As much as you probably DO NOT want to hear this, one of the most important marketing tools you can have is an article that you give to prospects once you have made initial contact.
An article is the ideal follow up vehicle to give to someone you meet through networking, after a speaking engagement, and on your website to encourage a visitor to opt-in to your mailing list. An article is often the first tool you use in the marketing process. It gives you a reason to follow-up with a prospect to learn more about them or to send them more information that can ultimately lead to a meeting.
As logical as it may be, most people consider writing to be a difficult “chore.” They can’t decide what to write about or how long it should be.
In short, articles are one of the most important and powerful marketing tools.
Here are a few tips to help your writing campaign.
- Come up with a good topic
Take a few minutes and write down every problem you’ve helped a client with over the past year. These become your article titles. Simply writing what you enjoy could be a mistake. Your market drives the topic bus.
- The most read kind of article
How-to articles or how-not-to-do articles are always well-received. Also a numbered tips article grabs attention.
- Set the stage
Begin every article with a few words to establish the reason why this topic is important and why they should be interested and keep reading. It is effective if you can start your article with a story or example.
- Outline the issues and challenges
Before you get into your to-dos, you might want to outline the problem or issue. Shed some light on what is happening now and what can happen in the future with a little focus. This can be thought of as “greasing the skids.”
- Promise the benefits
Keep in mind that your reader is already asking, “what’s in this for me?”
Let them know what they are about to learn.
- Be conversational
Do not try to write like or sound like a professional writer. Stay within your personality and use your usual vocabulary. After you complete a paragraph or two read your writings aloud and listen how it flows.
- Write fast
Don’t try to think your way through writer’s block. Make a point of just documenting every thought that enters your mind. First, get it down. Next, you will make it good.
- Edit slow
Let me put it this way. You don’t have to edit your work…if your goal is to make a poor first impression and lose all chances for a future relationship. My suggestion is to read your article slowly looking for the obvious errors. Then read it from the back (backwards) to check for spelling. Finally, give it to a third party and ask them to give it a once-over.
- Article length
This is a question that really doesn’t have an answer. You write as long as it takes to get your message across clearly and with as few words as necessary. Remember, people don’t like to read as a general rule. Therefore, short is better without compromising your message. You still want a number? My articles are usually between 350 and 750 words. (This one is on the longer side.)
- Get your articles out there
A mistake many “writers” make falls under the title of distribution. They fail to send their work to where it can be seen and read. In addition to your prospect list and client list, you can post it to your website, Facebook page and every social media outlet you participate in.
Articles can be a very effective. Don’t sell them short and don’t make writing them harder than they have to be. Make article writing a priority, learn the ins-and-outs, and start writing as soon as possible.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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