Here is how you, as a digital media communicator can develop and write a business plan. This plan helps to enable you to make an informed decision about which type of online writing and information repackaging business makes the best fit.
You can combine resume writing with writing business correspondence, write grant proposals, or a wide variety of business and personal letters. The first step is to outline the product or service you may be interested in marketing.
Ask yourself what need the service satisfies. Write down a physical description of the product; how and where are you going to create it? Can you describe it for potential customers? How and where are you going to run your business?
One of the most important elements of a business plan is assessment of the competition. By studying your competitors, you can discover how your product or service will represent an improvement over existing products and services. You can create variations that fill a community or national need.
Your idea may be something entirely new. Include in your plan the imaginative services you have created. For example, suppose you want to write pet eulogies and sell the poetry on framed plaques to pet cemeteries and pet owners. This is one way you could generate an innovative product on your word processor. If you have designed a product, such as mailing lists compiled at nine cents a name, and feel your low-cost service does the same job as a more expensive service, use this as your selling point.
Your writing and information packaging online enterprise or home-based business plan should include the methods and the results of the research as well as sources of information used to determine whether or not a market exists for your product. You may use a good marketing-research software program in your computer, one that composes questionnaires and surveys and tabulates data and other information necessary to a marketing plan.
A program as part of your business plan should be able to give you figures regarding the competition and the number of potential users for your product or service. Are there customers out there who need what you’re selling? Is the field swamped with businesses doing the same thing?
Market research should back up your sales projections. After you have written a marketing research plan, create a marketing plan. Here you explain how your product is to be sold. Are you going to have a sales force working for you, or are you working at home alone, using your word processor and telephone?
Will you have distributors working on commission or on salary putting your product in the stores? What kind of advertising and promotion program are you going to develop for your business? Have any clients given you orders in advance? These are all questions to consider and research carefully.
Marketing plans need to include your background and that of anyone working with you, such as business partners or salespersons. Include here all the information that normally goes into the resumes of your key people and yourself. Particularly important is experience.
You or key people in your business have been able to run projects and garner profits, for example, or have performed fund-raising or leadership for volunteer work. Generate on your word processor an organizational chart that graphically shows areas of responsibility. Indicate how each person relates to others in your business.
Create profit-and-loss statements and cash flow projections for the next five years. Computer programs exist that can work up this information for you from data you supply. You will then be able to judge how much money you will need to run your business. This type of forecasting may prevent you from risking undercapitalization in the first or second year of your business.
These figures will also tell you when you can expect the business to break even and how profits will grow over a period of time. Software is available that can show you the potential growth of your business, based on three sets of sales assumptions: low, expected, and better-than-planned.
Check your computer printouts with your accountant or with a programmer with an accounting background for ways in which your program can be individualized or customized to your business. The business plan should be printed out on your computer using a word-processing program. You can package it in a loose-leaf binder.
A disclaimer on your first page should state that this is your business plan and not a brochure or a prospectus to sell stocks or other securities in your company. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires special treatment of prospectuses and imposes penalties on anyone distributing unregistered prospectuses in the mail.
If your business plan is going to be used to obtain financial backing, you should contact your backers in person. Include a table of contents in your business plan and divider tabs for the various sections.
Do You Really Need Bankers Lawyers Accountants, And Insurance Agents To Start A Business?
The person working alone, with only the investment in a personal computer, printer, telephone, and paper supplies, may not be able to afford professional services in the beginning. Software programs exist for bookkeeping. Computer-theft insurance costs are low. Bankers may help you start a pension plan even though they may not agree to loan you money yet.
A credit union may be able to help you with a small loan to buy equipment. The best way to locate experts is to find satisfied customers and ask them to recommend professionals who have done good work over a long period of time. You should be aware of the services you require for your individual needs. Comparison-shop until you find professionals hired by businesses similar to yours.
Do you need special services from an attorney? Are you planning to incorporate? It’s very important to explore the tax and legal ramifications of starting your own business as well as your personal liability before you open your doors. Are you going to be the sole owner or a partner? Would you prefer to incorporate and have limited liability?
