How to market a feature article
I’ve written a few blogs about feature articles already but a question I received recently prompted me to blog about how to market your feature article once it’s ready for publication or you’ve got a first draft.
The following guidelines are based on the assumption that you’ve identified the publication or publications relevant for your story. You then need to analyse each publication’s details before submitting your article.
The questions you need to address when analysing your selected publication are:-
- does the publication accept contributions?
- who is the most appropriate person to contact?
- is your article relevant to the publication?
- what is the best way to submit your article?
Firstly, find out if the publication has contributor guidelines. These outline the nature of the material they accept and how the material should be submitted.
You can then either submit a query letter or call the editor with details on your article to gauge interest, or go for the direct approach and send in your completed article and wait for a reply.
If you decide to submit a query, the best option is to submit a query letter because it can be difficult to get hold of editors by phone, especially those at large publishing houses. The query letter helps to determine the level of interest in the story you have either written or intend to write.
Before you send the query letter, make sure you have the correct name of the editor, you are clear and concise on the details of your proposal and you can deliver on your promise if the editor expresses an interest.
Presentation is key so make sure your material is typed, double spaced and free of mistakes. Display the title and proposed word length at the beginning of your story and include a stamped self-addressed envelope for return of your material.
The covering letter should be addressed to the editor (make sure you’ve got the spelling right) and contain the following information:-
- your name and contact details
- a statement outlining the nature and focus of your story
- the terms under which you are offering the story
- any other information such as a ‘hanger’ or reason for publishing the story that may influence the editors decision to accept your material
Once you’ve submitted your query letter and material, you’ll need to wait for a reply. But be patient – you could be waiting a while. If you haven’t heard for two weeks, it’s not unreasonable to contact the editor to find out the status of your submission. Good luck!