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Writing articles is one of the top 5 marketing tools I used when I first started my business 10 years ago and it’s one I continue to use today.  Why do I love it so much?  It’s free, I can leverage the information and use it in several places, it allows me to give something of value to my readers and I build relationships. 

When I say “article” many of my clients freak out.  Here’s what I mean – 500-800 words (that’s a page to a page and a half) on a topic related to your products or services like 10bestie do.  Once you do a few, you can crank one out in an hour or less.  Here’s four tips to help you become a successful article marketer.

Tip #1:  How to get started.  The most difficult thing for most newbies to article writing is sitting their butt in the chair and writing.  The dreaded blank page in front of them.  The fear that they aren’t smart enough.  Any of these limiting ideas floating around in your head?  Want to know my best tip on how to get past them?  Set a deadline and tell someone else about it.  I know that Pat is waiting to receive this ezine every Monday-she then gets it out to each of you every Wednesday. I’m not going to let her (or you) down!

Tip #2:  Don’t worry about how great your writing skills are.   My training in academic writing was an obstacle to overcome when it came to article writing –not a benefit!  I had to toss out the dry, impersonal style that had been drilled into me through writing many academic papers.  The tip is to write the way you speak –like you’re having a conversation with your reader.   

Tip #3: How to structure your articles to make writing simple.  Remember, it shouldn’t take more than an hour to an hour and a half tops to get your article written. It’s a good idea to let it sit for a day and then reread it –you’ll be looking at it with fresh eyes.  Here are some of my favorite types of articles:

a.  Lists.  Everyone loves lists.  Think of David Letterman’s top 10.  How about these: Top 10 Misconceptions About Cancer.  Top 10 Books that Changed the World.  Top 10 Tips for Getting a Job in a Challenging Job Market. 

My very first non-academic article was Top 10 Ways to Live Authentically. Go ahead and google it –you’ll find it all over the web!
I wrote out ten tips without thinking too hard about it.  Then I added two to three sentences to elaborate a bit on each tip.  This was the first article I submitted online.  I then offered it as a free giveaway on my website.  A few months later, I expanded each of the ten tips into about ½ page each.  I called it an e-course.  That became my free giveaway.  Each person signing up to receive this gift, received one tip in their email box each week for ten weeks.  Next, I could expand each tip into 10 -15 pages each and have a book!

You don’t have to have 10 tips – I’ve been doing a lot of 3-4 tips –I just write and see how many I end up with!

Another angle is to share top “mistakes” – Top Five Job Interview Mistakes or Top 7 Mistakes Women Business Owners Make –these get your attention because YOU don’t want to make those same mistakes.

b.  How to.  How to articles with bullet points are also well liked.  This article is an example of how to write an article.  The ideas are endless:  How to Make Your Lipstick Last Longer, How to Take the Best Pet Photos, How to Clean Your Home in 19 Minutes…go ahead…think of a title for your next how to article!

c.  Review articles.  You can review books, products, movies, anything you’re interested in that ties into your products or services.  Tell about the promise they made and whether it lived up to that promise.  You can talk about value or the experience you had.  You can compare products and make recommendations.

Tip #4:   What do I do with it now? Ok –so you’ve decided to get your butt in the chair and write your first article.  What do you do with it after you’ve written it?  Submit it to your database. I recommend using aweber.com. Submit it online – ezinearticles.com and hubpages.com are good places to start.  Think about any local newspapers or newsletters whose readers might benefit from your article and submit it to them.  Use it as a handout when you do speaking engagements (in return for the participant’s email address).  Take a piece of what you’ve written and talk about it on your blog.  Record several articles onto a cd as a free giveaway…you see, all this marketing leverage from an hour of your time.

I’d love for you to drop a line and tell me you’ve written your first article!