We were recently asked by Pippa Smart to share some “top tips” that editors might use to encourage authors to promote their articles. Pippa runs excellent training courses including a couple for editors. Here are our suggestions for how editors can encourage authors to increase the impact of their articles:
1. Include a lay summary
Write a plain language summary of your article that can be understood by a general audience. Lay summaries can help the reader quickly identify if your article is of interest. Make the lay summary meaningful to someone who is not an expert in your field, so avoid technical language. Consider the questions ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘why’.
2. Include an impact statement
Explain who might benefit from the findings of your research and how. Adding this information to your article helps demonstrate the value and potential longer-term impact of your work. Consider the potential benefits for industry, wider public, government and policy makers. Include economic, cultural and health benefits.
3. Use short titles
There is anecdotal evidence that shows articles with shorter titles are read more, and this may lead to higher citations and greater impact. Avoid very long titles containing highly technical terms where possible.
4. Link to additional resources
Enrich your articles by adding links to additional resources such as videos, blogs, discussion forums, images, data sets or websites.
5. Use social media and blogs to spread the word
Tweet when the article has been published and include a link to the full text. Tweet two to three times in the week after publication. Monitor your twitter account for discussion about your tweet and reply to generate engagement. Build your network or followers by finding people working in your field and following them. Also follow people whose work you cite, retweet them and respond to their postings so that over time they will also start following you. Start a blog and reference your article.
And here’s a bonus one for our blog readers:
6. Tell your press / comms team
Find out if your institution has a press / comms team. If there is one, send them details of your article, including the title, abstract and an offprint of the full text. Be sure to include the lay summary and impact statement as well, so that they can understand the importance of your work and explain it to other people such as journalists. Make them aware of any additional resources you have created (see 4 and 5 above) – remember, too, that they may be able to help you make such resources (e.g. videos). Ask them to help you publicise your work, and let them know your willingness and availability to be interviewed.