Marketing and Selling the Next Best Seller: Book Launches and Bookstores

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The ultimate test as to whether your book turns out to be the next best seller is the number of books you can sell to the general public. Promoting and marketing your book can play a major role of increasing sales.

How Your Book is Promoted

Once your book is released your publisher will normally fund a brief advertising campaign to promote your book. If you are an established author or a high profile person, your publisher may organise a book launch for you, and you may be asked to attend a number of book signing sessions at major book stores.

Your publisher may also arrange a number of media interviews, and send advance copies to influential individuals, organisations and media outlets in the hope that they will review and recommend your book.

It will also appear in book catalogues published by the major booksellers. You will generally find the majority of your sales will occur during this brief and intensive promotion campaign.

Your personal input is extremely vital to your book’s ultimate survival. This means you will need to be proactive in promoting yourself and your book to the general public.

As Australia is a relatively small market sales are not likely to be substantial. This is why publishers initially print 3000 copies (unless you are a high profile person and sales are expected to be relatively high). Additional copies will be printed if sales are brisk.

The Hard Sell

If you are an unknown author it could prove a very difficult task to coax potential customers to buy your book at a book signing session. It is similar to trying to extract blood from a stone. It is possible that you could end up selling no copies at all.

To add salt to a wounded pride, it can be very disheartening if you later find thousands of eager customers lining up to buy a book purportedly written by a famous sports star or media personality at their respective book signing sessions.

Unfortunately, it can be a very cruel world if you are not a famous author!

Bookstores

The more bookstores that have your book available for sale the greater the chance it will sell. Ideally, you would like to see your book located in their book shelves at eye level with the front cover prominently displayed.

If it is tucked away on the bottom self and on its side hidden among other books, it could easily be missed by a potential customer.

Also important is the amount of time booksellers are prepared to keep your book on display. And this of course will ultimately depend on the number of sales within a given period of time or if you have properly applied the tips from the best web design company in you area.

Marketing and Selling the Next Best Seller: Book Launches and Bookstores is available on MasterMindSEO.org

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Marketing a Business: Creative strategy, tactics, and budget for a plansbook

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Two vital parts make up a plansbook: research and strategy. While research is the most important, strategies require the most artistic talent. Often times the creative strategy is thought up by a copywriting/art directing team that decides the best visuals to use for the client’s message to be communicated effectively. After most of the research is finished, a creative strategy, tactical strategy, budget and control and implementation will be tailored to the client’s message.

Creative Strategy

A creative strategy is the manner in which the message will be conveyed to the consumer. A clear message should be determined; this is precisely what the firm intends to communicate to the consumer. The creative team will develop a theme so that the consumer recognizes the product without having to think about it. This is where the art department develops key colors, fonts and numerous other aspects of the marketing campaign.

Tactics

When a clear message and theme has been chosen, a tactical strategy will be decided upon. This is the medium that will convey the message to the consumer. Various methods can be used to communicate to the consumers, including television, print, packaging, product placement, and the places where the product will be sold. For television and print, a comprehensive flighting schedule will created to keep the advertising as efficient as possible, increasing and decreasing when necessary.

Budget

When the tactics are established, the budget will be divided to accommodate the various parts of the marketing campaign. Researchers will look into the costs of the advertising that will be placed and fit it into the client’s budget, laying out the various costs in a table. The most money will be spent in places that are best known to be communication channels of the target market.

Control and Implementations

A control and implementation will be established. The marketing firm will choose someone in the client company to evaluate the marketing strategy when it is finished to determine if the objectives were met. This is usually done with an awareness survey, distributing it before the marketing, and allowing someone in the company to distribute the same survey when the campaign is over. The difference is then measured, and the effectiveness of the marketing strategy is determined with the help of some of the best web designers.

The Conclusion of a Plansbook

A great plansbook won’t abruptly end. The conclusion of the book is an opportunity for the marketing firm to hammer home the selling points. It should include why the firm should use this marketing campaign and why this advertising is the best that the client will find.

