Getting published isn’t easy. You’ve got to know how develop a story, good relationships, and understand the press.
Image Credit:Getty Images
I recently took a trip down to San Francisco to cover a story that was of interest to me at the Global Mobile Internet Conference. While I was there, I had a chance to sit down with branding expert Clayton Wood. Since we basically have the same background, we were able to talk endlessly about writing and publishing.
Through our conversation, he told me about how he worked closely with companies to help them get published.
These are his 7 best secrets to getting published in any publication:
(Photo by Larry Wong)
1. Find where your hidden audience hangs out.
Clayton understands habits. People hang out in certain communities online. Your audience of publishers hang out somewhere on the web. The problem is that if you don’t know who they are, then you don’t know where they hang out. The first step to finding out where they hang out is by profiling them. Once you’ve done that, you’ll know what sites they’re on.
When you know what sites your audience hangs out on, those are your targets for getting published. Some of these publications are very difficult to get published in, so it may take months to develop a relationship with an author or editor.
2. Learn the secrets about how publications work.
There are typically two types of writers at any major publication. The first type is the on staff writer. They typically run stories that are newsworthy or special interest features, or related to current events. These are normally handled with a “cut or keep” meeting style. It is very difficult to get in this cycle.
However, the second type of writer freelances and contributes to multiple publications. These writers need to produce a set number of stories with the publication each month. Sometimes, they are open to new ideas. If you approach them the right way, you may have a shot of getting published.
Clayton says the biggest thing to remember here is that you can’t pitch the writer. First, develop a relationship with them, then develop the story with them afterwards.
3. Cut Corners To Meet Authors.
If you’ve got an inside scoop on a story that an author would want to run, give them a heads up on it. In fact, if you follow authors in magazines that you want to get published in, it’ll be easier to develop a relationship with them.
Social media and networking in person can be very powerful. Meet all of the authors in your area. Go to events or join Facebook groups where writers congregate, then start to understand what they look for. You’ll get an idea of guest posts you can do based off the stories they run.
4. Don’t pitch anyone. Do this instead.
Clayton suggests that you should find 10 authors you want to be featured by. On their most recent story, email them and thank them for writing the piece and tell them specifically what you learned from it. On their next piece, do the same thing, but add in that there are a few other points that you learned.
On their next piece, write them again, tell them how amazing the story was and outline a few other key factors that would really resonate with their readers. Then, offer to write the piece for them if they don’t have time.
5. People can’t say no to these three things.
When you’ve got a story, an angle, or a piece that has these three elements in them, you are in luck:
Ask great questions. Once you do, you will be able to learn to develop content based on stories that are exclusive.
Peter Shankman talks about how to do this. He advises for you to “Do your homeworkso you can ask really great questions.” Apply this to when you talk to writers and they’ll start asking for your advice, story or input.
6. Learn this 4 week pipeline hack.
Week 1: Develop a list of 20 authors that you want to work with. Find out what they write, start getting Google Alerts on them, then start connecting with them by commenting on each piece.
Week 2: Connect with each of the authors that responded to your comments on social media. In this step, it’s important that you post relevant content to their industry.
Week 3: Suggest pieces, topic ideas, and then enter into discussions with the authors about specific topics. This will start to build the relationship to a point of trust, which is the key for publishing.
Week 4: Suggest co-authoring a piece. Provide a quote or a ghost written piece for the authors that you’ve developed a good relationship with. Come up with topics that are in line with their angle and benefit their end game. In most cases, this is a good article.
7. Here’s how not to get burned.
Clayton says don’t search for authors that have never heard of you, then send them a pitch. Not only will they not answer you, you’ll never have the opportunity to get published with them again.
The publishing industry, newspapers, magazines and media are a tight knit group. What works on some media outlets won’t work on others. The biggest thing to remember is to learn to tell a great story.
Corporate branding is a gold rush in San Francisco, as lots of new startups learn to create their identities. These principles and the ones Clayton teaches in some of his personal branding pieces that are critical in seeing growth on the web.
Have you been able to get featured into a publication by implementing any of these steps? I’d love to hear about it! Share your story below!