A well-written article generates 0 ROI if it doesn’t see the light of day. Hopefully you’ve crafted your article with best practices in mind. It’s focused, informative, and sales-free. Unfortunately writing is only half the battle. Now you have to find a market for your article.
Luckily, if you’ve written a good article, there are a number of places that might be interested in publishing it. With a little work, you can gain exposure far beyond the usual article directories.
Consider your audience
Think in terms of demographics. You’re looking for groups here, preferably groups with websites, newsletters, and knowledge bases dedicated to serving them. Soccer moms, chief information officers, mountain climbers, and plant managers all have publications catering to their needs. Make a list of people who are most likely to be interested in the topic you cover in your article (which should relate to your business).
Your name in print
Once you have identified your audience, you need to find out what they’re reading. Trade magazines, consumer magazines and other publications abound, reaching business and consumer audiences alike. Organizations publish journals or newsletters to reach their members. Online magazines and knowledge bases across the Internet are serving up articles just like yours every day. If you are having trouble finding publications that serve your audience, you may have to expand your sights to include larger groups.
Look beyond the traditional media outlets
The Internet has opened the floodgates on information tailored to specific groups. Writing for Internet audiences allows you to target niches that would have been extremely difficult to reach before. There are several unique areas that may accept articles.
Link partners could benefit from publishing helpful articles. An offer to submit helpful content to their website comes as a much more attractive offer than a traditional link-swap. Visitors are more likely to click the link at the bottom of your article if they enjoyed reading your piece as well.
Directories are another non-traditional distribution point. These can be an excellent target, as they are already favored by search engines and could be looking for a way to entice more visitors to their site with helpful content like yours. Your article
Ezines offer access to prospective clients via email, in a format they know and trust. This is a great way to build credibility and get your name in front of clients. Ezines often have online archives too, so you can get double the exposure for your article.
Read the writers’ guidelines
Many publications have writers’ guidelines available. These invaluable documents describe the kind of topics, tone and length the publication prefers for its submissions. These guidelines also let you know what format you should be taking with your article, and how to contact the appropriate editor.
Pitching editors: What’s in it for them?
Always, always, always send a query letter before sending your article. Explain your topic and several points you cover in your piece. If you have relevant credentials that make you an expert author, go ahead and mention them.
Depending on your audience, you can pitch your article to several publications. However, it is crucial to tailor your query letter to each editor.
You want to show the editors how your piece would benefit the specific audience of their publication. Look over the publication to get an idea of the kind of pieces they typically run. If your article seems like it would fit, then you have a good target. If not, you may need to tweak your piece to work more seamlessly.
Don’t distribute your article to only one publication, then sit back and congratulate yourself while you wait for the response email to grace your inbox. Editors are very busy people. It can take anywhere from several days to a month to hear back from them, maybe more, depending on how big the magazine is.
Send your article to several publications and see what response you get. If you get a response from more than one publication, see what their policy is about simultaneous submissions or if they require exclusive content.
For more information about article marketing, check out this article: Article Marketing 101: Writing Your Article (http://www.xeal.com/blog/index.php/Publicity/2007/11/29/article_marketing_101_writing_your_artic)
Article marketing done well can be challenging, but ultimately rewarding. If you’ve written a good piece and pitched it well, you have a good chance of getting your name into print. Follow these guidelines and your company could gain free publicity that paying advertisers could only dream of.
Author: Jessica Cox and Michelle Pierce are graduates of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Journalism with a background in Internet marketing and writing for the Web. They currently provide PR services at Xeal Precision Marketing. Sign up to get crucial Internet marketing tips at Xeal’s free Thursday webinar at http://www.xeal.com/webinar.htm.