By Carl Friesen CMC
Published in “cNotes,” the Canadian Association of Management Consultants newsletter.
Many business professionals understand that getting published in magazines read by their market is a good career move, a way to build their personal brand. It makes potential clients aware of what they have to offer, and helps demonstrate the author’s understanding of issues facing their market.
Following my presentations “Get that article published!” to CMC chapters in Toronto and Eastern Ontario in May 2010, some people asked for more information on which magazines to choose. My answer: it doesn’t matter as much any more … and it matters more and more (a typical consultant’s answer, some might say).
First, “where” you get published doesn’t matter as much as “that” you get published. It used to be that the article would reach just the magazine’s subscribers, with some pass-along readership. About the only way for the author to get further benefit from it was to do reprints of the article and mail them to a list.
Now, you can post it on your website, Tweet about it, add an announcement about it to your LinkedIn profile and link your profile to the article, mention it in your LinkedIn groups, add it to your Facebook page, email a PDF to people, hand it out in PDF form on a USB key or CD and probably a good many more possibilities. You can even do paper reprints and mail them to people.
This “long tail” of options means that some of the greatest benefit you can derive from getting published comes post-publication.
On the other hand, the “where” matters more and more. The reason is in the evolution of the Web. The early Internet (remember Usenet, Archie, Veronica, Gopher sites and other aspects of the 1990s?) was likened to trying to get a drink from a firehose. There was just way too much information. Search engines such as Google have done a great deal to help users zero in on the information that they want.
But there’s still way too much information. It used to be said that in the online world, nobody knows you’re a dog, and I think that even dogs are now publishing their own content. Much of Web content today is ill-informed or misinformed. While “citizen journalism” is taking over from pared-down news rooms that used to be filled with qualified journalists, the uncomfortable fact is that in many ways, citizen journalism is like citizen surgery. I wouldn’t trust it far.
There’s a crying need for credible sources, brands that can be relied upon, managed by qualified professionals who have checked the facts before publication and issue corrections as needed. Probably no online source can have the same towering credibility as “Reader’s Digest,” “Time” and “Life” had in their heyday, but I’d trust the online version of the “Wall Street Journal” (for which I pay a subscription) well before I’d trust someone’s blog.
This means that getting that imprint of reliability is an important aspect to getting yourself published. Even if your work goes straight to online and does not appear on the printed pages of the magazine, having your work in a credible place adds veracity to what you have to say.
So where do these contradictory messages meet? In the online versions of credible print publications. More and more, the Web sites of magazines are the place where “extra” content goes – information that the publication received, but for which there is no room in print, given the slimmed-down page count. Web sites are a place people go for breaking news, and as a consequence Webmasters/mistresses are always in search of relevant, reliable new content. Think of it not as trying to drink from a firehose, but trying to keep that hose filled.
You can help meet their needs, and in so doing meet your own.
So while print publication is still my preferred goal, I find that there is increased value in approaching online editors of established publications such as “CFO” with the idea of a direct-to-internet idea. The benefit is that you can add other elements – graphics, pictures, slide shows, videos and links back to content on your own site.
The essentials of where to get published remain the same – you go where your prospects, clients and referral sources will read what you write – but it’s increasingly important that you take responsibility for making sure the content gets in front of the right people by measures you take yourself.
Carl Friesen, CMC, MBA is a Senior Associate with emerson consulting group inc. He is author of many articles on the marketing of professional services, has given over 40 presentations throughout the United States and Canada, and is author of two books himself: “The Fame Game,” and “Writing Magazine Articles.” To contact Carl, click here.