One of the best ways to build credibility and promote your expertise is by publishing. Many of the greatest thinkers in history were able to build their reputation through their writing. Throughout history, people such as, Mahatma Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln, and George Bernard Shaw were able to use their writing to promote their causes and views.
There are many potential benefits to having your writing published. Here are six that I think are the most important.
1. It helps to build your personal or company reputation.
2. It helps to establish your credibility.
3. It helps create a favorable impression on those who read your material.
4. It helps your marketing. You can reprint your articles in your marketing materials that you send to prospects and customers.
5. It helps generate leads.
6. It often gets you invited to speak to groups of other people.
If you want to gain credibility, you must write with a resonant voice of authority. This voice must come across with every word, sentence, paragraph, and page. Without this voice of authority, you will come across as uncertain and befuddled. You will swamp readers with extraneous information that will leave them frustrated, or, worse, gives them misinformation that could harm them. In short, if you sound like you know what you're talking about, you will sound like an expert. When you know your subject thoroughly, and you've taken every precaution to assemble flawless research, your writing ability will help you produce articles and books comparable to what the best writers might publish.
How do you find the right topic to write about? The single best topic to write about is always about what you do. For example, if you're a manager, write on some aspect of increasing productivity among your staff or having operations run more smoothly. Suppose you routinely write reports as part of your work. You can extract sections of those reports, generalize them for a specific audience, and create an article.
When you're looking for a topic to write about, you'll find plenty of ideas by simply looking at all the problems people face in your industry or profession. Writing about solutions to a pressing problem is one the best topics you can write about.
A great way to find ideas for articles is by clipping articles of interest. By doing this you can get a good idea of what topics are of current interest to the audience you're trying to reach. The internet is the best source of information available today. You should regularly search Web sites that post current articles and then either print them out or save them so that you can refer to them on a regular basis. Often these articles will help you with valuable research you need for what you are writing about. Perhaps you want to go beyond what someone else already wrote. Perhaps you have a different view of what's already been written. Simply reviewing what you've already collected is very often all you need to come to the realization that you can create your own article out of this material, going beyond it with your own thoughts, insights, and recommendations.
Your most memorable professional or personal experience always makes for a good article. Your worst disappointment can be a good article as well. A contrary view to a popular opinion will certainly get noticed.
If you're really energetic, consider interviewing a prominent person in your industry. That would generate three benefits: a good article, a solid interpersonal connection, and a strong possibility of having your article published in one of your industry publications.
Also, consider writing an overview of new developments in your profession or industry. What are the four or five things people need to know? What's on the horizon? What legislation may pass that will change things? These all make great topics.
If you've ever conducted a survey of your own customers or just conducted a survey in general, look at the data. Is there something there that would make for a good article Surveys are also an excellent way to be able to empathize with your reader's needs. If you're serious about writing you should routinely talk to people who are interested in the topic you're going to write about. Talking over the piece with friends, colleagues, and even coworkers will give you a sense of direction and feel for the overall scope of the subject you're going to write about.
Also, consider meetings or conventions that you've attended and any results they've generated. What did you learn at your industry's national convention that would make for a good article
Any time you speak to a group, tape your talk or speech, even if you're only talking to a group of your own staff at your weekly company meeting. Many times, if you go back and listen to those tapes, you'll find that you have stretches, three, four, five minutes or more, of usable material that can be used for an article. As a matter of fact, for every ten minutes that you speak to a group, even at a company meeting, you'll find that you have as much as five pages of material. Turning those five pages into usable format will still give you roughly four pages usable material. Your words are valuable, tape them!
Many writers worry needlessly that they cannot write an article unless they are 100 percent certain that an idea they have is theirs, and theirs alone. That is self-defeating and wrong. It's infinitely more important to perfect an idea than to be the first with an idea. Untold billions of ideas have been born and died in the minds of people who failed to take their ideas past the concept stage. For example, there is always room for a better article on dieting, even though thousands of articles and books have been written on the subject.
To title your article you could simply come up with six or eight ways to do something better. Using the managerial example, you could call it something like, six ways to motivate your employees. But suppose you start writing and you only come up with four? You can change your article title to ?Four Ways to Motivate Employees.? In other words, when you put a number in the title, Six Ways or Five Reasons, it makes it much easier to proceed. Now, instead of having to create from a title from scratch, you merely have to identify six ways, each of which could be a paragraph or two. Then come up with an opening and closing for your article.
Once you have your topic and your title, it's very important that you give hard thought to your word count. Research where you are going to try to get your article published. Will it be for a newspaper, magazine, or a Web site? It's important that you pay strict attention to their editorial guidelines. Do they want an article of 1,500 words or a longer piece of 3,000 words.
Once you begin to actually write your article it's important to be able to narrow your focus so that you can shape your material into one particular slant and delete whatever research that fails to fit that slant. That's why it is important for you to know what material to include as well as what to exclude. Take the material that you feel is essential and fashion it to the readers of your target audience. You have to almost know in advance the values, prejudices, and preferences of the people that will be reading your article.
Think of your material as pieces of fabric. You, the writer, are like the fashion designer that must shape and sew that fabric in a way that pleases particular buyers. And, whatever your topic always stick to one main idea. Slant your articles so that everything, from the headline to the closing paragraph, can be reduced to a single, well-shaped idea.
There are many mortal sins in the business of writing, but the sin of inaccuracy is rarely forgiven. If you want to endear yourself to whom you are submitting your article as well as your readers, you must produce accurate copy. Even if you really know your subject, you cannot show it, if your copy is riddled with misspelled words and inaccurate information.
It's not enough to master the art of writing to achieve success as a writing expert. You must learn to market yourself and your work. The opportunities are out there. It's a matter of taking advantage of them. New Web sites are constantly appearing that can use your articles and promote you and your work. Dedicate time every week to looking for them.
Copyright? 2005 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America's largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology.
Reach Joe at: [email protected]
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