Write Articles That Get Results

It''s no secret that writing and publishing helpful articles is one of the best ways to promote your business. Writing articles can:

  • Establish you as an expert in your field.
  • Get your name and your company name in front of potential clients who you may never have been able to contact otherwise.
  • Create valuable content for you to share with potential clients or convert into speeches and other marketing strategies.

Writing articles for local business publications, trade magazines, newsletters, and Web sites that reach your target audience can be a powerful piece of your marketing plan. But following through can be more difficult than it sounds, as many people hate writing or have a hard time just figuring out where to begin. Plenty of business owners and marketers hire outside firms or freelance writers (like The WriteShop, www.writeshoponline.com) to write articles for them, which can be a time-saving solution. But if you want to write your own articles, it can be tough to know where to begin. These five tips may help you stay focused and get the job done.

1. Narrow your topic. In each article, be sure to address only one main idea -maybe you focus on one problem your readers have, or one solution that may work for them. Trying to cover too many topics in one article just causes confusion. Whenever you find yourself going off on an unrelated tangent, turn that tangent into another, separate article for future use.

2. Write in conversational style. Keep your audience in mind and try to write for them the way you''d speak to them. For most business writing, an informal, conversational style is preferable, especially if your article will be published on the Web. Remember that you want your article to be accessible and understandable for your target audience. Shorter sentences and language that is easy to grasp quickly will have better results than long diatribes full of words that require a dictionary.

3. Offer genuine, helpful information. While your articles are tools to help market your business, they are not advertisements. Don''t fill your articles with promotional material about your company, or your readers will quickly lose interest. Instead, offer them real insight, tips, or advice that shows them you know what you''re talking about. Their interest in your company and what you can do for them will come; but for the sake of your article, focus on providing information they can use.

4. Be brief. Especially when writing for the Web, brevity is crucial. Before sending any article for publication, read through it several times and cut out any unnecessary words. For instance, the word "that" can be eliminated in most cases. Make sure every word counts, and every sentence is meaningful and helpful for communicating your main idea.

5. Distribute, distribute, distribute. Finally, writing an article doesn''t do any good unless you get it in front of your target audience. In addition to publishing your articles on your own Web site or in your newsletter, consider sending them to publishers of print and electronic newsletters, and submit them to Web sites that publish articles on your topic. See the Resource Box below for ideas of specific Web sites where you may want to submit your articles. And remember to always include your contact information so that readers will know how to reach you.

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