Ask your attorney questions such as these: What methods can I use to raise money? Can I issue stock? What’s the best location for my business for tax purposes if I incorporate? What should I know about bankruptcy laws?
Do I need agreements drawn up for financing? You can find a lawyer through The Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory, which rates attorneys and describes their specialties. The Small Business Administration is a source of free information. It will also refer you to attorneys.
If you need an accountant, you should expect service that clears up your questions about how much money is coming in and going out. You will be asked to provide the figures needed for a balance sheet. The accountant’s experience is financial. He or she cannot give you legal advice or advice on marketing or running your business, but you can expect assistance in preparing your business plan.
Profit-and-loss projections based on estimates of future revenues can be prepared by your computer using accounting software programs or can be prepared manually by an accountant for an hourly fee of $75 to $100. The accountant can set up your payroll, prepare your tax returns, and provide financial advice, but you have the option of purchasing software programs that also do payroll and prepare tax returns.
Software can’t certify your statements were prepared by an accountant or give you financial advice regarding hiring salaried employees or independent contractors. Accountants can advise you on the best use of your money.
Tax-preparation software or an accountant is also tax deductible, but you’ll have a hard time deducting a $500 computer tax program this year if last year you spent $40 to have a tax-preparer do your tax return. You can ask the society in your state that certifies accountants to recommend one if you choose not to do your own accounting.
You will also need to know how to plan a budget. Your computer is capable of creating spread sheets–the process of organizing figures in columns so calculations can be made logically. Spread-sheeting on computers is useful for budgeting, but it can handle more tasks.
You may use electronic spread-sheet programs to determine the return on investments, including stocks, bonds, and real estate, or to monitor power consumption on home energy-management devices. A change in one area on a spread-sheet automatically triggers a recalculation of every related value. You can work up sales forecasts, long-range product plans, income tax, and home budgeting on spread sheets.
Other accounting functions may be performed on your computer. You can generate ledger reports, pay employees, and keep track of accounts receivable and payable as well as inventory. Data-base management is defined as keeping track of information; data-base management software can handle any task from the location of coins in a coin collection to the tracking of information in the personnel files of a corporation. A data-base program can act as your “accountant,” track articles published in magazines, or chart inventories in warehouses.
Your banker can help you to increase your credibility as a borrower of money. A banker provides advice about obtaining loans and capitalization, establishing credit, starting checking accounts, preparing tax and financial reports if you don’t have an accountant, and finding computerized banking services, automatic payroll services, and corporate cash management.
Insurance agents can sell you theft insurance for your computer and peripheral equipment and insure your software programs against damage or loss. Your insurance agent can counsel you about workman’s compensation, social security, and state disability. He or she can help you prepare for your changing insurance needs in health insurance, employee benefits, and casualty insurance. Personal referrals are the best way to select an insurance agent.
Where to Get Free Business Advice and Low-Interest Loans
The Small Business Administration may be able to assist you in setting up your business. This organization offers management assistance, checklists, and free booklets. Management-assistance conferences are run frequently, and individual counseling programs are offered. The SCORE organization, made up of retired executives, can help with individual business advice and counseling sessions. You can find a local office by checking your telephone book under “United States Government: Small Business Administration.” The headquarters is located at 1441 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20416.
In addition to offering advice, the Small Business Administration grants loans to retail businesses and service companies. SBA offers different loan programs with varying interest rates. Types of loans offered include direct loans, guaranty loans, and economic opportunity loans. Direct loans are based on a company’s track record, a good business plan, rejection notices from two banks or finance firms, and the fact that your own money is invested in your business. The SBA usually loans up to four times what you already have invested in your business.
A guaranty loan comes from a commercial bank, but 90 percent of it is insured by the SBA Economic Opportunity Loans are loans to disadvantaged persons, who can borrow a maximum of $50,000 to be repaid within fifteen years with interest below what is charged by most banks. Due to a shortage of funds, there is great competition for these loans and may take several months to process.
The Office of Minority Business Enterprise of the U. S. Commerce Department assists small minority-owned businesses. This organization offers workshops on how to prepare a business package and other management or technical issues. Its headquarters is located at the U. S. Department of Commerce, Main Commerce Building, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230.
The Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Commerce Department maintains a dozen EDA research centers to provide management and technical assistance to small businesses. You can obtain free help there in putting together loan packages or finding capital.
To find the center nearest you, contact the EDA regional offices in your state. You should also check with your state commerce departments and city chambers of commerce, which conduct free business seminars.
Publications are a good source of information. The “Standard Rate and Data Service” publishes the title, Business Publication Rates and Data. This monthly publication lists all industry periodicals by type of business.
Dun and Bradstreet issues business-credit publications; key business ratios; analyses of the cost of doing business for corporations, partnerships, or proprietorships; failure records; and accounts of the pitfalls in small-business administration. Write to Dun and Bradstreet, Department of Public Relations and Advertising, 99 Church Street, New York, NY 10007.
Also check out SAIC codes on the Internet. These codes are a guide to other businesses that may be hiring. Check their hiring processes and their expansion data to find out which direction they are growing. Expansion of similar businesses and the demography of their customers may help you focus your business plan on a target market or niche customer base/audience.
In the private sector venture-capital groups invest equity and become part owners in your business. Small Business Investment Companies are licensed by the Small Business Administration to invest money and provide management services.
Some of these venture-capital groups can be found through banks. The Small Business Investment Companies grant long-term loans, purchase debt securities, or combine equity and loan financing. One of these companies may purchase equity in your firm, but it will own part of your business.
Sell Solutions to Problems
Steps to Marketing Your Business to the Digital Media as You Sell Reports Offering Solutions to Problems
1. In order to find out which trade journals are being published so you can sell your new business information to them, go to your Alta Vista search engine and type in “Standard Industrial Codes.”
You’ll find a list of Web sites full of databases of Standard Industrial Codes for industries of varying dates and locations. See the site, “Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System Search – OSHA.”
You want to begin searching your local area for Standard Industrial Codes (SICs) for the current year. Many of the codes on the Web are not yet current because they come from the databases of a variety of sources from different universities’ databases to private research firms.
Use your Internet search engines to check out the Standard Industrial Classification Search where you can search the 1987 version SIC manual by keyword, to access descriptive key words. However, what happened in 1987 won’t be relevant to the new media today.
For more current data, click onto the Standard Industrial Classifications at the U.S. Small Business Administration approved SIC codes put online by the Wilkins Group, Inc. Unfortunately, many of the SIC Codes on the Web received its 8(a) Certification from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 1993. Look for databases online that have many years of the SBA’s participation.
Still, online websites for SIC codes may not be in the location you want, or the company you’re seeking may have less than 50 employees and will not be listed in the SIC Codes. You might want to try CSGSD SIC Codes. The CSGSD SIC Codes Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC Codes) is a small, online woman-owned corporation as classified by the Small Business Administration.
It’s on the Web. See sites such as “Sic Code Directory – About.com,”Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System Search – OSHA,” and “Free NAICS & SIC Code Lookup – NAICS Association.”
You can use the Standard Industrial Classification Code Finder on the Web. You also can reach it at the University of Virginia gopher in their social science department. If you’d prefer a timely SIC update, try the private company databases such as Vivamus Concepts Inc. for SIC Index Standard Industrial Codes. Vivamus offers a “Numerical Order” for its SIC codes which is a common method of classifying businesses or industries by type.
Check out the old 1987 Standard Industrial Classification Codes there. What’s nice about Vivamus Concepts Inc. is their Alphabetical SIC Index, the Vivamus Concepts Inc. Alphabetical SIC Index Standard Industrial Codes in Alphabetical Order. I like looking up codes alphabetically as compared to other databases that list by numerical codes. Alphabetical codes are a common method of classifying businesses or industries by type. The alphabetical format follows the 1987 Standard.
Also, you can look at the Major Divisions and Groups within the SIC Codes. Not only businesses of 50 or more employees are listed by their standard industrial classification codes on the Web. You can find the same information the old fashioned way at your public library. Librarians can be of tremendous help.
What if you don’t want business classification codes for selling your writing to the new media because you write sports articles or books?
