One of the most powerful marketing tools on the Web is still a well-written article. It may have a lot of competition from shorter blogs and 140-character tweets, but it remains the best vehicle for getting your message across. Here are seven benefits articles deliver
1. Articles organize your thoughts.
Every piece of writing presents an organizational challenge, but none more than an article. When you blog, you can just let it flow; you don’t really need a structure for many kinds of blogs. But when you write an article, you need a beginning and ending and several key points in between. In short, you need an outline, and that outline should be transparent. The reader has to be able to discern the basic organization of your article, which means there must be one.
2. Articles enhance your credibility.
When you put your subject matter in writing, you become an instant expert in the eyes of your readers. They click on your article expecting to learn something. If you know your subject matter and are skilled at communicating what you know, their expectations will be met. That will put another check in your “expert” column. There are two caveats here: If you don’t know your subject matter or have nothing to say, that will be instantly apparent; and if you can’t express what you know clearly and understandably, your reader won’t continue to read.
3. Articles increase your name recognition.
The first few articles you write and submit to online sites may not garner a lot of attention. I remember thinking I was throwing my words into a black hole. But as your list of articles grows and you reach “expert status” on the top article sites, people will begin to notice. Your name will keep popping up and become linked with your topic. It won’t take very long to develop a following.
4. Articles attract search engines.
Every time you put a new piece of writing out there on the World Wide Web, search engines notice. While their algorithms are a mystery, somehow, you appear on their radar. At the bottom of each article is your blurb, which should contain your name, a brief bio, and your contact information. An interested reader will click on your Website, and the search engines will record that action. As these actions add up, your rankings in the search engines rise right along with them.
5. Articles have multiple uses/applications.
Of course, it’s great to see a long list of your articles on the online article sites, but there are also many ways to recycle your material. For example, you can submit it to print trade magazines, combine it into booklets to give away or sell on your Website, rework it as blog posts or podcasts, use it in a full-length book, and put it on a CD to give away as a promotional piece or to sell at the back of the room when you give a presentation.
6. Articles help you help others.
Besides being an effective marketing tool, articles give you an unprecedented opportunity to provide value to your readers. Even if that was not your initial motivation, once you begin to receive positive feedback on what you have written, you will realize that you are indeed teaching, informing, and guiding others. That’s when you become hooked on the whole idea of giving.
7. Articles engage your creativity.
Every article presents a new challenge, including how to organize the main points, how to convey information clearly and concisely, or how to capture the reader’s attention immediately and hold on to it until the last sentence. There are many ads on the Web that offer foolproof article templates and even pre-written articles. These are shortcuts and hardly conducive to creativity. Besides, it also doesn’t take long for article sites and their readers to see right through them.
Articles are powerful because they have so many uses and advantages. These seven reasons are only a few of the many that make planning, writing, and refining your articles well worth the time and effort. One last thought: Writing articles improves your writing. For most of us, that is the ultimate benefit.