This is my world. For the past 15 years, I’ve been helping my clients get their articles published in niche online and print media. So, I have some solid ideas on what works and what doesn’t.
This post gives you a look over my shoulder at some of the techniques I’ve found to work. It covers the first part of the process: choosing the target market, and finding publications reaching that market.
Here are two of the most common questions I get asked about getting published.
How do you decide which publications to look for?
I noticed that many of my clients want to get published in the wrong publications. They look first to the periodicals they read themselves, but they are missing out on the fact that often, those publications aren’t reaching their target market. Instead, they should get into the media their clients read.
For instance, I worked with an expert in Geographic Information Systems (GIS; which involves electronic maps) in Brisbane. I asked her what kind of market she wanted to reach, and she replied “The GIS sector.” Again I questioned her, “But are your clients reading GIS publications? Which industry do you most want to reach?” She replied, “Mining.” So I suggested that she’d do better to publish articles in periodicals that are read by the mining sector, such as the Australian Journal of Mining. It was clearly a new idea for her – getting ideas into an industry publication.
There are four ways to reach the most potential clients through their niche media:
The majority of your potential clients, in B2B markets anyway, can be found within a specific industry – such as hospitality, restaurants, oil & gas, farming, or retail. All of the sectors have specialty media, most of which are hungry for content that is relevant and useful to their readers.
A good number of senior business professionals have allegiance to their specific skill-set: accounting, law, engineering, HVAC, health & safety, and others. These professions/occupations also have their niche media, so that someone in the HR department of a retailer may read retail-focused publications, but she or he likely also subscribes to HR publications. Many professional associations publish periodicals, in print or online, to deliver value to their members and persuade them renew their memberships. They want content relevant to their readers, and in most cases, you don’t need to have the relevant professional designation for your content to get published.
Many cities have a range of media industry targeted to businesses in their area, supported by ads from local businesses. There are also regional and national trade publications. My experience is that these media are often well-staffed with full-time reporters, and don’t welcome expert-written articles. These should be avoided.
Some publications are built around a cause or issue, such as employee safety, green procurement or exploitation-free product sourcing. For example, consider “ReNew Canada” which focuses on infrastructure renewal.
If you’ve been focusing on just one of these four ways to reach your market, go wide, and try another type.
How do you find the right publications?
After you’ve got a clear idea of the market you want to pursue, you’ll need to find media that reach these markets. Some of these publications will be in hard copy, and printed trade magazines are one of the few bright spots in the ink-on-paper world.
But many more have been going online. In some ways, for a print publication to move entirely online is the kiss of death. That’s because building sustainable revenue is still difficult for online publications. Most need financial support from another source, generally subscriptions.
But the good thing is that just about any publication worth pursuing has at least some Web presence. This means you can find them with an online search. My thoughts as to how to do this:
Try Google or another search engine. I haven’t found this as helpful as I’d like, and I still don’t know why. But it’s on your desktop, and it’s free, so it should be your first step.
Ask your clients what publications are in their market. See what’s on the coffee tables in their front office. My success rate with this approach has not been that great either, but it’s a start.
Paid online databases. There are no really good free publication databases (please let me know if you find any!), but on the principle that good data costs, there are several paid online databases. I can recommend three:
Cision: For my business, I pay what I still think is way too much for a subscription each year to US-based Cision (cision.com), which lists a mind-boggling array of media. It’s a good service, and they keep up to date. Hint: Cision allows up to three users on each subscription, so I networked my way to find two other organizations to share the cost, which really helps all of us. You can do that too.
Ulrichsweb: Geeky and hard to use, but thorough, Ulrichsweb (ulrichsweb.com) is a global source for periodicals. Like Cision, it can be as close as your desktop, if you pay for it.
Meltwater: There are also newer services such as Norway-based Meltwater (meltwater.com). I haven’t used it myself, although it wasn’t for lack of trying by Meltwater’s sales dudes.
My recommendation – approach your local public library, or a university/college library. Talk with the reference librarian about what databases they have available online, and get to know those resources.