There are hundreds, if
not thousands, of publications in print and on the web looking for
articles on topics relating to the needs of their audience or clientele. By
sharing your expertise you will develop trust, connection and credibility
that simply cannot be achieved through advertising.
In today’s internet landscape you don’t even need a source to send your articles. Adding articles to your own web site provides information for current and potential clients, as well as improves your site’s ranking on the net. With
the increasing number of marketing sites, search engines determine
ranking by the amount of informative content.
An added benefit of articles -- writing helps you hone your message
and address the key health issues of your niche market.
So where to begin?
The simplest way to begin writing an article is to break it into three key ingredients. You want to provide information, incorporate attention getters and create easy reading.
The purpose of an article is to provide information, tools and/or
resources for your niche market. Different than a promotional piece, where the goal is to market you and your services, an article addresses a specific issue or concern. Adding
a 50-75 word bio slug with a web link at the bottom of the article
is a great place for information about you. The article itself
should address the issue, not promote how wonderful you are.
Many of my clients ask “how do I find out what information
my niche needs?”
Ask your clients. Write about the specific concerns of your clientele to build your community through your commitment to address their needs.
Make a list of the common issues your patients face.
Address trends such as lifestyle, health or seasonal factors that impact your readers.
Message: Write with a goal in
mind. Create more than just a “how to” list; incorporate
a message for your patients. The goal of a good article is to enhance
learning AND provide actions your reader can implement to change
Be personable. Using jargon distances you from
your reader. As you shape your message speak to them in language
they can relate to on issues that have immediate relevance.
Choose engaging examples that highlight your message.
Keep the content relevant, focused and succinct.
Title: Draw people in with your title and hook them into the message. Browse through magazines and notice what titles engage you. Then adapt your own.
Stories: Stories draw your reader in. Keep your
writing “alive” by incorporating active language and
be sure that it highlights your message.
Statistics: Statistics or other “data” demonstrate
your credibility on the topic and also expand the learning for
Tips or tools: Keep them simple and doable.
Create Easy Reading
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to structure your
article for easy readability. Once you are clear on your message
and the information you want to provide, write clearly and concisely.
By blending prose with bullet points for tools, you allow your
reader to skim for useable tools while connecting with you on
a personal level.
Length: Different publications seek varying lengths, but the current “general rule” is 500-700 words for a web article. Newspaper editorials are typically 500 words. Some e-zines request 1,000 words. It is key to adhere to their requirements.
- Use headlines and subheads to help your reader scan for information
- Incorporate bullet points
- Use numbered lists
- Use bold highlights sparingly
Allow yourself to write a “very rough” first draft. This is possibly the most important step in piecing together the article. Let your ideas flow onto the page. Afterwards, go back and hone your story, your tips and your message.
- Write short, direct sentences.
- Segment your paragraphs to aid quick readability.
- Use engaging, descriptive details and examples.
- Write less. (Web documents are shorter than their hard copy counterparts)
- Edit, edit, edit. If you do not need it, cut it.
And remember...just like anything new, you will have a few drafts before you find your voice, your rhythm and your story. Share it with friends. Ask for input from respected colleagues. And before you know it, you will overcome the “fear of the red pen” and you will begin to enjoy sharing your expertise.
About the Author
With a master’s in theater and a certification in professional coaching Carolyn Campbell helps social entrepreneurs meld passion, strategy and community building to create rewarding, lucrative businesses. For more FREE tips on growing your business, visit www.thecoresource.com and click on resources.