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Writing for Magazines --Part 12

By June Campbell

Part 12: Your Articles as Marketing Tools

When writing for magazines, you can use your published articles as marketing tools to promote your writing career or to promote your business or organization.

First, let's talk about using published articles to promote your writing. When you send a query letter to an editor, as we discussed earlier, you include clips of your published articles, if you have any.

Clips are simply photocopies of the article as it appears in the magazine. Try to include the date of publication and the magazine's name in the photocopy if you can. Ideally, you would send approximately three clips along with your query. The clips should be as close in topic to the pitched article as possible. For example, if you are pitching an article idea to a computer magazine, clips from another computer or electronic magazine are preferable to clips from a home and garden magazine.

That's in an ideal world. What if you are just starting out and have no clips to include?

In this case, try to present yourself as an expert on the subject matter. For example, an accountant pitching an article on how to save money on taxes has a good chance of being considered, as does a doctor proposing an article on health care.

Another possibility is to take steps to acquire some clips. My first published writing was a couple of little feature articles for a community newspaper. They paid me a small amount (a bonus) and within a month or so, I had two clips. Just pick up the phone, call the editor and pitch your story. Your story has to be something of interest to your local community. My two articles discussed walking trails in my community and used book stores in my community.

You might also write a letter to the editor of your daily newspaper, or contact a local charity and volunteer to do some writing for their newsletter, web site, etc.

Once you have a few clips like these, you can use them to help land writing assignments with a magazine. You'll be on your way writing for magazines in no time.

That's the first use of your articles for marketing. You can also use your articles as marketing tools for your business or organization. The general public grants a certain status to people whose writing appears in magazines. This status may or may not be warranted - in fact, some times it is not --- but that doesn't alter the fact that published writers are viewed as experts in their field. That's why so many business people write books. They're wonderful marketing tools that infer expert status.

Why not work writing for magazines to your advantage?

Let's say you are the accountant mentioned earlier who now has a published article on tax exemptions. Think of the ways you can put that article to work for you.

  • Buy a few copies of the magazine and leave them in your office area for clients to see.
  • Laminate the article and hang it on the wall in your office
  • If the magazine has a Web archive, link to the article from your Web site.
  • If the magazine gives permission, convert your article to HTML for PDF format and upload it to your own web site. Note that using your article on your website can be a copyright violation depending on the terms of your agreement. Be sure you have permission if this is the case.
  • Let your bio, resume, CV, brochures or other marketing materials show that you have been published.
  • Hand photocopies to existing clients or new clients.
  • Re-write the article, or use the original if you have the copyright, and post to various article directories on the Web. Put a promotional blurb or signature at the end so readers can follow a link back to your Web site.
  • Write several articles in your field of expertise. In time, you have the basis for a book.

Now for the next step on your way to writing for magazines. ... Reaching New Markets

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