Posted Friday, January 28, 2005
We all know the familiar adage "if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck..." it's nearly always a duck. The same is true with image, particularly when it comes to the images we portray of ourselves as writers.
My e-book "Articles That Sell", teaches the how-to's of effectively marketing your business by writing and publishing articles. These ideas will help you literally take your marketing act to the street by presenting yourself as a professional writer.
A professional writer? Of course...the last image that you want to convey is that you're an amateur. If you want to brand yourself and your business professionally, then you've got to conduct all your marketing efforts with the perspective of a skilled and accomplished pro.
First, you'll need to erase any stereotypical images of writers. They aren't all philosophical types in glasses and black turtlenecks. Writers are real people, just like you. They come from all walks of life and have their own mortgages to pay. Very few writers are able to boast successful careers based only upon the words they have authored. In fact, most of the prominent writers we read today all have certain elements in common.
What are the marks of a professional Writer?
Business Cards - Does yours make any mention of the fact that you're a writer? If it doesn't, then you're sending an alarming signal that you write as a hobby.
Resume - Does yours note the names and dates of the publications that have featured your work? No listed works, no credibility.
Portfolio - Do you have a beyond-your-hard-drive collection of the articles you have written? All writers should have a hands-on cd or floppy portfolio. If possible, you should also have a physical portfolio containing your work, particularly any work that has been published in print.
Current Contact List or Database - Can you put your hands on a complete list of contact information? We're not talking sticky-notes here. This should include the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and web site addresses of any publications to which you have submitted an article. Ideally, you should also include the contact information for any new publications about which you learn. Make certain to include the name of the article you have submitted and whether it was published. If you sold an article, list the price for which you sold it. Review your information regularly and follow-up with each publication periodically.
Letterhead and Envelopes - Think it's too expensive? If it's a business expense then it's tax deductible. While it's true that editors are primarily interested in the content of your work, unprofessional correspondence sends up a red flag that you're trying to break-in to writing. You probably have a software program on your computer that you can use to create an impressive letterhead for yourself. Visit your local office supply store to find a quality paper to print it.
Editor - Now, we're talking some real money, aren't we? As I've said before in a previous ATSU Newsletter, there are affordable editors out there. You can even find one at a local college who might be willing to work for a nominal fee. If using a "for-pay" editor isn't an option, you should at least have all your work proofed for grammar, spelling, and flow of content by someone who is qualified and is objective. It's important that you be open-minded to constructive criticism.
Library Card - Who has time to read? The best way to learn to better express our own thoughts and further develop our writing is through reading the thoughts of others. Ask anyone whom you consider to be a professional writer. That person will always tell you that they have either always been or have become an avid reader. In the area of reading, venture out and read beyond your normal scope of preferences. You'll be amazed at how expanding your horizons can truly fine-tune your own writing skills.
Success in marketing with articles is a reciprocating enterprise. The more you write and publish articles to market your business, the more exposure you will gain as an author. Presenting yourself as an across-the-board professional in your area of writing will propel your success even further. Maximize the mileage you can earn through your writing!
(c) 2004, Davis Virtual Assistance. All rights in all media reserved. Permission to reprint granted so long as the by-line and article are printed intact and links are live.
About the Author
Bonnie Jo Davis has been using the "marketing with articles" technique for over ten years. She and her clients have been published in hundreds publications both on the internet and in print. Learn more about this free technique to garner publicity and establish yourself as an expert by visiting her (http://tinyurl.com/5wnmm))