How Print Editorial Standards Differ from Online Standards

By: Bill Platt

Article writing has become an increasingly popular tool for those who are exploring online advertising opportunities for their businesses. Online business managers and owners will either sit down to write their own articles, or they will hire a ghostwriter to help them with their online article writing activities.

Once the article is written, the article can be distributed online to ezine publishers, bloggers, websites and article directories. The people, who choose to republish the articles that are made available to them through the Free Reprint Rights market, use the articles and provide the author's personal bio (resource box) with the article. The online publishers honor the Reprint Rules for the article, by providing a live link back to the author's website, with the publication of the article.

Introduction to Online Editorial Standards

Many websites and online article directories exist solely to create a platform for displaying Adsense and other advertising systems, in order to generate revenue for the website or directory owner. In order for the website owner to earn more money, the website owner must serve more page views, which hosts its advertising messages, and this generally requires for the website to host more pages of content.

As a result, many article directory managers and (non-corporate) website owners are most concerned with stocking their websites with content - any content. As a result, editorial standards vary widely according to the website's owner.

Some webmasters have no editorial standards, although these webmasters are few and far between.

The remaining webmasters have certain minimum standards, which may include: no links in the body of the article; no affiliate links in the resource box; no more than two links in the resource box; and minimum word counts for articles submitted to them. The important thing to note about the webmasters, who do employ editorial standards on their websites, is that editorial decisions are generally made in sixty seconds or less. There is not a lot of time allotted to ensure that an article presents its point well or that good grammar was used in the presentation of the article.

Common Article Writing Strategies For Online Publication

Many writers, who write articles for Internet publication, still frequently focus more on the online advertising aspect of articles, than they do on the art of writing information articles.

Structurally, article writing when it is meant for online publication, is simple. Most writers find that they have a few simple goals. Frequently, the skill and the dedication of the writer to the reader can be measured by how many of these three goals they attempt to incorporate into their articles:

1. Creating articles that provide just enough information - in digestible chunks - to get indiscriminate publishers to reprint the article, permitting the article author to gain more inbound links for his or her website (developing Link Popularity);

2. Including keywords and key phrases so that those, who are using search engines to look for information on the topic will find their articles and, hopefully, click through to the writer's website (addressing the search engine user's desire for specific knowledge);

3. Writing articles that will go viral - articles that will impress readers so much that they want to share the article with everyone they know or associate (delivering on the reader's desire to be educated or inspired).

Common Article Writing Strategies For Print Publication

On the other hand, writing articles that are meant for print - article writing that is targeted towards newspapers, magazines and trade journals - is not simply a matter of getting words onto the page. Instead, writing articles for print requires a greater understanding of article composition, of spelling and grammar and of providing the information that readers want to read, in the format that editors want to see it.

Print articles require that the writer will concentrate on print editorial standards, which do vary from one publication to the next. Prior to the advent of the Internet, writers bought the yearly Writer's Market book (http://www.WritersMarket.com) to get the scoop on what kinds of content magazine editors were looking to publish, how much the magazine was willing to pay for an article, who to contact at a publication to get their editorial guidelines, and whom to send articles. Most editors requested and expected the writer to read the editor's magazine to develop an understanding of how to structure an article to match the magazines style and flavor.

Business professionals, who desire to make the transition of writing articles for the Internet to writing articles for print publications, need to understand is that it's more than simply editorial standards that differ. The content of the article - as well as the ways in which that information is presented - will be different for those articles meant for print, than those used for online advertising.

On one hand, the reason for this is that many print editors look at keyword articles and see that there is more of an emphasis placed on inserting the keywords, than on providing information to the readers. Likewise, many print editors look at those articles written for online advertising and see - at best - filler pieces.

Print publications may include lists of the reasons why a product or service is great, but not as an article. Additionally, if they do choose to provide a review of a product or service, they will seldom highlight a provider of that product or service, if the provider is not one of their advertising customers.

It's for these reasons that writing articles for print publication requires more research, a greater understanding of what readers will be looking for when they pick up a magazine, as well as clear text that takes the reader on a journey - however brief - from the knowledge that they had initially, to a new level of understanding once they have finished reading.

Ultimately, writing articles for print publication requires an understanding that the article - not advertising - is the goal. The goal is to write articles that focus on the needs of readers - above the needs of the writer.

Step Up To A Higher Standard

Using reprint articles as a vehicle to get a link to one's website, on a third-party website, is a tried-and-true method for building one's link popularity.

Writing an article that will attract readers and answer the readers' questions can generate clicks to one's website, if that article is interesting enough to keep the readers' attention to the end of the article.

Taking the extra time and making the extra effort to write an article that will educate its readers, and perhaps even inspire its readers; will enhance the likelihood of that article going viral, thereby generating hundreds of extra links and thousands of extra visitors to the article author's website.

The threshold for getting published on the Internet is much lower than it is for getting published in print. But, for the average Internet marketer, that is a good thing. The Internet allows for us to sharpen our pencils and hone our skills in writing articles that appeal to publishers and influence readers.

Print media publishers want writers to understand the: who, what, where, when, why and how of the story being told. They want writers to create a story that has a clear beginning, middle and end. They want writers who can tell stories that answer specifically to the needs of their readers.

Why Internet Marketers Should Embrace The Higher Standard

If we Internet marketers, as article writers, hold ourselves to a higher standard, we may discover that we are well positioned to leverage our article marketing skills for the benefit of print media publishers. We may also find that print editors may be open to our providing a really short personal biography at the end of our article that highlights the URL of our website.

Imagine just how much our website's credibility and traffic could be enhanced if we can start seeing our articles appearing in print publications. This possibility will remain an untouchable dream, until we, as individual writers, decide to produce articles that meet the higher standard that print media editors expect us to meet.


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