This article is an overview of what a plansbook should entail. Often times key marketing concepts are jumbled together rendering a plansbook’s message difficult to unravel for the client. The creative strategy is a process of its own, and it’s suggested that a company use professional talent so that the company’s intended message is conveyed with accuracy to the consumer.

Tactics also play a big role in advertising. The key to choosing tactics is to research the target market effectively, and know the mediums they use to communicate. Just the same a budget takes a lot of research, looking into various rates and deciding how much money will be spent in each area of the campaign for the most efficient communication to the target market. And finally, the control and implementation is the raw proof that the campaign was a success. By using such surveys, advertising firms or a marketing department can provide strong evidence that awareness was increased.

Marketing a Business: Creative strategy, tactics, and budget for a plansbook is courtesy of MasterMindSEO

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Marketing Green Initiatives: Companies Often Miss the Eco Message

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One of the factors that make marketing such an exciting field is that consumers are often unpredictable. Regardless of the amount of research and demographics or historical perspectives a marketing department can compile, the effectiveness of a marketing campaign is dependent on the reaction of the consumer.

Today the marketing message may hit the target. Tomorrow the consumer changes their way of thinking and the same message has now been rendered useless.

With the eco initiative proven to be the one of the hardest consumer markets to read, developing marketing messages has become a challenge.

Eco Light Bulb

Strategies for the Green Economy by Joel Makower, (McGraw Hill), has a chapter called “How Many Green Marketers Does It Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?” where he shares the marketing challenges of the compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL).

According to Makower, transitioning to the fluorescent energy savers makes a big eco difference. Consumer lighting accounts for 22% of the electricity produced in the U.S. Yet, the light bulbs have not made it into 95% of U.S. homes. The CFLs have been available since 1978 when Phillips began producing and selling CFLs under the name, Earth Light.

Consumers were not attracted. Makower relates the research from Philips showing that consumers really want value first and saving the Earth comes in second. So, Phillips changed the name of the CFL to Marathon Bulb.

The marketing message was save money on lighting versus save the Earth by saving energy. Consumers liked the fact that they could buy the CFLs and not have to replace the bulb for weeks or months.

Eco Marketing Messages

Consumers responded to the name change. Sales for CFLs went from nothing to 12%. After using numerous marketing strategies and having major competitors such as General Electric enter the CFL market, there are still 95% of households that have ignored this one easy to implement, cost-saving eco practice.

The messages have included:

  • Save the Earth
  • Conserve Energy
  • Longer lasting
  • Save money on electricity
  • Simple Switch
  • Start a movement

According to Makower, Oprah Winfrey, Wal-Mart, Al Gore, and Leonardo DiCaprio have touted the benefits of the CFL but still consumers have not responded as well as expected.

Finding the Consumer

Marketing the green message has yet to find the consumer’s emotional side like so many messages that have come before such as:

  • Personal computers in every household
  • Cell phones carried by every household member for safety measures of course
  • Google it or Google everything
  • The need to carry thousands of songs in one’s pocket so that they can be listened to during those boring times when flying or sitting in the doctor’s office or studying for a test
  • Blogging or micro-blogging to share thoughts and tell everyone what is happening every minute of every day.

Eco is Important

Makower suggests that the green messages have to have “CRED” – Credibility, Relevance, Effective Message, and Differentiation.

To find CRED, a company can ask three questions also developed by Makeower:

  1. What does the company know about its green efforts?
  2. What is the company doing for the green movement?
  3. What are marketers and PR saying about the company’s green efforts?

It is a challenge for marketers to find the green message that will resonate with the consumer.

The eco message is vital. Most consumers seem ready to listen. Marketers and best web designers in Traverse City are working to meet the challenge and someday it will all come together – hopefully sooner than later.

