Submitting articles is one of the greatest ways to be known as a writer. It’s a sign that you’re able to persuade with someone else to have them post your article. It’s a way for us writers to shout out other writers and introduce our growing community to our readership.
I’ve said that every single person has a story that they can share with the world. I believe that wholeheartedly and encourage people to write. Even if it’s for yourself.
However, once you get into the writing world and you’re looking to share that story with other people, there has to be a certain standard that’s put in place. You’re not writing for your audience or for yourself. You’re writing to another audience that someone else built. An audience that this other person understands more about than you will.
In a sense, you’re also writing to that writer in particular and they’ll have their own preferences.
So in the event that you do want to be writing for me, I have some things I want to share with you. Some things to consider doing before you go to submitting articles to me. Furthermore, these considerations shouldn’t only apply to any work that’s submitted to me. Integrate these standards into your own writing and published posts as well.
Submitting Articles With The Intention To Grow
Of course, submitting articles to other publishers will bring your name out. You get plenty of exposure for your work and the site has content they can deliver to their audience. It’s a win for everyone. At least on the surface.
There’s a lot of what if scenarios that get in the way. What if the article is a total flop? Well it’s not going to benefit you all that much and now the site is housing a dead article that no one is interested in or hardly read.
Now there is no way of telling whether an article is a flop or not. As a writer, I’ve published articles that I thought sucked but did surprisingly well. On the flip side, there are articles that I poured my life and soul into and flopped miserably. Audiences are complicated to understand even if you’ve been writing for a particular audience for some time.
That said, there are some things to keep in mind that’ll help you grow and also help the site grow as a result.
For those submitting articles, begin with the intention to grow yourself and the site by ensuring these things in your writing and the finished article:
- Have clear distinct headings. Honestly, these should be the first things to set up on paper or in your mind. This provides incredible structure and flow of your article. Headings are like your map and marker, they give you an idea of where you are, where you’ll go, and how to get there.
- Be active. Have an active voice in most – if not all – of the post. Even if you’re not sharing advice, maintaining an active voice is key. I find active voices help in narrowing down your message and focusing on what matters most.
- Use images. People love pictures. And though most submission pages will have this as a requirement, you can still go above and beyond. Don’t be afraid to toss in a few more pictures depending on the length of your article. There are plenty of free sources.
- Have a similar structure. I’ll expand on this theme in a bit but it does help if you adopt a new style when writing for other people. To do this, look at their overall writing structure. Do they have a lot of bullet points? Are there lots of small paragraphs or longer ones?
- Have a compelling title. There are tonnes of articles out there on writing compelling titles that hook people in. Instead, my suggestion is to use a title analyzing tool. Sharethrough has made a reliable one to consider.
The whole idea is to ensure that you are helping the site with your contribution. There are so many writers out there who focus so much on writing articles that they don’t bother writing good articles. The reality is if your writing is good, people will find it, share it, and talk about it. If it’s bad, they won’t.
Writing on someone else’s site and submitting a bad article isn’t going to help you. Especially if you’re not using these basic things. Furthermore, it makes you look bad to the other writer/owner of the site and they may not want to work with you in the future.
Show That You Know Their Audience
As I said, no one knows their audience better than the writer themselves. That being said, that shouldn’t stop you from getting to know a little bit about their audience. They’re not about to hand you their analytical data and tell you exactly who their demographics are.
However, writers will show that in their own style and delivery of their content. Moreover, they can show that in the guidelines and rules with regards to submitted articles. All that you have to do is read between the lines.
For example, one of my criteria is that you have an active voice. Being helpful and inspiring rather than shoving a product or service in people’s faces. This can mean a number of things to those writing for me but it narrows down how to write for my audience to a degree.
You’re not pushing product after product or service in their faces. Instead, you’re looking at things that frugal individuals could use. With that information it’s clear you’re writing for average individuals rather than those with massive amounts of disposable income.
