Tapping Into the Power of the Press

Tapping Into the Power of the Press

One of my clients recently wrote an opinion piece for the construction industry’s leading weekly magazine. Another contributed an article on smart growth to a local business journal’s popular A/E/C Quarterly section.

The reaction they received from peers, clients, and potential clients was much larger and vastly more satisfying than they ever got from an advertisement in those same publications. Immediately after their pieces were published, comments and congratulations flowed in via e-mail, phone, and in face-to-face meetings. They heard from people they hadn’t seen in years, and the attention continued for weeks.

These firm leaders know that a published article or editorial creates instant credibility with readers. If the topic is compelling, and the piece well written, people will notice and remember it.

Opportunities abound to contribute to local and national publications, both online and in print. You just have to know where to start:

  • Compile a list of key publications. I ask my clients for the five publications their clients are most likely to read. These become Priority 1 targets – the ones we put the most effort into cracking. We also list three to five secondary publications that we pursue only slightly less aggressively.
  • Choose an interesting topic. Review each publication’s editorial calendar – most are available online. If you’ve chosen the right publication, you’ll almost certainly find an appropriate topic being featured in an upcoming issue. Every firm leader I’ve met in this industry has something interesting to say. Just remember that it’s best to write about what you know.
  • Send a well-organized, well-written query letter. The query should be concise and direct. It should include the proposed topic, the author’s name and qualifications, a suggested word count, and the subject’s relevance to the audience. Most editors prefer e-mail. Make sure you direct the query to the appropriate person; call beforehand to confirm if necessary. If you don’t hear back within a week, follow up with a call.
  • Perform like a professional. Deliver the document how and when you said you would, and in publishable condition. Don’t expect them to edit it for content. The writing should fit the publication’s “personality” (e.g., heavily technical, conversational, etc.). If you need a co-author (credited or uncredited) to express your thoughts in the correct words and context, get one.

Invest the time and effort to get your name in print and the benefits can be far-reaching. In addition to the initial attention you receive, you can link the article to your web site or distribute hard copies with a message to key clients and prospects. This kind of publicity can also provide residual benefits in areas such as recruiting, employee morale, and even leadership transition planning.

If you want more details on the benefits and techniques of getting your name in print, or if you have any questions or comments, please call (781-718-2403) or e-mail me at info@jagg-group.com. Good luck!

— Jerry Guerra