Marketing Green Initiatives: Companies Often Miss the Eco Message was originally published on http://mastermindseo.org/

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Marketing Ideas to Stimulate Business Owners: Tips and Insights to Succeed in Small/Home Based Business

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Ideas are everywhere. Inspiration can strike at unexpected moment. It is important to listen to people’s ideas, be they colleagues, friends and acquaintances. They have their own insights and see things from another perspective. They can also give ideas that can trigger another. Here are management ideas from Traverse City web designers to stimulate business owners to work smarter.

Get Involved and Accept Change. That’s what life is all about. As well as in the marketplace, businessmen accept change when they know it is necessary and inevitable. New technologies are ever on the rise. They have to be recognized as part of the inevitable change. For instance, before it was advertisement on the printed form, not it is online.

Persevere Despite Setbacks. A person in business is not discouraged by failures. Instead he perseveres with his dreams. If results have progressed despite delays in plans, the more perseverance is needed however the challenge manifest.

Practice Consistency to Identify Business Personality. This is identified as the “personality” of the business. Business owners are consistent in upholding their products or the brand being carried. Customers get exposure and identify them through the product they carry in the market from various media. It is therefore imperative that each medium reinforce the brand identity of the product.

Learn from Mistakes. No one is perfect. To break new ground, it is inevitable to slip along the way. Few mistakes are catastrophic unless they are not learned. Progress will not always be a straight line but mistakes can be used as stepping stones for improvement. It should be worked out why the mistake happened to avoid committing the same one.

Take a Chance and Try. This does not mean to take a chance with wild abandon. The rationale is that in today’s cut-throat competition, a business owner needs to dare to be different, with good intentions or reasons. Customers appreciate businesses that show individuality, commitment and passion for what they believe in. The world’s top business leaders take chances.

Take Risks. Taking a chance involve risks. In fact, chance and risks are often used interchangeably. Risks can bring great rewards. But one caution is to always have a back-up plan in case things do not work out as planned. This way, an alternative strategy can be adapted to what the customer or the market dictates. Sometimes, it is not the entire product concept that is the failure, it may just be some details about the product.

Aim High and Believe in Product as the Best Possible. Some marketing people don’t think big enough for their own products. For example, Ted Turner, as the marketer building CNN, wanted to develop a multimedia corporation and set goals that transcended his life-time. Or think Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Steve Jobs’ Apple in the 80s. In contrast, most people who read books or magazine about entrepreneurship are thinking on a very micro basis.

Practice Integrity and Social Responsibility. In these trying times, more people are looking to products and services that enhance a sense of self-esteem and well-being from businesses that show integrity and social responsibility. Be it in sports, health products, technological products, marketing is becoming to be based on morality than merely cut-and-dried enterprise seeking profit.

Give Back to Community Through Charity. Giving to charitable causes in the community is something already visibly practiced by many entrepreneurs. As practicing good citizens, those who can afford, business or in their capacity as individividuals, should make it an obligation to help others less fortunate.

Marketing Ideas to Stimulate Business Owners: Tips and Insights to Succeed in Small/Home Based Business is available on http://mastermindseo.org/

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Marketing Magazine Articles: Study Sample Issues Before You Pitch Your Story

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One of the best ways to research magazine markets is to look at sample issues. You can find them on the newsstands or in the library, receive copies from friends, or order back issues from publishers.

A sample issue provides a wealth of information about the magazine, its audience, and its editors. Who reads the magazine? What do they expect in an article? What kind of submissions are the editors most likely to publish?

Here’s what you should look for to find out.

What to Look for in the Magazine

Who Reads It?

Does the magazine target women, men, professionals in a particular field, teenagers, or busy parents? Besides the articles themselves, make sure to look at any advertising. These companies likely pay top-dollar for magazine ads, and they research their markets carefully. The ads can give you an idea of the age and interests of the people reading the magazine. Are the ads playful and colorful or subtle and serious? The same is likely to be true of the articles.

Types of Articles

Are most of the articles similar, or does the magazine feature different departments? For example, a parenting magazine may have a few articles with advice, a section on activities for kids, and an article or two on family-friendly travel. Some departments may be written strictly by staff, while others may specifically state they’re open to freelance submissions. You can save time and effort by writing and marketing the types of articles that are most likely to be accepted.

