89% of people won’t read your article unless you get this right

The number in that headline is fictitious, but hopefully, the headline got your attention and will motivate you to read this blog. It’s about the importance of writing a powerful headline for your article, to ensure it will be read by as many people as possible. Using a headline which was potentially shocking or controversial will mean you were more likely to read on than a bland headline that reads, Writing good headlines is important.

Lots of people spend hours writing interesting and engaging content to promote their business, hoping to get coverage in a magazine. They suddenly realise as an afterthought they need to give it a headline and add one quickly, before sending it to the editorial team.

A strong headline will serve to grab the attention of the editor when he or she is reviewing submitted articles. Getting published is only half the battle though if no one reads your article.

Imagine yourself as the reader. It’s unlikely you pick up a magazine, even your favourite one, and sit and read it from cover to cover, reading every article. More likely you grab a magazine to flick through while eating your lunch, stopping to read only a few articles. Consider what will draw you in - I can guarantee it will be one of two things; either the picture or the headline, most probably a combination of the two. A weak headline means your efforts to write a great article have been wasted.

What makes a good headline?

75% of magazine articles will not be read

Shocking or controversial headlines stand out (we made that one up for effect). As we saw right at the beginning and again here, a headline with the potential to shock is more effective than one which is bland. A good headline may entice you to read something you weren’t necessarily interested in. An ineffective headline, however, will deter you from reading a feature you may have found interesting.

Simple words or literary eloquence

In the article there may be a place for longer words, and it’s often necessary to use different words with the same meaning, e.g. use, utilise and employ. In a headline, however, it pays to use straightforward language, for example, 23% of riders use a crop instead of 23% of riders utilise a crop.

95% of readers like numbers and statistics

Research has shown that headlines with statistics or numbers are very effective. Consider how much more effective this headline is than the following, Headlines with numbers work well.

Another example would be 20 ways to cut the cost of keeping a horse. Obviously, do your research if you’re quoting numbers or statistics.

What’s the worst thing you can do when submitting an article to a magazine?

Asking question is a great way to introduce an article, as demonstrated here. It arouses the reader’s curiosity and gets them to read on to find out the answer.

Read this blog before we take it down

This headline was designed to create a sense of urgency. Another example might be Final 50 tickets go on sale for Horsemanship 2018. If the article is intended to promote an event, then a great headline will create urgency and encourage people to find out how to book etc.

Headlines should not be an afterthought!

Hopefully the above highlights the importance of having a strong headline and how to write one. Headlines should not be a quick afterthought, dashed off one minute before your deadline. Next time you’re writing an article, give it three headlines, not one. Try coming up with headlines in three different styles to inspire you, before settling on the best one. If you have a couple of people you can ask, see which they think works best.

Don’t let a weak headline hijack your chances of being read.

Guidelines for Writers

Stars Ablazin Media publish two titles, Western Horse UK, and its supplement, Horsemanship Journal; these titles are printed back to back and bound and distributed together. The magazine is a high-quality glossy publication, available by subscription and sold through selected equestrian retailers.

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Western Horse UK is committed to bringing the UK the best in western horsemanship from internationally acclaimed trainers, coaches and industry experts, with award-winning editorial, photography and design.

Proud to be at the forefront of western riding in the UK, WHUK caters for all Western Riders. We intend to educate, inform, and entertain those interested in western equestrianism.


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Horsemanship Journal is a supplement to the award-winning title Western Horse UK; it seeks to bring together inspiring and educational articles from horsemen and women the world over. With no bias towards one method or another, Horsemanship Journal features experts from many disciplines and schools of thought.




Article Submissions

Stars Ablazin media encourage submissions from writers who are interested in the topics we regularly cover in each magazine, but we are always open to new ideas. When submitting an article for consideration it’s helpful if you can advise which magazine you wish it to be considered for. We always strive to publish articles that are accurate and informative, with practical advice.

As a niche publication, without the backing of a large publisher, we’re seldom able to pay a fee for articles; typically our authors are motivated to share information with like-minded equestrians to help educate and promote western riding in the UK. Writing articles for our audience is also a great way to raise your profile as an expert in your field.

Western Horse UK and Horsemanship Journal writing style

Tone:

As the writer, you should be well-informed, and have researched your topic carefully so the advice you share with readers can be trusted. Any facts and data quoted should be verifiable.

Title and Subtitle:

These are critical components of the article to let the reader know that the article is relevant to them. The title should be short but informative, and the subheading is typically one sentence that sums up the essence of the article.

Article format:

If you are not a professional writer and would like some helpful tools, then we recommend the use of the Hemmingway app or Grammarly. Not only do these tools check grammar and spelling, they also help you simplify your writing. Many of us write complicated sentences, when a simple one will convey the message more effectively. There are of course many similar apps available online.

