What gives you more control over your message, is more credible than a blog post, and provides valuable backlinks from high-authority websites? If you guessed contributed content, you are correct!
This valuable PR tactic requires some subtleties that enable you to land more than your share of acceptance notes.
Always send a pitch before writing the full article. This will save you the pain of doing a lot of work for no reward. Of course if the article is already done, go ahead and send it. Or if your company or client is slow on getting approvals, draft it and get it approved first so you can deliver it quicker.
Your actual pitch should highlight the impact or relevance of your idea to the outlet’s audience. And include the data to validate this, especially if you're pitching top tier. Highlight the author’s credentials, but keep this brief. Be direct and let editors know the writing will be high quality and non-promotional. Close with a specific ask: “Are you interested in this topic?”
Like all media relations, once you establish a pattern of providing great content, the pitching gets easier. This is especially true with trade pubs. Once you’ve built solid relationships here, you can usually place all your content by simply saying, “I’ve got another one for you from (expert), who’d like to write about (topic).”
Most outlets are interested in sharing diverse voices. Provide them with experts or authors who are women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups.
The person who actually writes the article might be a freelancer, a ghostwriter on your team, or the actual expert who gets edited by your team afterward. Regardless of who does the writing, there are specific guidelines you need to follow if you expect success.
Be strict on meeting the word count limit. This may mean reining in enthusiastic experts who grow verbose when writing about their favorite subject. Write in the target outlet’s editorial voice. Your article should match the tone of the other articles they’ll be running. Write a headline, even though they’ll probably end up using their own. Deliver on time. Nothing kills a relationship with an editor faster than missing a deadline.
If you can’t place a piece, consider a paid partnership like Forbes Councils or Entrepreneur Leadership Network. Or post your article to your corporate blog or newsroom and/or Medium.
When your piece of content does run, be sure to share with your executives. And your grandma, who doesn’t really understand what you do in PR anyway. She will ask innocently, “Why isn’t your name on it?” Wink wink – that was your reward for reading to the end. 🙂
This article was originally published on June 9, 2022
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