Article writing can highlight your industry expertise, drive traffic to your website, and increase your online authority. Writing articles for a niche market will also reward you with back links from sites you are glad to be associated with. I will be using the Food Service industry as my example but you can substitute whatever industry you are in.
There are software programs that can automate this process by listing your articles in numerous directories, but to build relationships and secure authoritative positioning I think it best to focus on contributing original, quality content to a reputable site.
Find Appropriate Niche Sites
Study sites in your industry. These may include ones you are already familiar with: trade publications, associations, forums and blogs. To find more, simply search using your industry in front of these words. For example, “Food service trade publications.” See what types of topics the sites cover, how long the articles are, and get contact information. Read any ads to decipher who their audience is. Ask yourself, “What can I contribute that will be valuable to this audience?” To stay current on what a site is publishing subscribe to their RSS feed.
Do They Accept Content From Contributors?
Look to see who is creating the content and whether they accept content from contributors. On the FoodService.com site there is a menu option News & Articles. To submit an article you need to be a member (fill out membership form). Andy Simmons at Synergetic, a financial services firm, is one of the featured contributors to take advantage of the site’s availability to contributors.
On the Supply Side site members can contribute through the Community menu option. Rich Schleif Director of Marketing for Fortitech, a supplier of nutrient premixes, published an article “Functional Foods that Make Their Mark.”
Both of these authors have increased their visibility in this niche market by publishing their articles on appropriate sites.
Target Your Topic Using Editorial Calendars
Online publications and website content are cyclical in nature. What they focus on in spring may be very different from the winter. Food & Wine Magazine’s editorial calendar reflects the cyclical nature of business: October emphasizes the “spirit of the harvest” and November focuses on Thanksgiving, etc.
I didn’t find an editorial calendar on the Food & Product Design site but I did find it by searching “Food service magazine editorial calendar” on Google.
Adhere to Submission Guidelines
Submission guidelines help the author know what criteria are important to the editor when submitting an article. If guidelines for submissions are not readily available through the site, email the editor or use the Contact information address to request it. This initial contact will help you focus your article and prepare it for likely approval. At Nutritional Outlook the submission policy shows how the editor wants to receive contributions.
Speak Their Language, Address Issues
Write your article with your niche audience in mind. Speak their language and address key issues. You may want to give your article to a customer or someone in the industry to read before submitting it and ask for feedback. Editors like articles that are timely and inform without being self-promotional. Do include a short author bio with current position, company, contact information and a website link. A high-resolution head shot of the author may also be included.
With so many opportunities to publish online you can reach your niche market through article writing. If you do not have in-house staff, seek the help of a professional writer. What’s holding you back?