I am a believer in contributed stories. Publications need them and it sets you apart from just pitching your news. It helps establish your thought leadership, and you can re-purpose these contributions for your business development and sales teams.
Here’s an example of a piece that just published yesterday in CSO Online from my client, John Dickson, CISSP, at Denim Group, and here’s some simple rules to follow so you can pitch, and place your contributed story.
1. Match your expertise to the right media. This is a security angle, so it was pitched to a security related publication.
2. Make sure there is an appropriate section (even if it’s an industry specific site) to your content. In this case, the focus being Data Protection.
3. Identify the right journalist who handles these sections, or the particular subject.
4. Read previous contributions and see what is written, the style, the length, the subject matter, the vision.
5. Send a brief (repeat – brief) pitch. Something like: Hi John, my client, (or my company) would like to contribute a piece to XYZ Magazine on the subject of XXXX. The story would be written by XXX, who is the XXXX at our company. We have 3 subjects in mind which include – (list the subjects). Would you consider our submitting an abstract on one or all three for your consideration? Anything we contribute would be original to your publication and in the context of your editorial themes.
6. Send you pitch and wait five working days. If you don’t hear back, send it again. The realities are that journalists are pitched to death and have very full inboxes with lots of other things to do.
7. Assuming you get a yes, it’s your task to then submit an abstract – generally a paragraph or two on the subject matter. Make sure your content and proposed story is unique, does not overstate the obvious and is useful. Don’t make it a sales pitch.
8. Send the abstract and wait another five days. If you don’t hear back, make another inquiry. This can take time, but it’s worth the wait. The cycle on this article that I pointed to took 90 days.
9. If the abstract is accepted, then get going on the article. Make sure your article length is in accord with what the journalist want you to adhere to.
10. Once the article is live, share your content. And rejoice!
So… how about you?
Have you pitched contributed stories before?
Share your experiences in how you did this.