Everybody’s doing it. You can’t look at Social Media, industry journals or a magazine that you don’t see people you recognize using these outlets as a means of self promotion. You may feel a pang of jealousy, but don’t. With a bit of encouragement and the information below, you’ll be on your way to writing your own articles in no time.
Using this step-by-step approach you’ll be churning out content in a flash. Not just content, valuable content that your customers are going to read and be impressed by. So, let’s get going….
Be Clear on the Who
The first and most important thing is to think about the audience. What interests them? What are their challenges, what excites them and motivates them to do, be and have more? Are they intent on losing weight, having a great relationship, reaching a higher level of success, being able to afford that new car or paying for their kid’s hockey season?
Know What Interests Them
Maybe your audience is other business owners. If so, this should be even easier. What is it they are interested in? Are they focused on increasing revenue, decreasing costs, gaining the competitive edge, or is it some new industry or legislative change that has them alarmed?
What Challenges are They Facing?
Keeping an eye on what your readers are experiencing is always a good idea. Often writers find a niche and stay within it so they can focus on a particular market. This allows them to easily understand the reader, their challenges and their daily life. This knowledge allows the author to offer insightful solutions and increase their credibility with their audience. Finding a niche and sticking with it can lead to “expert” status for a prolific writer. Apart from writing, this elevated status could open doors to additional revenue streams within the market, including speaking, training and consulting.
What excites them?
Understanding their hopes, dreams and desires is just as important as knowing the reader’s challenges. By getting a picture of what they are striving for, the writer can shed light on how they might get it. People are frequently too close to their situation to see a clear path to what they want. While they struggle, an outsider’s viewpoint can steer them in the right direction. A knowledgeable writer, with insights into an audience, will be in a unique position to impact individuals, and the group, while standing out as a leader.
There’s Power in Listening
One of the best ways to find out what’s on your reader’s mind is to listen to them. What are they worried about, confused by and interested in? What questions are they asking? If your articles focus on their questions alone, you’ll be a big hit, while providing a great service.
Understanding the Outlets
Next, think about the outlet for your article. Is it going to be online, in a newsletter or a magazine? This is important for a few different reasons. Online publications can be almost instant. Newsletters all have different deadlines, so you must check with each individually to know when to submit the copy and when to expect the final. Magazines have a three to six month lead time. In January many magazines are planning their July issue. In order to get in a print magazine, you must be thinking ahead.
Do Your Research
It’s always a good idea to read a few issues of publication that you are interested in writing for. If you don’t think your article is a match for the publication you’re reviewing, don’t give up. There are more than 75,000 magazines published annually in the U.S. alone. This figure doesn’t include online publications, newsletters and blogs. If you think you have a good idea, keep looking. It’s very likely that you’ll find just the right fit for your article.
Check Submission Guidelines
Before sending anything, it’s important to find out exactly how and what to pitch. Read and reread the submission information to make sure your pitch fits perfectly with the posted guidelines. Every day great pitches are ignored simply because they weren’t submitted properly.
What do You Have to Offer Readers?
Think of your unique perspective. How is your article going to differ from what’s already out there? Consider why you are the best possible person to write this piece and what new light can you shed on the subject? Taking ownership of the information will help you create an article that will both reflect your voice and provide value to the reader.
Benefits for the Reader
What is your information going to offer the reader in exchange for their time? Think about the benefit that you are giving the reader. How is this newly acquired knowledge going to impact their lives? Are you educating, informing, entertaining, motivating, or enlightening them? The goal is to make it clear so the reader gets the message.
What suggestions do you have for them?
How can the reader use this new information? What are the easy, simple, fast ways to start to incorporate this new knowledge? What action steps would you recommend? Maybe you’re just outlining the initial steps, which are fine; just make it clear so the reader will know what to do.