Contributing Content: Big Opportunities in Content Marketing!

There are big opportunities these days in content marketing. All kinds of organizations, from traditional publishers and media outlets to businesses hoping to gain online traction through organic search are looking for quality content. That means big opportunities for content creators of all kinds. It also means big opportunities for businesses and individuals hoping to get media coverage for themselves and their products and services.

Why? Because, more than ever before, there is opportunity for you to write about yourself or your products and services and submit what you’ve written to various publications (traditional or online), or other media outlets. We do this frequently, on our own behalf as well as on the behalf of clients in a wide range of industries. We’ve seen our contributed content appear, under our or our clients’ bylines, in publications and outlets ranging from local newspapers, to niche trade publications, to large media outlets like Fortune and Fast Company.

These outlets are hungry for content and, if you’re able to create the kind of content they’re looking for, you’re likely to see your name in print (or broadcast). Here are some best practices for those hoping to gain exposure in this way:

  • Thoroughly understand the outlet and the audience. What type of content is typically produced? What are the needs/interests/concerns of the readers/viewers? How does what you have to offer fit–or not.
  • Take an outside in, versus inside out, approach. By this we mean focus not so much on what you want to say, but what readers/viewers are interested in hearing. How can you provide value based on your knowledge, experience and background?
  • Take a journalistic, not a marketing approach to your submission. While “selling yourself” or your cause is obviously a goal, it needs to be in the background, not the forefront, of the tone/slant you take. Your submissions should be fact-based and, if possible, it should draw upon other third-party insights that can lend credibility to what you have to say.
  • Find the appropriate contact person and pitch your idea, via email. Journalists are very busy and can be irritated by out-of-the-blue phone calls. Clearly indicate how your idea meets the needs of the target audience and is aligned with the content of the outlet. It does no good to attempt to sell something that is off-the-mark by suggesting that your idea is “better” than what the publication/outlet is currently producing. That’s a good way to get yourself blacklisted from ever being considered for contribution again.
  • In your pitch, outline your background and expertise in the area and why you are well poised to cover the topic. Indicate any additional perspectives you might be able to bring. Provide a sense of the style/content by including perhaps an introductory paragraph and some bulleted “outline” points. Offer to submit the piece for consideration.
  • Write well! Much will depend on your ability to submit a piece that meets the length, style and substance guidelines of the publication as well as your ability to organize your material in a logical manner and adhere to basic spelling, grammar and punctuation standards.
  • Don’t be pushy. While it’s okay to follow up (once!) with an editor after you’ve pitched an idea, or after a piece has been submitted. Don’t be a pest. Again, this is a good way to develop a reputation as being “difficult” which can hinder your chances to contribute content in the future.

Don’t have the time or inclination to do this yourself? No worries. There are plenty of resources to help you out, including Strategic Communications! We have a strong background in print journalism, online content creation and social media. Most importantly, we take a strategic approach to leveraging all of the available communication channels to drive real results. Let us know how we can help. 

by Linda Pophal

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