If you've been around for any time at all on the internet you are undoubtedly on one or several newsletters. These newsletters almost always include a feature article by the editor (owner) of the newsletter and one or more guest articles.
The editor will include good articles from third parties to help relieve some of the load and the third parties (maybe you???) allow the articles to be include free for the benefit of having a byline and link appear in the newsletter. This is what we call a win-win situation.
Basically you (the writer) would give the publisher permission to publish your article free in exchange for the a link and byline -- or advertisement. This exchange of your article for byline has the potential of getting your website URL address onto the screen of millions of users who might not otherwise see your website.
And as a handy dollop of cream on the pudding many newsletters are archived. Thus your website advertisement, a.k.a. byline, will be archived for future readers. Not bad in exchange for writing an article.
When it comes to format of newsletter articles most newsletter guest articles are either short articles (400 to 700 words) or "tips" (a paragraph or two).
Because many of these articles are inserted via cut & paste you should preformat your article for email. That means in lines of 65 or less characters per line and formated in short pithy paragraphs.
To guarantee you are working within parameters appropriate for email use a primitive editor such as Notepad. This guarantees your articles look is not a byproduct of special font and or layout features of a fancy word processor.
To guarantee proper line length for most email programs each line should be 65 characters or less (including spaces) and have a carriage return at the end of each line. This means use [enter] at the end of each line. In between paragraphs use two carriage returns.
If you follow this format the editor will be able to just copy and paste your contribution into the email newsletter. This could mean the difference between inclusion and being left on the cutting room floor. Editors are busy and they can't be bothered fixing up your text.
Which brings us to the next part of the preparation story. Spell check your article. An editor will not edit your article. Don't be misled by the title "editor". That just means head honcho. It doesn't mean they will read and modify your text. So do yourself a favor and check your article for spelling mistakes. Once again this can keep your article out of the dustbin.
When it comes time to include that all important byline (yes you write this too) don't be bashful. Say who and what you are, and be sure to include your website URL address. But, please don't exceed 4 or 5 lines. An editor will balk at the prospect of publishing an article which is shorter than the byline. ;-)
Make sure the title of your article is descriptive and sexy enough to grab potential readers. The editor is not including your article for your benefit. The editor is including the article to help his or her ezine newsletter.
If you intend to be a total goofus and submit an article which is little more than a shameless advertisement for your website, service or product save yourself the time and effort. It won't be published. The editor has a responsibility to his or her readership and no one wants to look like an idiot. And believe me publishing a shameless self-promotion piece by some lameoid will not make an editor look good.
Let's face it, if you write your article with a sincere wish to help others and be of service to the online collective community you can't go wrong. If you write it as a bit of shameless self-promotion it's hard to imagine it going right.
If you are getting stuck, having a hard time finding your writer's voice, try writing to someone in particular. Imagine John, Jim, Sally, or Sue is reading your article and you are doing your best to be clear and concise. This should help break the writer's logjam.
Where do you submit your article once it is done? Try some of the following places:
Do a little digging through search engines and you'll accomplish the dual purpose of finding places to post your articles and broaden your background in the field. It's well worth it.