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Getting Published: Increasing Publicity & Sales

19 Mar, 2004 By: Jay Wallus imageSource

Getting Published: Increasing Publicity & Sales

We’ve all read them—articles in trade publications like Making Your
Company More Profitable
, Making a Servicing Profit and, my personal
favorite, Why Customer Service is Important to Business written by
industry experts and key players in the industry who, interestingly enough,
aren’t much different from you and I. These players have discovered, as I
recently have, a way to benefit from their experiences, raise their company’s
recognition and increase sales by contributing interesting articles with good
meaty material to trade publications. The only downside is sifting through all
thoughts in my head and coming up with an article idea. Lucky for me, having
sold copiers for many years, I already knew a lot about the copier/fax/printer
industry. This knowledge combined with my current business development company
gave me the skills I needed to write this column.

It’s all a matter of finding what you’re good at; what you know and putting
it down on paper in a logical manner. You too, can be published. Say you’re an
office equipment rep and have a lot of accountants for clients think about what
tips you could share with them? Is there a way to scan their tax returns into
their MFPs that will save them time and money? Is there a certain way that they
can have their documents three-hole punched that will make it easier for
storage? Is there a checklist that you can share with accountants that have the
most important things to consider when buying office equipment for a growing CPA
firm? Is there a certain thing that they can do so that makes it easier to
schedule service calls during tax season? I think you get the idea. Now it’s
time to get published.

Getting Started

First, look at the target market you’re trying to reach. Think about what
industries you have the largest concentration of clients in. Is there a niche
that you’re working on? Take a look at your client list and search for sales

Once you have found a few companies in the same market, give them a call and
ask them the following questions:

1. What industry publications do you read?

2. What conventions or industry events do you consider the most important?

3. Are there any major industry trends that are impacting you and your company?

Next, visit the website of the recommended industry publication(s) you
learned about from your clients/customers. Read the publication if at all
possible to get a feel for the types of articles they like. Article styles and
content (business-like, meaty, analytical, etc.) can vary greatly from one
publication to another depending on the editor and the readership. If you don’t
deliver that style, your chances of having one of your articles published is
greatly diminished.

The research you conduct and the answers you receive will help you to come up
with ideas for articles. Perhaps you can help solve a major issue or teach
others, (as you have your clients), how to simplify a time-consuming business
practice. It’s very important to come up with at least three article ideas and
titles that can be presented to the editor of the trade magazine or journal your
client suggested. These should be article titles that will catch the reader’s
eye and be of value to the editor. What would the editor like to tell the
readership? Hint: always try to help the editor solve a problem!

Now, pick up the phone and call the editor or the publisher (for smaller
publications) of these trade journals/magazines. Tell them who you are, what you
do and tell them that you are a person who has many clients in their field.
Indicate you would like to write for them and have a few article ideas you’d
like to share with them. Now being the great salesperson that you are, pitch the
editor on your article ideas-explaining how your article will benefit their
readership. Let them know that as far as compensation is concerned, all you want
is a byline, a short bio at the end and a few copies of the magazine and
article. How could they say no to that?

Producing a Quality Article

Now, let’s say that the editor gives you the green light. They are definitely
interested. You now must find out about how many words they want you to write,
find out a due date and ask about artwork or charts. Editors should be able to
answer all these questions so that you can better prepare your article content.
There are editors who like charts and images and others who could care less.
There are those who would prefer you to write 1,600 words and others who keep it
simple at 800 words. Finding out this kind of information will be invaluable to
providing an article that will actually make it into the pages of the magazine.

Your first step once you have all your specs will be to draft an outline and
begin your research. There is nothing better than having an article rich with
content. You may want to consider connecting with key players involved in the
segment of the industry you are researching. How do you find them you ask? There
are a few ways. One is to ask your targeted clients who the more influential
“movers and shakers“ in the industry are? The second is to look in the trade
journal/magazine you will be writing for and see who’s winning awards for
growth, time of service in the industry, etc. Call them up and tell them that
you’d like to interview them for an article that you’re writing for ABC Industry
Trade Journal. Personally, I have found that most of the people you contact,
will call you back right away.

Be sure to have a series of questions prepared to ask them for the article
information – remember, their time is extremely important-don’t blow it by
“winging” this part. Before you even get started, tell them that you’d like
permission to use their name in the article as well as permission to use their
quotes. Once you have the interviews done, be sure to send a handwritten thank
you note to every industry player that helped you. This will be useful later on
when calling on these people for future interviews and input.

Now it’s time to write. Using your editor’s specs and the article samples
you’ve gotten from your research, start writing. Stay within the limits of your
word count-going over or under by no more than 100 words. Upon completion, have
a friend/co-worker/spouse/supervisor act as a “preliminary” editor for you
before sending it off to the “real” editor of the trade journal/magazine. What
you think sounds perfect might not sound so “perfect” (smile) to someone else.

E-mail or send the article to the editor on time. If you are e-mailing,
request a return receipt on your e-mail because it may take a few days before an
editor will even look at your article. Give it about three to four days before
you call the editor for a status report and don’t be upset if they haven’t
looked at your article yet. Often when an editor is “at press” they do not have
the time to even think about the next issue’s articles. When you talk to the
editor, find out what they thought of the article, how it could be improved and
be sure to let them know that you can be counted on whenever the need arises to
supply articles and that if given the opportunity, you could write on a regular

The people that actually follow all of these steps will find that it’s just
the start to what could become a great writing career-not to mention a great
source to use for your company's promotion and lead generation.

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