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3 Things You Need to Know to Successfully Write for Marketing Publications

You’d think being a redhead would help a guy get noticed, but as my experiences at grammar school sock hops showed me, gaining people's attention takes work. Luckily, those experiences prepared me for the even greater challenge of getting a marketing publication to respond to guest content pitches.

I’m familiar with rejection, and if you’re going to pitch your content to editors at marketing publications, then I suggest you become accustomed to it, too.

Curious which online publications your audience is reading? Take our publication quiz to find out.

One Busy Editor vs. Too Many Marketers

Every day is a grind when sending content to marketing publications because so many other people who are sending pitches are experts in marketing as well. Content marketing isn't a foreign concept to them. They’re using a guest posting strategy because they understand how and why it works — just like you do — and this results in a very crowded swimming pool with only one lifeguard (i.e., editor).

Editors at marketing publications are familiar with content marketing themselves and already field countless pitches on a regular basis. And in my experience, because marketing publications tend to receive more submissions than any other vertical, they have to scrutinize those pitches more intensely, making them less inclined to respond to just any pitch.

Check out "The State of Digital Media 2018" to learn more about what publication editors want to see in your guest content pitches.

What to Expect When Pitching Marketing Pubs

Throughout my time sending innumerable pitches to marketing publication editors, I've learned a few things that have helped my pitches get noticed and our clients at Influence & Co. get published. Here are a few challenges to expect when targeting marketing publications and ways you can address each.

1. Make time work for you.

I mentioned earlier that it’s a good idea to get used to being ignored, which, I'll admit, seems a bit negative. Yet it's just a fact that pitching content to marketing publications can result in a long process of emailing contacts with submissions, questions, and follow-ups.

That's because these editors receive plenty of submissions, and your unique idea might be the same unique idea 10 or more other would-be contributors have also pitched. These editors have a plethora of content options. It’s up to you to give an editor a reason to push your content to the front of the line.

One way to do that is to write on a topic that isn’t considered "evergreen." Because evergreen content is good for a long time, it's often moved to the back burner, and your submission could take months to publish.

In the ever-changing world of marketing in 2018, it may seem funny that something could be considered evergreen. But when your pitch doesn’t speak to a specific, popular trend or an issue in the current marketing and advertising news cycle, it’s not likely to force an editor to push aside the rest of his or her agenda. New marketing trends emerge all the time, and your content should prove that you’re on top of the changes.

2. Promote your knowledge, not your services.

Promotion is a big part of marketing, so you’d think it would have a home in marketing publications — but you'd be wrong. I haven't come across a single editor who's thrilled about publishing content with links to your product pages, blog posts that don’t further educate a reader, or a long-form written advertisement for your services.

Fortunately, there are ways to build your brand and establish yourself as a thought leader without writing an 800-word advertisement. For example, if you’re an experiential marketing agency, avoid writing benefits-of type pieces. Instead, focus on using your expertise to provide analysis through a case study or by commenting on something newsworthy in that niche.

Another option is to present yourself as an expert in marketing as a whole and prove your worth as a thought leader by speaking to bigger marketing principles or ideas you have for the industry. Plus, by addressing trends instead of using content to promote your company’s services, you build equity with publication editors and show them how far your expertise can go.

3. Show your commitment through your pitch.

Of course, you can’t display that expertise if your pitches are being rejected. (And I’m all for leaving rejections to my sad, awkward past.)

These days, my goal when pitching content to a marketing publication is to show editors that I understand what type of content they need and to elicit feedback on content from them. Here are three simple ways to do that:

  • First, prove the exclusivity of your submission by both stating as much and explaining why it’s a fit for a certain section on their site and for their audience.
  • Second, look through their submission guidelines to determine whether they prefer to see an outline first or simply want a final edited version of your article. Some editors want to influence a concept early in its development. Others are more exacting, and it’s up to you to submit a stellar final submission and only that version.
  • Third, offer to help publication editors with revisions. They’re swamped, and if you want them to invest time in reviewing and publishing your piece, show them you’re willing to help them every step of the way.

In the end, you’ll still experience your fair share of rejections, and you’ll spend plenty of time sending follow-up emails. That's just the nature of the marketing vertical beast.

But there are things you can control to achieve success and expedite the process. And unlike my middle school dating advice column "Dear Danny," the recommendations here come from my firsthand, everyday experiences that were actually successful. I hope they will help you enjoy some success, too.

If you want to learn how to pitch marketing publications and be successful in doing so, download "The State of Digital Media 2018" below:

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About Daniel Trivinos

I spend my time looking for opportunities to play. You can usually find me dabbling in media, drafting a new design, or tossing a ball around. Regardless, I'm almost always running around and seeking some sort of stimulation.

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