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February 25, 2010

Article Marketing Tip: When should you use a pen name?

One of the interesting options you have when you start submitting articles is the author name under which your articles will appear. You have two options when choosing an author name:

1) You can use your real name. Using your real name is has several advantages:

*It allows you to become known as an expert in your field. Why is it beneficial to become known as an expert in your field? The more confidence a person has in your knowledge and ability, the more likely they will be to:

=> use your services

=> buy the products that you recommend

=> recommend you to their friends

If you would like to build a reputation as an expert, then use your real name. Being regarded as an expert can carry the benefit of increasing sales and referrals.

*Using your real name conveys authenticity, which promotes feelings of trust. On the internet, it is very easy to hide behind a mask, to say you are one thing when you are really another. Sometimes people will come to your article with a wall already up, wondering, “Why should I trust this person?”

If you can show that you are real, that you are not hiding anything, that you are a legitimate person who truly has great information to offer, that goes a long way toward building trust with a potential customer.

Obviously your decision whether or not to use an alias depends on your purpose in submitting articles. I would advise that you should use your real name if you have no good reason for changing it.

2) What would be some reasons for using pen names?

  • You have a very common name and you want to be more memorable.
  • Because of your subject matter, you think your articles would have more authority if they sounded like they were written by someone of the opposite sex.
  • Perhaps you are marketing different websites on different topics and want to differentiate your writings on each topic by using a different name.
  • Maybe your real name is the same as a well known person in your field. In that case, you might want to make your name appear different (or use an alias) to avoid confusion.
  • Or perhaps you have a very good reason for wanting to keep your real identity a secret.

In any case, when you’re submitting articles for article marketing it is acceptable to use a pen name if you like. If you do use an alias, here are 5 guidelines to help you come up with a good one:

  1. Even if the name you’re using is not your own, it is beneficial to make your name sound like a real name.
  2. Your pen name should have a first and last name, just like a real person’s name would.
  3. Steer clear of obviously fake names that play off of your topic. For example, if you’re submitting articles about car racing, don’t call yourself “Mr. Hotrod”. Using a silly made up name makes it hard for readers to take you seriously.
  4. Keep your business name out of your pen name. For example, if your business name is Ocean Breeze Realty, don’t make your alias “Ocean Breeze”. Not only is that not very subtle, but it may get your article rejected for being promotional. (Yes, even an author name can be considered sales oriented).
  5. Don’t try to use your URL as your author name. Sounds obvious, but some people try that!

If you’re using a pen name, your best bet is to keep it real (or real sounding). Use a first and last name that sounds like something a real person would have. If you don’t have a good reason to use an alias, just use your real name.

For more info on how you can use article marketing to reach thousands of potential prospects for your website, go now to Steve Shaw is an article marketing expert and founder of the popular article submission service used by thousands of business owners.