So let’s say you’re writing a blog. You feel like your posts are well written and contain valuable information. For whatever reason, however, you’re not grabbing your audience’s attention and you lack the means to reach more people. You’re expending maximum effort for minimal returns.
In this situation, you might find yourself looking around wondering what else you can do. If regularly posting on social networks, sharing via email and optimizing for search isn’t leading to new leads or an uptick in site visits, then your native audience just may not be big enough. There’s also the chance your target audience simply doesn’t expect valuable content coming from you, meaning you have to spend the extra time building your authority as a content provider worthy of their time. If this applies to you, then it might be time to look outside your business’s branded content channels and get your work published elsewhere.
But where to start? You may know of a few publications in your industry that are considered thought leaders and likely to reach your targeted audience, but what if they don’t accept submissions? You might also just be completely in the dark too, with no idea how to get the ball rolling.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of tips for what you should look for and consider when trying to find a potential publisher for your content.
If you’re seeking to expand the influence of your business and content, you don’t want to just publish on some random BlogSpot page; you want the publication you’re targeting to carry a certain sway. You need a publication with the draw that, by getting your work published in it, will instantly grab the attention of your existing audience while also bringing in potential new leads. It’s kind of like a stamp of quality by a neutral, respected party.
Anyone can start a blog; not everyone can get published in an authoritative publication. To determine if a particular publication would be worth your efforts, take a look at a few key items.
- What does their circulation look like? Most publications feature a media kit on their website that contains this information. If it’s a miniscule number, it may not be worth your time unless this publication targets a niche audience that you really want to get in front of.
- Do they have an active social media presence with engagement from readers? High digital engagement means you’re likely to reach more people.
- Do you see other contributors you respect and whose opinions you value? You should want to see your name next to the other contributors in a publication.
Does it look nice? Generally speaking, a good publication will take the extra step and make sure their content is presented in a visually pleasing manner. Both with print magazines and websites, you should feel impressed by the quality of their content.
Obviously there are times when content is presented in a drier format – think a trade or technical journal – but what you need to consider is if the format of the publication will discourage or encourage your targeted audience from reading the content.
It’s essential that the publication you’re publishing in meets your targeted audience’s needs. For example, say you’re a printing company looking to get in front of new customers. You do your research and come across a few promising publications you could contribute to, but they serve different audiences.
One focuses mainly on the printing industry itself, so your readers will likely be other printing professionals. Publishing content here would be a good idea if you were trying to increase your reach and standing in the printing industry, develop channel partners or simply position one of your staff members as an expert in the field. The publication, however, will not likely be read by your customers.
Another option is a magazine for marketing professionals who work in associations. By pitching an article here about how associations can streamline their printing and cut costs, you address a very specific need among one of your likely key targets.
Though the first example may seem more prestigious to you, the second is a stronger way to reach your target buyers. Keep in mind that the odds are you won’t find a direct, customer-facing publication that includes editorial content specifically about the type of product or service you offer. Instead, get creative with your angle and pitch relevant, helpful content to your target audience’s favorite watering holes. A few general types of places to target (relative to your industry) include:
- Association publications
- Event publications
- Specific focus publications (i.e if you want to get in front of marketers, targeting marketing-specific publications)
Do they accept submissions?
Naturally, you’ll want to figure out if a publication you’re interested in would be interested in publishing your work. Generally this information is contained under an “About Us” or “Contact Us” tab on their website. Here you should find language detailing if they’re open to submissions or a general email (usually to the editor) that you can inquire at.
After the publication confirms that they accept submissions, follow up with a few important questions to help you build out a schedule and plan for developing your work:
- Do you assign topics or should we make pitches?
- How regularly can we submit?
- Is there a word count?
- How soon after submission will you let me know if it will be published?
- Can you republish the article on your own blog?
Creativity and Flexibility
When it comes to publishing content in other publications, it’s all about fit and need. Your content should fit the editorial mission of the publication you’re pitching to and solve the needs of your target audience. By marrying these two, you can really capitalize on the expanded reach this tactic affords you.
As you go about building your plan for who to contact, try to commit to just one submission to one particular publication. This is for two main reasons: 1) you don’t want to over extend your efforts and diminish your content, and 2) it takes a fair amount of time to create a successful piece of content – time you probably barely have. Focus on building one successful relationship with an outside publisher, and build up from there.
Publishing outside your content channels will help you build brand awareness, establish your business as an expert voice in the field and create momentum for your content development. Success breeds success. If more people are viewing and engaging with your content, then you’ll feel like you’re doing a good job and are more likely to continue to create high quality content. Stick with it and better position your content to reach the audience your hard work deserves.