What to Look for in the Articles

Length

How long are the articles? Few editors have time to ask a writer to cut a 4000-word essay down to 1000, or to turn a few paragraphs into a 2000-word feature. Writer’s guidelines (if available) may give you an exact word count, but you can make a reasonable estimate by looking at the printed page. Making sure the length of your article fits with the magazine can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection.

Structure

Does the magazine have a format that each article follows? For example, craft magazines may start each article with a brief introduction about the project, follow it with a bullet list of required supplies, and then give step-by-step directions. Using this same format for your article will show that you are familiar with the magazine, and make it easier for the editors to say “yes.”

Tone

Are the articles formal and academic or warm and personal? Do they cite facts and figures or relate personal experiences? Make sure your article is a good fit for the magazine’s audience.

Style

Do the articles use first-person or third-person? How about contractions? You can find out more about style details from the editors if your article is accepted, but making sure you’ve covered the basics makes a great first impression.

Supporting materials

Do the articles include photos, diagrams, or sidebars? If you article depends on having supporting materials (color photographs, large sewing patterns) make sure the magazine prints that kind of material. Even if the magazine takes care of final photography or illustrations, you may need to provide snapshots or sketches to help the editors visualize the finished piece.

Even after careful market research, it still takes patience and persistence to get an article published or some help from the best web design company in Traverse City. But if you’ve studied sample issues and made sure your article is a good match, there will be fewer reasons to say “no,” and some very good reasons to say “yes.”

The article Marketing Magazine Articles: Study Sample Issues Before You Pitch Your Story was first published on MasterMindSEO

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Marketing Planning Made Simple: Focus Marketing Efforts for Measurable Results

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Marketing is the set of strategies and tactics by which potential customers know about a business, and know enough about it to consider purchasing the product or service. A marketing plan is one critical component of any strong business plan. Planning marketing activities does not have to be complicated. One page can create focus and efficiency, and enough data to make better decisions next year.

This process presumes clarity about the business and the target customer.

Getting Started

The one page format requires a three row by three column grid. The three columns are Strategies, Tactics and Measures. The three rows are Objective 1, Objective 2 and Objective 3. Put the BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) for the year at the top of the page, and make it a measurable goal. Remember, measurable doesn’t necessarily mean numbers- getting on the front page of Fast Company is just as measurable as achieving a huge sales goal.

The Power of Focus

The one page marketing plan format allows for only three major objectives or areas of effort and focus. It’s critical, particularly with limited resources and in times of economic uncertainty, to focus investments of time and money where they have some chance of generating a return rather than spreading a little money across a wide range of activities.

The one page plan requires that the list of wishes is culled such that there is focus on the big ones. The titles of the rows are the top three objectives that will be pursued to achieve the big goal. If the BHAG is a big sales goal, the objectives might be “steal market share from Competitor A, expand sales in new customer group and build awareness amongst influential media.”

Strategies

Strategies are the general descriptions of the approach that will be taken to achieve an objective. Let’s say the objective is to cross a river, for example. Three possible strategies for crossing it might be 1) build a bridge, 2) swim, or 3) row a boat across. These are very general descriptions that allow visualization of achieving the desired outcome. So in the previous example for the big sales goal, a strategy for getting known amongst influential media might be to discover and create a presence for the business on the research sites and blogs that they use for reference.

Effective Tactics

Tactics are the very specific actions that will be taken to achieve the objectives or by employing the tips from the best web design company. Following the sales example, for the strategy of getting known amonsgst influential media, the tactics might specifiy the names of the appropriate blogs and the method that will be used to reach them (write an article, send a product sample).

