The February 2006 issue of Senior Market Advisor magazine includes an article headlined “Get Noticed,” which includes tips from The Publicity Hound and other experts on how to spread the word about your company.
It includes a topic that I want to warn you about: mass-produced “columns” or articles, usually written by a big company’s PR department, then sold to its franchisees, or written by a trade association that sells the columns to its own members.
The columns can be used in your own print or online newsletters, or offered to local newspaper and magazine editors.
Sometimes, whoever is offering the columns promises they’ll give you exclusivity in your own market so that if you’re an insurance agent and you offer the column to your local Daily Tattler, for example, the newspaper won’t receive an identical column from another insurance agent in your market.
I’m a former newspaper editor, and I hate these columns, for several reasons:
—If you want to use them in your own newsletters that are going only to your clients, that’s your business. But never, ever offer them to newspapers or magazines and try to pass them off as original. If the editor learns that somebody else wrote them, you’re in deep doo-doo.
—Getting caught will pretty much keep you out of that publication forever.
—There are far too many ways the editor can find out that the column you wrote is the same one that has appeared in eight other newspapers.
—I’ve seen lots of examples of these articles, many of which are poorly written.
—The best local columnists write about local issues. These articles are generic, with no local angle whatsoever.
As the article in Senior Market Advisor states, nothing can take the place of original material. (Go to TradePub.com and you might qualify for a free subscription to Senior Market Advisor.)