How do you communicate your passion, knowledge, wisdom, and interests to the people you wish to influence? What sets you apart from others in your profession or industry? How do you create a rapport with people you don't know, who may include potential prospects, clients, customers, or community members?
The answer is to give people a way to get to know, like, and trust you, then become excited about your message, and ultimately, spread the word to others or take another type of meaningful follow-up action.
Your goal is to position yourself as a "maven" in your chosen subject. That's someone whom others view as the "go-to person" for ideas and information in that domain (however wide or narrow it may be), even if you are more of an advocate than an expert in it.
One way to achieve this goal is by using an article-writing campaign. You may be surprised to learn that there are effective ways to publish your articles online at no cost whatsoever, without needing a Web site, newsletter, or blog of your own.
This article explains a step-by-step formula for writing and publishing articles on the Web. The more high-quality articles you produce, the better!
Follow These 10 Steps for Writing Great Articles
Below are ten guidelines for producing excellent results, every time!
Identify the subject and slant of your article.
For example, "tips" and "how-to" articles are extremely popular, and could focus on anything from training a pet to cultivating roses to hiring employees. In a very different vein, you could tell a compelling story about something you've done that will inspire others. Other slants (of the many possibilities) include a comparison of two or more products, ideas, philosophies, or approaches; a book review; a profile of a well-known person; or a clear, down-to-earth explanation of how something works to help lay people understand it.
Choose a role for authoring your articles.
For example, you could be:
- A subject matter expert, where you are presenting your own knowledge in a given arena. This role is especially gratifying if you have years of experience in a profession or a hobby.
- A student of the subject, where you research, interview, or otherwise learn about the subject from others or from an educational program. You then enlighten your readers by explaining what you've discovered through this process.
Brainstorm the specific article topics and subtopics.
These could include tips or strategies on something you know how to do well, or the main points of a gripping story you want to tell. To start off, try jotting down your ideas on notepads, index cards, sticky notes, or using your keyboard. Simply capture the ideas and don't be concerned about the order just yet.
Develop the sequence for your article.
Next, proceed to arrange the ideas from your brainstorming exercise above into a topic–subtopic flow that most effectively organizes your material. Start with introductory ideas and proceed into the "meat" of the matter. Be aware that you ultimately may need to pare down the topics or content to meet word-count limitations, as explained later.
Work on developing the body.
Fill in details as you go. Don't worry about getting it perfect on the first try. You can always move ideas and information around as you write! Unless there is a need to use a more formal corporate or academic voice, a conversational tone for most articles works best. If you can imagine having a discussion across the kitchen table from someone you know, you can explain even complex ideas in a clear and engaging way.
Write your lead-in paragraph.
It could be just a sentence or two depending on the overall article length. For example, engage your readers' interest with a leading question, such as, "Have you ever wondered why dogs don't sing?"
Toward the end of the lead-in paragraph, explain what your article covers, such as, "This article explain five tips on how to teach your dog to sing." That way, your readers will know exactly what they're going to learn.
Insert subheadings in strategic places.
This very effective technique will help "chunk" your material and make it easier for people to scan your article. Even if people don't have time to read the whole thing, they can quickly skim the subheadings to absorb a great deal.
Write a short summary or concluding paragraph.
Your summary reinforces your ideas and reminds your readers why they read the article. For example, one of your summary sentences might be, "By using these five simple tips, you can turn your canine into Caruso!"
Hone, tweak, and polish your article.
Be aware that your first drafts may be much longer than your target publication will allow. So, as you fine-tune, work on reducing the word count to the desired number.
For instance, aim for just 300-500 words for very short articles, and about 600-1,000 words for longer articles. A thousand words, or about three typed pages, is often the maximum that many newsletters and article directories will accept.
Don't forget a compelling title!
After pouring so much energy into your article, give it a snappy, memorable name. One popular approach for how-to articles is to refer to the number of topics you're sharing, such as, "Five Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Sing," or "The Ten Worst Mistakes People Make When They Do XYZ."
Next, You Can Submit Your Article to Online Directories
After writing your article, consider submitting it to one or more no-cost article directories. These directories will then make your content available for others to disseminate through their own channels, subject to explicit rules, permissions, and limitations that are designed to protect your material from plagiarism. Your articles retain full copyright under your byline, regardless of where they are republished.
Article directories can thereby help circulate your name and material on many Web sites, newsletters, and even print publications, such as magazines and newspapers around the globe. The main reason why these article directories exist is that editors are always looking for good content! I've seen my own articles republished in a wide variety of formats in Singapore, Dubai, Australia, and in countless other locations.
Be certain to include a "resource box" at the end of each article. This term refers to a few sentences that describe you, your business, or profession, and contain a link back to your Web site, blog, or other destination, if you have one. Ideally, when people read your articles, their next impulse will be to follow the links to wherever they can learn more about what you offer.
To locate article directories, do an Internet search. One example of a well-respected archive is EzineArticles.com, which accepts articles on many subjects. Select a few that encompass your area of interest, and then sign up as an author. You usually do not need to have any special credentials to do this. However, most sites will want to review any articles you submit to be sure the articles comply with their publication guidelines.
The process of submitting articles can be time-consuming, so I have used a very cost-effective submission service (SubmitYourArticle.com) to handle this for me.
In conclusion, writing articles for Internet publication can be a highly rewarding experience that reaps benefits for months or years to come. You become known to readers worldwide as your content circulates, your visibility increases, and interested visitors follow your "resource box" links to consume more of your content!
Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the creator of the "Straight Talk on Boosting Business Performance" success program. To learn more about her book and sign up for more free tips like these, visit her site at www.LearnShareProsper.com.
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