Ten Tips for Getting Your Expert Article Accepted by an Online Newsletter Editor
Ms. Jaffe has compiled a list of important criteria of interest to those wishing to have their articles posted in an online newsletter.
One of the most effective and inexpensive marketing vehicles available to consultants, speakers, writers, and small business owners is to write a short article on your area of expertise that would be of interest to subscribers in a particular online newsletter, and then to give it away in exchange for promoting yourself through a byline. As the editor of three bimonthly online newsletters: “The Entrepreneurial Couples Success Letter,”, “Best Ideas in Business,” and “Keeping in Touch,” I am inundated by pitches from such professionals hoping for a slot in one of my newsletters for their article. After reading hundreds of such pitches, I’ve put together the following tips for anyone who is promoting their business through online newsletters:
1) Subscribe to my newsletters before pitching me your article idea. It won’t cost you anything. You can always unsubscribe if it turns out to be a newsletter that isn’t of ongoing interest to you. If you don’t have a clue about the style and focus of my newsletter, you won’t know whether your topic is a match, and you are wasting your time and mine. There’s an even better reason to subscribe, which leads me to:
2) Tell me why you love my newsletter, before you ask me to use your article. That tells me that you are a subscriber. As an editor, I want to help subscribers to my newsletter promote their business – I’m not as concerned with helping to promote a stranger. I’m also a human being – I like getting a compliment every once in awhile. That makes me want to help you, too.
3) Take the time to tell me, in one or two sentences, why you believe that your article would be helpful to my readers. Not a general statement that you could broadcast to any newsletter (i.e; “my expertise is of interest to all small business owners), but something more specific (i.e; I notice that your ECS newsletter is devoted to helping couples manage work and family. The following article pertains to a problem that comes up often between entrepreneurial couples. . . ). That short introduction will make me want to read or skim your article.
4) Start your pitch by using my name, preferably my first name. Even if we don’t know each other, it makes me think I should know you, so I’ll read further.
Editor’s Note: Not sure I agree with Az here. Some people are sensitive about other people using their first names. Me, I always prefer my first name, but if I don’t know someone, I’m likely to address him/her by last name, at least at first.
5) Keep your articles short – less than 1000 words – and low on self-promotion. Promote your business by writing a timely, unique, high-content, moving or funny article that will prompt readers to read your byline, or inspire readers to email me and tell me how much they enjoyed your piece. Keep the self-promotion in the article subtle.
6) Build a relationship with me. I rarely print articles from writers I don’t know or respect from their reputation in the industry. I receive ten times the content I can possibly use, and that’s with three online newsletters, sending out six issues a month. When I have to make hard choices about who gets into my newsletters, I try to accomplish two things at once: Inform my readers, and help a colleague I support receive some free promotion. I won’t promote a friend’s work if they don’t provide a worthy article, but given a choice between ten articles on interesting topics, I’ll choose to give the free PR to someone I like.
7) Offer to help me promote my work, or better yet, just do it. I don’t respond to invitations I receive every day from strangers that say: “If you’ll put an advertisement about me in your newsletter, I’ll put one about you in mine.” But if a colleague has been helpful to me, I appreciate being able to return the favor by offering exposure in my newsletter. Think first of how you can be of service, and it will come back to you ten-fold.
8) Communicate with me when you *don’t* want something from me. Instead of only sending me an email when you have an article you want me to use, email me at other times as well; to share a comment about the newsletter, to offer a short tip I can use, or to refer a colleague who would enjoy the newsletter. Don’t worry about bothering me. I enjoy receiving emails that are personal in nature – this business is all about building relationships.
9) Promote my newsletters in your circle of influence, through your own newsletter, or by forwarding it to friends and colleagues. If you truly enjoy a newsletter and find it of value, give it your personal recommendation – that carries weight with the people who know and respect you. Online newsletters grow primarily by word of mouth referral. Help me with that.
10) Be gracious and kind. Thank me for running your article. Tell me how it helped you in your business. That makes me feel good. When you make me feel good, I will remember you positively, and I will want to help you again.
Azriela Jaffe is the author of “Honey, I Want To Start My Own Business, A Planning Guide For Couples”, (HarperBusiness’96), and “Let’s Go Into Business Together, Eight Secrets for Successful Business Partnering” (Avon Books’98). Azriela is founder of “Anchored Dreams [registered trademark],” a coaching firm supporting individuals, couples, and partners in business, a professional speaker, editor of three online newsletters for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial couples (“Entrepreneurial Couples Success Letter,” “Best Ideas in Business,” “Keeping in Touch,”) and syndicated columnist, “Advice from A-Z.” Call (717) 872-1890, write P.O. Box 209, Bausman, PA 17504, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Website for Anchored Dreams® at www.isquare.com/crlink.htm re for a complete description of each newsletter and an index of available columns.