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Is Your Article Worth Publishing?

Friday, March 01, 2024 7:05 AM | Erica Holthausen

High-quality, original articles position you as an authoritative expert. They capture your readers' attention and add to critical conversations about today's world. But how do you know if an article is good enough to pitch to a high-visibility publication?

I developed the CORD Framework™ to help my clients evaluate the editorial quality of their articles. Refer to this framework when you rewrite your article and again during the editing process, and share it with anyone who reviews your work before you submit it. As you review your article, evaluate each of the four elements of the CORD Framework.

Is your article cogent?

Writing is not about the ink; it’s about the think. And a big part of that think is determining the best way to present the information you are trying to convey to your audience. A cogent article appeals to the mind. It is clear, logical, and convincing.

A cogent article presents a compelling case in support of a specific position or viewpoint. It starts by providing the reader with the context they need to be able to understand and apply the actionable insights presented. A cogent article makes it easy for the reader to understand the point you are making and to follow your argument. It is useful to the intended reader and gives them the tools they need to change their mindset, thinking, or behavior.

Is your article original?

High-visibility publications only publish original work, which means work not published elsewhere, including on your website or social media. But the fact that your article hasn’t been published elsewhere is insufficient to ensure it is worth publishing.

Every idea has a lineage, so your article doesn’t have to present ideas that have never before been considered. (That would be a prohibitively high bar.) It does, however, need to demonstrate independent thinking.

An original article presents a strong voice and a clear point of view. It builds upon your experience and positions you as an authoritative expert. It may go against the grain or point out where others in your field oversimplify or overcomplicate the matter.  

Is your article researched?

If you want your articles to build your authority, they must be based on more than mere conjecture. While it is not necessary to conduct an in-depth study, it is essential that the insights you present in your article be based on evidence and grounded in fact. To accomplish this, you might conduct desk research and cite other experts in your field or share anecdotal evidence related to your own experiences.

Every project you tackle is an opportunity for you to conduct field research. It is an opportunity to observe the process you and your clients underwent to diagnose and treat the problem. It is an opportunity for you to deepen your learning so you can share that learning with a broader audience. 

Is your article deep?

A high-quality article adds to the conversation, not to the noise. It doesn’t skate along the surface of an issue but explores the nuances, offering insights not found elsewhere. Because articles are only about 1,000 words, each piece must explore a narrow issue to achieve any depth. That specificity, however, allows you to approach the issue from several angles, each serving as the foundation of another article.

High-quality articles meet each of these criteria. This type of writing requires more effort and cannot be outsourced to generative AI. But that effort pays dividends. Writing and thinking through your ideas is tremendously valuable regardless of whether your work is published. When you publish your work, it not only helps you build your reputation as an authoritative expert but also creates an appreciating asset that you can reference and share repeatedly.

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Erica Holthausen is the founder of Catchline Communications and a strategic thought partner to consultants who wish to build their authority and increase their visibility by publishing articles in industry trade journals and business magazines like Harvard Business Review, Inc., and Entrepreneur. To learn how to raise your profile, register for Pitched to Published, a free monthly Q+A focused on writing, pitching, and publishing articles.

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