Measure the Results

At the end of the year, and ideally at a couple of check points throughout the year, the results must be examined. Did the expected number of calls come in? Was there any media coverage, and if so how much and where? Be rigorous in the analysis, and be sure to reflect what the results are telling saying both about the activities, but also about the goals that were set. That weekly column written in the community newspaper may not have generated a hundred sales leads, but it did get the keynote address at the local board of trade which resulted in a big contract.

Plan for Next Year

Before making any commitments to marketing activities next year, take a look at what worked and what didn’t this year. What lived up to expectations and what didn’t? What exceeded the anticipated results? Be sure that reinvestment occurs in tried and true tactics before throwing good money after bad.

The previousarticle Marketing Planning Made Simple: Focus Marketing Efforts for Measurable Results was first published to mastermindseo.org

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Marketing Tips for Self Employed Professionals: Working from Home Means Working to Create a Sellable Image

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Every self employed professional, no matter how successful, can benefit from learning a few marketing tips. While good, solid self employment marketing may not guarantee instant success, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Working from home requires real work- and that means creating a sellable image to clients, employers…even the public at large.

Self Employed Marketing Tips

The self employed professional is a bit of a maverick, a lone wolf in the professional world. The self employed professional scours the ‘Net to find their own jobs, toils alone to complete work at home projects and relies upon themselves only in all matters of insurance and personal retirement. And the self employed professional, at all times, should be trying to sell themselves. With a few marketing tips, anyone can learn how to present their best professional side.

Putting self employment on a resume. Many self employed (or would-be self employed) professionals struggle with the seemingly simple act of crafting a resume. Learn how to write a self employment resume that showcases skills, talent and any related work experience. Keep the resume simple but informative, professional but approachable and always, always present everything in the best possible light.

Creating an online portfolio. Creating a personal, professional Web site which features a portfolio of online links is a strong self-selling tool. Having a reference point for all potential clients and employers is essential in self employed marketing, but the personal Web site is only the tip of the iceberg in online marketing.

Tips for Online Marketing

The Internet and e commerce web designers offer their own online marketplace which can be extremely useful for self employed professionals. Online marketing encompasses many different opportunities in self employment, from ads to social networking. Establishing an online presence is very important in self employment of any kind, so don’t neglect all the free marketing possibilities offered through the Internet.

Create a blog. Finding success with self employment? Why not blog about it? This not only creates a potential revenue strain (many advertising agreements offer money for those who are willing to sell space on their content-rich Web pages), it’s also a great marketing tool.

Social networking. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and other social networking sites are wonderful marketing opportunities for self employed professionals. Link all those online profiles and personal Web sites together and start spreading the word. If nothing else, this can help drive traffic to Web pages that might actually help the self employed professional earn a little extra money.

Write a Google profile page. Google offers free profiles which allow individuals to post all their links – Web pages, blogs, social networking profiles – in one convenient, attractive profile page. This helps online searches find who they’re looking for with more ease. In self employed marketing, this online profile provides another reference point for would-be clients and employers, and it’s yet another way to establish a strong presence online.

Marketing Tips for Self Employed Professionals: Working from Home Means Working to Create a Sellable Image is courtesy of mastermindseo.org

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Marketing Tips For Writers: Targeted Writing – Four Steps to Help Writers Sell Their Work

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The writer should be clear on what age group he is writing for. Is his topic more suitable for the children’s market than the adult market or is it something that has wide appeal? What reading level is he shooting for? Is he interested in writing fiction or non fiction, poetry or memoirs?

Target the Subject

Once the writer has identified his audience, some research on his topic is in order. Whether he is writing an article about saving New England’s stone walls or a novel set in 20th century Denmark, subject research is essential. Refining the idea with research strengthens the work and makes it more attractive to an editor. Research resources abound and include, internet and print searches and networking with other writers and experts on the chosen topic.

Target the Competition

The writer has chosen a topic he feels is marketable based on tips from e commerce web developers and now it is time to take a look at the competition. What is he up against? What books and articles are in print that are similar to his idea? When were they published? What is the slant? And, perhaps the most important question the writer should ask himself, how can I make my work stand out from the crowd?

