Is there a topic you desperately want to write about regularly, that you want to make your career? Yes? But you don’t have any clips on the topic yet? And editors keep asking you to prove what you know about it? Never fear — as long as you do have knowledge about the topic in question, you can become an expert. You’re going to have to let some material out into the world for free, as much as it pains me to recommend any such thing, but it is doable.
- Write for related non-profits. If, for example, you want to be the acknowledged expert on organizing play dates, offer free articles to parents’ organizations.
- Start a blog. Seriously, regular content on a given subject can make an editor’s mind up very quickly. Your blog needs to look professional, mind you, but as long as you have consistent quality posts, you are improving your reputation. An alternative to this is to start your own print publication, but, considering expense, it would probably be easier to run a blog.
- Pitch ‘intro’ stories on your topic to publications that are loosely related. If your niche is music criticism, consider approaching lifestyle magazines rather than music publications.
- Write content for websites such as Ezine Articles or other content sites.
- Submit op-eds about controversial aspects of your topic to newspapers. You may want to start with local or small papers to start with, but even the New York Times accepts unsolicited op-eds.
It’s just a matter of dedication and researching your topic. If you’re knowledgeable you can get the clips and reputation necessary to go after big publications.