Part 2: Guidelines for writing and using your articles.
Article marketing is a power-packed way to gain online visibility for you and your business. It can be a game-changer in terms of establishing you as an expert in your field. It is free for the most part, and for all of these reasons it should be considered a highly beneficial form of marketing.
In the last article published in the March/April edition of Furniture World and posted to www.furninfo.com (“Magazine Articles” pull down menu/ “Finance Articles”), we discussed what article marketing is, what its benefits are, and how it fairs in light of some of online activity and search engines.
Now that you are savvy concerning all of that, let’s move on to more detail so you can get going with this valuable marketing activity.
Re-purpose Content Through Social Media
Live articles help you gain visibility. Having live articles means they are available online to be read by the general public. This happens easily by submitting them to article directories.
When your articles are live through most directories, readers can share them through social media icons at the bottom of each article. They can Tweet, Post, Stumble, Feed, Dig, and act Delicious, all at the click of a virtual button. They can Google you to stardom! There’s nothing sweeter or quicker! You can even get your team on board, and you can take a shot at it yourself, too. You can repost your articles to your social media sites over and over again, using a different intro post each time.
Re-purposing your content is a money-wise and time-saving move. One article can become 5 or more Facebook posts! One “10 Tips” article transforms into 10 days worth of blog posts. How about ten articles becoming hundreds of 120 character tweets that your social media manager posts and reposts throughout the week, month and year (120 instead of 140 characters allows the tweet to be re-tweeted by others)?
Just think how much social media activity you can get from 10 short articles that you chop up. You could have a regular presence on your main social media channels just from a few articles! Who would have thought?
Other Savvy Ways To Use Your Articles
Besides submitting to Directories, there are a lot of other things you can do with your articles. Since you wrote them, you may as well use them. Go ahead and wear them out while you’re at it!
Put each full version article on your blog, and if your website homepage is separate from your blog roll, add links there to all your articles.
Make hard copies of each article and hand them out at your seminars that cover the same or related topics. Give them away at networking events when a colleague shows interest or shares a problem you can solve. How special someone would feel if after telling you their dilemma you said, “You know, I recently wrote an article on that very issue. I have a copy in my laptop bag”. Or, you can mail it to them to make that important second connection to build even greater trust.
Why not go all out and get article repurpose crazy? Put several articles together to make a valuable booklet— your Amazing Free Offer— that you give away in digital form to your website visitors, or create a hardcopy version to give away free to visitors at your store.
A “Great” Article
The thought of creating an article from “nothing” can bring a certain amount of anxiety to a business owner. A lot of people get stumped on the writing. They wonder how to write an interesting article, and how to make it “great”. Getting to “great” simply means you include the right ingredients to make it “yummy”, and then you use some writing guidelines to make it well-written.
I like to use a writing strategy I call the 5 by 5! This includes 5 ingredients for making the article interesting, and 5 tips for ensuring it is well-written.
5 Ingredients for an Interesting Article
- An interesting article is “delicious” and often has a “secret sauce”. It wets the reader’s appetite for more of you! It triggers the reader to feel you are letting them in on some big secret or some hard to find information, because YOU are the expert. You are allowing them to be privy to your “secret sauce”!
- A delicious article is flavored in YOUR own voice, not someone else’s. This helps the reader to connect with you emotionally.
- An interesting article is made of quality content that is original (your content, in your own words, not swiped or “borrowed” directly from someone else). Quality content is also reliable, fact-based, on point, and not bogged down with a lot of “fluff”.
- An interesting article is beneficial, offering a way to solve a problem or dilemma, or offering new information to the reader that they can easily apply to their life or work.
- An interesting and delicious article is easily shared. There is something in the content so important, so clever, so useful, or so yummy that the reader wants to share it with others, making your articles work double duty for you and helping you gain valuable visibility.
How to Write A Great Article
If you keep the above ingredients in mind as you whip up your article, you will be off to a fabulous start. Now, let’s look at the “how”. Here are 5 quick tips for actually writing that deliciously tasty article:
- First of all, know your audience of readers. Who (as a group) are you writing to and why are you writing to them? What is the MAIN message you want to get across in your article? Keep it simple at first. Also, stick to one main idea, such as how to add personality to your home through color, or how to care for a sofa so it lasts many years, or ideas on how to arrange living room furniture for entertaining.
- Be yourself as you write, and don’t think too hard about it. Relax as you approach it. As we touched on in “ingredients”, use your own voice. Write as if you are in the room with the reader, as if you know them, so they feel as though they know you. Leave the overly formal “voice” for the college professors! If you have a charming sense of humor, factor that in, but don’t let that take center stage. Keep the content as the star. Don’t try to be funny if you are not, and don’t try to be formal if that is not your style. You will do your best writing if it is driven by the essence of “you”. That way, writing becomes easier.
- Get your thoughts down as they come to your mind, and organize them later. If you try to write “perfectly” or if you seek to create a final draft the first time around, you will get “stuck”. The best way to write is to throw your thoughts down on paper, and then neaten them up and organize them into “groups” of like content as you go. This way you will not miss an important thought.
- Your article should have a title, an introduction paragraph, a body of several paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. This is a good formula for you to start with. As you become more skilled at writing, you can add more paragraphs where appropriate. Have one main point for each paragraph. These points will be sub-points of your overall theme or title. Choose a title that captures your main idea and that will guide the article writing. I’ll share more on titles in the third part of this series.
- Catch the reader’s attention from the onset and follow through with more great content. Make the first two sentences of your article powerful, punchy, and directly tied to your main point. Then make the remainder of your content useful and beneficial enough so that the reader would actually be willing to pay for it! When you can, you may also want to season your writing with a unique way of looking at the topic. If possible, come at it from a new or unique vantage point. This adds interest and makes your article more “sharable”. An example of this would be, “7 ways to Ensure No One Wants to Come Visit Your Home”, an article title that allows for a different way of teaching people how to have a home others want to come to.
- Well let’s end part two of our series here. In part three I will share with you how to submit your articles to article directories, when and where to post your original content, popular article directory sites, how many articles to write and how often, article size, using quotes, your author’s bio, your article resource box, your article summary, evergreen content, using keywords, tips for overcoming your writing aversion, and a few other very useful tips. Once again, stay tuned!
Margo DeGange, M.Ed. is a Business Empowerment Coach, and frequent contributor to Furniture World Magazine on retail sales, interior design and marketing topics. She is the creator of the Twelve Step Go Build a Biz Marketing Program (http://www.GoBuildABiz.com) for a Thriving & Profitable Business Fast! Margo is totally committed to your wild success. She’ll mentor & coach you to get crystal clear on your most ideal target client, connect to them with a magnetic marketing message, establish your unique (and empowering ) value position, build trust through amazing offers and information, and close the sale almost effortlessly. Questions about this article can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or Visit www.MargoDeGange.com for products, programs and coaching to put YOU on the map!
Read other articles by Margo DeGange, M.Ed.