The first trick to getting published, is finding out who to send your articles to. This can be a tricky task for a first-timer, and every time I reach out to a new publication, I have to do go through the same, awkward process.
But after you’ve done it a few times, it becomes normal.
The Contact Us page is a good place to start, but shouldn’t be the only place you try as anyone can use this form, and you will find it hard to be taken seriously.
The people who monitor these contact forms aren’t usually editors either. But depending on the publication, it may be a good place to start.
It is usually very easy to find, and most often just requires you to scroll down to the bottom of the home page, and click on the “Contact Us” portal.
From there, you will usually have a form or an email address to send through your inquiry.
Here is the same style of Contact form of the Times Newspaper Group (South Africa’s biggest News Group): – here however, notice the phone number. If you can, it’s much more useful to call them up, and ask to talk to an editor directly.
If you do talk to an editor. Expect a response like this. It’s normal. Just relax and be confident.
In some publications, you will be able to use the same methodology and find a page highlighting the email address of an editor. This isn’t so common, but when you do find it, you should take advantage. For example, here is Tico Times’ “Contact Us” page.
They are the biggest English newspaper in Central America, and as you can see, the email address of the Managing editor’s are all there.
This is a lot more common in smaller news sites as well. Here is a Mexican English newspaper called Mexico News Daily and when you click on their “story ideas” link, you automatically get a link to an email address.
For India’s Scroll.In, you can find this, but you have to navigate through their “About Us” section to their blog, and then into the “About” section in their blog. But then when you do, you get a nice little list of email addresses here.
This is the same for the Epoch Times site. They are a massive force in world news, and publish in 21 languages, so it’s a massive win if you get published here. With a little navigation through a few of their hidden “About Us” and “Contact Us” sections, you arrive here and have some great places to send your articles.
For junior journalists, you will have a lot more success in general on websites where they publicly display an email for you to contact. It might not reach millions of readers, but it will be a great start.
News sites still hold the historical centre of the journalistic world, but you will notice that in many places, the “Opinion” sites actually get much better ratings, and reach a wider, more engaged audience.
Take Youth Ki-Avaaz for example. It is the biggest youth-focussed English opinion site in India. You might think this means it’s not as “important” as the traditional Indian media, but when you look at the readership and engagement it regularly achieves, you might change your mind.
What’s more, its much easier to submit your article, they even have a link on their homepage.
We find the same level of openness and access in many places around the world. These include global publications such as OpenDemocracy, and national publications like the Big Smoke and The Drum in Australia.
If you can’t find their email address on their website, a little bit of extra hunting and you should be able to find out an editor’s name. For example, here is the “About Us” page of the Guardian in Nigeria.
From here, all you have to do is Google the Editor’s name, and you should be able to get a little closer to finding them.
These days a lot of Editors and journalists use Twitter to source stories. In fact, if they don’t, I’m not sure what they’re doing .
Mashable has even written about tracking down journalists (or editors) via twitter, and some of the do’s and don’ts of reaching out. Here, you want to find out the editor’s name, and if its a big newspaper – the editor of a particular section you want to publish in.
Then Twitter gets pretty simple. After you google their name, the first few links will probably be their social media accounts. On LinkedIn or Twitter, follow them, and then you can either try tweeting at them, or waiting for them to follow you so you can direct message them.
It might not sound “professional” but you would be surprised how many people use this as their primary method of contacting editors and journalists these days.
The internet is a massive place, and there are lots of other ways of finding email addresses. I have friends who have guessed emails before, by using an editors name and just adding @publication name.com. I know people who ask friends of friends for contacts, and I know people who hunt for hours and hours for editorial emails.
The reality is sometimes, this takes a long time. Find out what works for you, and stick to it.
Even though it usually feels like this:
When pitching an article, we too often get caught up in the trap of focussing only on the article you have just written, and the next deadline.
Why is this a problem?
Well it is and it isn’t. It isn’t as its critical to make sure you get your voice out there, and you have just written a great piece you want to get published.
But the reality of news, is that even if you think your article is the best piece of writing ever, and even if the editor of a newspaper agrees, there can be hundreds of reasons why they can’t publish it right now.
- They might not have space in their publication
- They might have just published a similar article or covered the topic
- They might be focussing on a different theme that week, or waiting until a later date to do a feature on that very idea
- They might be waiting to get more information on your topic
- They might want your article, just in a different style.
And the list could go on and on.
That’s why its also important to consider the longer term relationship you’re trying to build. Every time you reach out to a journalist or an Editor, you’re creating a relationship.
Think about the difference you could create if instead of approaching an editor with the idea of: “Hey, I’m awesome. publish my article NOW.”
Imagine you could be telling them, “Hey, this is me. I am a great writer and I have an article for you. But I really want to send more in the future”.
The difference can be amazing, and many times I have had experiences where a certain publication couldn’t publish my first article, but when I contacted them again, they were happy to publish the 2nd or 3rd.
Then you’ll be like…