With the announcement that Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post (aka HuffPost), is to leave the business she founded a decade ago, this is a good time to assess how the news site has grown in the UK and how best to get your news into it.
In July the Huffington Post UK celebrated its fifth birthday. It has grown to a 40-strong team who work across five departments, ranging from news and politics to parenting and lifestyle. In comparison to many similar news outlets, it is still quite a small, lean team. The average reader is aged 25-45 and sits in the ABC1 sociodemographic.
Despite the UK edition being relatively young, it is already in a position to get royalty involved – on 17th February 2016, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge guest-edited the website for the launch of the ‘Young Minds Matter’ campaign. The HuffPostUK team are eager to have regular guest editors and are open to hearing suggestions on this front.
In the social media age, video is king and the Huffington Post has nailed video content. The publication has a dedicated team who create original content – its Facebook Live videos receive 16 million views on the Facebook site alone, so companies need to bear this in mind when pitching a story – is there a video angle you can pitch?
Naturally, social media has had a major impact on the HuffPostUK’s readership – its content now has prolific distribution thanks to its many social media channels and the shareability of stories, videos and blogs.
Solve a problem
Stephen Hull, editor-in-chief, is proud that the Huffington Post does not push out ‘empty-calorie journalism’; instead, it aims to deliver strong stories and ‘content with carbohydrate’. So, make sure you’re pitching stories that ‘really matter’ and appeal to the outlet’s readers.
The publication’s tone of voice has grown up with it, and the title now aims to publish high-quality news focusing on solving problems.
Huff Post refers to its readers as ‘thrivers’ – people who like solutions rather than problems. They like corporate/global brands, they want companies to be open with them, and they like opinions.
The opportunity, therefore, is to pitch HuffPostUK a story that helps solve a problem.
Six pitching tips from insiders:
According to Stephen Hull:
- Be confident and don’t plead.
- Be persistent, send emails and follow-up emails.
- In the subject line, DO NOT USE CAPITAL LETTERS.
According to executive editor and global lifestyle head Poorna Bell:
- Don’t phone them, they’re not likely to answer.
- Use humour – make the subject line funny if you can and if it’s appropriate.
- The publication is digital so works ‘in the moment’. So, don’t pitch Valentine’s Day stories in November, they’re only interested in Christmas at that time.