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Enhance Your Expertise With a Trade Publication Article

by Marcia Yudkin 

If you're hoping to influence business customers in an environment dripping with credibility, nothing can beat the old-fashioned trade magazine or its new online relative, the industry portal. Developing an article that will subtly but surely attract leads for your company's products or services begins with strategically choosing your topic.

A terrific topic for publicity purposes provides a venue for you to show off what you know on a subject that your target market considers essential to their current and future success. You'll need to have enough to say on this to fill a 600 to 1,200 word article, ideas and examples that go beyond the obvious and include several distinctive take-away points. What you want to happen is for the reader to think and tell his or her colleagues, "Gosh, this is the perfect person to help us with our problem."

Use a problem/solution framework for writing your article. In the first paragraph or first two paragraphs, state the problem interestingly and introduce your response to it. Then develop your answer with details and anecdotes. Make sure your explanations and recommendations will come off as substantive and understandable to the average manager or executive in this industry, rather than too elementary or too specialized. A little controversy built into your suggestions is fine.

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Interwoven with your explanations, include one or two key examples - customer success stories that illustrate the process of solving this problem to the great benefit of your customer. Make sure you specifically state how the customer was better off with this solution, such as by saving time or money, being able to recruit better employees, avoiding a disastrous acquisition, getting promoted, etc. 

Maintain a factual tone so that you're not seen as bragging, hyping or promoting yourself inappropriately. It's fine to use "I" or "we" when you speak about what you or your company have done.

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At least one but no more than two sections of the article can employ a list of bullet points. Often, this is the part that the reader would be tempted to highlight and save or pass along to colleagues. Reread the article when you've reached the end to make sure that you've told the reader something he or she probably didn't already know, something linked meaningfully to your products or services.

Conclude with what's often called a resource box - a two-sentence bio that drives home the message that you solve the kind of problem discussed in the article - along with contact information. By providing your telephone number, email address and URL, you accommodate just about everyone with a different preference for how they like to get in touch.

Once your piece has appeared in print or on the web, let current and prospective buyers know about it by sending out reprints, linking to the article from your web site and referring to it during sales calls. 

Remember, in the eyes of readers, anyone can buy an ad, but only genuine experts get published.

Copyright 2003 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

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