If you write about athletes or sports, you might try the Athlete Agent; Codes and Standards, Division of; Commercial Coach Plan Approval (Dept. Housing & Com. Dev.); Exemption Permits (Industrial Relations); Factory Built Housing Plan Approval.
When you do a search under “Standard Industrial Codes,” what also may come up on the menu is the “Athlete Agent, Codes and Standards”. So on the Web, you can find under the SIC menu, codes and standards for commercial coach plan approvals from the Department of Housing and Commercial Development. If you’re writing for the athletic trade journals, it’s a good source to search out on the Web to find publications for your writing.
In beginning a search to market writing for the new media, the first step is to find the Standard Industrial Code (Sic). For every industry there’s a standard industrial code. You look up the SIC code number in the library. The code numbers tell you what companies have 50 or more employees.
You find the companies in your city or any other city that way. From then, you find out whether any of the companies in your specialty or niche writing focus has a publication or subscribes to a trade journal. If there is no trade journal and there’s a business with more than 50 employees in it listed, here’s your chance to start a digital trade journal or work with another person who might start one, with you doing the writing either at home or elsewhere.
Your first step would be to find all the new trade publications for the digital media and companies in the online media.
Some have “house organs” which are employee newsletters. Many employee newsletter publications hire freelance or staff writers, whereas other house organs publish magazines for the digital media equipment and software user.
Library-located industrial publications and related volumes have always been in databases on disks since libraries became computerized. Look up the Standard Industrial Codes for each type of business in the new media. From the Standard Industrial Codes, you can find out whether each type of business listed has its own trade journal yet.
If the industry, occupation, or niche does not have its own trade journal, you can either create your own new media or print trade newsletter or journal, or find out which trade journals accept freelance articles by querying the editor. There are thousands of industrial codes for each business type listed, and within each type of business are the lists of trade journals.
Most of those trade journals and newsletters or other periodicals representing doing business will buy timely, up front material with sales and how-to tips and strategies. That’s the first way most businesses learn about what the competition is doing in real time.
The best way to meet prospective buyers of your writing is to attend new media trade shows. Vendors and salespersons are eager to pass your query letters onto the editors of their publications.
The two best subjects to write about are human resources and new media products, especially how a low-tech industry such as a hotel chain uses the Internet and its equipment and products. This timely information in the form of features articles, case histories, and marketing tips can be sold to trade journals in the booming telecommunications equipment industry. Attend trade show conferences such as the TCA (Telecommunications) and the new media product conventions.
Marketing your work to which potential audiences
2. If you want to sell writing to the new media, contact hiring managers of major corporations. You’re not there to get a job and not to do an informational interview either. You’re there to market your writing to their electronic markets. Therefore, the quotes you want to get for other trade journals is to find out what the hiring manager needs to find as that person focuses on the higher levels of management.
3. If you’re writing for computer-oriented publications or e-zines, track user groups. Use “user groups” and ask to be mentored. Create an electronic newsletter of your own full of interviews and share it with editors of a wide variety of publications and book publishers. Focus on who’s moving within the new media and cutting-edge timely strategies. Quantify everything you write. It’s the best way to market your writing to the new media. Write, “they did this and it added this number to that company’s productivity.” Ask your mentor, “how would you define the skill set of whomever or whatever you are looking for–in a person or product?”
4. Regarding market writing in the new media, you have only one goal: to solve information management problems for people in organizations. You solve the problems not by your own expertise in a subject, but by interviewing experts who are solving problems, and you get good quotes that actually provide information that solve problems for other businesses in the new media.
The first step in marketing your writing is to know exactly what kinds of problems you’re going to solve. Only you won’t solve them alone. The people you interview will. You’re really not marketing your writing to the new media at all when you do. You’re actually selling solutions to problems.
Whether you write resumes or business letters, your goal is to sell solutions to problems to your clients.
Digital media editors want to buy solutions to problems and nothing else. It doesn’t change when you’re interviewing a billionaire about her lifestyle or when you’re writing a book on the success secrets of the efficient executive. To sell you’re nonfiction writing to the new media (the digital information industry), first find out what those problems are that the clients of businesses who read those trade journals have. Then find out what’s going to make that reader/client/business owners think that you are uniquely qualified.
