Write your own article.
Okay, that might sound a bit too easy. Yet with the possible exception of public speaking, nothing establishes your business credibility like penning an article with your name and company in the byline. Yet even with all the content-starved publications out there, very few businesses take advantage of this golden opportunity.
The answer why is quite simple: most businesses, large or small, don’t consider it as an option. Interesting because most companies won’t think twice about putting out a press release. Even if a publication does a feature based on your release, you’re at the mercy of editors and reporters and there’s no guarantee the article will depict your firm in the light you want.
Sure, a publication could run your release. Since most press releases run 400 words or less, the likelihood of that being enough to establish you or your company as experts is slim.
With an article, depending on where you submit, you can have anywhere from 500 to 1,000 words or more. Though it can vary with different publications, your article can generally say what you want.
Which probably leads back to square one if you don’t consider yourself a capable enough writer. Here’s a news flash: you don’t have to be! Hiring a writer to generate an article for your byline is a perfectly acceptable practice. In fact, it’s probably a safe bet that a good percentage of articles in trade publications written by non-staff members are ghostwritten articles for whomever is named in the byline.
If you’re short on topics, not a problem. Start with what it is you do. Is there some area where you have a particular expertise? Is there a current issue or trend in which current, former, or potential customers or clients might have something at stake? Or some product or service currently available that could save them time or money or both? Anything hitting those areas makes for great article topics.
Still stuck? Go to your company newsletter. Many times, you can expand on the content for your employee or customer newsletters to create an article for a broader audience.
Picking the publication you want to submit your article to is something you should probably think about before you write the piece. That way you can tailor the piece to the publication’s audience.
Where you submit your article is much like applying to colleges. You have your dream schools and your safety schools. So, while you can write an article you’d love to have in the Wall Street Journal, realize it will be mighty difficult to get in there. Thankfully, the Internet offers plenty of “safety schools.”–including EzineArticles.com.
Your local chamber of commerce is another option. Most have newsletters and welcome “free content.” Free is in quotes because even though you’re not getting paid for your article, you most likely will get a byline with your name, company and maybe even your Web site or e-mail address. Essentially, you’re getting paid a much larger fee for your article: free advertising.
Remember , the objective of your article is to establish your expertise. You will sell a lot more widgets writing an article about the different kind of widgets and what works best for different applications than how your particular widgets are better than anybody else’s. If your article demonstrates your expertise, readers will become your customers because they want to buy widgets from somebody who knows their stuff. And by publishing articles on a consistent basis, that can always be you.