Article marketing is a terrific way to get your name and your expertise out there. If your business is locally-focused, you’ll want to put your energy toward local writing opportunities, starting with your town’s daily newspaper (or weekly, if you’re in a really small town).
First, decide on your topic. You’ll start with one article and see how that goes – while the editor decides whether your content focus and style are right for his or her publication. So think about this:
What’s the intersection of your expertise (let’s say it’s pet photography) with something that is topical and newsworthy? The simple fact that some people get their pets photographed is not new or especially interesting. But what about a different angle – like advice on how to include pets in vacation photos, or including pets in special-occasion portraits? You have to come up with something that is fresh, in order to get an editor to listen to you.
You won’t be paid for this kind of writing – or if you did, you’d be very unusual. The payoff is your byline and url (or email address, if you don’t have a website yet) beneath the article (and if it’s common in your local paper, ask to have your photo included too).
As you write a bit more, you can move to larger papers and bigger audiences, or maybe become a regular (or intermittent) contributor to one publication. Eventually, you can also get paid for writing, but you will most likely find that as a very part-time endeavor, the PR benefits outweigh the modest compensation. The point of this writing is to get your brand name out there, and educate people about the general issue you’re writing about – and your expertise in particular.
If your business isn’t locally focused, there’s another kind of article marketing that may prove useful. There are sites – a very large one is www.EzineArticles.com – that allow you to submit articles for posting, and that are visited by “ezine publishers” and webmasters all over the world. These folks may pick your article for inclusion in an email or html newsletter, on on a website. Your bio and url are of course included with your story, so every time it appears online somewhere, your reach gets bigger. You’ll see the results in your Google search rankings almost instantly.
My daughter wrote a little story about surviving seventh grade, and posted it on www.ezinearticles.com, and sure enough, half-a-dozen publishers included it in their newsletters or websites. I haven’t thought of one downside yet to this kind of publicity. Even if it doesn’t work as well as you’d hoped (say, bringing you twenty new clients in a week) it’s a good way to start to gain Expert status online.
The very best way, in my view, to hone your writing and generate topics for articles is to start a blog. You can do that for free at www.blogger.com. You’ll sit down to write a blog post (article) thinking that you have nothing to say – and you’ll write something wonderful without even knowing how you did it. You can work on that piece a bit and send a more polished version off to the local paper. Plus, the blog itself will help to build your audience.
This is one you could start today….do it! and let me know how it works for you.