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Syndicate Your Articles in Newspapers and Online

PART I (Read PART II)

By Eva Rosenberg, EA

Note: This article is based on a teleseminar conducted by Dan Janal and is available on CD, http://prleads.com/seminar029.htm

My goal when I was thirty was to have a nationally syndicated tax column by the time I was forty. Well, that goal was missed, due to the vagaries of life. And now, as I approach my fiftieth birthday, I've finally managed to reach my dream. Well, almost. Sort of. In a way…

Sit back and relax while I tell you a tale of fortune and fame.  

Piece of Cake

Back in about 1995, I managed to snag contracts writing monthly tax columns for tripod.com (bought up by Lycos, who fired all the editors and paid columnists), accountingnet.com (also got venture financing and only kept their editor as a paid writer), and a couple of other places-some that actually paid, others that somehow, never seemed to carry through with their plans. Life was good for a couple of years-and I didn't put much energy into marketing it. After all, I have a tax practice, as a paying business, right.  

NOTE: I sold first Internet rights only and retained all other rights. Most of the articles were resold many times. They were all used on my own website, TaxMama.com

Why Syndicate?

Before we go any further into this little tale of Woah!, let's talk about why we want to bother with syndicating our work at all?  

Frankly, if you write well, your articles take a long time to write and polish. If you can only sell them once, your hourly rate gets tiny, doesn't it? Even at $500 or $1,000 per article, by the time you get done, you've earned, what? $15 - $30 per hour?  

Suppose you could sell that same article a hundred times? With no changes. Naturally, since it's not exclusive to one company, they'll pay you less. But, you could sell it to more and more places.

So, what's if you only sold the article for as little as $25.00 instead of $500? Well, multiply that by 100 and you've just earned $2,500.00 for that same article. That's pretty sobering, isn't it.  

The goal here is to give you some ideas on how to get your articles out to many venues…starting with a few, to beta test your column. Then, growing it to hundreds. And thousands.  

Let's face it, the big national syndicators are not really looking for new material. They'll be happy to carry if you're already famous. But, you're trying to build a name…and no one wants you yet.  

Meanwhile, while you're waiting for lightning and fame to strike, you can help it along.  

In my case, I hit the big time. Well, sort of.

Miracle of Miracles, I am Discovered

Suddenly, two years ago, one of my Internet friends, an Italian Countess and wire service journalist, referred me to the most amazing man, Bryce Miller, http://www.auburn.edu/~lowrygr/bryce.html

He and Hugh Brower planned to work with a select few writers to syndicate them nationally. Their contract was eminently fair, letting me retain all copyrights. Their percentage split of the revenues declined as the revenues grew. Unfortunately, by the time I met them, they had learned that there was little money in syndicating columns with newspapers. The papers were paying, perhaps $7-$10 for a daily column. Maybe as much as $25.00 if you were lucky.

For them, it was not cost effective, as a business. But they had other ideas - to syndicate their writers in the commercial arena. (That meant cereal boxes, corporate newsletters, customer newsletters, etc.) That meant contracts for articles that went to millions of people per issue. And those would be sold on a per reader basis, per year. So each annual contract would run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Just one contract might assure me an income stream of $50,000 - $100,000 per year.  

They were just getting up steam on the project, when Bryce died. That avenue of my career died with him. And I was really getting to like that man! (I do miss our conversations. You can just imagine how well read he was.)

NOTE: Again, I sold only first publication rights and retained all other rights. Most of the articles I developed for them were resold and all were used on my own website, TaxMama.com

Conclusion: Corporate writing is still a good idea if you know how to pitch.

Do It Myself - Online

It was taking Bryce a long time to get this off the ground. All the waiting was making me crazy. So I kept doing some research myself. Many of my I-HelpDesk & WebReview http://www.helpdeskwebreview.com/webreview.html readers started telling me about Will Bontrager's http://willmaster.com/ free and paid tools. He had a nifty little tool called the Master Syndicator http://willmaster.com/master/syndicator/. Once I took a look at it, I was delighted with the simplicity of this tool. I could provide my articles to any site on the web. All they would have to do was create a Web page that suited both of us and paste a two-line code into the middle of the page. With this tool, I could post my new articles on any schedule I chose. All the sites' pages would magically be updated at the press of a mouse button.

Oh, and I could set up different formats for different sites. Or different schedules. Or different articles. In other words, I could syndicate as many different articles as I wanted. This is just better and better. But…

I asked Will, "So, what's if one of our sites stopped paying? How can we turn them off, without inconveniencing all the others? Would we simply have to issue new codes to ALL those sites?"

Will thought about it. And about the other suggestions people made. (He does that a lot. Develop new products based on your input, I mean.) He came up with the Master Syndication Gateway I http://willmaster.com/master/gateway1/. Now, this tool is even better. I haven't upgraded yet, but will after tax season is over. Not only does this version let you shut out the deadbeats, it also includes tracking software so you can track the popularity of your columns.  

Using Will's syndication tool, I took my show on the road - the Electronic Highway. Seeking out specific sites that deal with my target audience, people who are sufficiently anal to want to spend their time learning about money and tax issues, I worked out deals with a few key sites.

http://taxmama.com/toots/carriedby.html

NOTE: Incidentally, I looked at other alternatives, and other online services. None were as reliable or as responsive. Most of the services that were designed to sell us didn't respond or did, but went out of business. Even getting promises from their presidents produced no action. They couldn't meet the demand from writers - or get paid enough to make it work for them.  

So, now it's time for me to expand my base of syndicated sites.

SEE PART II OF THIS ARTICLE

© 2003 Eva Rosenberg all rights reserved. -Eva Rosenberg, your 'TaxMama' and 'Your Humble Guide to the Internet' publishes Ask TaxMama http://taxmama.com/AskTaxMama/ and I-Helpdesk & WebReview http://www.helpdeskwebreview.com/webreview.htmll online. Her tax practice in Southern California keeps growing strictly by word of mouth. She has been quoted in many publications, both print and online, including The Chicago Tribune, CBS MarketWatch, Womans Day, Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine, Entrepreneur, US News and World Report and more, http://taxmama.com/toots/. Not afraid to take a stand, her editorials, opinions and colorful conversations with journalists and talk show hosts get her call-backs from them on a regular basis. Her informal manner makes her a very popular seminar speaker and mistress of ceremonies. http://taxmama.com/toots/meettaxmama.html.

 

 

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