Category Archive: Journalism

5 tips to land a nationally syndicated column through a national syndicate

Want your own column? Then choose:

  1. work with a single publication,
  2. self-syndicate,
  3. or submit to a national syndicate.

If you choose number 3, you set a very ambitious goal. If you do, follow these points:

Number 1:

Don’t emulate the work of established columnists. You can’t sell someone something they already have. See what’s already out there and try to fill a niche that is still empty.

Number 2:

Submitting good material is not enough – you should have a long enough portfolio to assure editors that you have the staying power necessary to turn over quality material every week for years.

Number 3:

Be original. If your column is too similar to what is already out there, it won’t generate interest. You need to have your own original voice in order to stand out from the ocean of imitators.

That said, do your homework about syndicates you wish to query, and see if your style is a good fit.

The clients of a syndicate are newspapers, not the end reader. Don’t emphasize how readers will love your writing.

Number 4:

You needn’t have a column running in a traditional newspaper. Online venues and alternative papers are also a place from which a nationally syndicated column can be launched. These alternative papers avoid general news and widely-covered stories, focusing on a definitive style, strong opinion, local culture and unconventional topics. Guest blogging is also a way to get the ball rolling.

Number 5:

Make your query right for a Press Syndicate. When querying, avoid the mistakes typical of bad queries (boasting/begging, spending too little time crafting and editing your query), but also realize this query is a little different. Don’t emphasize how readers will love your writing, but try to make it clear why newspaper editors will want to publish your work. The clients of a syndicate are newspapers, not the end reader.


You’re facing long odds, and there’s no one thing that every successful national columnist did to grab success. But there is one thing all the unsuccessful ones did: give up.