You’ve worked hard to get your contributed content a shot at publication: you’ve researched your ideal outlet, identified the right reporter or editor, written a successful abstract and pitch, and now you’re ready to craft your content.
You’re so close. Don’t blow this opportunity by making simple, rookie mistakes. Heed the following six steps to ensure your content has the best possible chance for publication.
Unlike your personal blog or your LinkedIn page, this isn't all about you. In fact, it should have literally nothing to do about you or your company—it's about something you have expertise about. It's important to provide all angles and arguments. Keep in mind that people don't want to hear an advertisement for your business; they want to learn something.
Not only are words like “leverage,” “synergy,” “game-changer”, “unprecedented”, “new normal”, and “disrupting an industry” tired and overdone, but when overused (or used incorrectly), they turn into meaningless fluff that distract from the purpose of your content in the first place: educating readers.
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If you find you're starting to digress into another realm of your subject matter, ask yourself whether the information is valuable for your reader now – or if it would make more sense for a future article. With so much to say it can be easy to get outside of the original scope of the article. Stay focused, clear, and on-topic.
In our digital culture where attention is at a premium, long narratives are harder to get published. Check your target publication’s editorial guidelines for word count, as this is a good way to gauge their readers’ attention spans. Most publications these days like short, snappy, and succinct writing versus long-form; those may be better suited for whitepapers or eBooks.
Subject matter experts are a great tool for introducing different viewpoints or drawing unlikely comparisons. If you're stuck on trying to support or validate a point of view, reach out to colleagues or outside sources with expertise on your topic and include their commentary for variety.
This is perhaps the most important tip. Sure, you’re contributing content to gain exposure for your company or brand for the ultimate purpose of lead generation, but that’s not the same as a sales pitch. You can still motivate your audience to visit your brand or company website by integrating a call to action in your piece, providing a special offer, or letting them know that further education is available on your site.
Once you have your full article drafted, obsessively check for proper grammar and spelling and then promptly send it to your editorial contact. Don’t be late! Editors run on tight deadlines and often have their own review process to go through before publishing your piece. Remember that you are an expert sharing your knowledge on a subject that people want to know more about, so submit your work with confidence.
There is no exact science or secret sauce to publishing content, but writers can’t go wrong by sticking to tried and true tips to ensure a great contributed article.
As you ramp up your own authority and credibility for your practice, consider joining the waitlist for my new LinkedIn Learning course called “How to Build Your Own PR Practice.” To be added to the waitlist and receive news when the course is launched, please click here.