If you have any writing skill at all, you can write an article that helps your prospects gain information and solve problems.
I’m betting that you can write at least five good articles, 500 to 1500 words, with information you already have–and use them to promote your business.
But start with one article, which you should be able to write in an hour or two. Write in a conversational, accessible style; just pretend you’re talking to a friend–and focus on the point you want to get across. And yes, the article can promote your goods and services, but the sales pitch is cloaked in the helpful, useful information that your prospects need. Include a blurb at the end that gives your contact information (including your website of course) and a line or so about how you can help your prospects.
After you’ve written the article, have someone read it for grammar and spelling errors, and to make sure it’s clear, concise, and to the point. (DON’T skip this step!) Now, you’re ready to use it for marketing.
Once you’ve developed a small stash of articles, what do you do with them? How will they help you grow your business?
There are literally dozens of ways you can gain a marketing benefit through this material. Here are ten to get you started:
* Find websites and e-zines with large readership that matches your target demographic; offer the content for free in exchange for a resource box that tells people why they should visit your site (make sure you keep all the rights)
* List them with the various places that let writers and publishers state their content needs and offers, such as EzineArticles.com/.
* Send out a press release about your research and conclusions, and offer the material on your own website (either for free or–if it’s really good and new and different–as an info product for sale)
* Offer it as a free bonus to encourage visitors to buy your regular info-products
* Post its availability to members of your discussion groups (for more on discussion groups, please see my September 1997 and September 1999 Frugal Marketing Tipsheets, archived at http://www.frugalmarketing.com, or for much more detail, my book, Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World
* List the specific page with search engines and directories
* Offer the article to relevant traditional print media and paying websites, at their usual payscale–but again, don’t sign away all your rights! Since you’re getting cash this time, you’ll probably have to get rid of the resource box. But you may get a line or two, or a one-paragraph blurb in the contributors section. Work hard to get your URL into either or both places. CAUTION: Don’t try to sell the same article to competing markets! Either write variations for different magazines or wait to approach the second one until the first has rejected it.
* Set up a distance learning class by autoresponder, sending another installment every few days
* Send it to past clients or prospects and ask them to pass it on to their friends and colleagues
* Offer it to information aggregators who sell CD ROM article or report collections
See how easy it is? This article is an example. I originally wrote it for my own monthly tipsheet, and now, with a few minutes of rewriting, it’s here on this website.
This article originally appeared in Shel Horowitz’s Monthly Frugal Marketing Tips; please visit http://www.frugalmarketing.com/ to read back issues and sign up for your own subscription (there is no charge for this). Shel is a marketing copywriter and consultant specializing in affordable, effective marketing. His two most recent books are the excellent do-it-yourself marketing guide, Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World < http://www.frugalmarketing.com/>, and a new book, Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First < http://www.principledprofits.com/>, that turns “traditional marketing wisdom” on its head to say that businesses can thrive and prosper by being ethical and cooperating with their competitors. If you’d like to discuss a marketing project with Shel, contact him at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-683-WORD.