A quick internet search will give him an idea what other articles, books, essays or poems are out there that are on or similar to his chosen topic. University libraries online, the Library of Congress as well as Amazon can help the writer narrow down his options. Conversations with librarians, teachers, and experts in the field the writer is interested in can also be helpful in choosing a marketable topic.

Target the Publisher

The writer has done all the leg work. He’s settled on a subject, he knows who his audience is and what the competition is. The next step is finding the right publisher, one who is waiting for just the right manuscript. If the writer takes the time to research the market, that perfect manuscript may be his. There are market guides for almost any type of writing, market guides for children’s literature, market guides for adult fiction and non fiction, magazine market guides, poetry market guides and market guides for religious based work. They can be found in print and on the web.

Once the writer has found the right market guide for him, he uses it to narrow his search. He checks the category index, usually found in the back of the market guide and finds the one that most closely matches his work. From there, he narrows it down to possible publishers. He reads the publishers’ guidelines to see who is looking for the type of work he is hoping to sell. The next thing the writer may want to do is peruse samples of the publication’s work; books they published or in the case of the magazine market, articles, short stories and poems that have appeared in recent issues.

Submit the Manuscript

The writer has done his homework. He has targeted his audience, his subject, and his competition. He has researched the market and studied the publishers he has targeted. Now it is time to submit his work, confident in the knowledge that he has done all he could do to reach his ultimate goal of publication.

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How to get Free Website Content: Where Articles can be found Online for Publishing

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Building a website can be difficult for many business owners and hobbyists. Website maintenance usually requires frequent updates to content published for online visitors. Expenses for building a website can cost $300 or more for a variety of online services including content ownership. Learn how to get free website content that can be published without any long term financial obligations.

Host a Contest for the Best Articles

Public competitions are one effective way to get free website content. These contests attract online content that bloggers and website owners can use to promote their business. Advertising is the first step in promoting a contest where website owners can get free content.

Grand prizes must be given for the best article submissions to a website. The submissions can be sent through email or a web form, as preferences among website owners vary. A contest can also be advertised on freelance writing message boards and job websites. Prizes are also a good way to get regular visitors interested in providing free website content.

Search through Article Directories

There are several websites that operate as article directories where nearly anyone can visit to get free website content. Bloggers and website owners can use these directories as filler when building an online business. There is a catch where publishers using this content must keep the byline that states who wrote these articles. Content provided through online directories usually come with a non-exclusive license.

A number of non-affiliated websites could all be publishing the same article based on this license. This causes websites that publish content from article directories to loose their page rank. The decline in page rank is the result of duplicate content penalties placed by search engines. A potential page rank consequence is one reason why website owners are safer when publishing original content. Article directories still remain popular as the main source on how to get free website content.

Use Website Content with Creative Commons Licenses

Outsourcing articles, video and images to freelance writers or producers is another way to get free website content. Bloggers or website owners can search online for specialized authors who have large inventories of content. The authors usually consist of freelance writers who may own content that was published in print but not online. These items usually contain some form of Creative-Commons license, giving permission to be reused.

Website owners do not have to worry about page rank penalties with this type of free online content. The licenses vary and may allow website owners to modify any text for their own needs. Doing so can remove the duplicate content issue in some circumstances. The publisher benefits from using private freelance contacts to get free website content.

Build on Information Provided in Press Releases

There is an abundance of opportunities for website owners to get free content using publicity materials. Best web designers in Traverse City and other marketing firms release photos, video and text for their clients with the goal of promoting consumer based products or services. Text is usually the easiest form of free website content to obtain through press releases.

Publicists and entrepreneurs send out press releases to encourage more news stories about specific events. Website owners can write their own version of the events, using press releases as a resource. Many press releases can be republished as well, providing automatic opportunities to get free website content.

How to get Free Website Content: Where Articles can be found Online for Publishing is republished from http://mastermindseo.org/

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Article Writing and Marketing – How To Get Started

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You know you need articles to promote your online business across the Internet-whether doing it on your own or with some help from a web design agency, and to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. But suppose you have never written an article before and don’t know how to start?