Assuming you’re not uniquely qualified, but the expert you interview and obtain quotes from is, the body of your article or book should discuss information that comes from the source that has experience solving the same problems your clients have. Your clients are periodical and book editors who have now gone online, or new digital information producers. Learn what makes the people you interview successful. Then market the current facts and theories that make them successful to the new media. How do you market those facts of success? Define intersecting questions.
5. What new technology helped you? The act of defining intersecting questions gives you the kind of answers and quotes you want to see in print or online in digital publication.
Ask the following questions of the person you’re interviewing for digtal media
1. What’s the timeliest knowledge you have that made you successful now?
2. Where is your hidden experience?
3. Who are some former clients who really profited or liked what you did for them?
4. What new technology helped you? The key to selling your writing to the new media is learning all about what makes the person you interview successful. So ask those you interview for an article or book to tell you exactly what kinds of problems that individual has solved for which kind of clients.
How to market your success stories
When you interview the experts, ask them to illustrate the points of business, the hindsight, pitfalls, feedback, tips and strategies that will help their readers (the competition, perhaps). Only you’re selling the readers as those who will buy products from the person you interview, not open up competing businesses or take away.
Don’t emphasize scarcity and rivalry in your writing. To get the interviewee to open up, focus on how many products the readers could buy from that businessperson when they read about success and profit, or follow good advice.
6. Use new technology to draw editors/publishers to you. To market writing to the new media you need to capitalize on other people’s experience and specialization or expertise. The more you interview others on their own expertise, the more you’ll develop your own experience as a journalist in the new media. Develop a business concept.
Without a concept in the digital media, you may not be able to sell space on the screen or page
One of the best fields to write about in the new media is training. Interactive courseware development and training materials always are looking for writers to develop them in the field of instructional technology. When writing about training, it’s one step away from becoming an educational technologist and trainer yourself by gaining experience in writing the materials that teach corporate employees how to do something better.
You could move up to writing scripts on employee safety, training workers in a department, or performing documentation management in a large corporation. Other avenues include technical writing of instructional manuals for software, or training military personnel by writing the manuals.
7. Attach a value to your writing. Say whom you are going to help as a new media writer. What are the benefits and value of the article, book, or script you’re about to write? When you ask yourself what’s the value of what you’re writing, you can evaluate it before you write it based on your notes, quotes, and market research.
Each time you place a value on what you write you can evaluate the source of your information and ideas and attract the editors who pay better freelance fees for your work. The National Writer’s Union can help you by their advice on how to work with the new media markets.
8. If you approach an editor with a query, talk about what you can do for the publication’s needs right now. Don’t take up a lot of time talking about what you have published in the past. New media marketing for a writer is about writing in depth about technical knowledge and technique.
You’re selling experience in print that is highly focused on solving problems for the readers. Type and niche define the experience. Pick up niche publications and find a way to write about what they need at the moment. It’s easier to sell how-to tips to magazines that focus on niches such as potential customers who use a particular type of software, or any other niche market new media e-zine or book to sell a beginner’s work than it is for the rank beginner to sell a first article to a magazine that publishes general life and living pieces.
9. Specialize in writing for a particular niche of the new media industries. The more general assignment journalist you are, the less business appeal in the new media you will have to niche publishers. Be able to write in-depth articles in terms of function. Specialize in terms of industry. The telecommunications industry in California is growing at 13 percent, the software industry at 19 percent.
If you choose to specialize in writing about telecommunications you can specialize in human relations, hardware, software, the convergence of telephony with video and computers, immersive video, videoconferencing, distance training, or any other niche specialties within the telecommunications industry.
If you specialize in software or hardware, you can write for user’s magazines, trade show publications and newsletters, or industrial trade journals, management, international business, healthcare computing, or education, to name only a few niches available.
If you want to sell your writing, write in the publications that show other writers how to write as well as in the trade publications and books
Track progress in others and write about progress. Only don’t sound like a publicity press release. Dig in deeper and ask why the good fortune happened. Track the steps the person took to reach a success story or other experience.
