If you create content, your ultimate goal is to get more eyeballs on your work, and more clicks into your site. You’re doing a great job when visitors come directly to you, but there are lots of ways to increase your reach and get the word out about what you’ve been up to. One way is to grab the attention of another site’s readership by getting content placement in an industry publication.
How it works: In exchange for a new forum to present your thoughts and hopefully score some linkbacks to your site, you provide the publication with quality content to help fill their editorial calendar. It’s a win-win!
So how do you convince an editor or blog manager that they should reserve a spot for your work? We turned to Sarah Skerik, vice president of content marketing for PR Newswire/MultiVu and Susan Lindner, CEO and Founder of Emerging Media for their advice on pitching industry publications and blogs, and how that can help drive your content viewership.
Is pitching publications a good investment of your time?
First off, getting branded content featured in an industry publication equals immediate credibility, says Lindner. “Not only are you designated as ‘the expert,’ but you automatically get the stamp of approval from the publication, on par with their own writers. That’s the kind of credibility that advertising can’t buy,” she says.
Consider this example shared by Skerik. When Facebook launched FB Newswire a couple of weeks back, it generated a lot of conversation among public relations professionals. Skerik’s team was quick to publish a post on its own blog about the launch, but then also realized that the topic was growing legs in the PR sector. That’s when they decided to pitch an article with a newsy angle to Ragan’s PR Daily, which is a well-known publication in the PR industry. The piece ran, and thus far, the article has over 1,000 social media shares by that site’s readers, providing a significant boost in visibility for PRNewswire’s viewpoint.
How can you decide which publications to pitch?
Start with your favorite ones, says Skerik. “They’re your favorites for a reason, and are most likely to be the best fits with your brand’s style and message. As a member of the publication’s audience, you can bring a relevant and powerful perspective to your writing,” she says.
It’s about stepping into the shoes of your current and potential customers, and visualizing the media landscape from their eyes, adds Lindner. “If you’re a social media tech startup, for example, you may want to consider the Re/Code or Pando Dailys of the world. The key is to find environments where you know your target audiences are spending their time,” she says.
Any tips for approaching bloggers?
Keep in mind that bloggers publish more frequently and often in a crowded space, and therefore crave exclusivity and original content to stand out, says Skerik. Before pitching, see if the blog uses guest contributors, and if so, read those posts to get a better idea of how they work with third parties. “Alignment of message and audience are crucial here, too, if you’re pitching a high quality blog,” she adds.
Ready to pitch? Some Best Practices to Try
- Grab them with your subject line. Write the headline you’d expect to see on the finished article in the publication. “Boiling your idea down into that one compelling line that will attract the audience (and the editor),” says Skerik.
- The more targeted, the better. Sending off an email to an firstname.lastname@example.org email address will likely land you in the trash folder. Find out who the editor in charge of content is by looking at the site’s staff page, or try doing a search on LinkedIn so you can directly contact the appropriate person.
- Be timely. If there is a news hook or a compelling reason why your content is most relevant right now, be sure to highlight that in your pitch. Include stats, facts, or other data points that can help sell your idea as well. That being said, make sure your coverage of a story doesn’t look like everyone else’s. Take a unique approach, and have something original to add to the conversation. Publications that are looking to add new voices to their pages will appreciate the fresh point of view; otherwise, they don’t need you.
- Tell good stories. While you might assume it’s easier for well-known executives from major corporations to land great placements in industry magazines, don’t sell yourself short, says Lindner. “The cool, disruptive upstart will always have a shot if they approach the problem with gravitas, new perspectives and hopefully a little wit,” she says. “Never underestimate the power of the underdog to tell a great story.”
By Dawn Papandrea, NewsCred Contributor