Getting your article printed in a magazine could be a waste of time…

Surely that’s not right? The whole point of writing an article and getting it published is to generate new sales and business, isn’t it? To achieve that though, you need to give very careful thought as to what you want the reader to do once they have read your article. You then need to make sure you tell them and make it easy for them. In marketing, this is known as the “call to action”.

The call to action, or CTA, will depend on your marketing objective, or what you’re trying to achieve with the article. If you don’t know what it is then this is where you must start before you even put pen to paper. There is no point getting an article published for vanity unless of course, you’re just trying to find your writer’s voice.

If you’re running a business think about how the article can help you achieve your business objectives and include a relevant CTA. If your aim is to increase the circulation of your email newsletter, then you need to suggest the person registers to receive it, tell them how they can do it and take care of the details behind the scenes, so it’s easy to do.

This might sound obvious, but lots of people write a great informative article and miss the opportunity of developing a relationship with the reader that could lead to sales.

Examples of different calls to action

Before we consider the contact details to include, here are a few suggested ideas of what your call to action might be:

- Register for an email newsletter

- Visit your stand at the show you’re exhibiting at

- Ring to place an order

- Get a quotation for work

- Follow you on social media

Depending on what you want the reader to do, will determine what information you need to give them in the article. The information you need to include in your article will largely be determined by the call to action.

For example, if you are exhibiting at a show, you need to give as much information about the show as possible. That would include the date, venue and location, your stand number, etc.

To give people a reason to come to your stand you might want to include a voucher giving a discount off items you have for sale, or you might offer entry into a free prize draw for anyone bringing the magazine to the stand.

Contact details

It’s good practice to give people a choice in the way they communicate with you. Some people may not want to phone but will happily fill in an online form. You need to make sure you have all the pieces of the jigsaw in place for each contact detail you offer, and of course, all details given need to be accurate as people will only give you one chance.

Email registration

If you want people to fill in their details online so you can contact them with details of events and offers in the future, then make sure you get the website URL or name, where they will do this, absolutely right in the article. If this is wrong, then you have entirely missed the opportunity. It is worth getting the page set up (if it isn’t already) before you submit your article. That way you can fill in one or two as a trial to ensure the notifications are coming through to you.

Phone numbers

It goes without saying that phone numbers have to be accurate, but remember to state the hours the phone will be manned. Don’t assume people will try and ring during office hours. They may ring in the evening or weekend and will expect the phone to be picked up if you haven’t stated the hours, e.g., Monday to Friday 9 to 5pm.

It’s always best to use a landline number rather than a mobile number, and of course, free phone numbers are best. If the phone used is also a personal phone you must make sure it is always answered professionally with the name of your business. Don’t give the number of a member of staff that could leave the business.

You could pay for a specialist call answering service if you’re not available to take calls. Lots of people are not comfortable leaving messages and may not give you a second chance if you don’t answer first time. It’s better than that you use a service and ensure that 100% of the messages get passed to you rather than only one in ten calls be answered.

If you can’t guarantee the phone will always be answered professionally and promptly, then you’re better not including the phone number at all, and just use an email address.

Email address

As with phone numbers, the email address you use must be accurate and regularly accessed to ensure the enquirer gets a prompt response. Again it should not be a personal email address but one which reflects what you do as a business.

Social media

Irrespective of your call to action, always include all your social media contact details. You may gain an extra follower even if the person has called you, so you have the ongoing opportunity for them to see your information. It also gives people the chance to find out more about you and what you do.

If you never look at Twitter though or your Facebook account hasn’t been updated since 2015, it’s better not to give them out at all.

Names

If you’re going to give out the names of your team in the article then obviously make sure the person is happy with that. Don’t give the names of anyone that is likely to leave in the near future and make sure their name is spelt correctly.

Website

Always include a website address that reflects the business you are promoting. For example, if you are offering adult specialist tuition, there is no point directing people to a website detailing lessons for children.

An article printed in the right publication could give your business an enormous boost, but only if you provide adequate attention to the call to action and how people can get in touch with you.

Theresa McCaffrey