Why should business owners and professionals publish articles? Fame, prestige, ego? What about money: No, at least not directly.
The fundamental reason all business people should publish original articles is because it’s a great differentiator.
By claiming the expert mantle, you are telling a client or prospect why you and your widget or service are better than Johnny ABC’s.
For years my company touted our quality of service, quick turnaround and reliability. Virtually the same as all our competitors. In the days before LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and social media I began to see articles that were written by some of those very competitors.
I was not convinced that writing was one of my important skills, but as the company evolved and began to grow my first such undertaking was a one page newsletter which included tips or hints that were of value to our clients. Clients appreciated the helpful information we provided so the newsletters were done monthly.
The newsletters lead to more in-depth articles that educated our client base. The transition was natural. Each of the informative short essays were well received. That success emboldened me to establish a media list and pitch articles to local business publications, newspapers and trade journals. After some fits and starts, our articles began to be accepted for publication.
I was very grateful when several articles appeared in “Direct Marketing News,” which at the time was the national direct marketing industry newspaper. As a result, our local media outlets began to show an interest in having copy from me and our company, and even more articles were published. As we progressed an interesting phenomenon began to take place. Reporters not only sourced us for marketing or postal stories, but also for comments on issues outside of our industry.
Because of the success of our newsletters and articles we published a compilation of the articles in a “how to” booklet, “Direct Mail from the Practical Side.” With that booklet, we stuck a pin in the map and said “we’re here, we’re the experts, and we can help.” It was today’s equivalent of a white paper or e-book offered for download on the internet or directly from your website.
Over time we started blogging. Since our primary workspace had been direct marketing, I began blogging about direct mail and the United States Postal Service with its trials and tribulations. As a first attempt, the blog posts were OK. Not grand, just workmanlike and somewhat articulate. Nevertheless, like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get.
Serendipitously, I was offered an opportunity to write for Huffington Post, and was elated when my first article was published in all its glory for the entire world to see in such a prominent venue. I have continued submitting articles and am now recognized as a ‘contributor.’
Why is all this so important? Try this simple exercise: Google yourself and a close competitor and compare the results. What type of mentions are you finding, where are the links coming from and has he/she published articles of any value? If they have and you haven’t, you’re giving away ground to them. If you’ve been able to be published and they haven’t, you’re more prominent than they are. Publishing gives you the ammunition you need to inform your customers, prospects and the world, for that matter, that you’re the expert and that you have important knowledge to impart.
Today’s social media allows you to get broader exposure for your writing. Do not hesitate to explore the hundreds of sites where you can post your articles. The idea is to obtain a readership. This will take time. Don’t expect to achieve a viral post that goes worldwide. That, unfortunately, would be like winning the lottery. Publishing, especially online is a slow process rewarding perseverance. So, keep at it.
Once you’ve broken the barrier and become an author, you are far above the competition.
“Publish or Perish” is adage from academia but it is equally true in business.
Demetriou is CEO of the award winning Lorraine Gregory Communications company. He is a nationally published author and regularly contributes to LIBN, the Huffington Post and other business publications. He can be reached at [email protected].
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