You may be good at what you do, but unless you spread the word, great opportunities may pass you by. You need an edge. You need to be slightly famous. In short, you need to get published. Publishing articles about what you do will lift you from anonymity and establish your credentials as an authority in your field. It will also expose you to thousands of new prospects and business opportunities. But wait, you say — I’m a dietitian, not a writer! No worries. Publishing articles under your byline can do wonders for your business. And with more than 10,000 publications in print today, your opportunities are virtually unlimited. It’s not rocket science. You can do it.
An article published under your byline gives you instant credibility, because it’s news — not advertising — and it carries the endorsement of the publication in which it appears. People who respond to your articles have already bought into your credentials and abilities.
It’s not hard to learn a few of the tactics used by professional journalists. These tried-and-true techniques will greatly reduce the time it takes you to come up with ideas, write articles, and get them into print. Start out with contributor-written trade and business publications. There are many of these publications out there, covering every imaginable industry and audience, and they are fairly easy to break into — even for beginners. Newsletters for local and state dietetic association and trade associations are also good bets. Look online as well. Many health-related and women’s websites are hungry for articles from professionals.
Newspapers can also be a good bet, particularly smaller local papers or business publications. Consider submitting an op-ed piece or pitching an idea for a story. Even writing a letter to the editor can give you visibility. Reporters are always looking for expert sources, so sending a media kit to reporters who cover what you do could be a good idea. (A media kit is simply a packet that includes any articles you’ve written or been featured in, and a summary of your qualifications and experience.) Reporters are herd-like creatures: Once one quotes you as an expert, others covering the same beat will start calling you too. Just make sure you give good soundbite. There’s nothing reporters like better than a quote that’s short, informative, and lively.
After you get your article published, make high-quality copies, and send them to prospects and clients. Hand them out at trade shows and talks. If you have an office, frame your article and hang it in your lobby. Submit it to other magazines. Publishing articles offers endless opportunities to build your reputation — but be patient. It can take anywhere from three to nine months of consistent placements before you start getting any response. Your efforts will not be in vain. Like any wise investment, the more you put in, the greater your returns.