Well … here are three really important reasons.
Really Important Reason No. 1: It builds brand awareness. Writing articles in industry, association and business printed and electronic publications can create positive exposure and name recognition for you and your business. The exposure helps connect the dots linking you, your value proposition and expertise.
Really important reason No. 2: It establishes expertise. That exposure can, in turn, enhance your credibility and image. Readers generally assume people who write articles must be experts. Not necessarily true, but their perception is your reality. Take advantage of it. Credible articles may also differentiate you from competitors who are equally, if not more, qualified but who don’t have similar exposure.
Really important reason No. 3: It enhances marketing. Printed or electronic copies of the articles can become no-cost credible marketing support tools you can send to prospects and customers. A simple little “I thought you’d find this interesting” note helps you keep in front of the market without ever selling or asking for the business.
What do you write about?
Simple: Write about what you know, do or provide, but don’t sell. Talk about the importance of IT security, not your specific software tool. Discuss the advantages of managing customer relations, not your CRM package. Highlight ways to reduce presentation fear, not hiring you as a speech coach. Make sure your content supports your image as an expert and potential resource willing to provide valuable and useful content.
Where do you look for free ink?
This is also easy. The list is deep and wide:
- Reach out to local business publications and try to connect their needs with your expertise.
- Hook up with HARO, Help A Reporter Out. This service connects reporters and bloggers with content experts like you. You write pro bono, but can gain excellent and even national exposure. I’ve had several HARO pieces in the last two years.
- Search independent blogs writing about your areas of expertise, business focus or industry. Reach out and offer your services. Some have huge audiences and loyal followers.
- Search the editors of electronic and print publications produced by the local, state or national trade, industry or professional groups you belong to and support. They’re always looking for interesting content that would appeal to their member/readers.
- Here’s one most people don’t think about: Search your larger clients for the blogs they send out to their customers. See if they could use some of your content to help educate or inform their readers.
Now what do you do?
Good for you. Someone else has just created a credible and objective tool to help you grow your business. Now, get as much value from it as you can with the following suggestions:
- Thank the source for the exposure, of course.
- Post the piece, with permission, on your site in a special category or as a news item. Include the full text or a link to the source.
- Reference it in your blog or eLetter, again with a link to the source.
- Send out a note to colleagues, prospects or clients with a link so you can gently keep in front of them.
- Include the full text with other support materials you send prospects or leave behind after sales pitches.
- Send it out to professional groups you’re involved with or support whose members might benefit from the content.
So, Harness the Power of Free Ink to support your “No-Budget Marketing” plan. The return on your investment can be enormous. And do let me know how it works for you.
Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication, www.communicate-confidently.com, 440-449-0356, and empowers business leaders to reduce the pain with workplace communication. A popular trainer and executive coach on writing, styles and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.