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Salem business Journal

november 2006

Build Business Through Published Articles

Are you an expert in your industry? Do you have valuable knowledge or insight into an industry issue?

Building Buzz: Tirza Wibel, Public Relations Strategist

Why not build on that expertise and take your business to the next level?

Sharing your expertise with others via bylined articles is a powerful way to build personal credibility, position your business as an industry leader and increase visibility for your own company.

In fact, bylined articles are the most high- impact way to generate low-cost publicity. Instead of spending your marketing budget on expensive advertisements that readers hardly notice, save that money and instead place a free bylined article in the same publication offering your readers something more valuable – your expertise.

Whether your business is collision-repair or financial advising, if your desire is to build

your business and rise above competition, bylined articles are the best-kept marketing secret.

Find Your Voice To determine potential article topics, start with your background. Think about the things that people like about you and your business. Define what you’re good at.

Is there a particular question with which customers or industry peers often approach you? Do you have training in a specific type of service? Do you possess a unique skill? Is there something you’ve learned from running your company that may be helpful for other business owners?

People who publish articles aren’t

S a l e m C h a m b e r o f C o m m e r c e s Evening d’Elegance Saturday, November 4, 2006 at 6:00 pm at the Salem Conference Center

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Chemeketa Community College is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. Students who need accommodations for a disability should contact their instructor or Disability Services, Building 2, Room 174, or call 503-399-5192 (V/TTY).

necessarily the ones with the most experience or the most knowledge. They are the ones who are willing to make available to others what they have learned along the way. They are the ones who take the time to write about a subject that is related to their business.

determine Your Audience Bylined articles can be directed at consumers or at industry peers. While consumer- based articles read by target clients may have more immediate impact on business, trade articles are an important tool in building credibility. Publishing trade articles offers a longer term strategy for positioning you as an expert, thus generating more long-term business. And while placement of guest articles in general consumer media like newspapers and magazines can be a little trickier, industry magazines and trade journals usually welcome guest submissions.

In order to determine the best placement and approach for your article, read the publications your target audience reads. Withconsumer-basedpublications,consider offering a column. You may write it for the health section if you are a home health care company, or offer it to the home and gardening section if you are a landscaper. Opinion editorial sections of newspapers are also worth considering as a great way to offer your expertise and advice to target audiences.

For trade journals you’ll want to think about your specific background or something you’ve learned that might be valuable to others in your industry. For example, if you run a home health care company and you have a good employee training system in place, you may want to write an article about home care employee training for a trade journal like Home Health Care Management & Practice.

Write & Place Your Articles After you’ve determined your audience(s) and several potential topics, you’ll want to “pitch” your idea to the publication editors. A publicist can be helpful with this process and help you identify and contact the editors on your behalf. Pitching and securing media placement is a skill and requires someone who understands how to work with the media and present an article that will meet the needs and guidelines of the publication.

The important thing to remember when writing the article itself is that a bylined article is NOT about self promotion. In order to garner interest from readers for your topic, you want to provide valuable information—not create a sales piece about your company. Usually, it’s best not to mention your own business in the article unless you’re using case studies or examples. Your company name and contact information will be listed in your “bio” at the end of the article, and will be noticed if you’ve generated interest by providing information the reader is looking for. Focus the article on the expertise you’re sharing.

If you’re providing practical knowledge that offers something specific and insightful to the reader, you will be selling you.

Lack of time, writing ability or PR savvy doesn’t have to hold you back from publishing articles. In fact most bylined articles written by executives and business leaders were researched and written by professional ghostwriters. By partnering yourself with an experienced pro, you’ll get a quality article that presents you and your work in a format welcomed by editors, and meeting their publication guidelines. Best of all, you’ll get all the credit—for placing a well-written, credible, and sales-enriching article.

Sustain the Buzz Once you’ve published an article about your area of expertise, you’ll want to make those articles work for you long past the print date. When used effectively, high quality reprints of published articles can speak volumes about you and your business, and can help bring ongoing credibility to your company.

In addition to putting electronic copies of published articles up on your Web site in an online newsroom, there are other ways to use your articles as a sales tool. You might consider using the articles for:

  • *

    Newsletters: If you distribute a monthly

newsletter, bring attention to articles recently published and link to them when possible.

  • *

    Referral mailings: Include reprints in a

letter to referral sources.

  • *

    Sales packets: Include reprints in packets

to potential customers in order to maximize your visibility as the leading expert.

  • *

    Press release and news opportunities: If

you were published in a national magazine or trade journal, it may be worthy of local news coverage, calling for a local profile on you and your business. Send copies of the article to local reporters and radio stations, suggesting your availability as a guest expert on the same topic.

  • *

    Speaking

opportunities:

Published

articles about your expertise will help you get accepted and solicited as a speaker at national and local conferences and seminars.

  • *

    Business awards: When you apply

for local and national business awards, published articles can help your business be respected as a leader, and garner you attention as a potential award winner.

Tirza Wibel is an award winning professional ghostwriter and public relations expert, and principal of Silverton based BrandBloom. She partners with local and national business leaders and companies who want to creatively reach, compel and build business through brand communications and media strategy. Contact her at twibel@brandbloom.com.

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