by John Wood
Bob Bly says it’s “one of the easiest self-promotions you can do”.
What’s Bob referring to?
Writing an article.
Once you understand the basic guidelines of a well-written article writing an article is not difficult at all. In fact, it can be quite fun and interesting.
And once you start writing articles something amazing happens: people to start to regard you as an expert.
If you’re a copywriting, there’s another reason, beyond promoting yourself, why writing articles makes sense.
It will help you become a better writer.
You see a good article is similar in structure to a good sales letter. The both start off with a promise, followed by proof and end with a call to action.
Here are some basic guidelines, characteristics and qualities of a well-written article:
- Your article should communicate a single good idea. One that makes the reader makes the reader sit back and say “Wow!”
- The idea has to be useful, interesting and presented in a way that holds your reader’s interest. It should be something new, contrary to popular belief, surprising or special.
- It has to be believable and credible. What you say must be supported with a history, anecdotes, expert proof, etc. And your proof should be as exciting as possible. Don’t bore your reader.
- The strongest statement or idea is presented in the beginning of the message. Remember your readers are very busy and are always searching for a reason to stop reading. It’s very important to tell your reader what’s in it for them as early as possible.
- Of course, there are exceptions, but usually there are a series of bullets in the middle of the article. Bullets tend to make your article easier to read and are a great way to quickly present your reader with proof, information or additional benefits.
- You should never promote yourself in the article. Your reader will quickly tune you out — labeling you as a self-promoting blowhard. Focus on the reader and your topic, not yourself. The only promotion of yourself should appear in the “About the Author” box which usually runs at the bottom of your article.
- Every article should end with a call-to-action. Tell your readers what they need to do to take advantage of the information you’ve just given them.
- It should relate somehow to the field you’ve chosen to specialize in. For instance if you’re a copywriter, your article topic should relate to copywriting, marketing, creating your own destiny, using your persuasion skills to better your life etc.
- Generally articles should be between 750 and 1250 words. If you’re writing for a specific publication or ezine, make sure you ask the editor if they have a preferred length.
Another thing that makes writing articles so appealing is if you’re serious about being a successful copywriter, you’re probably already doing the research anyway. You’re probably already reading a steady stream of books or publications related to copywriting and marketing.
So why not look for good articles topics while you’re at it?
Because you’ll be more focused, you’ll find your comprehension of the material will go up – plus you’ll have a better memory for what you’re reading.
So what do you do with your article once you finish it? There are a number of ways you can use them to promote yourself…
- If you have a website promoting your business you can use them as content for your site. Having lots of content on your website not only makes your visitors stay longer, it raises your rankings in search engines. Plus when your visitors see that the articles are actually written by you, their confidence in you is instantly boosted.
- If you have an ezine (or plan to start one) they make great ezine content. Offering to send your visitors one of your articles works well as an incentive for them to sign up for your ezine.
- You could make copies or reprints of your articles and include them in the sales kit you send out to prospective clients. Or you could mail them to existing clients.
- Submit them for publication in an ezine or magazine. Most ezines and magazines are hungry for content. If you submit an article to them, the worst thing they can say is “no thanks”. But if they say “yes” you get your name in front of literally thousands of potential customers you may never have reached otherwise.
- Submit them to article sites such as ezineArticles.com, goArticles.com, articledashboard.com, articlesbase.com and searchwarp.com. In the “About Author” section include a link back to your web site.
So the next time you’re reading a book, course or website related to your desired area of expertise, keep an eye out for topics you can expand on that would make for an interesting article. Then sit down and write up the article.
Do it consistently and you’ll quickly secure a reputation as an industry expert.
This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) Writer’s Blog. For a complimentary subscription to AWAI’s free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.