March 27, 2008
Don't Be Afraid of Trade & Technical Markets By Cheryl Pickett
If you've ever assumed you can't write for trade or technical magazines
because you know nothing about the industry, maybe my story will change
In 2004, I came across a local orthodontist's PR event and thought it might
make a good article for a trade magazine of some sort. I searched the Net
and found a couple of publications, but no guidelines. I called to try to
find some and ended up being put through to an editor to pitch on the spot.
Talk about a surprise! Luckily, I stumbled through it well enough to
interest him and I had my first assignment shortly thereafter. A few months
later, I had my biggest paycheck to date as well.
Fast forward to Spring of 2007. I happened upon another potential idea
concerning orthodontists and marketing, so I contacted the same editor
again. This time, although the editor liked the idea, my interviewee backed
out and I couldn't find a replacement. However, all was not lost as the
editor offered me another topic. Could I do an article on how orthodontists
choose their dental labs?
Excuse me? Dental labs? Marketing I knew something about, but beyond that
I've never even worn braces. I truly knew less than zero.
I hesitated, but accepted the assignment (mainly because it paid well). I
knew I'd be interviewing several doctors to get my information, so my need
to understand the field wasn't great, but my ability to relay their
information was. And remember, this is a trade magazine read by
orthodontists, not a consumer magazine for patients. Next, to add to the
challenge, I had the shortest deadline I'd ever had, and also discovered
many doctors were at an annual convention or out of town for Memorial Day.
Okay, no pressure!
Well, obviously, since this is the "success stories" column, I managed to
pull it off and my editor was pleased. A few months later, I even pitched
another idea. It wasn't a great fit either, but I was blessed to get another
topic just like before. This time the subject was less technical and, having
survived the earlier assignment, it was much easier to say yes.
The result this time? My third article, on a specialty topic I know nothing
about, is scheduled to appear in their March edition.
Cheryl Pickett has been a freelance writer for almost a decade, and has a
variety of work published both on and offline. Now, she hopes to help others
with their writing careers through upcoming books, a new blog and website,