Promoting the Work of Guest Writers

By Rosalie Donlon

When you publish B2B content you often rely on professionals for articles sharing their expertise or insight. My authors are attorneys and other professionals who write for a nonlegal audience. It has always been a challenge getting them to write for our journals and share their knowledge for glory instead of cash.

In the current economic climate, I find that professionals are more aware of the importance of getting – and keeping – their names in front of potential purchasers of their services. I used to have more success with senior associates or junior partners who were trying to build up their practices than with senior or name partners. Recently, I’ve found that professionals at all levels understand the value of contributing to B2B publications, and their firm’s marketing department often helps encourage them to publish articles. I’ve gotten to know the directors of marketing for several professional firms and they do a great job of finding authors. They also nudge the professional for you many times, which has been a big help. In the last year, I’ve had marketing directors contact me asking about publishing articles or other content from their firms.

I’ve found a related problem with professional authors that can be difficult to deal with. Often, a professional will commit to writing an article, but miss the deadline because of the demands of billable work, which always comes first, especially in 2010. One solution we’ve tried is to turn the planned article into an interview. The professional is more willing to give us an hour of time to share his or her expertise than to sit down and write from scratch. If the professional’s time is really tight, we’ve e-mailed a list of questions, received answers, then followed up by e-mail and finally by phone. Our authors also help us find other professionals, either in their firms or among their colleagues.

To help promote the professional’s article, we usually offer a limited number of free reprints and permission to post the article on the firm’s website (with attribution, of course). In certain circumstances, we allow the professional to use the article as part of a handout for seminar or conference materials (again with attribution). We find that this encourages other professionals within the same firm to contribute to our publications and it helps us by keeping the publication’s name in front of potential subscribers. In the current economy, we’ll use whatever channels are available to promote our authors’ contributions and our publications.

Rosalie Donlon is an acquisition editor with Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, focusing primarily on corporate compliance and employment law issues. A graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law, Rosalie has worked in the business and professional publishing industry for more than 20 years. She can be reached at Rosalie.donlon@wolterskluwer.com.

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