How do you write an article for the media? We’ve created a quick four-part guide.
Why do you want to write an article?
Be very clear about why you are writing an article and what you hope to achieve.
Here are some ideas:
- To educate/inform your clients/potential clients/consumers and in the process demonstrate how you might be able to help them
- To contribute to debate about issues which affect your business, your clients/potential clients, your industry
- To develop a reputation for thought leadership which ultimately improves outcomes for all
- To build the profile of your business in order to:
- attract new clients/customers
- attract new talent to your business
Who is your audience?
This will inform the language you use and the way in which you write. For example, clients typically have a different level of understanding about technical issues than members of your industry. Keep your chosen audience in mind as you write.
Your audience might be:
- Clients/potential clients/general consumers
- Broader industry participants
- Government/regulators/decision makers
What do you want to say?
Decide what you want to write about and stick to that one main theme or idea. Don’t be tempted to cover more than one idea at a time. It will likely only weaken your article and confuse your readers. You can always write follow-up pieces on related topics later.
Which media outlets might be interested in publishing your article?
Now that you know why you want to write an article, who you want to read it and what you want to say, research to discover which media outlet might be interested in publishing your piece.
If, for example, you want clients or potential clients to read your article, you need to find a consumer media outlet that accepts articles from contributors. If you are writing for your own industry, you will need to look for an industry media outlet.
Also think laterally about where else you might publish your article, if it is not accepted by a media outlet. Consider creating your own blog and sharing it on your social media. LinkedIn allows you to publish articles via your page, which can then be shared on Facebook and twitter.
Make a list of media outlets that you think might be suitable for the article you are planning to write. Order your list, from most appropriate to less appropriate.
NOTE: When you find an editor willing to publish your piece, s/he will want it exclusively, so don’t share the same article with other media outlets.
What are the media outlet’s guidelines?
Once you have decided on the most appropriate media outlets for your article:
- Find out whether or not they accept unsolicited material – you can usually tell simply by reading material they have already published
- Take note of the types of articles written by external contributors – are they factual articles that, for example, explain technical issues or are they opinion pieces (sometimes called op-eds)?
- Also take note of the standard length (number of words) of the articles written by external contributors
- If you can’t find the answers to these questions by reading the publication, consider contacting the editor for more information. The editor’s contact details can usually be found on the ‘Contacts’ page
What type of piece are you going to write?
- Factual articles educate and inform by setting out the facts – you can develop these by writing them in a series of logical steps. These days, these pieces tend to be around 750 words – but they can be longer, and sometimes shorter! Every media outlet is different, so check on the preferred word length
- Opinion articles need to build a considered argument – you can develop these in much the same way as the essays you wrote in high school. These can also be from around 750 words – but again, check with the media outlet
- Media releases – these are designed to share ‘news’ about your business. They should be short (try to keep them to a single page), and to the point. Unlike factual articles and opinion pieces, which need to be written for one specific media outlet, media releases can be shared with multiple media outlets
Need help writing articles for the media? Contact 64 Media.
What else do we do? You may be surprised! CLICK HERE to find out more.