by Adele Sommers
How do you demonstrate your wisdom, knowledge, passions, and interests to your clients, customers, or colleagues? What sets you apart from others in your field or industry? Do you have a way to keep your name and ideas in front of people?
If you desire to create a bond with your constituents, you will want to provide them with a means of getting to know, like, and trust you. This marketing approach leads to building a loyal audience. Providing no-cost articles, reports, white papers, and so on, helps people “snack” on your ideas to gradually learn more about you.
A systematic article-writing campaign is one way to accomplish this goal, as this article explains. You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need a Web site or any funding whatsoever to start a viable, Internet-based, article publishing program.
What Are Three More Good Reasons for Authoring Articles?
1) The learning experience. Must you be an expert to author articles on a particular topic? Thankfully, not!
Researching and writing academic papers is a type of article writing. Journalists routinely investigate topics that are new to them. A well-researched paper or news story can be vitally important to people who need to know that information. For professionals, this ongoing process helps us refine our area of focus, learn more ways to explain it, organize it, and help our audiences benefit from it.
2) Creating an inventory for a newsletter. Many people I know would love to publish a newsletter; however, it requires discipline to produce content on a regular basis. Developing a modest stockpile of articles ahead of time, however, enables you to launch a newsletter with a “buffer zone” that can help fill any content voids.
3) Incrementally writing a book. What scares people most about authoring a book? Typically, it’s the overwhelming prospect of writing 200+ pages on a given topic. Even writing an outline can seem daunting.
You can approach the challenge by aiming to write a series of articles over time that can each become chapters or sections of your book. That way, you not only greatly lessen the intimidation factor, but you also create individual products that are quite useful in their own right (and also can provide content for a newsletter). Eventually, you can sew the articles together into a logical flow that looks as if it had been perfectly planned as a book from the start.
Tips for Writing Your Articles
These are guidelines for the development process:
- Identify the topic, or a series of topics. If you’ve been receiving ideas from your clients, subscribers, or constituents, these topics might pertain to their “burning questions” or challenges in a particular area. “How-to” articles are extremely popular, and can span everything from training a pet to cultivating roses to hiring employees.
- Choose a voice or perspective for your articles. These can include:
Subject matter expert, where you can present your own knowledge on a particular topic. This role can be especially gratifying if you have years of experience in a profession or hobby.
Interviewer or researcher, where you are a student of the subject and are learning about it from others. For example, you can interview a series of experts to compare their viewpoints.
Repurposer or repackager of other people’s material. This approach is ideal for people who don’t know exactly where to start, or who feel more comfortable building on the ideas of others. A wealth of written material exists today in the public domain for which copyrights have expired that you can adapt for many uses. You can also do an Internet search for rebrandable articles, which you can publish as-is or modify as desired.
- Choose a framework. This could be sequential (as in explaining a series of events or stages of a process), problem/solution (as in a case study or a “how-to” article), an essay, or compare/contrast viewpoints, for example.
- Develop an outline or a mind map of ideas. Or, jot down your ideas on cards or sticky notes and organize them into topic groupings. You can always reorder as you write!
- Create a first draft. A conversational tone is ideal for most articles. If you can imagine having an informal discussion across the kitchen table from one of your constituents, you can explain even complex ideas in a clear and engaging way.
- Schedule a peer review. Depending on the size or complexity of your material, consider asking various trusted friends or colleagues to review it one or more times. Incorporate comments from each review pass and then save any testimonials. For longer works, I suggest sending out a short questionnaire to help reviewers focus on the types of feedback you need.
- Invent a compelling title for your article. After pouring energy into your article, brainstorm an unforgettable name for your creation. It’s ideal to enlist your review team to help select the snappiest, most memorable title.
Prepare Your Articles for Submission
After writing each article, plan to submit it to a variety of online article directories. These directories make your content available for others to disseminate in their own publications. In so doing, they help circulate your name and material on dozens of Web sites and blogs worldwide. Some even do their own translations. Your articles retain full copyright under your byline, regardless of where they are reprinted.
Be certain to include a “resource box” for the end of each article. This box briefly describes you, your business, or profession; and contains a link back to your Web site if you have one. So, when people “snack on” your articles in these directories, their next impulse may be to follow the links back to your Web site, where they can consume a “full meal.”
To locate article directories, do an Internet search. Select a few that relate to your subject and sign up as an author. Carefully follow the article formatting instructions. Most request 500-1,000-word articles, to be submitted with:
- Plain text formatting
- A short description or executive summary
- Keywords that apply to your content
- A resource box
A few examples include:
- EzineArticles.com (for a variety of topics)
- HowToDoThings.com (for “how-to” articles)
- BestManagementArticles.com (for business management articles)
The process of submitting articles can be time-consuming, however, so I use a very cost-effective submission service (SubmitYourArticle.com) to handle this for me.
In conclusion, writing articles for Internet publication can be a rewarding and lucrative experience that will reap benefits for months to come as your content circulates, your visibility builds, and interested visitors continuously follow your “resource box” links to back your Web site.
Copyright 2007 Adele Sommers
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