January 9, 2008
One of the best ways for companies to “get their name out there” is through self-promotion. This is a little different than straight up advertising and usually more effective. Self-promotion involves providing information to potential clients by way of a written article instead of the standard sales pitch. Any company can proclaim their greatness on a banner or a billboard; however, when a company offers free advice concerning their area of expertise, it makes a much stronger statement to the potential clients. Here a few things to keep in mind when writing articles for self-promotion.
An article’s title is one of the most important devices used in getting a reader’s attention. The title can literally make or break an entire article since it will most likely determine whether or not a reader keeps reading. If the reader doesn’t finish the article, he will not see the link at the bottom that leads to your company’s website. So, while creativity is always appreciated, accuracy is much more important.
In other words, the title really needs to say exactly what the article is about. If George Clooney’s name is in the title, the article better be about him. People do not like to be tricked into reading something that has nothing to do with the subject they are looking for. The goal with self-promotion articles is to provide useful information to people who might use your services. George Clooney may be the hottest man in show business, but if he doesn’t use or endorse your product or service, it is best to keep his name out of it.
An article’s first paragraph is just as important as its title. This is, hopefully, the attention getter! The first paragraph should feed off of the title and set up the rest of the article. It should do so in an informative, interesting way that encourages the reader to keep reading. This is also a good place to set up a general scenario that most readers will be able to relate to. If the first paragraph is successful in grabbing a reader’s attention, the likelihood greatly increases that the reader will finish the article, thus discovering the company responsible for its content. Mission accomplished!
Length and Language
Time is so important to people today. Therefore, when writing self-promotional articles, keep them relatively short (around 700 to 1000 words). Make sure they are written so they are easy to understand. When a person is seeking information today, they want to be able to find it fast and read/learn it even faster. Big words and long articles are just not compatible with this mindset.
The Professional Edge
You may know everything there is to know about cars, but if you can’t put your thoughts to paper in a clear, concise manner, consider hiring a professional writer. Self-promotion through writing Internet articles can only be successful if the final product provides a positive representation of your company. Therefore, if your article is filled with misspelled words and dangling modifiers, the only thing it will succeed in doing is making you look incompetent. People who run their own companies often do not have time to spend looking up the rules of punctuation and parallelism. However, writers do! If need be, take advantage of someone else’s writing expertise to help promote your business in the most professional way.
Editing is another area where outside help could be needed. Even the most careful writers make mistakes. Unfortunately, once an error is printed, it is too late to correct, and even the tiniest typo can mar the judgment of a potential client. Because of this, hiring an editor may be a worthy investment. An experienced editor will go beyond checking for misspelled or misused words and look for shifts in voice or tense, as well as subject-verb agreement. Using an editor doesn’t guarantee an error free article, but it increases the likelihood a great deal.
Self-promotion using Internet articles can be a great way to increase your business. This type of instructional marketing emphasizes knowledge instead of gimmicks. Taking the time to create a well-written article may seem counterproductive to your actual business, but the results will speak for themselves.
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