Marketing is an industry that encompasses many vastly different tasks. You could be managing projects, creating marketing campaigns, promoting products (in our case mostly blogs and other written content), conducting market research… All different areas where you could spend a lifetime honing your craft.
My experience with marketing began here at Bora, and a big part of what I used to do was mediating the publishing of blogs between our clients and various online cybersecurity publications. Having spoken to well over a hundred of them since my early days, I’d like to share a few tips and tricks I learned along the way in hopes of raising your chances of successfully publishing your content. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
Who to Contact
After you’ve identified suitable outlets for publishing your blogs, you have to start by contacting the person responsible for contributions from external writers. This may be found through various means, depending on how their website is organized. Some websites have a ‘Contact Us’ page, some have a dedicated email for the editorial team, and others may require you to first set up a contributor’s account. Some websites may even hire an external manager who is in charge of several publications. Be mindful that some outlets are not perfectly organized and it might take a little bit of searching before you manage to find the right contact – I have found that looking at the footer of websites is a good starting point.
How to Approach Publications
Now that you’ve figured out a way of getting in touch with your desired publication, the next step is letting them know you have something of worth to their publication. Regardless of who you contact, the last thing you want to do is make it look like you’ve just quickly cobbled up an email with little to no interest in the person reading it. Address them by their name if you can. Let them know you have reviewed their content and find it a good fit for a blog you can provide. You can prove your point by linking to some of their previous work that aligns with your piece. If the piece you are pitching is in line with other blogs from your client, feel free to drop a few links to those, too. By doing so, you will establish you (or rather your writer) have a certain degree of expertise on the topic. And if you have previously published with well-renowned cybersecurity websites (i.e. Hackernoon) within the industry, you will hedge your bets even further.
Possible Issues with Publishing
But even with the best opening pitch, you will inevitably run into obstacles when attempting to get your blogs published. Some might just cost you time, such as late responses or a slow process of editing your blog before publishing. Some of the publications might even cost you money – luckily, the vast majority of them will let you know on their websites but you may encounter some that won’t. A rather subtle obstacle could be that your email, for whatever reason, will end up in their spam folder. Or maybe the person who was in charge of this is no longer employed there and the website has not yet updated the contact information. And last but not least, some people will simply not respond. It could be that your email got lost in the sea of other pitches, or that the publisher has no interest in it and lacks the time (or decency) to let you know you can move on to someone else. In the case you won’t hear from them in a week, I recommend contacting them twice more at the same interval. After that, I would be inclined to consider them either unavailable, unwilling, or not reliable enough to do business with.
Once You Have Your Foot in The Door
If despite all the pitfalls we’ve just gone through, you have heard from your desired publication, it’s time to deal with all the requirements they might have. It’s pretty usual for publications to ask for the headshot, bio, and social media handles of the person the blog will be attributed to. Depending on the outlet, you might go through one or more rounds of revisions from their editorial team. These revisions usually try to reduce the number of links that point to your client if the blog has an overly promotional feel. On the other side, the editorial might want to insert their own links to articles on their website. Be mindful that you check all of these so you’re not linking to a competitor of your client. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the editorial team is not there to correct poor grammar and syntax, and if you do end up sending over a piece with too many errors in it, they might send it back and tell you to rewrite it.
Now that you have agreed on everything with the publisher, it’s time to get ready for the final bits and pieces. Start with obtaining a release date and plan your own promotion accordingly. It’s a good practice to tag the publication in your social posts, too. Some may even ask you to do so. You can also use this opportunity to find out whether the publisher would like to work with you again in the future, provided you were happy with the outcome. Lastly, it’s always worth letting your colleagues know you have worked with this publication in case they end up wanting to collaborate with them in the future.