No matter what stage of the soloist journey you’re at, getting an article published online can be a terrific boost to the ego, help raise brand awareness and finesse your business goals.
You don’t have to write an article from scratch. Perhaps you gave a speech at a conference that can be reworked; a collection of positive client testimonials that reflect your business ethos; or a business ‘win’ or ‘failure’ that other soloists could benefit from.
While not everyone is a born writer, whatever story you choose to tell, there are certain things you can do to get the editor’s attention and boost your chances of publication.
Here are my six top tips for getting published online.
1. Put some effort into your introductory email (we do read them)
Always include your title, business name and a link to your website or socials at the end of every email. Include a brief summary of your article ( 3 lines max) and make sure it reflects the most interesting part of your story. For extra bonus points attach two ‘extra’ ideas to your pitch along with the story you’re proposing, with a brief outline of their subject (2-3 lines). This shows you are professional and have more than just one story up your sleeve.
2. Be quick or clever
The article itself must either get to the point quickly – or cleverly reel the reader in with considered amounts of relatable detail. A great first line always works wonders, as does giving the editor the impression that you understand the community of readers you’re looking to write for. An easy way to do this is provide related links from the publication you’re pitching to, under keywords within your own article. You could also include a recent statistic about the community for which you’re writing. And for extra, extra points, refer to an article that did really well on the website that relates to your expertise and how you’re proposing to write YOUR article.
3. Cover new ground or old ground in a relatable, fun way
This means you have to do a search of the site you’re proposing to write for and check if they’ve already covered the topic you want to write about. In business writing this is often the case. But that doesn’t mean you give up, you just need to do more legwork. Like, referring to articles written on your topic, mentioning what you liked or didn’t like about them and then pointing out how your discussion of the topic will add value/point of difference.
4. Wherever possible put yourself in the story
Make it personal. This doesn’t mean being gushy or over-sharing (although sometimes this works) but it does mean using real life examples from your own business life to add colour to your article. This makes it interesting and also allows the reader to feel like they trust you and want to read more.
4. Watch your word count
Don’t waffle. Get someone to read your article before you send it to the editor. Ask them what they most enjoyed about it and then nudge that bit closer to the beginning. If your post is deliberately heavy on technical detail, use formatting (dot points or lists) to break it up. Nobody has time to read great chunks of text.
5. Follow up meaningfully
If the editor hasn’t replied to your initial email, by all means send another email or two. If you are turned down, reply with a brief reminder of your expertise and experience, and ask: “What content are you looking for right now?” Or “What would improve what I have to offer right now?”
6. Say thank you!
If you do get a post published, a thank you email to the editor once you’ve seen it goes a long way – use it to flag your next idea. It’s a win win.