I recently took a trip down to Dallas to cover a story that was of interest to me. While I was there, I had a chance to sit down with Tech and branding expert Shazir Mucklai. Since we basically have the same background, we could talk endlessly about writing, publishing and optimizing revenue.
Enter Shazir Mucklai. Started out writing for major financial publications at 16. Wrote for the likes of Seeking Alpha and Benzinga, while in high school. Graduated high school and started advising startups on how to hone in on what matters the most, their ability to scale and scale quickly.
Following that – he led a startup his freshman year in college selling strategy guides and how-to guides about popular games. Mucklai then progressed to run a PR firm, SV Advisory Group which focuses on growth oriented firms looking to create brand awareness. During our conversation, he told me about how he worked closely with companies to help them get published.
These are his 5 best secrets for getting a story in any publication:
1. Find where your hidden audience hangs out.
Mucklai understands habits. People hang out in certain communities online. Your audience of publishers hang out somewhere on the Web. The problem is that if you don’t know who they are, then you don’t know where they hang out. The first step to finding out is profiling them. Once you’ve done that, you’ll know what sites they’re on.
Those sites are your targets for getting published. Some of these publications are very difficult to get in, so it may take months to develop a relationship with an author or editor.
2. Learn the secrets about how publications work.
There are typically two types of writers at any major publication. The first type is the staff writer. They typically run stories that are newsworthy, of special interest, or related to current events. These are normally handled with a “cut or keep” meeting style. It is very difficult to get in this cycle.
However, the second type of writer freelances and contributes to multiple publications. These writers need to produce a set number of stories with the publication each month. Sometimes publications are open to new ideas. If you approach them the right way, you may have a shot of getting published.
Mucklai says the biggest thing to remember here is that you can’t pitch the writer. First, develop a relationship with the person, and then develop the story together afterward.
3. Cut Corners to Meet Writers.
If you’ve got an inside scoop on a story that a writer would want to run, give the person a heads-up on it. In fact, if you follow writers in magazines that you want to get published in, it’ll be easier to develop a relationship with them.
Social media and networking in person can be very powerful. Meet all of the writers in your area. Go to events or join Facebook groups where writers congregate, and then find out what they look for. You’ll get an idea of guest posts you can do depending on the stories they run.
4. Don’t pitch anyone. Do this instead.
Mucklai suggests you find 10 writers you want to be featured by. On their most recent story, email them and thank them for writing the piece and tell them specifically what you learned from it. On their next piece, do the same thing, but add that there are a few other points that you learned.
On their next piece, write them and tell them how amazing the story was, and outline a few other key factors that would really resonate with their readers. Then offer to write the piece for them if they don’t have time.
5. People can’t say no to these three things.
When you’ve got a story, or an angle, that has these three elements in it, you are in luck:
Ask great questions. Once you do, you will be able to learn how to develop content based on stories that are exclusive.