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Tips & Tricks

Self-Syndication: Where Do I Start?

For a great many freelance writers, nothing is more satisfying than getting an article published. You’re happy with what you’ve written (hopefully!) and you’re anxious for readers to see your work.
Initially, the fact that your article is being published by one media outlet may be satisfying enough. But often times with the euphoria of knowing your work is being read comes the desire of having your work read by more people.
Naturally, the easiest way to build your readership is to write for a bigger publication, but in the ever-competitive world of journalism where full- or part-time writers at larger outlets are already trying to hold on to their jobs, freelance gigs at are not that easy to come by. But don’t despair: a realistic alternative is self-syndication, the roots of which may be growing in your own backyard.
To start, let’s say you’re a contributing writer who writes movie reviews for your local newspaper/website. Presuming that you’ve proven to be a valuable asset to your publication, it’s time to have a sit-down with the owner to see what sorts of options there are to syndicate your work.
The best place to start would be with an inquiry about what sort of additional publications your paper owns. Many small market weeklies also own shopper publications, and while shoppers are generally advertisement-based, they are a natural fit for feature article writers like movie reviewers.
Movie content may actually entice a prospective client like a movie theater to do business with the publication because they generally need to advertise on a weekly basis what films they are showing and what times they are playing. In short, the two components easily complement one another.
Having your reviews published in an additional publication like a shopper has several benefits. Suddenly, the review that was being read by a 1,000 circulation publication the week before is being read by a publication that is distributed to 10,000 people (shopper publications are generally free and distributed in all residents with a mailing address in the coverage area, on newsstands, and on the publication’s site). With that additional distribution, it’s entirely within reason for you to negotiate a higher fee for your work with the publisher.
While attaining that second publication to showcase your work is a big step, more opportunities to syndicate your work may be close within reach. Inquire with the owner of your newspaper if they own any additional news outlets and/or shoppers. If so, your circulation and distribution fee (for each additional publication) could rise dramatically.
When self-syndicating your work, it’s vital that you don’t limit yourself as to where the work can be published. The boundaries of the Internet are limitless, and in addition to thousands upon thousands of specialty sites, most traditional media outlets are represented there as well. Better yet, newspaper sites aren’t the only ones who feature written content. Television and radio sites — which, of course, stream video and audio content 24 hours a day — also tend to feature written content as a means to broaden the user experience.
For example, for the past 12 years, I have been associated with a platform of television station sites that utilizes print content in addition to video. Of course, I had the benefit of joining the company two years after it went online, when the network consisted of five sites. But as the Internet and the age of online media has grown, so has the network — which today syndicates my work to more than 70 sites nationwide.
So what are you waiting for? Put your passions to work and start writing. There are thousands of readers out there who can’t wait to read your next piece.

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