Many writers harbor the dream of writing for a major newspaper column. However, they find that realizing this dream is not easy. With shrinking circulation as a result of stiff competition from the blogs as a source of news, newspaper management are making it difficult for aspiring columnist to land that coveted spot in the big dailies. However, there are some basic tips that you can use to get a job as an advice column writer. Here are a few of them.
It is important for you to understand the market before starting to seek a job as an advice column writer. Understand what kinds of newspaper are likely to give you a chance. The editors of the smaller local dailies are more likely to give you a chance as compared to major circulations. It can also help to borrow techniques from several genres such as storytelling, humor, investigative reporting to ensure that you maintain the interest of your readers. Do a thorough research in several newspapers to determine if they would need an advice column. You should then come up with a strategy to pitch your proposal for a column in the dailies. One question that you should ask yourself is “Is the information that you want to give helpful? Is it something that the readers can relate to?
To be a successful columnist, you will need to have a recognizable voice. This voice should be a literary signature that would set your work apart. The voice could be witty, warm or irascible. When you choose it well, it will be possible to charm your readers. If you abuse this voice, you will put off your readers. You can study the professionals in the major circulations to understand how voice works. Pay more attention to the length of sentences as well as the paragraph transitions. You will see that most writers use a conversational style.
Now that you understand the basics of the niche and voice, the next question should be on how to get the golden spot. You will need to start promoting your credentials. It is important to start at the local levels. You should submit a detailed proposal for a column and a dozen samples for your topics. If you find it hard to get a column, you may even choose to start writing for free so as to build your credentials. With passion and talent, you will definitely find space for a column.
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