In my first six months as a marketing director for a trade show and media company, I was asked to take over the reigns for one of their trade magazine editors whose position was declared “redundant.” At the time, they knew they could bully me into taking on the extra duties without extra money because they knew I loved to write and wanted to write more for my job. Although I was unsuccessful in negotiating for better compensation – damn cheap Brits! – it was my first real writing gig and I would seize the opportunity.
It was the Summer of 2008, and the timing could not have been any better. The magazine was called Off-Price, a quarterly rag for what was originally called the Off-Price Specialist Show, a satellite event for Las Vegas Fashion Week each February and August. Over 90% of the exhibitor base was Jewish: half were Askhenazis from New York, the other half were primarily from various Middle Eastern tribes living and doing business in L.A. As one could imagine, these guys had some amazing stories!
I got to interview Holocaust survivors, guys who met Jackie Robinson during their childhoods in Brooklyn, and guys who once served in the Israeli Army. I also got to learn about the latest trends in off price fashion. During that horrible year when the economy was in recession, it was women’s accessories that were keeping a lot of stores afloat. And with all the changes taking place in the off price market – as many merchandisers had already shifted from jobbing to sourcing partners from southeast Asian manufacturers who could help them deliver fashions at below wholesale prices.
I still have a treasure trove of these articles, which came from rich interviews. I felt like Studs Terkel, and got the inspiration to write about the history of the New York garment district. But each and every one of us have an amazing story to tell – most of us just don’t know it.
Whether it’s an industry trade publication, a local business magazine, or a company newsletter, a well-written article can have as strong of an impact as the most compelling video, if you know how to appeal to the aches, pains and desires of your target audience.
Ghostwriting for Editorials
Editorials can have an even bigger impact, especially when a thought leader from your organization submits a carefully-crafted editorial to a local newspaper or trade publication. In my capacity as a local legislator, I recently wrote an editorial – re-purposed from a blog – for our local newspaper about the recent school shootings in our city that had a far-reaching effect well beyond my imagination. Derived from Robert F. Kennedy’s “Mindless Menace of Violence” speech, I went to church the next day and discovered that my pastor had printed copies for the parishioners to grab on their way out. He even referenced it in his sermon. People who don’t even live in my legislative district asked if they could make donations to my campaign. And I was approached by local “influencers” who asked me to run for higher office.
Adding editorials to your communications strategy shows strong corporate citizenship and a willingness to connect with your neighbors and customers in a community-centric capacity. What is your message to the communities you serve? We can help.