We typically prefer articles with a minimum word count of 1125. Based on our average of 750 words per page, this will result in an article that covers at least one and half pages.

Pictures/Graphics:

Relevant high-resolution pictures will make an article stand out; it is always helpful to include these with your article submission. If these are not your photographs please ensure you have the relevant permissions to use them. Permissions should also be obtained from people who are the subject of your photograph.

We prefer high-resolution digital photographs. Each photo must be 300dpi, at least one megabyte (1,000 kilobytes). Large images can be shared with us using the software, DropBox.

Infographics are an excellent way to explain complex topics. Our graphic design team can help produce these if you provide the relevant facts and information.

Sources:

It is critical to the integrity and credibility of an article that you correctly reference any quotes that you include. Here is a guide to citation that you may find useful: https://www.york.ac.uk/integrity/downloads/15701_Harvard%20Style-webFINAL.pdf

Author bios:

Please provide a bio for yourself as the author (150 to 200 words) to include professional credentials and experience; a photo is always nice too

Submission instructions

If you would like us to consider an article for inclusion in the magazine, please submit a Word document to theresa@westernhorseuk.com

Guidance for our regular features

Riding/Training

We pride ourselves on our training pages and have an incredible list of contributors from the UK and abroad. We publish articles designed to appeal to all levels of western horse and rider, covering all disciplines including western pleasure, trail and reining. Our training pages have won awards for their clarity of design and content.

Any content submitted for this section must be informative, educational and encouraging.   

Out and About

This section recognises that many riders want to get out into the countryside with their horses and take relaxing leisure rides.

We welcome articles on any riding activity that takes readers out of the school or show pen.

Show Scene

Here we cover the successes of UK riders, both at home and abroad.

Advertorials

We welcome advertorials and recommend that you contact our advertising department in the first instance; mel@westernhorseuk.com

Advertorials should be informative, but will promote a particular service or product and as such will be in the Business Focus section, or clearly labelled as an advertorial.

Advertorials are an excellent way to establish your business’s brand, promote your products or services, or to build your name as an authority in a particular area; they provide useful information to readers while promoting your product.

How to get an article published in a magazine

Before we look at how to go about how to get an article published, first of all, decide what you want to achieve by getting published.

Why would you want to be published?

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Are you using the article to raise awareness of your business or a new service you’ve launched? Perhaps you want to position yourself as an expert in a particular field? Getting published is a great way to demonstrate your expertise.

Your aim might be to become a paid writer, and so you’re looking to hone your skills or establish a portfolio of work. For the purpose of this guide, we’re going to assume that you are not aiming to become a professional writer, but wish to raise awareness of your business or to be seen as to the go-to person for something.

Getting started

Start by doing your research to identify the right magazines to approach. This could be a magazine aimed at the general public or a trade magazine, which is read by other people working in your industry. Look at “back copies” to find out if they publish articles by guest writers (some use only use work from their own staff).

Can you expect to be paid?

Take a look at the magazine’s guidelines (you’ll probably find them on their website), and you’ll see whether you’re likely to be paid or not. A lot of specialist magazines are produced on a minimal budget for avid enthusiasts; they’ll probably be very upfront about not being able to pay for an article. Often, even larger magazines are unwilling to pay writers they don’t know.

If you’re trying to promote your business or position yourself as an expert, instead of expecting a fee, think about getting published as an opportunity for free advertising. If you take an ad out in the same magazine, it’ll also stand out more than an ad would the following month.

How to approach a magazine

You will probably find guidelines for writers on a magazine’s website so make sure you’ve checked those. They will tell you whether to submit a brief proposal or a completed article. Look at articles they’ve published to see what the style of writing is and what the average article length is. You might not get accepted the first time you submit work to a magazine and in many cases will be up against very stiff competition.

Timing

Bear in mind that magazine publishing is an industry that works well in advance so if you’re looking to be published in a January edition to coincide with an offer or event, you need to find out how far in advance the magazine works.

Hopefully, this will help you before you put pen to paper. You might want to see our separate blog about how to ensure the article is aligned with your marketing plan.

Using your magazine article as part of an overall marketing strategy

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Getting an article published in a magazine that’s read by your ideal customer can be very rewarding. It requires a bit of work though, and often companies are disappointed by the results. So how do you ensure your efforts are not wasted?

You’ll often hear marketing experts talk about “The Rule of Seven”.  Put simply, this means that a prospect needs to see your ad or your marketing message seven times, before they will consider taking action and contacting you to make a purchase.


This is why you will see large companies advertising on TV, in the press, online and at the cinema, over a concentrated period of about six to eight weeks.  In the busy world we live in, where advertisers are competing for our attention, they need to do this so we notice their new product or message. This works far more effectively than spacing the activity out, when the message would simply get “lost” and the money spent would be wasted.