On top of that, you can also look at the articles themselves. These can provide great detail because it feeds off of how to structure your articles. Not only that but writing in a similar tonne shows to the writer you’re submitting this piece to that you’ve checked their website.
This is a big deal as checking a person’s site can be the difference between a flopped article and a great one. Again, people love it when others read their stuff and prove in many ways that they have read it.
Submitting Articles That Are Researched And Thoughtful
On the note of checking a person’s website, you’ll also want the article to be researched and thoughtful. I put a requirement in place that you’ll need to link any article to at least one article on this site for this reason. Internal linking is big for two reasons:
- It’s excellent SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is what’ll help boost the site’s search ranking and get the site to attract more viewers. These viewers can potentially stumble on your own article. And if it’s good, you could receive new readers and convert them into customers.
- It’s polite. As I mentioned in the guidelines themselves, it’s good writer etiquette to have one source be from the site itself. It’s proof that you’ve looked through the site a little bit. This all comes back to what I mentioned earlier as well.
Outside of those two reasons, linking to other sources shows that you’ve put in some care and consideration into the topic. While article writing is a time consuming process, research takes up only a small part of it. It’s not a difficult thing to do and it shows you’re willing to put in the effort into writing.
Over the years of writing, I found that emotion plays a big role in the overall quality of the writing. When I first started out writing, my writing was terrible. It’s far from the writing that I produce now for myself and for my clients. The big difference was that I cared about my writing.
Even if it’s on a topic that I wasn’t strong at, any person can immediately identify the emotions that went into a piece of writing. From the word choice down to those extra details like research, images, and linking. Even readers can pick up on those emotions. After all, it’s a writers job to encourage and bring forth emotions from their audience.
Speaking of emotion, it’s important that you are writing with this in mind. Is the article that you are submitting emotional? That’s not to say that it’ll bring people to tears, but good writing draws out emotions. The emotion that I’m working on drawing out from this piece is for people to feel inspired and hopeful. Maybe they look at this criteria and realize there are some things they’ve got and others need work.
That’s a reason to be hopeful and a sign that your talents are growing. It’s reason enough to give hope.
Emotion in any piece is important as it allows people to develop a personal connection. It’s similar to films and by that extension sequels and TV episodes. It’s vital that we develop some kind of emotion for those characters be it positive or negative. It allows us to be invested in the story.
While characters do change and develop in any film, there is still that maintaining of emotions. Not only that but those changes and developments are justified within the current circumstances. If there is an unprompted change in a person’s character, it’s disorienting.
All of this comes back to writing. If you can’t hook someone in at the beginning with an emotional response, you’ll lose them. Furthermore, you’ll need to maintain that throughout the piece. That means using a particular style and word choice. Could very well be the same style you always use or it might be a different one.
All in all, good writing is drawing an emotion from someone and maintaining it. To have that in your writing, the big thing is to read through your article. Take note of your feelings and whether you feel something or not. Put yourself in the shoes of the audience.
Submitting Articles That Follow Guidelines
The last thing to talk about is an obvious one: make sure it’s within the guidelines. While guidelines will focus heavily on the style of an article, there are still some other basic aspects to it. Things like word count, void of grammar and spelling errors, byline requirements and more.
You want to make sure you read them carefully as some will have other requirements you might not expect. I know for my own it can be different to suggest tags to an article or even to include a keyword. Pay attention to those things and address them.
Articles Require Care
Before you go and start submitting articles to other writers, make sure that your heart is in it and that you’re invested in it. I’ve run into so many writers who have said they wanted to submit articles but haven’t. That or the article they did send me wasn’t that great.
This happens all the time. And the thing is that is okay. You shouldn’t force yourself into doing something you don’t want to be doing. All the same, if you do decide to do something, ensure that your heart is in it. Make sure that you put care and consideration into your work. It doesn’t need to be Pulitzer Prize material, but it does need to be something that you care about and that you can get others to care about too.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon