A Guest Column – A Public Relations Triumph
So you hired a public relations agency, obviously you want publicity to get your name out there. To most people this means being interviewed on the phone or in person, for a print publication/website or on television. Then your agency calls; your local daily newspaper or your weekly business magazine wants you to write a guest column. What a great opportunity!
A guest column is a public relations triumph because writing your own article allows you to control the message. And while being interviewed by a reporter is great—reporters say what THEY want say and highlight what THEY think is important. Also, there is usually more than one source quoted in an article for a balanced view of the topic. This is as it should be. A guest column is different and does not always have to be balanced; it gives you the opportunity to say things in your own way; it is what YOU say it is.
But, you have never written a guest column before, where do you start. While a guest column does require some work, it is worth it.
Here are a few tips to follow to make the process easier.
Don’t Promote – the fact that you have the guest column will be promotion enough. Do not treat the column like a marketing opportunity. Simply, share knowledge about a topic that you know about or is of interest to you.
Tell a story – Use an actual experience where you learned a lesson. Relaying something that you actually went through will make the writing easier and will probably be more interesting to the reader.
Get to the point – While you want to make the column entertaining, you are not writing the next great American novel. You will often be limited in the number of words you can use, as most columns will have a maximum word count, which varies by media outlet.
Okay, so now that you understand the value, the next time your public relations agency calls you with a guest column opportunity get excited. It is a triumph, one that you will be grateful for in the long run.