Two weeks ago a slightly strange thing happened to me while I was wearing my hat as editor of When They Get Older.
Someone contacted me on behalf of a bingo company with a suggestion for an article. It was to be based around an app they were offering to help youngsters get to grip with numbers.
I ignored it because I genuinely don’t have the time to deal with time wasters. He hadn’t looked at our site obviously. Just gone on the name. When They Get Older isn’t about children. It’s about ageing friends and relatives. The clue’s in the couple of hundred articles we’ve already published.
The even stranger thing is that a week later he chased me up to find out if I was interested in his article. Fortunately I’m not an aggressive person. But he does now know what he was doing wrong.
Over the course of my editorship of print and digital magazines and blogs I’ve come across many would-be authors and content providers who are excellent at proposing articles.
And some that verge on the excruciatingly weird.
So if you want to get your articles around the ageing population published by high-quality sites, here are a few tips.
- Know the audience. See above
- Know what the site has already published and find something new
- If you can’t find a new topic, find a new angle
- Say something useful. If you’re representing a company that works in this market, tap into their internal knowledge to provide real insights
- Propose a few ideas to let the editor choose
- Give it a week before chasing
- Use a writer who can interview your experts and write well – and brief them about the audience and style of the blog
- Make it a really interesting article and don’t fill it with product puffs that the editor will just take out again
- Proofread before you send it to the editor – to show how much you care. Mostly people do. But I have also received cut and shunt articles that range from first person casual to third person formal without taking a breath and are full of typos and grammatical errors
- Offer some really good images. Don’t start me on the use of images of hands to illustrate articles about older people. Much better to find an original image about your particular subject
Really, it’s all about being exceedingly helpful to the editor by taking on the chores that they would otherwise have to do. That, and remembering the audience.