You may also want to consider any seasonal aspect of your business and plan the timing of your article and other marketing activity around that. Think about the holiday industry. Whilst people book holidays all year round, you will notice that most of the money spent on advertising is spent just after Christmas, as this is when the majority of families start to think about their summer holiday. Holiday companies therefore get more return on their advertising spend by doing this.

So what does this mean for the smaller business? In this case, it’s just as important to remember The Rule of Seven, if not more so. As well as helping ensure you are noticed, planning your marketing in this way can create the impression of you being bigger than you actually are as a business. You create the impression of being “everywhere”.

Getting an article published can be a great way to promote your business, but it should always be done in the context of your overall marketing plan. You can use the article to convey the same message as in your other marketing. For example, if you are launching a new service, you could carry out an email campaign to existing customers, perhaps with an offer. Ideally they would receive the email in the same week as they see your article in a magazine, or see your stand at a show or event.


With that in mind, you will often see that companies also take an ad in the same edition of the magazine they have an article featured in.  You will get a greater return from that ad than by running it the following month. And remember, whilst it can sometimes appear that your ad or article has achieved nothing, that could be exactly why someone decided to approach your stand at the show and not your competitor’s.

Create Amazing Display Adverts

There's nothing worse than working on your beautiful advert design only to be told that you got the dimension wrong by the editor! A change of a few millimetres can mean that you have to re-think the whole design.

Even worse you have a design that looks stunning on screen but then fails to wow when you see it in print.

Creating artwork for print can get a bit technical, but if you want to achieve the crisp impactful advert that you envisioned, then it is essential to take the time and understand specifications that the print publication requires. Also if you are using a graphic designer, don't assume that they will know the details from previous experience, while most magazines have broadly the same requirements there may be some differences and not every graphic designer has experience of producing artwork for print.

Here are our tips and requirements for creating ads that will print the way you expect them to; but first let's talk about Bleed, Trim and Type:

TRIM
Trim is the final page size after it has been cut at the printers. 

BLEED
Bleed is the margin for error in case the page is cut a millimetre or two in the wrong direction. We allow 3mm extra on all four sides to ensure that no white edges make it into the final product.

TYPE
Type is the area that essential images or text should stay within; this ensures that the important text or pictures are not lost in the trimming process.

Critical Requirements:
All artwork must be provided with the bleed
All artwork must be supplied as a PDF
All artwork must be supplied as 300dpi
All artwork must be supplied as CMYK
All artwork must be supplied with the fonts embedded

Tips:
Use InDesign or Illustrator (or equivalent), while there are some great free tools for creating artwork they are not intended for print, for example, one our favourites for use online is PicMonkey, but we never use this for print.

Adobe tools are great and many of you may have Photoshop, but please don't be tempted to use Photoshop to create a print advert. While Photoshop is an excellent tool for editing images, we do not recommend it for creating PDFs for print as all text and logos will be rasterised.

If you prefer, one of our experienced designers can create an attractive and effective advert for you. Prices start from £30 depending on the size and complexity, contact Mel for more information: 01245 939001 mel@westernhorseuk.com

2018 Editorial Guidelines & Submission Dates

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General Guidelines

Western Horse UK welcomes your story and photography submissions; in fact, we encourage it. 

Our community pages include; events, society news, show news and team news. These are provided for the UK western riding community to promote western and share news within the western riding community. Show and society news should be a maximum of 750 words and minimum of 300.

If you run a society, show circuit or riding club then please send us your updates by the deadlines listed.

‘Out and About’ is an opportunity for you to report on your latest trail ride or horse adventure. Out and About stories should be maximum of 1400 words and minimum of 750.

We reserve the right to edit for length, style and accuracy. Please submit articles in word format and email to theresa@westernhorseuk.com

 

Issue Deadline

  • Jan/Feb Printed

  • Mar/Apr Printed

  • May/Jun 28th May 2018

  • Jul/Aug 23rd July 2018

  • Sep/Oct 24th September 2018

  • Nov/Dec 26th November 2018

PhotographyArticles should be accompanied with relevant digital photography, these need to be high resolution. Photographs taken with mobile phones are unlikely to be of sufficient quality to print in the magazine. Photographs should be 300dpi, generally this will be the case of the photograph size is greater than 1MB. Please ensure that you have permission to send us the photograph or advise us that the photograph needs to be credited to a photographer.

Advertise in Western Horse UK If you are interested in reaching an audience of active UK western riders and horse owners, please contact Mel Barber 01245 939001 mel@westernhorseuk.com

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Choose wisely and be strategic in your marketing plan

It has had brick-and-mortar newspapers, magazines and advertising firms reeling for years. The fear of being on a sinking ship has caused many traditional media outlets to utilize some sort of digital media in their everyday production. But, is the new digital age enough to truly sink print outlets once and for all?