The digital media wants writing that shows what programs exist, who participated and benefit by which aspect of it. Write about what people are doing in terms they can understand. Know your reader. Write for the professional in the trade journal and for the beginner in the general magazines and e-zines.
Digital media also focuses on trade journals
In your query letter, give a bare bones solution to a problem the editor needs to have. Ask first to find out what problem has to be solved. Then find the expert to interview who solves the problem step by step. Write about that. Focus on what’s most cost-efficient.
10. Let your reader choose which solution they want to use as a marketing tool for their own new media business or interest. Write about the benefits and advantages of value to the readers. The editors of any new media publication have similar goals.
They want articles or books that show the writer can define the problem, then solve the problem. Define the problem for which you’ll solve the problem. Research all your niches. If you’re a generalist who can’t solve any type of problem in the new media, then find experts to interview who have solved current problems or who can offer quotes that solve problems for readers.
Stick with the popular and expanding niches
Every new media writer needs a tag name. It’s like a tag line in a romance novel. “She said, with a sneer of disdain,” (how she said it–the body language–is your tag line). In a nonfiction article or book chapter, your tag line identifies how you manage risk within your paragraph. You define the arrangements rather than the body language. The arrangements include equipment, supplies, and customized services that your expert discusses and solves problems within your article.
Digital media writing can be hypermedia or hypertext fiction, interactive fiction, game scripts, or drama, or nonfiction, trade journal, and training or general advice writing, as in investment newsletters online. The genres are unlimited. You can write about office systems and equipment or how people react behaviorally to computer information overload.
11. To market new media writing, position yourself as a writer specializing in a niche within a niche. For example, suppose you used to be a nurse, medical records clerk, physician, lawyer, or teacher who now wants to write full time for the new media.
You position yourself as a writer of books and e-zines, or interactive media specializing in writing about computer problems that law offices, medical offices, or schools have. You interview consultants with expertise. What you’re marketing about your niche is that you have a name and a tag that always will work for you as you gain experience writing about a very narrow niche–at least at first.
Your goal is to get finely honed experience marketing new media pieces about a small specialty, for example how medical offices can use specialty software. The former medical records clerk or technician now can write for two dozen hospital and medical trade journals from emergency medical care to running the medical office in terms of economics, solely by specializing in interviewing computer consultants who focus on telling doctors how to solve their computer software and hardware problems in running their office or department.
Read magazines that help users of home office computing
These specialty niche magazines and trade publications help you build your reputation, if you can write for them. To find people to interview, seek referrals from former clients of computer consultants. Market yourself as a speechwriter, and develop speeches for computer and new media consultants. Approach their colleagues and clients and offer to write their speeches too, for presentations or publication.
Query the new media publications of national associations and organizations where the clients of consultants join and attend trade shows and conferences. You attend also. Your market research as a writer would be to analyze press releases from companies about whom you want to write. When you interview people for the new media, it’s a little different than when you interview for the print media.
In the digital media, you listen and question with the goal of turning opportunities into business. In the new media you compose your interview questions with the goal of:
1. Diagnosing problems–one question at a time.
2. Ask your interviewee how that person designed the solution.
Most people who solve problems for a living focus on thinking rather than feeling and they use the logic to design the solution. Most people who solve relationship problems use feeling, but they don’t design the solution, they solve it through placing a quality of worth on the solution, as in “Is it worth it?” Degrees or values of how much it’s worth in terms of well being or feelings solve problems.
Ask the person you’re interviewing how the work was delivered. In the new media, anyone you interview will try to debrief you after you finish the interview. Be aware of this. What helps most is to keep a profile of people you interview. They are your clients.
Return to your interviewee profile now and then to ask the people who talked to you and saw your article in print to tell you who else they know who might be interested in having their problems solved by a new interview with the same person or other colleagues that person recommend you interview.
To market your new media writing, ask questions
Don’t talk too much and simplify your way of solving problems so people can follow your guidelines. If there are no problems to be solved, show measurable results. Ask the person you interview if the individual is aware of the many magazines (name them) who might be interested in articles about their business with new angles.
