Gain expertise in written communication by writing articles to promote your business.
How To Write Your Own Articles
Here's a simple method for tapping into an outstanding source of FREE publicity for your business.
by Dr. Kevin Nunley
Everyone likes to buy from an expert. Shopping for a computer? A sales person who knows computers inside and out makes us feel confident about her recommendations.
Planning to buy stocks? You likely look for a broker who has Wall Street down pat.
Here is an effective way to make yourself one of the leading experts in your industry. Write your own how-to articles.
Prospects and clients will read your articles, appreciate the good information you have to share, and look to you as an exert who can help them.
You don't have to be the next great novelist. Simply write a page of instructions that tells someone else how to do something. It can be information you learned on the job or advice you picked up in books and conversations.
Customers buy because they have a problem they need solved. When you appear as a helpful expert with lots of answers, you're half-way to a sale.
Newspapers, magazines, e-zines, and industry newsletters all need a steady stream of good informative articles. It is easier to get your articles into smaller publications that closely target your best customers. Often these smaller e-zines and newsletters draw better response than some of the big glossy national magazines.
START WITH THIS FORMULA
Articles are easy to write when you use this simple pattern. I have given this formula to classes of college freshmen. Everyone in the class is able to use it to write professional quality articles.
1. Start by pointing out a problem your reader has. I could have started this article: "Spending lots of money on advertising and still not getting the results you want?"
2. Then make your reader's problem seem worse. Point out the ways this problem can impact their business, life, and happiness. "Your ads bring in only temporary response. Without an effective and affordable way to get the word out on your business, you may be closing your doors before the year is over."
3. Next suggest one to five ways the reader can solve the problem or make the situation better. "One simple way to get lots of new prospects and customers is to write articles for trade publications in your industry." I could go on to explain how to write an article (as I'm doing now).
4. End your article with a paragraph or two that reviews your most important points. Wrap up with a positive spin that paints a bright picture for your reader.
"Many entrepreneurs and professionals use their articles to launch successful national careers earning healthy six figure incomes. By following these easy steps, you can become a widely-respected exert in your field and give your business a big boost."
5. Finally, include your contact info in a final paragraph at the end. Now that readers are impressed by your good ideas, they will want to contact you to pay for more information, services, or products.
Many publications will allow you to include four to six lines that provide your contact information and even a plug your latest product or service. Check the end of this article for my "resource box."
Most e-zines like articles a page or two long (200 to 400 words). Magazines increasingly want articles that fill just one of their pages (900 words).
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Avoid sentences that require lots of commas. The idea is to write in a style that is clear and easy-to-understand for a reader that is in a hurry. I think writing simply is also easier. How-to articles don't have to be fancy.
"BUT I DON'T LIKE TO WRITE"
A friend often reminds me that I like to write, but most people, including herself, hate to write. "Everything you type looks wrong and an hour later you haven't gotten anywhere," she says.
Many of us don't have time to write or don't feel it is one of our strengths. No problem. You can get a writer to do the work for you or hire an editor to polish the words you have written.
A fellow writer who ghostwrites books for other people confided many well-known business writers don't do their own writing. Bill Gates has several good books, but all were written for him by professional writers. He probably doesn't have time to sit down to write 200 pages.
Check with your local library for a list of writing clubs in your area. A quick look around my town turned up groups of non-fiction writers, technical writers, even a group of successful romance novelists. These are fertile sources of expert writers and editors, many who work for low prices.
Also approach English teachers, journalists, do a search for writers on the Internet, and ask people who write articles you like. Give the writer the general idea for your article and some information to draw from. Then let them use their creativity and taste to write the article.
SUBMIT YOUR ARTICLE TO EDITORS.
E-zines are in constant need of fresh articles. Submission procedures are informal. Many welcome unsolicited articles. Simply e-mail the editor an article with a short personal note. You may find it best to first write the editor for permission to send your article.
Kate Schultz's EzineArticles.com will distribute your article to a big list of editors.
Most magazines have specific submission rules they want you to follow. Some want you to pitch your article idea in advance via a query letter. Others invite writers to submit articles on certain topics that will be included in future issues. Check magazine web sites for submission guidelines.
Once an editor discovers you can supply them with good articles month after month, you can parlay your articles into a regular column.
Now here comes the enthusiastic wrap-up:
In a complicated world where every problem seems to require an expert, lots of new customers will respond to the useful information you provide. Write your own articles to make yourself an expert in your field. Don't miss your chance to tap into this powerful no-cost form of marketing.
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copy writing for businesses and organizations. Read all his money-saving marketing tips at DrNunley.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-249-9519.