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Martin Wales

Customer Catcherâ„¢

BY MARTIN WALES


[March 15, 2001]

Get A $10,000 Ad Free: How To Publish Your Knowledge And Attract Prospects

Want to place a full-page advertisement worth several thousands of dollars for your communications product or service, but don't have the budget? Then get it for FREE! That's right, you can own a full-page in many publications by following the directions below.

All it takes is focus and a few hours of your time to produce an article that is worthy of publication. Many publications are actively seeking new content daily. They sell advertising, but they also need to entice their readers by publishing timely, relevant and useful content.

This is where you come in. As an expert in your field, you can contact editors and see how you can ease their pain and frustration with deadlines by providing them with relevant content. Be respectful of their time, honor the educational value of their publication, and listen to their directions and needs. You'll be rewarded with excellent exposure for your company. Here's how.

Strategic Planning

  1. Make a list of all the different publications your best customers read.
  2. From them, pick a newspaper, magazine, Web site, portal, newsletter, e-zine, Web magazine, trade show daily, or association bulletin where you want to be seen.
  3. Visit their Web site or call their office to get two important items: their editorial calendar, to see the themes or topics they are planning on covering this year; and their editorial guidelines, to see what specifications they require (such as word count, company- and product-neutral text, and deadlines).
  4.  Don't get too hung up on being in a certain publication. The important thing is to appear on paper, even if it happens in your secondary choices. It is what you do with the published article afterward that's important. Magazines that publish both a hard copy and a Web version increase your exposure.
  5. Be aware that deadlines are often far in advance of printing. You have to act today for articles that will appear 3 to 4 months from now.

Creating The Article

  1. Select a topic you wish to address, taking the editorial calendar and guidelines into account.
  2. Write out the main points you want to address, and then answer them in point form.
  3. Now's the time to submit your pitch. Contact the editor on the magazine you've chosen, and submit your abstract (the main points you've put together above) for approval.
  4. Once the editor has approved your abstract, get started on the main article. Flesh out each section of your main points.
  5. Go back and give catchy sub-headlines to each section.
  6. Get some quotes from other experts -- from books or in person -- and include current examples from industry or general business media coverage.
  7. Compile your first draft.
  8. Create an attention-getting headline appropriate to your topic.
  9. Have a couple of competent people review and edit your document.
  10. Write your bio. This is the space you have earned for writing the article, and it is where you can sell and benefit from the result of all your efforts. Point readers to your Web site and give out your phone number. Offer a free booklet or white paper, if they contact you.

If you believe you can't write an article (or don't want to), what can you do? You can hire a freelance writer (a college student looking for experience may do). Another fun way is to get yourself interviewed and capture it on tape. Then get the audio transcribed. You can then develop the article from the transcript.

Adding Graphics

  1. It is preferable that you get your picture into the article. You should aim for a headshot to accompany your byline, at a minimum.
  2. Larger pictures are even better. Colorful and bright ones that draw the eye are the best. Using photos with people help warm up your written piece, especially if you're writing about technical issues. Product shots of your hardware aren't exciting on their own, but a diagram of the concepts you're writing about can really increase your readers' understanding of the piece.
  3. Send multiple pictures for your editor to consider, and let them select the ones that work best. If you send a single graphic and they don't like it, they'll probably just toss it. If you send a selection, they will likely pick one or more of the pictures that they like "the best." It is a psychological strategy that really works.
  4. Captions are probably more important than the article. Don't you tend to scan magazines, see interesting pictures and read the captions -- even though you don't read the actual article? Don't forget to include them.

Completing The Process

  1. Send your article to the publication in the manner that they've requested. (Most often it is in Rich Text Format via e-mail.) Don't forget any accompanying material they've requested, such as an assignment of copyright form or company backgrounder.
  2. Send hard copies of photographs or digital files of your graphics in a format that the magazine has approved.
  3. The editor may or may not send you back a revision. You can phone or e-mail to follow up. Keep in mind that most editors are deluged with material. Basically, take their pulse as you continue to work with them.
  4. Make sure you respect the editorial deadline you've been assigned. Even send it early. As the deadlines for production approach, stress levels rise. Keep on your editor's good side by meeting your deadline.

Once You've Been Published

  1. Get at least several copies of the magazine. Check the magazine's Web site to see if they placed the article there, too.
  2. Distribute copies of the article to your staff and post it for viewing by all employees and visitors.
  3. Pay attention to the conditions of any copyright forms you've signed, and any Web site linking policies the publication may have. Once you're sure of how you're allowed to promote your article, you can:
    • Send copies of the article to your clients, prospects, and your network via e-mail, snail mail, or fax.
    • Link to the article on your Web site, or post a downloadable Adobe Acrobat file. I would also recommend including a scan of the magazine's cover for the issue in which your article appeared. Most people will recognize the magazine, and you'll benefit from this association.
    • You can often buy color reprints from the magazine. If you have a one-page article, you can request the magazine cover on the reverse side. If not, you can always print your own. These can be used in a direct mailer or handed out at networking events, speaking appearances or trade shows.
  4. Laminate several copies and make sure your salespeople carry them in their "bag of tricks." Alternatively, it is also impressive to have the actual magazine for presentation at a prospect's office. You show them the magazine but leave them a color photocopy or reprint.
  5. Put the articles in plastic vertical holders and display them at your office and at trade shows.
  6. Take the ideas you've synthesized in your article and see if they can be revised for other industry vertical or general business magazines. You can address a general business issue that affects the computer telephony industry that is also experienced in the pharmaceutical industry, such as an aversion to cold calling. Rewrite the document to create a new article. Change the examples to industry-specific ones, mention recognized players or associations, and use acronyms within that industry.
  7. Start putting together a media list in your bio. For example: "Paul Waters is a writer for the financial services industry. You may have read some of his articles in the Financial Times, the 50Plus Investment Guide, and Fortune magazine."
  8. When you contact other editors in the future, mention your past experience. Eventually, you'll build up a writer's resume and you'll be in more demand.

Publishing your knowledge has several benefits for you. It gives you content for your own marketing needs, such as sales collateral, Web content, and direct mail information. It positions you as an expert and a leader, and helps build your branding in your industry. Finally, and maybe most importantly, it provides you with the opportunity to attract prospects.

Maximize your experience and knowledge to create case studies, tip and tricks, product comparisons, and other informative and educational articles. Get that full-page, $10,000 ad working for you today while contributing to others with your educational and informative articles. Just like I hope this article helps you.

Martin Wales is a business development specialist and the eFounder and Chief Catcher at Customer Catcher.com. He welcomes your e-mail at martin@customercatcher.com. He is a technology-marketing specialist, speaker, and facilitator focused on maximum results with minimal risk using your existing resources.


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