Getting The Most Out Of Contributed Articles
Contributed articles are a fantastic way to share your story with the world. They are a vital part of the modern public relations process and serve as a mutually beneficial exchange between a contributor and a host publisher. The publisher gains a piece of expert content, while the contributor benefits from being put pride of place on a platform rather than appearing as an (often ignored) piece of advertising.
The result is the creator’s fresh perspective appearing somewhere new – with the potential to spark enough interest in the publisher’s audience that some readers become customers.
Are you looking to incorporate contributed articles into your content marketing strategy but are unsure where to begin? This blog is the perfect place to start.
What is a Contributed Article?
Simply put, a contributed article is a piece of writing produced by a guest author. While in some instances, an executive may be the writer of the piece, public relations firms or third-party experts will often ghostwrite contributed articles on behalf of the dedicated author.
Of course, an article is of little use without a publisher. These might be industry blogs, magazines or trade body websites. Often, pitches will be sent ahead of time to potential publishers to gauge interest. It’s up to these publications to set the rules, and they typically maintain editorial control of the finished piece.
Publications are increasingly hungry for contributed articles. With newsrooms shrinking by 26% between 2008 and 2020, guest articles serve a valuable purpose in the competition for website visitors – provided they are of good quality.
A contributed article must usually be vendor-neutral, objective, and comply with the broader tone of the host website. Most importantly, it must provide value to readers and not simply be a thinly veiled advertisement for the party writing the content.
Contributed articles are excellent marketing tools and valuable sources of content for publishers, shaking up content portfolios and providing new perspectives to readers – and even building ongoing relationships between publishers and creators.
Contributed Article Considerations
As helpful as contributed articles can be to businesses and publishers alike, there is a danger in prioritizing the relationship over the quality of the article. A publisher must always ensure that content is valuable to its readers, while a contributing party must ensure an article will help achieve business goals. Thankfully, these aims are aligned more often than not.
If you’re thinking of incorporating contributed articles into your content marketing strategy, there are a few things you need to ask yourself.
What is the main takeaway from the article?
Establish your objectives for the piece upfront. For example, what kinds of publications do you want to pitch to?
Often, it’s best to target smaller trade media publications focused on your industry. That will mean your article has a better chance of being accepted, and its readers are more likely to be potential customers such as purchasing managers or other executives.
Another common objective to consider is what you want readers to do once they’ve read the piece. A traditional call-to-action will likely be considered too “salesy” by a publisher. A contributed article must go above and beyond to intrigue readers about your offering organically.
Is my point conveyed clearly and concisely?
Contributed articles must follow the traditional rules for blog success. Keep it readable, and don’t lose yourself in meaningless jargon. Concrete examples such as customer stories and quality data will go a long way in building your credibility and establishing the reader’s trust.
Is it objective and vendor-neutral?
Vendor neutrality must be a core tenet of the writing process, as publishers aren’t interested in providing free advertising for your business. After all, accepting advertisements masquerading as articles would rob them of revenue and turn off readers expecting editorial articles.
How will a contributed article support my business goals?
As objective as a contributed article must be, for the creation of the article to be worthwhile from your perspective, there must also be a subtle amount of selling your product or service. That might involve choosing a topic that builds interest in an area you’re looking to expand into or extolling the virtues of a technology sector in which you are a leading player.
Benefits of Contributed Articles
Contributed articles are well worth the effort despite the necessary dance with publishers between editorial value and usefulness to your business. Incorporating contributed articles into your content marketing strategy will help you:
- Establish yourself as a thought leader
- Solidify your standing in your industry
- Bring brand awareness and visibility to your business
- Lead into other opportunities like speaking, webinar presentations, and more contributed articles
Elements for Contributed Article Success
No matter your approach to contributed articles, a few key elements can help ensure they are a success.
Make it Relevant
The subject needs to be relevant to your industry. By choosing trending topics or basing the article around a pressing issue your sector faces, you will stand a much greater chance of grabbing the audience’s attention. However, it’s still a good idea to pick topics you have at least some expertise in, as a business audience is highly likely to be able to sniff out a poorly researched piece about their chosen area.
Readers of business media value their time, so ensure your article offers high-value content. To catch their attention immediately, make sure stand-out elements, including your headline and hook statement, are valuable and captivating.
Choose the Right Format
Contributed articles come in many forms, and picking the right one can be the difference between catching a customer’s eye and fading into the crowd. Popular choices for contributed articles include explanatory articles in which you guide the reader through a highly technical topic or concept. In addition, how-to pieces about overcoming sector-specific challenges and thought leadership articles are excellent for proving your expertise in the industry.
Getting Started with Contributed Articles
Sharing your story with the world through contributed articles is a winning move in modern marketing and public relations strategies, allowing you to access levels of exposure that would otherwise require significant advertising investment. But contributed articles require care, attention, and close collaboration with publishers—who often set wildly varying standards.
Partnering with a marketing team takes the pressure off the article contribution process. Working in tandem with your public relations team, a partner organization can craft contributed pitches, articles and press releases that convey your story and appeal to the publications and audiences you want.
To learn more about Instinctive Solutions’ contributed article prowess, visit our marketing services page.