Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2004
The shrewdest and most effective means of free advertising is through providing interesting and relevant information to your potential customers. You can do this easily by writing and distributing free reprint articles at various web sites around the 'net. There are literally thousands of e-zine and web site publishers actively searching for the interesting and informative articles you can craft in your area of expertise. Targeting the audiences of these publishers is an essential element of your cost-effective advertising and marketing strategy.
I am convinced that anyone with a web site can promote that web site along with its business, products, and/or services by implementing this basic marketing strategy. Sure, it sounds simple enough, but what if you aren't confident in your writing skills? Accurate written communication is the foundation of this marketing maneuver.
Can you write?
My initial experience involved submitting articles written by other people to publishers. I was so excited when I saw the response generated by this technique that I decided to use it when I began my own business.
One day I sat down with pen-in-hand attempting to begin writing my own articles and spent the next half hour staring at the blank sheet. In frustration, I eventually put down the pen and walked away, later complaining to a friend that I hated to write. I complained about lacking writing expertise and that my qualifications basically amounted to the good grades I earned in English classes long ago. My friend gently interrupted me pointing out that I had been writing on a daily basis at work. She also brought to my attention the fact that my education provided me with the necessary skills to write competently and effectively.
After kindly showing me the forest which I couldn't see for its trees, my friend generously offered an incredible suggestion. Her solution for my dilemma was that I should try begin again by choosing a topic and then creating an outline representing the points I wanted to cover about that topic in my article. Choosing a topic would give me a foundation upon which to build my article. Drafting an outline would allow me to address the issues that I saw as pertinent and relevant to my topic.
I took her advice, narrowed my possible topics, and selected one that I would reduce to writing. With that one topic in mind, I proceeded to create a comprehensive outline on that blank piece of paper. After completing my outline, I fleshed it out, added stories to illustrate my points, and Voila... I had right there before me a rough draft of my first article! That rough draft, after being carefully proofed and polished, became an article that was published in dozens of online publications. The positive result of my effort was that my article netted me thousands of web site visitors and rewarded me with a treasured long-term client.
Can't get past the outline?
If you're absolutely certain you can't write there are at least three options well worth considering. The first option is to enroll in a writing class through your local university, adult education program or on-line. A couple of on-line options include Write101 Writing Tutorials at (http://www.write101.com/writewell.htm) or Writers' Village University at (http://writersvillage.com/). Many local universities, community colleges and adult education programs also offer on-line courses.
Your second option is to hire a ghostwriter. Most ghostwriters will take your topic, conduct the research and write an article for your review. Upon your approval of the article the ghostwriter will add your by-line and release the article to you for distribution. Offering research resources or providing an outline for the ghostwriter to follow may reduce the ghostwriter's fees. You can post your article project and take bids from ghostwriters on-line at (http://www.elance.com), (http://www.creativemoonlighter.com) or you can seek a ghostwriter using any search engine. You'll find various options that will fit your budget. Freelance ghostwriters can negotiate regarding their fees since they work for themselves and often offer reduced rates to returning clients.
A third option also requires hiring a ghostwriter to write your article and add your by-line but going further to enlist that person to distribute the article for you. This is a convenient and time-effective way to have the entire writing and distribution project completed by the same individual. You can review two companies that offer packaged services at (http://thephantomwriters.com/purchase/index.shtml) and (http://www.marketingwords.com/ezinearticle.html).
Even if you honestly can't write you can certainly still educate your target audience, earn loyalty and establish yourself as an expert by using free reprint articles. You can invest a bit more in your advertising and promotional efforts by taking a writing course or hiring a ghostwriter. Whichever of the two you may choose, you are making an investment that will be well-returned many times over in beneficial results to both you and your readers. Be willing to go the extra mile in establishing your web site as the definitive choice of your targeted audience. You'll be pleased with the rewards of your efforts.
About the Author
Bonnie Jo Davis is an expert in using articles to marketing your business, services and products. Visit (http://www.ArticlesThatSell.com/newsletter.htm) to sign-up for a free monthly newsletter to learn everything you need to know about marketing with articles.