Every academic and scientist has heard the phrase "publish or perish." When part of your job is to be brilliant, people expect to see your byline in major journals; lack of a bibliography quickly begins to reflect on your professional reputation.
While the pressure is less in other fields, the concept holds universally true: the businessperson who gets noticed by a major periodical is the businessperson whose presumed expertise gets respect. The press release, covered in an earlier post, is one way of getting an article into a newspaper or trade journal. To go beyond "the latest scoop on my business," try an article in one of the following categories:
The op-ed (as in "opposite the editorial page" or "opinion-editorial") is a good beginning choice; these social-commentary articles are short (rarely more than 750 words) and can be written directly from personal knowledge. Don't, however, slip into the "everyone with any sense knows this" approach; the opinion advanced still has to be supported with clear facts and logical conclusions. Pick a topic you feel strongly about and have considerable experience with; give "see-their-point" consideration to those who disagree; and cite at least one respected source that isn't on your payroll.
The filler--the brief piece of advice, anecdote, or trivia item--can also be a good first-article choice, especially if you work in a human-interest-related field. There's rarely room for lengthy author bios; just note your business name and/or Web address, plus your field if it's not obvious from the name.
The profile, interview, or news feature is an expanded version of the press release: instead of one specific milestone or accomplishment, this article focuses on multiple aspects of a person or business and (in the case of the news feature) how they relate to some major event or trend. It's ideal if a periodical interviews you; but, unfortunately, this isn't something you have much control over (though it helps to get involved in prominent causes and build good person-to-person relationships with the community and media). If you do want to write one of these articles yourself, be careful; it's hard to keep self-profiles from sounding like blatant self-promotion. You might hire an outside freelance service to edit your article for general interest, or to ghostwrite a news feature; or you might offer yourself to a freelance writer as a profile or interview subject, contributing a sidebar under your own name. (Don't, however, pay a writer for doing an interview article with you as the subject; it could invite uncomfortable ethical questions.)
The full-length feature article, whether news, social trends, or how-to, should be attempted only by the most experienced writers. However, there's nothing wrong with hiring a ghostwriter or "as told to" writer in this case. Do write the author bio yourself; it should be one short paragraph noting your business name/specialty, the best means of contacting you, and an interesting fact about you or your business that relates to the article's focus.
The full-page advertorial deserves a quick mention, though technically it's a paid advertisement rather than an article. The most effective ones read like press releases and include the human element, especially case histories and photographs.
A couple of final points:
1. For prestige, reader interest, and chances of being published, the trade journals for your industry are the best places to submit articles.
2. If you can't yet claim a published article, there's nothing unethical about posting your best work online with the note "as submitted to x magazine" (provided it's the truth, of course, and provided there's no risk of the magazine's later requesting first publishing rights). At least you'll get credit for trying!