An active public relations campaign is a necessary component to maximizing your company’s media exposure and communicating with customers.
However, all too often tactics are limited to the basics of press releases or attending trade shows. While these are certainly important, further opportunities often go underutilized.
One such effective and attainable strategy is to undertake a sustained article-writing campaign, positioning an employee – and by proxy your company – as an established expert and industry thought leader. This tactic is an excellent method to enter into the media spotlight and get in front of your ideal audience.
Being published can be a powerful tool in achieving larger branding objectives, while affording employees the opportunity to become recognized as experts in their industry. It provides a direct conduit to your audience at a fraction of the cost and considerably more impact than an advertising campaign.
Before embarking on an article-writing campaign, there are a number of factors to consider.
Pinpoint the unique selling point that you wish to project. Why is this information valuable to your target publications? Look at your company’s core competency, and allow it to dictate the direction of the writing.
Reflect on your business’ public persona and the tone that you wish to present, aligning it with your branding. Examine the writing styles employed in your target publications and consider it a template for your writing voice.
Finally, introduce the idea to the potential author within your organization. Writing for professional publications is not a simple task and can be quite time consuming.
Consider introducing a reward and incentive program to encourage participation. Becoming an established expert presents a number of benefits for the writer, including industry recognition, invitations to conferences and boosted morale.
The first step in placing an article is to find an appropriate home for it. Create a wish list of your top industry publications and download a copy of their editorial calendars (or request that a copy be emailed to you).
Study this schedule and find an issue where your article will fit. Editors that are interested in your topic often will find space for your submission regardless of the issue’s theme, but it helps to do your homework.
Keep in mind that many publications work several issues ahead, and you may be required to submit your article anywhere from one to six months in advance. Submission guidelines can often be found online or by request.
Crafting the perfect pitch is a topic warranting an article in and of itself, but there are a few important things to keep in mind. Keep it concise: three or four paragraphs, maximum. Introduce your proposed topic, author’s expertise and a specific issue where it could be placed.
Once your pitch has been accepted by a publication, the real work begins. At this point, your expert needs to earn the title of thought leader, put pen to paper and create an article that appeals to readers.
Above all, remember that editors are looking for submissions that will educate, entertain and appeal to their readers.
Although this tactic is an exercise in boosting exposure for your company, refrain from writing a thinly veiled advertisement! Editors will see through self-serving, promotional pieces and your article will end up being rejected.
Don’t miss deadlines. Editors have long memories, and once you have burned your bridges, you will find that placing an article in their publication will become next to impossible.
Also, stick to your word count. If an editor is setting aside 1,000 words for you, they are looking for 1,000 words. There’s no space for a 5,000-word opus, and a 300-word submission will leave a large hole.
Don’t just publish and forget: Repurpose the article on your website and share it with your social media followers. Include it in sales packets or a newsletter. Get your money’s worth.
If the prospect of creating articles in-house is too daunting, consider working with a competent external PR agency. These specialists can assist your employees in writing the articles quickly and efficiently. Their experience and connections with the media can streamline the process and help deliver solid results.
If you’re strategizing on how to maximize your company’s PR, you owe it to yourself to consider implementing a coordinated campaign of strategic articles.
By positioning your employees as industry thought leaders, you gain credibility, a voice to the customer and a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.