It seems that everyone is trying to be a thought leader these days, but you have to produce consistent, high-quality content to make that happen.
And even if you have great ideas, writing content usually takes far more time than you initially anticipate.
There's the first draft, the inevitable rewrites, the editing and cutting, the word count constraints, etc. If you're out there in the real world, working long ass hours and trying to transform your industry or build your company, you may not have the time to sit down and put pen to paper or deal with all of the editing that comes with it.
That's where we come in.
All we do is write, day in and day out. It's easier for us to knock out a publication-ready draft because our writing muscles are strong and ready for the task. (Just don't ask about our regular muscles...we're working on it.)
We've written plays, fiction, essays, business think pieces, art & culture exposés, theatre reviews, profiles, interviews, and plenty of articles on various subjects for ourselves and others. We know what editors look for, and we're eager to accept new challenges in terms of topics, styles, and deadlines.
And our experience can be your competitive advantage.
How can articles help your business or brand?
Articles and thought-leadership pieces are really about sharing ideas and gaining exposure.
To be successful, you really need to demonstrate an understanding of an issue and articulate your reasons for supporting a certain "solution."
The benefits of this are twofold: 1) the people who read your article can better understand your worldview, and 2) if they agree with you, they may head over to your website and hire you, buy something, or recommend you to others on social media.
In short, articles can expand your network, generate organic leads, and make you a respected expert in your field.
However, your article better be good because if it's poorly written, difficult to follow, or hard to read, people will leave and you won't reap any of the benefits. In fact, a bad article can do more harm than good. So, each time you ship something, always deliver your absolute best.
What makes for a great article or thought leadership piece?
Our Quick Breakdown of Shane Snow's How to Write Thought-Leadership Pieces That Get Published and Don't Make Editors Want to Die
Get right to the reason why you're emailing, and why they should listen to you (credentials). Most editors are crazy busy, so whatever you do, don't bury the lead. Also, many publications will want to see polished, completed drafts. So along with your 200-300 word pitch, you can get on the editor's good side by including the piece as well. This way, they don't have to chase you (which they won't). They can simply take it or leave it, and you can always publish it on your blog or on Medium if they pass, then try again or look for other publications.
Have something to contribute to a larger conversation.
Think about who you're trying to connect with and the problems that those people are experiencing. How can you help them take a step in the right direction? Can you dispel an industry myth or shed light on a common misconception? What about tips on how to DIY something?
Use journalistic rigor.
The bigger the publication, the more your work will be scrutinized. Make sure to back up your positions with any research you can find: stats, interviews, industry research, case studies, etc. Double check your facts, try to find multiple sources, and link to all your research.
Take a stance, if you have one (and you should).
You want to be generous and informative, but don't be afraid to have an opinion (especially if you're contributing to the Opinion section). What would you want to see changed or improved in the way your target audience solves a certain problem? Are you working on the problem, and if so, what have you learned?
Focus on what you can contribute, not self-promotion.
"Too many founders think about guest posting in terms of, 'How can I translate my sales deck into a guest post?' If you're just going to use your guest post to plug your widget, it's useless and people will see though it." - Michael Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media and frequent guest writer for Advertising Age and Fast Company.
Translation: Save your plug for the byline.