Question from Tom on my writing forums. Read the post.
“Once upon a time ( a great opening, right?) I had a column in 2 CA newspapers. I am looking to syndicate a column centered on senior citizens. To date, I have contacted several newspapers with one actually accepting my first column, but not paying me and not even answering the phone or emails.
I realize this happens, so I’ve shrugged it off and am moving on. I have contacted other papers who say my idea is topical but then don’t accept any of my material.
Assuming my writing is acceptable, here’s the question: what should be my strategy for getting a wider exposure (hence maybe a greater chance for acceptance) and contact base?
BTW, I contacted my local paper, a part of the Gannett chain, and they loved my writing but didn’t have column space. That’s a part of the problem as well.”
That’s a great question Tom. Unfortunately, syndication and columns aren’t my area of expertise, but here are a few thoughts regarding building exposure:
From your question, I gather that you’re looking for a wider audience pre-syndication, to build an audience and name recognition, to better your chances of having the column picked up by papers. Remaining active on the Web is a great start.
Are you currently self-publishing your material in some way? If not, I’d recommend launching a niche blog on the subject, and promoting it heavily online. Not only can blogging build authority in a niche, but you can earn a pretty nice chunk of change if you stick with it and promote the blog well.
You may ultimately decide that you would prefer to keep the material in blog form indefinitely. If you do later pitch the column to additional newspapers, you’ll have reader statistics and metrics to back the proposal up (how many readers you reach, how long the visitors stay, etc.).
Another benefit of kicking off your efforts with Web publishing is the fact that many (if not most) newspapers have online versions available, and many are introducing their own blogs (sometimes with print journalists doing the blogging, and other times brining in writers exclusively as bloggers). Even if a newspaper doesn’t have print column space available, they may very well be interested in publishing the column online.