Writing Your Own Articles? Be Aware Of The Shifting Media Landscape

Writing Your Own Articles? Be Aware Of The Shifting Media Landscape

My team writes plenty of articles for clients every week, but for years I also have encouraged clients to write their own bylined pieces for print publications – both traditional and online – as one more way to get their name and message out to the masses.

It’s a great addition to any publicity campaign.

So I was slightly disconcerted to learn that one reliable place for such articles to land no longer plans to accept them. The Huffington Post dissolved its self-publishing contributors’ platform, which means budding writers and others with a message to share have one less venue for reaching their potential audiences.

The HuffPost had been publishing such contributions since Arianna Huffington established the online site nearly 13 years ago, so this marks a sea change in the way the publication does business.

At first glance, the move might seem surprising – even perplexing. But perhaps it shouldn’t. Just recently I was participating at an event where Dan Kennedy, author of such books as No B.S. Guide to Brand Building by Direct Response, spoke about how crowded the digital marketplace has become. There’s so much “noise” that sometimes it’s difficult to be heard above all the clatter.

I think that’s what happened with HuffPost. They are just one part of that noise, and as more people became “HuffPost contributors” (the New York Times reported the number as 100,000) the title lost some of its luster.

Now, by ending that forum for unpaid contributors, HuffPost may be trying to declutter its personal corner of that “noisy” digital marketplace.

It’s a bummer, I know! But don’t despair! If one of your goals was to contribute articles to HuffPost – or any other online and print publication, for that matter – let me share a few ideas about how you should approach this moving forward:

  • Recognize the need to be innovative. The media landscape changes constantly and rapidly, so there’s no need to get too worked up about modifications and alterations! Just understand that things evolve and you must evolve right along with them. Adapt to changes in the media the way you adapt when other parts of your business change. Be prepared to think creatively to solve any problems (or to seize any opportunities) that emerge as a result. Those who recognize the need to be innovative are the ones most likely to thrive. And get used to media changes, because next year you’ll probably need to adapt all over again!
  • Seek out other publications that use contributors. If one publication halts its contributor columns – or simply rejects what you offer – realize there are plenty of other places to try. So you can’t contribute to HuffPost any more? Well, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Inc. magazine, Forbes and many other newspapers and magazines welcome contributor columns. Be sure to do a little research, though, because each publication has its own guidelines, such as word length or whether the article must be exclusive to them. Once you find those guidelines, follow them to the letter!
  • Be your own publisher. If you write an excellent contributor piece that no one else wants to use, don’t let it languish in your Word-documents folder. Publish it yourself in your blog. If you routinely provide quality content that’s interesting and useful, you can get people to follow you and come to rely on your insight. Also, use your social media to share links whenever you post a new article.

Sure, Dan Kennedy is absolutely right that it’s a noisy media marketplace out there, but it’s still worthwhile to make sure your voice is one of the ones being heard because a published byline gives you more visibility and adds to your credibility.

So pen those articles, submit them to publications, or find someone who knows how to place them for you. You have a message worth sharing, so share it as widely as possible!

On the write track!

Marsha

P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, and 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!

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