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How to Use Article Reprints

Helen Wilkie

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I used to put reprints of my articles in the packages I sent to prospective clients, but now that people are relying more on my Web site and I rarely send packages, I'm not getting as much mileage out of the articles. How are other speakers using their articles now that paper packages are less in demand?

-- Marilynn Mobley

You are correct that the paper kit is quickly disappearing altogether, but you can still take advantage of article reprints. Most publications now offer a reprint fee that includes Web usage. Some even offer a special reprint fee for exclusive Web usage without the printed price. I encourage you to seek permission to reprint your articles on your site.

Additionally, many times publications will post printed articles on their sites. When that happens, you can link from your site to the article site. On my site, I post a summary of the article and a link where possible.

Most people rarely read an entire article about you. But it impresses them that you've been quoted or profiled by the media. So don't worry that you aren't sending paper. It's all about credibility and you can build that on your site as well as you can by making copies and mailing articles.

-- Rochelle Balch

I list everything on my Web site, but I stopped reprinting articles a couple of years ago. No one asks for a "packet" of info anymore. And I direct them to my Web site anyway.

-- Beth Terry

Try uploading your articles (if you are the one who wrote them, not just quoted in them) onto your Web site. Make sure the magazine or newspaper knows you own it by putting your copyright on the manuscript. That way if they try to claim it is theirs, I tell them it was already copyrighted and I was giving them permission to reprint part of my work. Have a phone conversation with any print media that printed your work just to be sure.

-- Ethel Cook

What I do is post articles on my Web site -- as do many other speakers that I know. It offers content for guests to the site and highlights areas of expertise. When people request information, I often send them to the site. Works great! You might also ask the publisher for permission to post and to create the PDF for you. I found that it was a lot cheaper than paying for reprints.

-- Laura Benjamin

I'm having great success driving subscribers to my Web site and electronic newsletter by giving professional associations permission to reprint my articles and newsletter excerpts in THEIR online newsletters. The trick is, I approach them, rather than waiting for them to approach me. I also use my articles as supplemental handouts at presentations.

-- Stephanie West Allen

I would recommend the free teleseminar on marketing with articles given by Julie Jordan Scott (the master of article marketing). Info at www.5passions.com/articlewriting.html or by autoresponder. Send a blank e-mail to MagneticArticleClass@sendfree.com

-- Bill Lampton

The main use I make of my articles now: When someone buys my book at a book signing (I have done 55 of them) I say, "Thanks for your interest in the book. I have a special gift for those who buy this book today. Here's a copy of an article that offers some more useful tips."

Book purchasers appreciate this surprise benefit. Along with the article, I give each buyer my business card, and invite them to sign up for my monthly email newsletter.

-- Jenny Hamby

Here's an idea: post your articles on your Web site in a resource section. This will allow you to get mileage out of the articles, give away "free" information, plus save you postage and reprint costs.

-- Patrick Lee

Although this doesn't have to do specifically with articles (I have many published articles, but none that pertain to my speaking business.), it has a bit to do with psychology. I think people want to hold things in their hands, things that represent an effort by someone to make a connection.

The packet I send to prospective clients contains little more information than is already on my Web site. So why do I send it?

  1. So they can hold it in their hands, a tangible connection, however fleeting, between them and me.
  2. I just bet most of them have manila folders labeled "Speakers" (or consultants, authors, etc.) I want my stuff to go into that folder. I doubt they're going to print pages from my Web site.
  3. When they go into a meeting to discuss speaker selections, are they going to call up every Web site and have everyone in the meeting crowd around the monitor, squinting to see what's there? Of course not! They're going to take their "Speaker" file, where they've crammed all the stuff that made the initial cut, and pass it around the table. I want to be in that stuff!
  4. I have some nice looking material, particularly a postcard that is quite impressive, the impression of which cannot be conveyed on the Web site. I want them to look at it and think, "This is very nice!"
  5. I send it in an invitation-size envelope, so it's different from anything else they're receiving. The paper quality is very good. I hand address it. It practically screams, "OPEN ME!"
  6. I want to do what others are not doing. If less and less things come through the mail, then it's possible that what does come through the mail gets more scrutiny, particularly if it attracts attention. The fact that you're getting less response from Web-based inquiries than you used to get with your packages tells me your buying public isn't paying as much attention to things on the Web as we would like to believe.

I hear the word relationship used so often and to describe so many connections that it almost makes me gag. (Twenty-five years ago, the buzz phrase was "spheres of influence." We just call it something different now.) But relationships are important. People want them, need them. If you ask me for information, and I tell you, "It's on my Web site," that response is almost anti-relationship. Have I not said, in effect, "I have posted that information out there where anyone -- everyone -- can see it. Go look for yourself. But know this: I don't regard you as any more important than countless other millions who can access the same information. Good luck."

To me, there's a world of difference between that and taking a minute or two to hand-address an envelope, put some of my valuable information along with a personal note in that envelope, stamp it and mail it. Is it more time-consuming? You bet. Is it more expensive? Yes. (I spend quite a bit with the beleaguered USPS.) Is it effective? I can't prove to you it is, but for all the reasons above, I believe it to be. Is it personal? Yes. Is it relationship-building, what everyone says we must do? I think so.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions