read through the guidelines. Those are the contributors they want to keep around. If you want to become a contributor for publications, you need to make sure to read ALL of their guidelines and follow them exactly how they have been presented to you.
2. Proofread your content.
Proofreading your material before submitting it is another basic but very important step. Editors don’t mind fixing grammar or spelling errors here and there. But if they start reading your article and notice that you have many mistakes, they will instantly reject your article. Remember, editors are looking for the least bit of work involved to publish your article.
Make sure you proofread your content multiple times before submitting the final draft. Even as a consistent writer myself, I still tend to find mistakes in my writing after reading over my content multiple times. You can never proofread your material too much.
3. Focus on the audience.
Focusing on the audience is a very important aspect to writing a good article. There are many websites that allow you to be a bit more personal than others, but no matter how personal the writing is, publications still want you to provide value to their audience. The article may be about you and your experiences, but you have to tell your story in a way that allows the readers to take practical advice from your experiences. Make your article less about yourself and more about the person who is going to read it.
4. Stop promoting your products.
This is different for all publications. Some allow their top contributors to promote their products or services in their articles, but most publications don’t. Once you’re in as a consistent contributor, you can strategically place links to your content within the article. But at the beginning, don’t get emotionally attached to using links to your content.
A lot of publications have their editors decide which links belong and which links are irrelevant. And whatever you do, please don’t add -- even at the end of your article -- information on how to sign up for your free eBook or your new course. Most publications allow you to put things like that in your author bio but almost never allow self-promotion like that in the body of the article.
5. Know what content they’re looking for.
Knowing what kind of content and what topics a website likes to publish is something that can give you a better reputation with an editor. Submitting content that has no relevancy to the publication you are trying to become a contributor for will show that you have not done your homework for that website. It is important to know the publication.
Make sure you do your research and go through the website and study what topics they publish. Read through articles they currently have, and make sure you’re not submitting something that is very similar to an article they have already published.
Editors are usually overworked and underpaid. So helping to make their life easier will increase your chances of becoming a contributor.