Syndication: How to Pitch Your Promotional Article

Printing Press

Writing an article is one thing—getting it read is another. If your blog is in its infancy, you might be lamenting the low numbers of readers your articles are getting. After all, they’re well-crafted labours of love, and they deserve a huge readership! This is where many authors run into the chicken-egg conundrum: readers only find out about new content when a friend, social media channel, or search engine shares it with them. But without a readership, that same content won’t have anyone to share it, and search engines will ignore it. Without articles you won’t get new readers, but without readers, there’s no point in writing articles.

It’s easy to get caught in this conundrum, but there is a solution that bypasses the conundrum entirely: syndication. Syndication is when you let another content provider—in this case, another website—publish your article. Ever read an article that had a line at the top saying, “This article was originally published on…”? That’s syndication.

Syndication can be an incredible tool for growing your audience. Because you’re republishing an article you’ve already written, it can be done quickly, and allows your content to be seen by a fresh audience. That fresh audience then has a chance to click through to your site to find more of your content, and because your site is being linked to by other, more popular sites, your now-trustworthy website will start to show up in more search engine results.

Of course, there are some downsides. When you syndicate an article, you’re competing directly with your own website. You’re also unable to make changes to the article, and may even find that the other publication’s editorial staff has made unwanted changes. A syndicated article of mine was littered with profanity in an attempt to rile the readers, forcing me to contend with a horde of angry commenters. Needless to say, the editor of that piece received an email littered with profanity from me shortly after.

Still, these are only minor downsides to a strategy that could get your words in front of thousands and even millions of new readers, so the next time you publish an article that your reader tribe doesn’t do justice, try syndicating. Here’s how to do it.

1. Find the right publishers

There are two things to keep in mind when looking for a publication to syndicate your article. First, they should have an audience that would also be interested in reading your blog and joining your reader tribe. Look for publications with similar content, or a similar tone of voice to yours–if you write with a sassy, no-nonsense voice, it’s probably advisable to avoid more straight-edge syndicators. Second, you should make sure the publication actually accepts articles for publication. You don’t want to spend your time reaching out to websites only to find that none of them will syndicate your article—do your research in advance by reading their “about” or “contributors” page. And remember that only no means no—if they don’t mention submissions but they’re a perfect fit, feel free to reach out to them and ask for the 4-1-1.

2. Study their guidelines

Once you’ve found a publication that suits your style and hosts the right audience, you’re ready to send your article. However, any editor can tell you countless horror stories of writers who sent in great pieces, but unfortunately spent no time formatting them whatsoever. Some freelancers still think it’s enough to just copy and paste their articles from their website into an email—fortunately, this means putting in a little effort will put you at the top of many editors’ contributor lists. Scour the publication’s website for submission guidelines and follow them religiously. If they aren’t there, ask the editor how they want articles submitted and stick to that.

3. Submit and follow up

Once you’ve got your article picture-perfect, all that’s left to do is submit it! Then, if you plan on submitting more articles, use this as a chance to build a relationship with the editors. Ask for any feedback, or what other articles they might look for. This is your time to prove you’re a professional and conscientious writer that they can count on in the future. You can also show this after your article is published by promoting the article and responding to comments. Not only are these ways of building that relationship, they also promote you as an author to your new audience. Then, all that’s left to do is sit back and watch your reader tribe grow!

Paris Spence-Lang

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