It’s 2015, and let me guess — you’ve scheduled multiple meetings to improve your marketing game from last year’s. From starting new initiatives to allocating budgets elsewhere, you’re in the “optimize” phase for your department. And growing your email list likely made the cut.
Getting people to opt in to your email list is a battle. You have to create compelling content that whets their appetites for more. If your weekly company blog posts aren’t reeling in the subscribers and downloaders you hoped to gain, you need to think bigger.
When employees and company leaders contribute to external publications, you expose them to thousands of people who haven’t heard of your brand. Or, if they have, they might not see it as a viable option. When they start reading your content on external publications, they’ll have a reason to go to your website and (hopefully) download something, expanding your email list in the process.
Email wins the award for marketing’s biggest comeback. Savvy marketers have thrown out spammy subject lines and discovered how to target the right people with information they want to read. The growing sophistication of email marketing is only one reason it should make your marketing to-do list for 2015.
The email audience is expected to grow from 2.42 billion in 2014 to 2.7 billion in 2017. And if that doesn’t impress you, how about the fact that for every dollar spent, the average ROI is $44.25? Email marketing is clearly not going anywhere, and marketers have a lot to gain from combining the power of email and content.
Consider this: You’re in the tech industry, and a prospect reads an article from your CMO in a reputable tech publication. He clicks through to your blog to learn more and ends up downloading gated content or subscribing to the blog. You’ve now successfully added a prospect to your email campaign.
Contributing content to external publications is an effective way to inflate your email lists with quality leads. Plus, by getting your leaders’ content in the hands of interested readers, you can extend their influence and position them as thought leaders in your industry. Now, you just need to figure out how to get your articles accepted.
Once you have a publication in mind and a final draft in hand, the editor is the only thing standing between you, your audience, and an eager email list. To up your odds of getting accepted, Influence & Co. surveyed 153 editors in our network to uncover their future plans for contributed content and learn how everyday professionals can earn their attention.
As you begin to strategize ways to woo editors at niche industry publications, here are a few takeaways to consider:
When developing your content, you need to write as if you’re speaking directly to the publication’s audience. This might sound obvious, but I’ve been pitched numerous articles that didn’t capture the voice or themes of the Influence & Co. blog.
Always research the publication you’re targeting, and look for a fresh angle that hasn’t been covered. Study the articles it publishes: What tone does it tend to exude? How long is the average article? Does it publish more essays or action-oriented articles?
Editors aren’t offering contributors this opportunity due to a shortage of content. Most editors can’t turn down articles fast enough. They’re opening the floor to experts because they have relevant insights to share. You’ve lived and breathed the industry, and editors want articles that stem from real-world experience to teach and inspire their audience.
One of our editors wrote a blog post about the harm in trying to sound like something you’re not; it only blunts your credibility. If you don’t present your ideas in a concise and logical way, your article will crumble before the editor even gets through the second paragraph.
Speak on what you know, and write as if you’re having a conversation with a friend. Cramming in fancy words that don’t enhance the narrative or speaking down to your audience will instantly turn editors off.
The worst mistake a potential contributor can make is pitching promotional content disguised as an educational article. In fact, out of the 153 editors we surveyed, 48 percent cited promotional content as the No. 1 reason they declined guest contributions.
When given the opportunity to share your message with a publication’s audience, view this as a chance to educate a new community. Cull your personal experiences to engage readers with lessons learned, thought-provoking questions, and perspectives they might not have considered.
Although editors set the quality bar high for contributed content, your window of opportunity is not shrinking. In fact, 86 percent of the editors we surveyed said they planned to increase the amount of contributed content on their sites.
You’re not creating content to impress editors or make yourself look good. Put your own ambitions aside, and produce dynamic content your audience can learn from. Writing for your readers will motivate them to navigate back to your site and download your gated content. By keeping these best practices in mind, your content will have a much greater chance of getting accepted — and your email marketing list will naturally expand as a result.
For more exclusive insights and data from the State of Contributed Content, get your free copy here.
Which publications are you hoping to pitch in the near future? Let us know in the comments!