If you don’t like your editor’s contract, use your own contract documents. It may work with a few, new media publications that are beginning to startup. Keep a journal about the new media.
12. Use buzzwords when writing for the digital media
Only use new buzzwords. Forget the early 1990s overuse of words to describe new-media such as ‘rocket-pack’ and ‘cyberspace.’ Editors are so tired of buzz words such as cyberspace, e-scribes, hypertext, hyperspace, new media, listen-up, and rocket scientists. How about using easily understood, solid, and standard buzz words such as “help desk?”
Define your buzzwords in the first paragraph of your article, script, interactive introduction, or book chapter. Buzz words, like tag lines, define your writing and reveal the timeliness and freshness of your information.
If you’re trying to market your writing to a new media publication, it’s better to show up in person at the editor’s office, even if it’s only to hand a query letter with a sample article to the receptionist. In the world of email where you must send your article across the globe, showing up in person at a publisher’s business still works better than faxing, emailing, or snail mailing.
If you’re relatively nearby, show up in person dressed appropriately, and hand your material to a live person. Always hand in both a paper and a disk copy of what you write. Nobody likes to retype your material to disk.
13. The new media writer is hired for his or her technical knowledge. You’re paid for what problem you can solve, for how you can think. A problem to be solved for the writer is how to market information about the new media when you have a non-technical education, such as a broad liberal arts education with a degree in creative writing or fiction writing.
To solve this problem, get the name of the editor who has the power to buy your writing or assign you something to write. Call the receptionist and ask for the mailing address. The (role not the person) or job of a receptionist is “sensing-judging” (SJ)–to get the right messages to the right people at the right time. The secretary’s job (the role, not the person) is to screen you out from reaching the editor and bothering the person. It’s a protective, guardian role.
The job of the editorial assistant is also to screen out the slush pile and protect the editor-in-chief from having to wade through the masses coming over the transom. Therefore, after you have the mailing address and have asked the receptionist for the correct spelling of the editor’s name, ask to leave a message in the editor’s voice mail. “When may I come in person to interview you for my feature on the new media?”
It’s important to note that the term “secretary” or “receptionist” as a sensing judging type refers to the ROLE in the job, not to the personality of the person in the role or on the job. Any personality type can work as a secretary or receptionist.
What is meant is that the role of receptionist is a sensing/judging role whose goal is to get the right message to the right party at the right time, and the role of the secretary is as guardian and protector of the boss and conservator of the employer’s time. The screening out role played by the secretary is to allow his or her boss to make the most efficient use of time during the workday and to prioritize the boss’s time and her/his own.
The best way to meet an editor in person is to interview that person for another publication or for a chapter in a book or pamphlet you’re writing–even if you’re self-publishing the pamphlet on the Internet on your own Web page. Every new media writer needs a personal Web page to feature articles and showcase editors of publications you want to write for as your goal. Interview new media book publishers for magazine articles online or in print.
14. Interview magazine publishers and editors-in-chief for books and pamphlets or trade newsletters.
Interview a general magazine editor for an article you write for a niche specialty trade journal. Interview a trade journal editor for a chapter in a book or in a general readership magazine unrelated to the editor’s publication.
For example, the editor of a new media magazine on fixing widgets is 80 years old and working 60 hours a week. Interview that person for a magazine such as Modern Maturity on the joy of being in the new media at 80, “Life Begins Online at 80” for this editor who loves her work.
If you’re writing about people instead of technology, write about turnover in the technology industries
15. If you write about new media human resources instead of technology, write about turnover in the Internet Industry, or the problems ad agencies have of copywriters and Web designers working together and how they solved them.
You need insight, support, and specifics wrapped up by showing how a problem was solved. Your solution needs to show results along with insight, foresight, and hindsight—revealing the pitfalls to avoid.
Most digital media problems are universal, even when unique, individual, and practical
1. Get to the concrete through the universal and show the details.
2. Read between the lines and give the big picture in the first paragraph
Show the trees rather than the forest in each descending paragraphs. Then sum up with applications to the digital, interactive, or new media fields with showing how the Internet, DVD, flash drives, smart phones, camcorders, tablets, software, or other industrial applications fitted in to solve the problem.