Well, it depends on who you ask. B2Cprint Online Printing Solutions recently released statistics that show, although only 23% of interviewed consumers shared that they were print users who used digital media on a regular basis, 46% of them choose to merge print with digital. The key here is that no one is willing to cut print completely. In fact, the survey revealed that 63% of consumers favor newspapers and magazines over the 25% who choose to turn to the Internet.

With that in mind, the naysayers will argue that print circulations are down. This can be seen as a positive for print advertisers, who view this as evidence that the publication’s readership has been narrowed to those interested in a specific niche.

Andy Blau, senior vice president of finance and advertising at New York-based magazine publisher Time Inc. said print remains at the top of the food chain. “It’s really for establishing brand worthiness in the marketplace, for establishing the value for the brand, for communicating very broadly, with broad reach, to the right target audience.” This “purely brand advertising” has an advantage over digital alone, which is measured with click-throughs and conversion rates. Print, however, he said, remains cut and dry, and receives undivided attention from its readers. For those considering selling print ad space in the same way digital ads are sold? Don’t do it, says Blau. You will most certainly run the risk of eliminating the unique trait only print publishing can offer: Continuity of content.

But, does print really still have the highest return on investment? The International News Medical Association says it does. The company did away with the fact that more budgets are being spent on digital advertising than print and focused more on the end result. Magazines, it says, deliver outstanding performance, with a return of 130%, the highest ROI of all media outlets. It is the targeted approach of the advertising team that allows this channel to get more bang for their buck. Magazines give advertisers the opportunity to target sharply and to choose suitable editorial content around an advertisement.

AdWeek sums this up quite nicely, focusing on three main reasons print ads are actually becoming more effective in the growing digital age. They claim the brain is more likely to remember a print ad rather than one on a screen. A study demonstrated a print-exposed group’s brains showed higher activity in memory and preference. The article goes on to declare that print is more effective when combined with TV ads than a digital/TV combo, and shared proof that print ads raise sales and produce a positive ROI. The Print Magazine Sales Guarantee introduced by MPA tracks third-party data and encourages the purchase of a minimum of 150 GRPs with just one magazine over a year. Measureable outcomes include review time, stimulation, valuation and purchase/willingness to pay. Results revealed sales increases of between 2 percent and 47 percent, with an ROI of $7.45 for every $1 spent for companies like Kimberly-Clark and Tyson Foods.

So, yes, digital is the way to go – if you want a quick, easy way to communicate, but not when it comes to advertising. Choose wisely and be strategic in your marketing plan. Combine tactics to cover a wide range of readers and users, but don’t give up on the targeted effects of a print advertisement. 

November/December WHUK

It’s a wrap!

We’ve spent the weekend locked away in the office, putting the final touches to the November/December issue. Today, we hand all the articles over to the design team and from there, it will go to printers and mailers. The edition will land on doorsteps (and appear in your devices, if you use the digital app) the 2nd week of November.

This is one of our favourite issues of the year, as it includes the Champions Special. We have included updates from many of the associations and some great photos from LRG Photography and Figure 8.

We are delighted to have a substantial Showmanship article from Charlene Carter, in which she walks you through a pattern with some great tips for each manoeuvre -- nothing is left to chance.

Having covered Kate’s Yorkshire challenge in WHUK news in the run up to the event, we hear directly from Kate about the highs and lows of organising the challenge, which she successfully completed in October. There is still time to donate to the charities that Kate is collecting for: Dogs for the Blind and UK Kidney Patients Association.

 

“It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas”

This issue is the final issue before the last Christmas post, so it’s time for some serious shopping to make sure all of your pressies are delivered before Christmas. We have lots of gift ideas for you from our favourite UK western retailers.

 

Our much loved regulars

Al Dunning discusses the up and downs of showing horses and life-long learning.

Julie Goodnight talks about confidence and how to regain it when it is lost.

Richard Winters touches on the importance of understanding equine phycology.

 

Horsemanship Journal

Don’t forget to turn over and take a look at the Horsemanship Journal. We have two large features in this issue. The first is a thorough look at different methods of boarding horses to ensure their wellbeing. The second is a feature on the relatively new Cowboy Dressage movement. We were lucky enough to meet Eitan at his recent UK clinic.

 

Reader Survey

You may be wondering what the outcome of the reader survey was. Well, we are still accepting survey responses, so it is too soon to include updates in this issue. We are looking closely at the responses and have added questions based on feedback from readers. If you haven’t already completed the survey, there is still time and we'd love to hear your feedback.