Have you considered promoting your business via articles published in print or online? But how do you write articles that will create a positive impression? WENDY SMITH lays bare the good and the bad of article writing for business women.
Surprisingly to some, whether or not you are a gifted writer is not the primary factor that determines the success of the articles you write. It is more to do with how you approach the article, the content you include and the overall value you offer the readers.
What are some basic factors that influence the impression your article will make on readers?
Bad impressions are created by:
Blatant self-promotion – me, me, me and sell, sell, sell. This is the biggest turn off for many readers and the quickest way to lose your reader before they even get to the end of your article. Worse still, it may not even make the cut to be published at all if the publisher or editor considers it be more advertorial than editorial.
Content or writing style that is not suited or relevant to the publication’s specific audience. Before starting your article, research your target audience and the requirements of the publication you are writing for, whether a glossy print magazine, ezine or blog. Ideally, read some previous issues and articles already published to get a feel for the publication. Then tailor your content, and the way in which you present it, to that publication’s readers. For example, readers of a specialist professional journal would not appreciate being treated like preschoolers with generic introductory content and, likewise, articles for a publication with a broad readership should not be overflowing with industry-specific jargon and complex and unnecessary detail. In addition, find out whether the target readership are young adults or senior citizens or those somewhere in between and write for your audience. Also consider whether the language used in the existing articles is formal or maybe more casual, and ensure your writing style will fit.
All fluff and no substance. Perhaps, you like a bit of foamy fluff on top of your cappuccino? Especially if it is lightly dusted with chocolate? But if the whole cup were full of foam, you would probably feel ripped off. I know I would! So, make sure there is a full shot of espresso in the cup you offer up and go easy on the fluff. An important part of self-editing the article you have written is to go back and remove the fluff – remove anything that does not add value to your article.
Good impressions are created by:
Pertinent and meaty information presented clearly and concisely. Honour the fact that your readers are giving up their valuable time to read your article and provide them something of value, something useful to them, something they can get their teeth into. Short and sweet may prevail over rambling on at length, and ensure the content is meaningful and relevant.
Giving the readers what they need or want. Aim to provide something that will benefit your reader in some way. Maybe you can help them to resolve a problem or improve their business or personal situation? Perhaps encourage them to persevere or assure them they are not alone? Or maybe your words will inspire and motivate your readers to be successful or to reach for the stars.
Offering your unique writing style and point of view. Don’t be afraid to let your personality and your unique voice shine through, at the same time as being sensitive to the style of the publication and the target audience. Give examples and include short case studies and present your individual position and your expertise and experience in your own words.
If you take note of the above tips your article will be off to a great start and, once polished up, likely to leave a positive impression on readers.