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Syndicate Your Articles in Newspapers and OnlinePART II (Read PART I)
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
Conclusion – the best way to get syndicated online is to sell yourself.
Do It Myself - Online
You can do this yourself. Find the sites that relate best to your subjects. You can offer them a free trial of the service. And if their audience likes it, you can sell them your column on a daily, weekly, monthly or whatever, basis. Naturally, you want to get paid. You can certainly accept payment by check. That means billing them every month and waiting for the “check’s in the mail.” Or get paid automatically, online.
But, you aren’t set up to take payments by credit card you say? Big deal. Go to PayPal and set up a free account. You’ll link it to one of your many bank accounts. They give you tools to let you create buttons you can paste on your site for an automated monthly billing service. Your customer signs up and Voila! PayPal does all the rest.
Here’s an example of a crude order page. (It’s not linked to anything on my site. Only I can direct people here. http://taxmama.com/contact/sell2.html
Of course, you may choose to put a link to the order page on your own site. (Incidentally, once you see the PayPal code, you’ll see it’s really easy to modify the amounts or descriptions without going back to their site to get the code. So if you want to create a custom price for someone, it’s easy.) Sure, it costs you a little less than 3% of each payment you receive. Big deal. That’s about what it would cost you if you accepted credit cards. So, price your service taking the costs into account.
I’ve tested the syndication tools. The system works flawlessly, as long as your own site is up. So, be sure to get a reliable host. Remember, all page views will be on your site. So, don’t scrimp on bandwidth with your hosting service – or set it up so you can quickly increase the bandwidth if one of your sites suddenly gets wildly popular. Plan for success.
Fay has syndicated her column, Ask Rat Dog http://www.ratdogdick.com/ . Fay said she is able to get somewhere between $25-$50 per column, per publication. (Maybe $75 from the biggies, like the New York Times.)
Do some test marketing to determine your price point. It’s easy to get $25 per month ($300 per year). It’s not as easy to get $25 per week ($1,300 per year). Find the best rate for your audience. Or keep your prices a little higher and work with the higher end sites.
To find the optimal price, check out Ken Evoy’s tool, Make Your Price Sell, http://myps.sitesell.com/
But I Want to Be In PRINT
As you can well imagine, the vision changed dramatically, due to the Internet. These days, getting syndicated online is much easier than in print. But, for some of us, the allure of seeing our name in the newspaper, next to Dear Abby and Ann Landers is compelling.
Many of us are selling one column to a local paper…or some local paper, somewhere totally unrelated to where we live. But it’s minor. We want more. Naturally, if we’re writing for Cox, or the Times (any – L.A., NY, etc.), Scripps, or whoever, we have no worries. They syndicate their own columnists. But, if we’re on our own, how do we get ourselves out there? In the past, it would have been one query at a time. Or a series of blasted letters sent out to a mailing of list of editors whose names we’ve painstakingly collected. (And which changed before we sent out our letters.) We would use mail merge to make each letter look totally personal. And of course, we would rarely have the nerve to follow up. Well, I am going to tell you two little secrets.
If you want to sell your columns, the first key is persistence, persistence, persistence. Do NOT be discouraged by rejection and do not take it personally.
Fay Faron. Huh? What’s a Fay Faron? Fay Faron runs Market2Editors.com http://www.market2editors.com/newspapers_001.htm. This site is designed to help you submit your pitches to editors, among other things. You can use Fay’s service, or you can build your own list of editors. If you’re going to build your own list, first target the smaller publications that deal with your field. (You can find print publications online if you do a Google search for your subject.) Why target the smaller ones first? This will give you an opportunity to test out your prices and negotiation skills. You have less to lose if the publication isn’t THE one you have your heart set on. You can afford to look like a fool. But don’t. Once you’ve learned the ropes of self-syndication or column-selling, when you do contact THE editors, you’ll look like a pro.
Persistence, Persnickety Persistence
Both Fay and I have learned that it never hurts to keep pitching to the same people at regular, or irregular intervals. Sometimes, your pitch just happens to be exactly what they need, right now. Won’t they be really annoyed and ignore my submissions?
What have you heard about branding, getting your name in the papers, repetition, even bad press? Come on now.
