Feature articles are the perfect compliment to press releases and case studies for a high impact PR campaign resulting in lots of highly informative coverage showcasing your company's know-how and capabilities.
1. First you must decide what category of article you want to contribute to the magazine. This article, for example, is an instructional or teaching article. Generally one or two pages and 800 to 1600 words.
Opinion features allow you to make a controversial statement on any aspect of the market or technology - generally one page and around 800 words.
Technology features where you explain the ins and outs of some up-coming technology that you or others are working on. These tend to be 1.5 to three pages, 1000 to 1800 words - and need several good photos or diagrams to support them.
Business features deal with commercial aspects of what's going on in your market or sector. As a rule of thumb they are 1000 to 1800 words and illustrated with graphs or charts. Case studies deal with a particular customer problem and solution.
2. One of the biggest gripes I hear from editors is that many PR agencies, and to a lesser extent company representatives doing their own PR, phone them without having even read their magazines. It is imperative to understand that your next step is 'selling' your feature idea - and the editor is your prospective customer! So, as with any prospect, you need to find out exactly what they're in the market to buy. After all, you wouldn't try to sell a pink Fiat 500 to a company director would you?
So here's what you need to do: Grab two or three copies of the magazine you'd like to be in and look through all the one or more-page articles and apply 'yellow stickies' with what you judge to be the 'category' of each. Having done this, you will know what 'categories' of article the editor is in the market for.
3. Now decide which of that particular editor's preferred categories your topic would best fit into and write a 50 to 60 words synopsis of what the article could cover - and the key information his/her readers would glean from reading it.
4. Caveat: Feature articles are information not advertising. If you want to overtly promote your products, buy an advert!
5. Ok, you're armed with your synopsis - now pick up the phone and call your preferred editor. It may take many attempts to get through - they are very busy people - and cardinal rule, always ask 'can you speak' as soon as you get through.
Outline your idea by discussing the synopsis and find out if he/she is interested in the topic. Let the editor give you guidance on what to cover within the article and any particular 'slant' they would like on it.
Then ask a) what is the deadline? b) what word-count is required c) how many high-quality illustrations/photos are needed to support it.
6. Congratulations. You just made your first 'placement'. But remember this is a contract. The editor is 'paying' you two or three pages with a communication value of three times the advertising cost - so it's easily over £10k-worth of publicity he/she is contributing. You must not let him/her down!
7. Only now do you write the article. Get your notes of the topic you want to cover and also grab the copies of the specific magazine you covered in yellow stickies.
Find an article or two which are in the right category and note how they're written. Note particularly how the first couple of paragraphs introduce the piece and the author. Most of the best articles tell a story - keep it general and wide-ranging. And then bring the story to a conclusion.
Remember that your reader is probably not as expert on the subject as you - so make it simple to understand and never use acronyms or TLAs (three letter abbreviations) without putting them in full (like I just did) on the first occurrence.
Some editors won't allow you to mention a product name though most trade and tech editors will allow you one or two mentions of your company name and one subtle mention of a product. So, for example, if you're describing a new technology, at an appropriate juncture you can put in '…as in our own RedWidget implementation'.
This 'editorial not advertorial' format of writing is one that few sales directors can master - so probably best not to let them try!
8. Once the article is written and fully approved internally (and exactly the correct number of words) send it to the editor post-haste.
If it's your first attempt, it is recommended to send seven days before the deadline with the request "please give me a call if there's anything you'd like changing/rewriting". Send at least as many high-quality photos/illustrations as you were asked for - maybe a few more, so he/she has some choice - and also give a caption for each.
9. Finally, make any changes or amendments the editor requests - making sure the feature still fits the required word count.
10. Now start work on the next one!
Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com
Phil Turtle is a PR Expert and CEO of Turtle Consulting Group. Turtle Consulting Group PR Agency www.turtleconsulting.com specialises in tech PR.
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