By Diana Ennen, President, Virtual Word Publishing
One of the best ways to become known as the expert in your field is to regularly send out articles to targeted databases showcasing tips that you know best. Seems simple enough, but so many just don’t do it. And because of that, they are missing out on major opportunities, clients and, most important of all, exposure for their business.
One great approach is writing articles that inform and educate readers on new developments, such as changes that people need to be aware of (i.e., Facebook adding in job search options)—and in business, that happens frequently. People then look to you for guidance on topics when new changes happen and you become the hero, always having the answer.
However, there are many other opportunities besides new things that are happening—write articles on what you do daily in your business. To you it might seem like the same ol’ same ol’, but to others it can be just the information they are seeking. And when they do a Google search and you routinely come up with what they need, guess what, they will want to do business with you.
I personally love top tips articles—for example, “5 ways to get more PR for your business” or “5 ways to build your brand.” Write these articles with the following guidelines:
- Awesome, engaging title
- First paragraph that describes the article and clearly grabs the attention of your audience
- A list of tips bulleted or numbered
- Closing paragraph that wraps it all up
- A bio that shows your website, contact and media mentions, as well as any links to programs you run
What is especially great is when you pitch out these informative articles, oftentimes a publication will run the entire article. So consider this: instead of a publication adding a sentence or two with your quote, the entire article is written by you and every tip is yours. That is prime real estate, baby! It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it’s magical.
But to send it out to the media, you need to create a pitch. They need to know why they would be interested in that article and who you are. So let’s break down the pitch. The pitch consists of a killer subject line that will have those who receive it want to open it and know more. Also, I often include the word “article” with the name of the article in the subject line. This allows those who receive it to know what to expect.
The opening paragraph packs a punch with facts or statistics and newsworthy points on the topic you are writing on. Then add in language such as “how the author of the article addresses these issues in her latest article,” name the article, and say “here are her tips.” (ex.: Diana Ennen addresses these issues in her latest article, “5 Ways to Build Your Brand.”). After that, add one line to say what the tips are (“5 tips to increase your brand include…”), followed by bullet points that convey what is in the article and the tip summarization. You don’t need to put all the information in from the article, maybe just the heading and one or two sentences to support it, but keep it from being too long. Follow this with your updated bio clearly stating your media mentions, etc. And there you go, you have a pitch and article ready to pitch out to targeted outlets.
Here are additional tips to make it work.
- Use a Consistent Format: Use the same format for pitches. It can take time to get the magic formula for a client’s pitch, but once you do, use that same pitch and only customize it for the article or pitch you are sending. Those who receive it will become familiar with your style and pay more attention to you. This is especially beneficial if they have accepted your articles in the past. Your article too should be similar each month so others become familiar with you. One example is to include an opening paragraph outlining what the article is about.
- Add Media Mentions: One great way to prove your expertise is to add your recent media mentions to the bio and also to the pitch. In the beginning, you might not have a great deal of media to add to your article pitch, but as you gain more, be sure to add those to your bio in the article and the pitch itself. If you have TV coverage, say so.
- Address the Right Audience: Be sure to use the appropriate language—if you are sending out to TV, you don’t want to say “your readers.” Seems simple enough, but you wouldn’t believe how many pitches I see with this mistake. When in doubt, use “your audience.” That works like a charm every time.
- Make it Easy to Be Removed from Your Database: Add a P.S. that states something along the lines of, “If you’d like to be removed from our database, please let us know and we will do so promptly.” Then make sure you do. Nothing gives you a bigger black eye than someone asking to be removed and you keep sending to them. Not as big of mistake as the Oscars naming the wrong best picture, but still not good.
These tips should help you build your brand and exposure. And remember, you can always hire an expert who specializes in this for additional help.
Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, offers PR and marketing services, book marketing services, and PR and Virtual Assistant Coaching. She’s the co-author of “Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA.” Follow her on social media at Facebook and Twitter.