Should your company submit contributed content?

By: Samantha Seymour (Intern)

A great way for any company to gain exposure in the media is by taking advantage of contributed content. Contributed content, also called guest posts, are articles or some kind of data contributed by individual users of a website, as opposed to journalists from the publication. Publications have journalists on staff that are paid to write for the publication, while contributors, in most cases, are not paid at all. Every publication that offers contributed content has their own unique restrictions and requirements in regards to what they will post. Some publications are run based entirely off of guest posts while others use them just to add to their content and get some altering opinions and thought leadership.

Contributed content benefits publications in multiple ways. First, they are receiving content at little or no cost at all. Also, more often than not, editors at the publication review the content and choose whether or not to accept it. Thus, the content would only be placed on the site if it enhances the publication, adding a fresh insider perspective or commentary based on particular expertise. Contributed content is incredibly beneficial for companies trying to gain status in the media. It’s an opportunity to have your name published, gain attention and build an audience. The more exposure one has in the media as a thought leader or expert, the easier it will be to approach media opportunities calling for experts. Contributed content is also great for SEO, and the perfect type of content to promote on social media channels.

 Below are some things to keep in mind when thinking about submitting a guest post:

Do your homework: Figure out what your goals are. Are you trying to expand your audience, or gain more readers? Are you trying to make a name for yourself? What is it that you will be posting about? Next, you have to decide where the most beneficial place to have your piece posted would be. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Decide what you want to write about and research publications to find the right one. Make sure your article is relevant to the topics covered by the publication you are reaching out to. Find out what kind of posts they usually accept; their guidelines, recommendations and restrictions. Almost all publications won’t accept guest posts that are too promotional so it’s important to keep content vendor neutral. Be aware of the word count and word limit for guest posts. Don’t waste your time trying to get your piece posted on a publication when you aren’t even sure if it coincides with their style or restrictions on guest posts.

Stay on topic: High traffic publications often just want a teaser or brief description of what the post would be about and who would write it before submitting.  Always look through the publication and be sure that your piece is closely related to their content. You want to invite a new idea or commentary, but keep within the parameters of the general interest of the readers of that publication.

 Use your expertise: Publications want guest posts by contributors who are experts in their industries. Write or offer to write about something that you can back up with your own knowledge, experiences and expertise. With the exception of some, publications are usually not just looking for an opinion; they want valid information backed up by research, experiments, expert quotes, or data.

 Don’t get greedy: Most publications have restrictions as to where else your piece can be posted. Actually, almost any publication will not post your piece if it is posted elsewhere. So make sure you have original content to share with your top choice publication and then offer it to another publication if it gets denied. Don’t try to be sneaky and get your piece posted on numerous publications-all this will do is make a bad name for yourself. While it’s a great idea to also post the blogs on your own company’s blogging platform- make sure that if you do this it’s after the post is live on the choice publication so no ‘original content’ issue arises.

 Make it simple: Publications that accept contributed content receive tons of requests for posts every day. When you pitch your story to a publication, make it as easy as possible for it to be posted. Some publications will either accept or deny it the way it is, while others will edit it back and forth with you. Whatever the case may be, make it as easy for them as possible. Make sure all the edits are finished and your piece is ready to be posted as is when you first send it.

 Be unique:  This is probably the most important advice. Make sure you have a valid, unique point of view about something. If the publication can basically find what you’re saying elsewhere then it is not beneficial to them. They are always looking for something that is unique and exciting; something that is going to draw readers to the publication. Outlets want original opinions and points of view by people who have a background or expertise in the topic. Don’t regurgitate what has already been said somewhere else. Publications are always looking for new insight on a topic that interests their readers!

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