One of my favorite and most profitable writing ventures has been producing short weekly newspaper columns for business owners and professionals. I get paid to write them while the client pays the local newspaper to run them weekly as advertisements. The columns provide ongoing, positive exposure for my clients while passing on useful, helpful information to readers. Few if any readers realize they are being marketed to, and I profit from being able to sell these columns over and over.
I have produced columns for interior designers on home decor and for accountants on tax matters,but podiatrists, chiropractors, veterinarians, jewelers, real estate agents, travel agents, investment brokers, and many other business ownersand employeesregularly place these types of columns in their local newspapers. For instance, podiatrists would want articles on foot care, proper footwear, etc. and real estate agents could use articles that talk about financing, how to stage a home for sale, sprucing up landscaping, etc.
It is easy to get started. Think of local business owners who might want to soft-sell their products or services with informative articles relating to their industry. Write a couple of short 100-word sample columns along with a marketing letter, and then approach your prospects. If you have no experience in an industry, find business owners willing to give you up-to-date information in exchange for your providing free columns and with the understanding that you will also want to market the same columns to other businesses outside their market area. Or, you can research industries you know little or nothing about and create sample articles to use as marketing tools. Remember, you will be writing columns that appeal to your prospect’s clientele, and the information should be timely and original.
Once you’ve sold your columns locally, start marketing them in other communities.
It’s important that you guarantee your clients exclusive use in their market area with a contract that defines the agreement. Your clients must provide you with the name of the newspaper they plan to submit the articles to, and agree not to use columns in any other way. The agreement should also state how often you’ll provide columns and the financial terms.
I provide thirteen columns to my clients at a time so they can get special quarterly advertising rates from their newspaper. This means you’ll write thirteen columns each time, but once you get started, it is easy to write them all at once. To get organized, think of column topics and write them down in your spare time. Then, when it’s time to produce them, you’ve already overcome the hurdle of knowing what to write about. Also, if you are writing on a topic you know little about, gather the information you’ll need beforehand. I keep a file folder and place notes, article ideas, etc. into it and keep it until they are needed.
Brief, 100-word articles can impart an amazing amount of information on whatever subject you write about, but you’ll have to use words sparingly. Each 100-word column, along with a small photo of your client, their business name, and their byline will take up about six column inches of advertising space. Provide the columns as straight text and have your client submit them directly to the newspaper’s advertising department for typesetting.
I would suggest that you keep the price low (I usually charge $20 or less each) because you will multiply your earnings by reselling them. A low price encourages business owners and professionals to buy them, knowing they will also have to pay advertising rates to the newspaper. Remember, too, the columns are easy to market because the idea of having a weekly column appear in the newspaper under their own byline appeals to most professionals’ egos.
My clients love the publicity their businesses receive, and I make money selling the same columns over and over again.
Kay Kennedy is author of Portable Writing: the Secret to Living Your Dreams with 25 Projects to Fund Your Freedom, which tells how to make money from writing no matter where you live or roam. Her latest book is Looking Back: Boomers Remember History from the ’40s to the Present. The books are availableat Booklocker and WritersWeekly. ContactKay at: portable . writer – at – yahoo.com.