Asked to provide examples of marketing and public relations efforts, most people mention brochures, folders, advertising and news releases. Often overlooked are articles submitted to trade and business publications.
That’s unfortunate. Articles offer great opportunities to promote your firm in a subtle way and get you noticed among your industry peers. Follow these guidelines to help get your article published.
Review back copies
Gain an understanding of the writing style and lengths of articles found in the publication. Also, try to determine whether your topic has been covered recently. Look for back copies on the publication’s website. If the website doesn’t offer an archive, contact the publication for back issues. You may incur a small charge for this, but it’ll be worth it. Also, check with your library. If they subscribe to the publication, you will find back copies on the shelf.
Review the editorial calendar
Often available online, an editorial calendar provides the themes for upcoming issues. (It’s often found under “Advertising” or a similar tab.) Search the list for an issue that is appropriate for your topic. Mention that when you submit your article. It shows that you have done some homework and have the editor’s interest in mind.
Be cognizant of deadlines, which can be two or three months out for a monthly publication. Make sure your copy arrives in time for the date you’re interested in. Contact the editor or editor-in-chief with any questions.
Choose a relevant topic
Appeal to the readers’ needs and interests. Write about how a new process or procedure enabled you to enhance revenue, cut costs, or boost productivity. Business owners and department heads are always looking for ways to improve the bottom line.
Case studies are valuable, too. Write about the challenging problem you solved, the fascinating project you worked on, or some unique situation you encountered.
Perhaps you have expertise in a particular sector. A theater rigging firm, for example, has done a considerable amount of work in churches around the country. Several of those projects formed the basis for a case study.
Make sure your copy is error-free
Proofread your material and double-check your facts, especially names. Have someone else proofread your copy, if possible. Edit so your information is clear and concise. (See “Simple Tips for Editing and Proofing Copy.”)
Sloppy writing is bad enough. Factual errors are downright embarrassing. Make the extra effort to ensure your material is clean before sending it on.
Avoid a sales pitch
These articles are designed to be educational. Do not use them as a sales pitch for your company or services. Save that copy for your brochures and other collateral material. Readers of business articles want to be informed, not sold.
Include photos if available
The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is still true. The right photos enhance your article tremendously. Remember to identify the equipment or processes depicted, and get permission from anyone shown in the picture.
Publications generally prefer high-resolution images. Contact the editor if you have questions about your images.
Stay on good terms with editor
Editors are business people, too. Be considerate of their schedules and needs as you establish a working relationship. If an article is rejected, accept it gracefully. Ask why, and use the advice to improve your chances of getting published next time.
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