Writing for elephant journal: My Experience So Far

writing for elephant journal

Are you planning to write for elephant journal? This is my experience so far, after about a month from submitting my first article.


Writing for elephant journal

Is it your dream to write for the elephant journal? With an impressive readership (with peaks of 10 million visits per month), elephant journal can provide an excellent platform to writers who want to raise their profile.

If you are successful at submitting an article for publication, you will get the opportunity to add a biography with your picture, career highlights and links to your website and social media profiles.

On paper, this means that you are potentially going to receive referral traffic to your personal freelance writer website and more fans and followers on your social media profiles.

Getting Paid To Write for elephant journal

Freelance writers, like any other self-employed person, normally prefer to be paid to write. You know, bills and all that jazz. If you decide to write for elephant journal and get paid, you need to follow the guidelines explained on their website (there is an announcement each month: this one is for May 2017).

Here are the requirements:

  1. Get a minimum of eight articles published on elephant journal in a given month and it is recommended to submit them to the editors earlier in the month for a better chance of getting approved and published
  2. Submitted articles must be of high quality and comply with the style and writing guidelines
  3. Articles much receive thousands of views and help elephant journal reach new audiences
  4. The website overall must grow in that given month; no growth means a smaller payment
  5. At least one article is an “editor’s pick”, i.e., an article that will gain extra visibility on the site
  6. Articles cover topics that are highly desirable like the environment, sustainability, meditation etc
  7. The 15 writers who received the most views for their articles receive a cash bonus

Bonuses will vary each month and are allocated based on the volume of traffic articles from each writer have generated. For example, the overall winner of a bonus in April 2017 had a compound readership for her articles of 431,053. She had 19 articles published that month on elephant journal.

My Experience After One Month Writing for elephant journal

I approached elephant journal via their article submission form at the end of April 2017 and it was published 10 days later after the editor asked for some amendments. I then submitted seven more articles in a short succession in order to be considered for payment.

Here is the breakdown:

  • article 1, published after 10 days and after making one set of changes
  • article 2, sent twice as the first time I did not receive an acknowledgement, published without having to make changes after two weeks
  • article 3, published without changes after 10 days
  • article 4, editor asked to make changes to the article then rejected it
  • article 5, editor asked for amendments then rejected it
  • article 6, published without changes after two weeks
  • article 7, editor asked for changes then published after more than two weeks
  • article 8, rejected.

Please note that even articles that didn’t require amendments from you may be edited by the editorial team. I submitted all the articles by the middle of May and the last article was published on the 31st of May. My advice, given that my articles had about a 30% rejection rate, is to write at least 12 articles in total to get a better chance of having at least eight articles published on the website in one month. Also, you should make sure you submit all your articles at the beginning of the month and expect a two week turnaround.

Traffic Generated By My Articles

Articles on elephant journal can become popular if they cover a popular article and get shared widely.

My articles had mixed levels of popularity. These are the results by early June 2017:

  • 35 views and 1 share (obviously shared by me!)
  • 130 views and 11 shares
  • 349 views and 10 shares
  • 1,907 views and 58 shares
  • 1,926 views and 49 shares

Total readership: 4,347. Please note: if you want one of your articles to have a better chance of becoming an “editor’s pick” it should achieve at least 5,000 views within the first 48 hours from publication.

Referral Traffic

Did my website receive referral traffic from elephant journal during May 2017? The answer is, unfortunately, no. I think the main issue is that the writer’s profile is at the very bottom of the screen, after the article, a set of adverts, a section with recommended elephant journal articles, and the newsletter signup form. In other words, the link to your website is buried very deep into the page.

I did not notice any increase in my social media following as a result of having articles published on elephant journal.

Topics That Do Well on elephant journal

From my very limited experience, I would say that, if you want to write for elephant journal and be in with a chance of getting paid for your articles, you should focus on topics about the environment, as they are the ones that do well on the site.

You can choose a variety of topics (and remember that you have to come up with them) from lowering your carbon emissions to alternatives to intensive farming. Depending on your area of expertise, write with passion to connect with your audience and make sure you back your statements with some solid sources. There is also scope for opinion pieces that stimulate debate: in fact, you are encouraged to get people to comment on your articles.

Did You Know?

I help organisations create engaging content for their website/blog and external sites. If you are looking for a content writer, please contact me paola@energya.co.uk.