There are more opportunities than ever to get your content onto a wide array of blogs, Web sites and publications. Though there are numerous options, editors are most often the ones who determine what gets posted or published, especially at the most desirable publications. So you’ll need to know what they are looking for and meet their expectations in order to get your content placed.
The common theme? Make sure your content submission is stressless for the editor. Your goal should be to do all of the work so the editor doesn’t have to. Here are a few basics:
- Know the audience – Editors are interested in content that sings to their key demographics. Get to know the publications and the beats or areas of interest they cover. They will be more likely to consider your submissions if they can see that you are focusing on their readers. Be mindful of the audience and its interests, whether you are seeking placement in a large news organization or in a trade or specialty publication.
- Timing – The intense competition for traffic and audience means editors always are looking for any advantage they can get and need timely or newsworthy content. New rules proposed in your industry? Be prepared to write about the likely impact on consumers and providers for trade publications, either in advance or as soon as the rules take effect.
- Research – Whether you are writing opinion, commentary, or a factual piece, supporting your material with comments from vetted sources or referring to an unbiased, credible survey or study tells an editor you have done your research and your content is reliable. It’s not a required element but it can enhance your content and add to your reputation for quality work. Be sure to cite references and footnote appropriately.
- Good writing – Polish every piece until you are satisfied it’s the best it can be. Editors are awash in content and writers, but they value high-quality writing. Good writing also means adjusting your style and tone to the publication or to the type of article. For example, some blogs have a conversational feel compared to opinion or informational writing.
- Words count – Literally. Pay attention to limits or ranges on word count. The lower the count the more important it is to stay within it. Most editors are reasonable beings and they remember being writers and the difficulty of writing to a set length. So if the limit is 1000 words and you’re over by a handful, it’s probably OK. But if the limit is 350 words and you submit 500, that editor probably moves on to a writer who can count – and who isn’t expecting someone else to get the piece into shape.
- Deadlines – Make sure you meet or beat them – especially the first time you are working with an editor. When you miss a deadline, the editor has to scramble to find something else. If you realize you’re not able to make a deadline, let the editor know as soon as possible. It’s not only common courtesy, it could help ensure the editor will work with you in the future.
- Clean copy – Take the time to edit your content, and be ruthless. In addition to checking spelling and grammar, make sure your finished draft is in the proper format, check links to make sure they are live and accurate, confirm the acceptable format for charts and graphics, and include bios, photos and anything else needed to complete your submission.