The Credibility of Being Published
For business owners, one of the most highly sought-after forms of marketing is earned media attention through PR.
Top consumer and trade publications have a relatively high barrier of entry. This exclusivity influences the way we perceive the opinions and products presented to us by regular guests or contributors.
When a subject-matter expert is published in a top newspaper, magazine, or blog, we tend to give more weight and attention to that person's ideas. They've been vetted by a source we trust and deemed worthy to publish. They've become someone worth talking about because publications are talking about them.
As PR expert Janet Murray puts it,
“Not everyone gets the chance to be interviewed for the BBC or quoted in a top-selling magazine… So if journalists from those kinds of publications or programmes think it’s worth talking to you – or featuring your products – you must be brilliant at what you do.”
Being published gives you a trustworthiness that only compounds upon itself. When other media outlets see you’ve been featured by their competitors, they’re more likely to request your input for their own blog or magazine.
That's why "As Featured In" sections on websites are so popular. Those features can set your products and ideas in a different league. Not to mention, large online publications provide great backlinks for boosting SEO and can easily drive a lot of immediate traffic to your website.
The opportunities just keep on coming.
The Truth About Media Features
The easiest way to earn this coverage is by offering your professional opinion to journalists who are writing about topics in your industry. These quotes can be as brief as one to two sentences, and the response may be as simple as answering questions in an email.
The bad news is, being quoted by mainstream journalists is a very competitive PR strategy. A lot of entrepreneurs know the shortcuts, which means there are fewer and fewer actual shortcuts.
Muck Rack, a service website that specializes in connecting subject-matter experts with expert-seeking journalists, recently reported that there are now more than 6 PR pros for every journalist. In other words, there are way more people trying to offer soundbites for articles than there are opportunities for experts to comment on stories.
So how do you become the exception who actually gets some media attention for your business?
If You Can’t Beat the Media, Join Them
Since so many professionals are trying to take the easy road of being quoted, I’m going to tell you about the better way. This involves more work but better results.
Instead of being the person trying to get quoted for an article, be the one writing the article.
I’ve helped professionals appear in some of the most respected magazines, trade journals, and blogs in their respective fields. I didn’t put them in contact with journalists — I helped them write articles that editors would approve.
Publishers want to publish. They desire thought-provoking material that will engage, teach, and inspire their readers. If you can provide the entire article, many editors will gladly publish your ideas because you've done the hard work for them. Often, putting in this extra work means skipping the long line of entrepreneurs waiting to be quoted by the same editor.
How to Get Noticed by Top Tier Publishers
Assuming you’ve found a relevant publisher for your expertise and topic, publishers tend to want at least two out of three specific qualities from their article contributors:
A large personal following
Professional communication skills
Any combination of these personal attributes — especially if you boast all three — spells a winning formula for getting your ideas or stories published. From there, learning the best practices of pitching to media outlets is a small hurdle that doesn’t have to take you long to master.
The crowning attribute is communication. If media outlets know you can write compelling ideas clearly, they’ll invite you back again and again.
Write Like a Pro
Clear writing suggests clear thinking. If you can translate complex ideas from your trade into an inspiring vision or actionable tips that capture a publisher’s audience, the editors will love you.
Skillful writing isn’t learned overnight. It requires countless hours of reading and writing, technical understanding of the craft, and a meticulousness that borders on obsession.
If you’ve honed your writing skills and have the time to write creatively about your subject-matter, there’s a world of publications out there awaiting your contribution.
If you’re too busy or don’t have the writing chops to produce great articles on your own, there’s a solution for you too.
Fortunate for time-strapped entrepreneurs, quality writing is a service you can buy like any other.
Cue the ghostwriter.
"Ghostwriter" is a cool title with a pretty straightforward job description. Ghostwriters communicate written ideas or stories — typically in the form of a book or article — on another person’s behalf.
As I’ve mentioned, myriad publications simply want someone who knows what they’re saying and how to say it. If you have subject-matter expertise or a large personal following, hiring a ghostwriter can be the final ingredient for getting your ideas published.
The Benefits of Hiring a Ghostwriter
Grow subject-matter authority: With the help of a ghostwriter, it can be easier to get published in magazines, newspapers, trade journals, and popular blogs. You bring the industry expertise, the writer provides the craft.
Spread your ideas further: Bigger publications tend to mean greater audience reach. You can expand your influence by reaching more people.
Grow your body of work: Hiring a ghostwriter can help you regularly put your ideas into print, expanding your body of work.
Allocate responsibility to prioritize your time and your skills: Not everyone who wants to be published has the time or ability to write. That’s okay. By hiring a ghostwriter, you can spend more time doing what you’re good at. As for the writer, you’re paying them to do what they’re good at: write.
Take on Large Projects: Nothing communicates “expert” like saying, “I wrote the book on the subject.” But writing a book is an arduous, lengthy task. You can outsource the labor and still enjoy all the benefits of having a subject-matter book under your name.
How to Find the Ideal Ghostwriter
The first place to look for a ghostwriter should be within your immediate friend group. If you’re trying to publish a large manuscript, you want to know that you enjoy someone personally before you begin working with them. A ghostwriter is someone you often let into some of your most personal stories or ideas. Hiring someone you’re comfortable around can be as invaluable as the writer’s ability to craft clear prose.
If you don’t know anyone ghostwriters, it’s time to look online. The easiest way to work with someone is in person. Even if the writer will do their actual writing alone, meeting in person to gather information can be immensely helpful for moving the process along. If you’re going to begin Googling for ghostwriters, localize your search. “Ghostwriter services in Austin” is a good example.
Get Your Name Out There
Whether you write on your own or choose to hire a ghostwriter, growing a personal brand is challenging. It takes hard work to get your name out there. But with the right ideas, a good team, and a willingness to play the long game, there’s room for your byline in the world of publishing.
Tell the world what you know. Show off your ideas. Spread your best stories. And if you need a ghostwriter to flesh out your content, consider Lewis Commercial Writing.