The more often they see your name, the more likely they are to recognize it. While they may generally trash your attempts, there may come just the right moment when they need someone to write just one article on your topic for their publication. Or, a columnist may have died, moved or quit – and you’re right there. The more familiar you’ve become, the safer you seem to them. They may not remember where they kept seeing your name. But, you’ve hit their subconscious. Besides, if you’re that persistent, they will come to believe you’re also motivated and reliable.
NOTE: This philosophy works in all aspects of life. My course proposals were regularly rejected by UCLA Extension for over three years. One day, I called yet again. I reached someone who said, “We are printing the summer catalog right now. Fax me your course description today and you’re in.” Sometimes, propinquity does work.
I haven’t tried Fay’s service yet. Since she’s already done the legwork, I’d rather not re-create the wheel. My time is a very limited and precious commodity, at least to me.
The reason you didn’t see this article sooner is that I was hoping to test her service before writing this article. I wanted to be able to report the results to you. I’ve written the article I wanted to pitch. Unfortunately, immediately afterwards, President Bush’s speech changed the tone of what I wanted to say. Being tax season, I haven’t had the time to re-write the article. Let’s face it, if you’re going to pitch it, make the article and title memorable. (i.e. when I sent out a press release on a tax seminar I was holding, the title wasn’t “IRS Teaches the Pros.” It was “IRS Accepts the Challenge.” Catch the editors’ eyes. They get so much junk.)
I’ve set a target. This year, I’d like to be in 10 print publications by December 31. Next year I’ll shoot for 100, once I’ve got a print following. Set your own targets so they are achievable. You don’t want to set them so high that you’re discouraged. Of course, one of those 10 that you hit may turn into THE one that lands you the national contract. It could happen. But, if it doesn’t, don’t worry. Build it up a little at a time.
After all, if you watch Wheel of Fortune, you see they are still welcoming new stations. Your syndications may grow slowly at first. Then, once you’re established, they’ll grow exponentially. You’ll need someone full-time just to handle the requests….or you can automate it online.
Huh? How do I Automate the Orders?
Again, the concept is to plan for success. Once the orders come hot and heavy, you want to make it really easy for an editor to take on your column. You can set up that little PayPal order page and set it send the editor to a page where they can fill in their entire order information, publication, etc. You’ll be able to set your system so that they will automatically be included in the subscription list (distribution list) that e-mails them the new column as soon as it’s ready. Paying a professional a few dollars to set this up will save you the wages of a full-time assistant…or defer it as long as possible. After all, we rather like our independence and privacy, don’t we?
Discussing this with Fay just now, she reminded me that, unless you really put full-time energy into marketing your column, the reality is, you won’t get rich off it. What you will get is a terrific boost to your business, whatever that may be. The visibility you get is more valuable than any amount of advertising you can buy. Being a columnist, or being quoted in newspapers and magazines gives you credibility; a strong cachet of authority and expertise.
Both Fay and I garnered lots of new clients, speaking engagements (paid and unpaid), consulting contracts, and other writing assignments, as a result of our columns’ visibility. (Last year, my columns took me to the Bahamas, Vancouver and Las Vegas, among other places.) We’ve also achieved a measure of fame, being quoted in newspapers, magazines, and online publications. Appearances on television and radio shows invariably lead to even more attention, columns, articles and clients. So, get a good wardrobe.
NOTE: Oh, if you’re going to make public appearances, you may want to get your hands on a copy of Marisa D’Vari’s excellent, little book, Presentation Magic. http://www.scriptmagic.com/now.htm
So, even if you just push a little, good things will happen for you.
I’m going into print. Are you? While I plan to use Fay’s service as soon as I can, it’s quite likely that you’ll do it before I do. If you do, I’d love to hear from you about your results.
If you give me your results and the publications you’re picked up in, I’ll include the information when I publish this article as a mini-e-book. But, that’s a whole other subject.
© 2003 Eva Rosenberg all rights reserved. —Eva Rosenberg, your ‘TaxMama’ and ‘Your Humble Guide to the Internet’ publishes the weekly Ask TaxMama http://taxmama.com/AskTaxMama/ and the thrice weekly I-Helpdesk & WebReview http://www.adventive.com/lists/ihelpdesk/summary.html online. Her tax practice in Southern California keeps growing strictly by word of mouth. Eva is the darling of the press. http://taxmama.com/toots/. P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for a new resource to debut this summer being developed in conjunction with Raleigh Pinskey http://www.FifteenMinutesofFame.com
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