Contributed Articles for Your Station Website

Contributed articles gained popularity in trade magazines and newspaper op-eds.  Since the way the media industry now produces (and we consume) is constantly changing, and I believe the use of contributed articles will continue to rise.

With an increasingly amount of online advertising options and of course the rise of ad-blockers, we have to get creative and think beyond our traditional commercial-type model for our digital clients.  Probably one of the best ways to do this is by client contributed articles.

Branding is everything today and companies that gain more trust get more traction than those with the “best product” necessarily.  So, we as broadcasters and online content providers must enable our clients to further their brand and trust marketing by building them up as thought leaders.  That will increase their community trust actually and go much further for them in the long run than screaming about the new widgets they just put on sale.  Contributed articles is a great way to do this and it will beat any ad blocker out there.

Websites like Huffington Post, BusinessInsider.com, FastCompany.com, Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com all do a great job of contributed articles…  Notice the “Sponsor Provided Content” and the “Presented by TD Ameritrade” tags inside this Entrpreneur.com article post.

Contributed Articles for Radio Stations

Check out this good read on how Forbes made contributed articles a major part of their online strategy and how it’s paying off big time: https://www.poynter.org/2012/what-the-forbes-model-of-contributed-content-means-for-journalism/173743/.

Contributed articles can be a great thing to offer our local clients.  The large companies like the ones listed above pay each contributor based on performance of their article while some articles appear to be purchased content that the client curates themselves.  Take a nod from this.  Your radio station website needs fresh content and many of your clients will gladly provide that to extend their trust branding.

Your radio station can offer contributed content to clients or new businesses for free so you can benefit from the increase traffic.  It can be a free up-sell for a certain spot/digital schedule buy.  Or perhaps it becomes a one-off sold piece of content that their business solely sponsors for a set fee.

Tips for Successful Contributed Article Campaigns

  1. Article should be Editorial, Not an Advertisement – Unfortunately, when writing contributed content, your client can’t write about how good their products or services are.  This will sound like an “advertisement” and immediately turn off the reader.  Instead, pick topics that your client can teach the audience about.  Good places to look for ideas are: culture of the business, leadership style, business inspiration, industry trends, etc. Holidays and seasons are also always easy ways to hit on timely topics.
  2. Article should be Conversational – It’s important to write well, but especially when writing about technology, “tech speak” can cripple an article.  An understanding your station audience helps inform the writing style.  A general rule should be to write conversationally to make it more digestible.
  3. Collaborate Topics with the Client – You’ll want the article to be authentic and be relative to your audience, so you should be involved in brainstorming article ideas.  You should not give and they shouldn’t expect free reign.  At the end of the day, you are still programming your station website.
  4. Agree on a Word Count Before Writing Begins – Most well-written/fast-read articles are typically between 750–900 words.  Be clear to the amount of content before writing begins so that nobody is disappointed when the article is submitted.
  5. Ensure the Contributor knows the Functionality of Your Website – Make sure that contributor is aware that the article will only be on the homepage until X number of new articles pushes it off to the second page, etc.  This will avoid surprises and questions later.

If your client is looking for great tips to writing a successful contributed article, direct them here: https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/13_tips_for_creating_and_pitching_contributed_cont_18978.aspx.

In conclusion, contributed articles can greatly benefit your station website and the client that’s writing the article.  Talk about a great “win-win” situation.

Jim Sherwood serves as chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects.