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"Many of the articles pitched by these executives, who aren't journalists or writers by trade, lack thought-provoking content."

I recently learned that Campaign — and other publications like it — are considering cutting back on articles contributed by industry leaders and executives. 

Lindsay Stein, US editor of Campaign, explained why. Many of the articles pitched by these executives, who aren’t journalists or writers by trade, lack thought-provoking content. When they do get published, companies often fail to share the live content. 

In short, many thought leadership articles aren’t generating enough page views for publications. And without page views, there’s less advertising opportunities.

Is there still a chance to get published on sites like Campaign? Yes, if you know what you’re doing. 

Here’s how to turn your industry expertise into content that people will actually read and share.

1. Find a newsy angle

To get a reader’s attention, tie your article to something that’s getting a lot of buzz. That means you have to either think ahead or act fast. If you want to write your thoughts on Shonda Rhimes’ speech at Cannes, your piece should be ready the week of the festival or the Monday after it wraps.

2. Pick a format

You can give your opinion in an op-ed, you can analyze new trends in your industry, or you can offer a bulleted list of examples and instructions in an advice-driven article (as I’ve done here).

3. Don’t sell or self-promote

There’s no faster way to alienate your audience. Think about the people at a cocktail party who only talk about themselves. Would you rather talk to them or the people who ask how you’re doing? The same rule applies for thought leadership content. Focus on how you can help the reader.

4. Check the publication’s requirements

Be mindful of the outlet’s tone, style and submission guidelines. If editors request articles that are 500 words or less and you submit 1,200 words, they’re going to pass. 

5. Go wide

Publications like to reach broad audiences, so pick a topic that will resonate across your industry. For example, if you’re considering an op-ed on new internet privacy rules, think about how it will affect not just marketers, but also media buyers, influencers and consumers.

6. Take a stand

Journalists have to be fair and balanced in their writing, but as a prominent executive, audiences want to know what you really think. If you’re writing an op-ed about, for example, why most companies are doing Instagram marketing all wrong, don’t hold back.

7. Share, share, share

Help drive traffic to your content (and therefore, the publication) by sharing the piece on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and encourage your company to do the same. If you can rack up lots of views, the editor is likely to want to publish your next article.

The bottom line

Some editors, like Stein, review 30 to 40 submissions a day for just a handful of slots. Following these suggestions will help ensure your piece is considered, engages the largest audience, and materializes the benefits of thought leadership.

Mark Pasetsky is the founder and CEO of Mark Allen & Co.

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