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Best Practices for Developing an External Publishing Partnership

Thunderfoot Team

A little extra attention to detail goes a long way in developing cross-company publishing relationships.

You may already be aware that a robust content strategy must include thoughtful development and promotion of material for your company’s website, blog, and social feeds. But did you know that linking up with external organizations can also be a great way to reach new people with your content, and ultimately bolster interest in your offered services?

Securing a partnership with a leading industry magazine or website can diversify and build your audience, acting as a form of highly targeted advertising without the big-ad budget. Develop meaningful external publishing partnerships with these guidelines from Shayna Robinson, L&T’s Public Relations Manager.

Get Social

As Robinson puts it, “social media is a great way to interact with editors and publications to build up your ‘cred’ with them before asking for syndication or a publishing spot.” By sharing a potential partner’s content or commenting with insightful remarks, not only are you demonstrating that you’re invested in their voice and work as a company; you’re also putting your company on their radar.

What’s more, staying attuned to their brand voice will enable you to create content that matches their tone, style, and audience needs — and in turn, up your chances of securing placement on their platform.

Robinson also mentions that Buzzsumo can “be a great tool to initially locate influencers and publications you want to be pitching to, while remaining aware of trends in your industry.” Getting the scoop on what’s trending among thought leaders in your industry will help you tailor your content (especially if you’re still in the ideation and pitching phase), increasing your chances of being picked up by third party publications.

Remember: Editors Are People Too

Rather than approaching a pitch by focusing solely on the needs of your own company, try to put yourself in the shoes of your potential partner brand (and editor) first. What will this process be like for them? What holes in their editorial calendar will they need to fill?

“Developing relationships and maintaining a personal approach will truly further your content syndication strategy,” says Robinson, so “work on developing relationships before and after pitching content and trying to secure placements.” By being considerate of deadlines and responsive to feedback, you’ll get to know the editors and journalists you’re pitching content to while also laying the foundation for a solid, long-term working relationship.

Know Their Rules

Before moving forward in a partnership, make sure both parties understand the needs and expectations of the other. It’s as simple as asking, but important to know.

“Some publications don’t accept syndicated content and require exclusive rights to the piece,” says Robinson. Others may require a set amount of time before a piece can be republished, either on your blog or a third party website.

Know Their Audience

Before you even pitch to a third party, Robinson urges you to “be mindful of the topics the publication covers, who their audience is, and the content requirements they have in terms of length, style, and tone.” For example, if you’re a tech startup looking for opportunities to grow brand awareness through a partnership with another company, your time probably won’t be best spent approaching a food website unless there’s an extraordinarily relevant reason to do so.

Say you instead develop a successful partnership with a tech-focused news site. Guess what? It’s still important that the content you produce for them flows naturally alongside their original content. Before finalizing and pitching a piece, consider: does your content match their length requirements? Tone? General style and formatting? Checking all the boxes before you submit your piece increases the likelihood of a smooth publication process.

Prioritize Content First

While you’ll almost definitely pursue a publishing partnership for the sake of promoting your own company’s services, it’s still important to put the content and the needs of your host site first. “External and third party publications want interesting, traffic-generating, shareable content, not an elevator pitch for your company,” says Robinson.

To accomplish the right balance, don’t hesitate to modify blog content if you usually rely heavily on calls-to-action or self-promotion. As Robinson reminds us: “If your content is good, people will come to know your name and your brand by association.”

As you begin to reach out to external publications, keep these tips in mind. With a considerate, thoughtful, and intentional approach, you’ll set yourself up for meaningful, long-lasting — and mutually beneficial — publishing partnerships.