The Value Of Feature Articles

Exploring a topic or company news through a press release is an effective, scattergun communication approach to getting publicity in the media. But putting your head above the parapet with an opinion piece or in-depth feature article placed in a leading publication in your targeted sectors can have an even greater impact.

In all industries right now, businesses are really feeling the pressure to stand out from the crowd. But SMEs can feel their B2B marketing efforts are being dwarfed by their bigger peers or competitors.

An exclusive feature article placed in the appropriate journal or media outlet is one area of B2B marketing with huge benefits for any business. A good pitch on a topic can ultimately result in a double-page spread and unlike advertorials or advertising is usually free as editors need to fill page space with interesting content.

A feature/opinion piece builds credibility in the marketplace and standing out has a lot to do with having a voice. One that differentiates you, resonates with your target audiences, and people trust. Better still is the ability to have an opinion that people want to return to.

What is a feature article?

Put simply, it’s a type of content marketing that plays to your passion, experience and expertise. You use it to discuss and share thoughts, informed expert opinion and insights with your target audiences – adding value. By propelling your experts into the spotlight, you can also drive the debate and thinking on hot topics – influencing your industry.

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What’s the value of features?

The benefits of features are:

  • Builds visibility, credibility and trust – for your company and for your people.
  • Gives you competitive edge.
  • Publicity opportunities.
  • Generates speaking and networking opportunities and industry influence.
  • Generates leads by directing traffic to your website.
  • Improves SEO.

How to pitch features to the media

You should be pitching and writing content for features as a key part of your marketing strategy. It may be beneficial to appoint an experienced writer as the work involved is both specialist and time-consuming. Don’t forget editors love high quality images to accompany the article, in fact the image can really make the article sing.

Editors frequently receive pitches, so you need to be creative, with snappy interesting straplines and opening content that clearly describes the subject matter is a must to grab the editor’s attention.

Sometimes a random pitch will hit the right mark at the right time but there is also software that you can access which will advise of forward features planned by publications well in advance of deadlines. Allotts uses this platform regularly to place our clients’ features in magazines where they want to be seen.

Pick your point of view

Choose what you want to talk about – make sure it’s a relevant topic that speaks to your audience. Then define your point of view and back it up with evidence, remembering to reference the sources. Try not to use your own company’s data. Use independent, credible evidence to avoid it looking like promotional content disguised as editorial. This will help you to gain rather than lose credibility.

Make sure that you stand for something and have a perspective that engages your targets rather than disengages them. That said, don’t be afraid to be different and stand out from the crowd – this is where the opportunities lie to add value. Original ideas, opinions and insight that help people to address their problems, or think and act differently are often the one’s that garner the most attention.

Allotts would also advocate using more than one spokesperson. It widens your appeal and reach and allows different experts to shine. Features, like press releases, will drive traffic to your website and could ultimately result in sales. A feature is a wonderful content marketing tool that’s beneficial in the short and long term.

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