The power of the written word remains immense. The dozens of trade journals, newspapers and newsletters that your customers and prospects read can be a great avenue to reach them with your messages. The two ways you can do that are by advertising or by contributing to a publication’s editorial content.

Advertising can work, but it is expensive and its effectiveness depends upon the appearance and creative design of the ad. There can also be a sense of conflict between the ad and the reader. An ad tries to sell at the same time a reader puts up defenses against being “pitched” another product. On the other hand, if your message is part of the editorial content, the reader is less likely to put up the usual defense against being sold. Moreover, if your story solves a problem faced by others, you become a solution.

There are six essential steps in an effective effort to get your article published in a trade publication:

  1. Choose a compelling topic. It must be interesting to your target readers and should highlight your strengths or products without being a “pitch.”
  2. Select the publication. Target a publication your customers and prospects read and respect.
  3. Work with the editor. Even before drafting the article, communicate with the editor to understand the publication’s needs, settle on an angle that works for both you and the editor, and get a commitment to publish the article.
  4. Draft the article. Content is king. Not only must the article be relevant to the publication’s readers, it should adhere to the publication’s style of articles while presenting your message. If you don’t have someone on staff with writing talent, use a freelancer or outside agency to develop a submission that meets these criteria.
  5. Follow up, follow up and follow up. Working with the editor on suggested revisions and enhancements — within the framework of the publication’s deadlines — is critical.
  6. Leverage the article. Once you’ve invested in the process of developing and placing an article, and the article is published, make sure it’s seen by customers and prospects. You may want to do a special mailing or email communication to ensure they have an opportunity to read it.

Trade publications exist to provide relevant information to their readers. When your messages become part of their content, the publications are fulfilling their mission, readers are getting information they need, and you are reaching the customers and prospects you want. Everyone wins.

This news is provided as a service to you by Marlin Business Services Corp., a nationwide leader in commercial lending solutions for the U.S. small business sector. Marlin’s equipment financing and loan programs are available directly and through third-party vendor programs, including manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers, to deliver financing and working capital that help build your success.