Making money from words: How to write for your brand

Writing1For people in business, writing  magazine articles brings many benefits. It can draw new customers to your business, help you build your career, and even earn you a little cash! For many people, writing is a thing to be avoided , if not feared. And yet practice really does make perfect, or nearly so. Writing has provided  many executives with a channel to teach others, influence whole generations of students  and thinkers and for you and me, it can be an opportunity to tell our corporate  stories, share our knowledge  and expertise  and a really great way of marketing ourselves and our companies.  My experience as a public relations manager constantly showed me that many executive are actually good at writing if given a few lessons  and pointed in the right direction. Many executives while at first  entrusting  their thoughts to their PAs and PR people,  take the same document and  surprise you with a  masterpiece of their own.

Writing press or magazine articles , while taking a bit of thought and  much research,  is not that difficult. And it can be a lot of fun is you are passionate about your subject. To successfully write and publish an article in a magazine, simply follow the seven steps below.

1. Choose Your Topic

First, you need to choose a strong topic that will interest both you and your readers.

If you are writing an  article to build interest for your business, you will obviously want to write on a related topic. Otherwise,  choose a topic that you enjoy and you know well.

To be a useful to your audience, your article should:

  • address a common problem.
  • explain the solution.
  • give a practical action plan.

If your potential topic does not meet these requirements, you should probably choose a different topic. At the same time, don’t simply desert a topic because you need to do research; every good author does large amounts of research for each article.

2. Study Your Audience

Although it may seem like a useless step, properly targeting your audience will make your article much more likely to be interesting to your readers and if you want to get it published, to catch the eye of  news editors and publishers. You need to research your audience ,to  know your brand identity, corporate thoughts and issues  well enough to express them to the  readers of the relevant publication.

To do this, you need to first get a copy (preferably recent) of the magazine you would like to be published in.

Reading through the past articles, study their tone and format:

  • Do they use lots of lists?
  • What types of examples are used?
  • What article types are implemented? (More on this in step four)
  • What is the average length? (total word count)

When you write your article, you will want to adhere to these standards… while keeping your own style.

3. Research Thoroughly

With the internet, research has become much quicker and easier. However, if you hope to have a solid article, you will still need to  invest time researching your topic even if you know the subject well.

In addition to uncovering related stories and statistics, look for informants who will give your article “expert” status:

  • Well-reputed authors
  • Industry leaders
  • Primary sources (people intrinsically related to your topic)

This information can be compiled either by direct interviewing or indirect researching of the person’s writing and speaking.

4. Write Your Article

Now that your planning and preparation is completed, you are ready to begin writing.

Depending on you topic and audience, your general format may be:

  • how-to.
  • interview.
  • personal experience (directly related to an important issue).
  • inspirational.
  • investigative.
  • travel.
  • technical.

Start it with an engaging “hook” (attention catcher), and keep your readers’ interest by using well-developed anecdotes from your past experiences or history and examples from your work place, examples from other companies and customer experiences.

Try to write your complete article in one sitting.

5. Edit Your Article

After the initial writing session, wait a day or two before editing. When you edit, concentrate on…

  • correcting spelling and grammar errors.
  • removing unnecessary information (sections not related to the topic).
  • expanding or compressing stories (walk the fine line between being too brief or too wordy).
  • verifying your facts and sources.

Depending on your personal writing style, this editing stage may take many different sessions, or you may finish after one editing time.

6. Submit To The Editor

Once your article is completed, the really hard work begins: marketing your article.

Send a letter to the editor of the magazine or newspaper  you picked in step two. This  one-page introduction should explain your article topic and how it is useful for his readers.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do include a self-addressed and stamped envelope.

Do show your familiarity with the magazine/newspaper.

Do explain why you are qualified to write.

Don’t send your article (that comes later).

Don’t include unrelated information.

Don’t go over one page (larger letters are rarely read).

If the editor is interested in your idea, you will then send him your article for review. Depending on the magazine or newspaper, you will likely need to sign a contract  for your article. If the article is a corporate one, you may not get paid, but it will be a great way to market your company and its brand.

7. Be Persistent

Although it would be great if your article was published after your first query, that is not always likely. Instead, you will probably need to re-edit and submit to a variety of different magazines before you are successfully published.

Just remember, in magazine writing, as in other parts of life, persistence is the key to success.

Adapted from www.practicalmanliness.com/howtowriteamagazinearticle

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About chipomaps

A brand reputation, marketing and new media trainer and consultant. Constantly curious, constantly learning.
This entry was posted in Branding, Marketing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Making money from words: How to write for your brand

  1. dongrgic says:

    Thank you for the wonderful advice Chipo. I guess I better keep practicing..

  2. chipomaps says:

    Thanks Don. Glad that you found this useful. Chipo

  3. Great read, Chipo. Very detailed how-to article for entrepreneurs who unapprenticed to the “trade” of writing. Running a regular magazine or newspaper column presents the entrepreneur as an expert in their area of specialisation. Next time a reader has a need they will call them first which can mark the beginning of a long-lasting business relationship.

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