I hear it over and over. “If only I had more time to write things to submit!”.
While the typical submission process only takes a few minutes to get through, writing the piece to submit can be much more time-consuming.
Here are a few tips to help bloggers create a submission schedule they can stick to!
Make A List – Start by making a list of sites you want to submit to. Keep it somewhere where you can add to it as you learn about new sites you’d like to try. Consider keeping it electronically so you can go in and add submission ideas that might be a good fit for particular sites as they come to you as well.
Identify Your Submission Goals – Before you organize yourself with which sites to submit to first, you need to take a look at your goals for submitting. Our post on the Benefits of Submitting Writing might give you some ideas if you’re unsure. Think about what your one or two top goals are. Depending on your experience and long-term goals, you may want to do anything from simply getting featured somewhere, to gaining more followers, to getting a particular badge in your sidebar, to gaining exposure to new readers.
Rank Your Sites – Once you know what your goals are, you can circle back to your site list. You may want to add or remove some sites based on your goals. Take your list and order it in a way that makes sense based on both your goals and likelihood of being accepted. For instance, if my main goal is grow my followers, I know Huffington Post can often help with that, but I also know that they are a tough nut to crack, so I might rank some other sites higher, especially if I am new to submitting. If reader engagement is my goal, I’d probably check out some of the recent posts on the sites on my list that might be similar to what I would submit, and see the comment volume both on the site and social media. Once you have sites ranked, you can work your way through the list with submissions and start thinking about content that would fit well for specific sites. If you are unsure which sites will best meet your goals, Join Our Facebook Group and post a thread to ask for help. We have a wonderful tuned in group who have been featured on a wide variety of sites, and can give suggestions on what sites you may want to focus on for your specific goals.
Evaluate Your Time – This one is tough, but I urge you to be conservative. Don’t overextend yourself, or you won’t be able to keep on schedule and may end up getting frustrated. Here are some numbers to keep in mind when thinking about how many submissions are realistic each month (keeping in mind that I never got past pre-calculus in college, so these are BASIC):
- Time Per Submission [ADD THE FOLLOWING]
- Estimated Time It Takes You To Write An Original Piece = ______
- Estimated Time It Takes You To Edit A Piece = _______
- Estimated Time It Takes You To Submit A Piece (filling out forms, drafting email with links, bio, entering it into a tracking spreadsheet etc.) = ______ (if in doubt, figure 30 minutes per submission)
- Estimated Time To Practice Good Pre-Submission Etiquette per site (commenting, following, sharing other pieces on the site etc.)
- Hours/Minutes Per Week You Can Devote To Submissions = ______ (multiple this # times 4 for approximate Hours Per Month You Can Devote To Submissions)
Divide your hours per month to devote to submissions by time per submission to get an idea of your monthly submission goal should be.
Here is my personal example: I have about 2 hours per week week to devote to submissions, or 8 hours a month. It takes me about 3 hours to write and edit an original piece, 30 minutes to submit and 1 hour per site to practice good etiquette the week before and the week after I submit. Based on those #’s, I can assume it will take me about 4.5 hours per submission and plan on submitting 1 piece per month. That leaves me about 3.5 additional submission hours per month, which I can devote to other submission activities like submitting existing posts to sites that accept them (a great way to submit without committing a lot of time), pitching ideas (vs. complete posts) to sites that accept pitches, and researching new sites to submit to etc. My other option is to try to scrounge a little more submission time and aim for 2 submissions per month.
Schedule It! – For most people, things are much more likely to get done if they are scheduled somewhere in writing. Break it up into manageable pieces throughout your month such as: outline post, write post, edit, etiquette, and submit, and it becomes much easier to attack than a big ‘SUBMIT TO XYZ’ on your calendar.
It can be a rush to press the submit button and know that an acceptance might be coming your way, but if submissions get rejected, at least you have a fresh piece to submit to another site or put on your own blog. (See: 8 Things To Do With Your Submission If It Gets Turned Down). Once you start getting regular features, you may have to cut into your time per month to do things like writing teaser posts for your featured work or social media promotion/sharing, but that’s a good problem to have.
How much time to you spend on submissions each month and what are your tricks for scheduling time?