You could hire a ghostwriter. But ghostwriters charge for their services. Given that you need to produce a large number of articles to have any effect, this would really eat into your profits. So why not learn to do it yourself? It is really not as hard as you think.

Get Started Writing Articles

There are few things worse than sitting staring at a blank sheet of paper. So don’t do that. Just start. First, jot down as many topics as you can think that people want to know about in relation to your niche. For instance, if it is about growing roses, it could be planting, mulching, what varieties of rose to choose, pruning, protecting from pests, and so on. But don’t give people what you think they ought to know; give them what you know they want to know. Go to forums on your topic and sites like Yahoo Answers to find out what questions people have. Make a list of topics, choose one, and start writing.

Yes, just start. At this stage it doesn’t matter what you write — just write anything that comes into your head, even if it seems like rubbish. Just write. If you need more information, go to books on your topic, and articles on relevant websites. Never copy what anyone else has written, but it will get your ideas flowing. Just keep writing. Do it on paper or on the computer, whichever makes you feel more comfortable.

When you have scribbled down as much as you can think of, have a break – take the dog for a walk, or water the roses. That really gets your subconscious working. Then you can start to write up the article.

Get It Down

You won’t need telling that an article must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. But you would be strongly advised not to start with the beginning. The beginning needs to be an attention grabber and you will just sit chewing your pen or gazing into space. Start with the body of the article.

Imagine you are writing a letter to a friend who has written to ask you why her roses won’t grow properly (or whatever the problem might be). She is a newbie rose-grower so you need to be simple and clear. But she is also a friend so you want to be chatty, friendly, and personal. If you can imagine a particular person you know, so much the better. Write to that person. Keep that person – that is, your reader – in mind all the time. Keep using “you”.

If you have a list of tips, don’t be afraid to make them into a bullet list. Of course, you probably wouldn’t do this in a real letter to a friend, but it’s an unbeatable way to get your points across clearly. Plus, directory and eZine editors love them.

Your mythical (or possibly real) friend will almost certainly be very upset and frustrated at his/her lack of success at rose-growing, or whatever it is. Remember that people will be reading your article because they have the same problem, and they are likely to be upset and frustrated too. So show that you understand. Write as someone who has been there, though do avoid using the pronoun “I” as much as possible.

It won’t take you long to write a page along these lines. When you’ve written a page, do a word count. You will almost certainly find you have 400-500 words which is quite enough.

Now you can write your opener. It will be much easier to write an opening sentence once you have written the body of the article. But always bear in mind that it needs to be an attention grabber.

By all means start off with a question. But don’t make it a boring one like “Have you ever wondered why so many people find rose-growing difficult?” Would this grab your attention? Your readers are not interested in other people’s problems; they are interested in their own! So make sure you come up with an opener that gives your reader that “Wow! This is about me!” feeling. If you can generate a rush of excitement, so much the better. “At last! The answer I’ve been looking for!” Get straight to the point – never, whatever you do, indulge in opening waffle.

The ending is as important as the beginning, because it determines the impression the article makes. You can write the greatest article, but if it fizzles out at the end, your reader will be dissatisfied and your effort will be wasted.

Find a sentence that will pithily sum up what you have said, and reinforce that it will work. (Do not on any account use any phrase like “in summary” or “in conclusion”.) Something like “Follow these steps and your roses will be the best on the block – guaranteed!” will do.

Get A Title

You are usually best leaving the title till last. There is no need to think you have to be terribly clever – and never use puns. Just make sure your title makes it clear what problem your article solves or what benefits it contains. And don’t forget numbers are always very popular in titles. If you have bullet points or a numbered list, put the number of points in your title: “Seven Tips to Supercharge Your Roses”.

Get It Out

You have wasted all this effort if nobody can see your article. Put it on your site and submit to as many directories and eZines as you can. And then start again – the more the better!

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