One often overlooked means of getting great publicity is to contribute articles you wrote yourself to publications. Not only does your published byline boost your visibility, it provides an excellent credential.
While many of the major national publications don’t accept unsolicited articles, some do set aside space for contributor columns or accept guest columns on their op-ed pages. The New York Daily News and Newsmax, for instance, have published many articles written by our clients. In some cases, these articles have drawn the attention of other media, leading to more exposure for our clients.
Smaller publications, trade magazines and online publications also may be good places for your articles to land. These publications often have small staffs, so they’re happy to get well-written articles that they don’t have to pay for. Your reward is the publicity you’ll receive because you’ll likely get a credit line that includes your website and email.
To help get you started on the path to publication, here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Look for submission guidelines on the publication’s website – and follow them! Some publications post their rules for submitting unsolicited articles. They may outline the topics they’re interested in, minimum and/or maximum word counts, and the style. If you find guidelines, stick to them! The No. 1 mistake people make is going over the maximum word count. That will very likely get your article rejected. And, since editors often don’t tell you why they’re rejecting the article, the writer keeps repeating the mistake.
- Pitch your ideas before writing a full article. While with some publications you can submit a full article, you can save yourself time if you first pitch a few ideas to gauge whether the editor would have any interest. Send a short email offering three or four topics, with a one-paragraph synopsis of each. Add a brief bio highlighting your relevant credentials. The worst they can do is say “no,” and if they do you won’t have wasted your time writing an entire 700-word article, or whatever length was the target.
- Be prepared to offer exclusivity. Many publications state up front that they will accept only articles that have not been previously published. They may also require the writer to promise that the article won’t be submitted to other publications until a specified number of days pass. Be sure to check the fine print! Or, the editor may tell you it’s OK to publish in magazines that it doesn’t directly compete with.
- Sign up for Google Alerts. Don’t assume that the editor will contact you to let you know when the article has actually published. One of the best ways to track that is to sign up for Google Alerts, so you’ll be notified when the article is posted online. Once that happens, be sure to share the link on your website and in social media to get the most out of the moment.
Bylined articles help you establish your reputation as an expert, build your brand and gain visibility. They may lead to an invitation to be a regular contributor, as has happened with a number of our clients. And bylined articles can generate even more interest from other publications whose editors see your work and approach you wanting their own interview or story.
P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, or being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 27 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231. We’d love to hear from you!
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.