This course is for business professionals -- engineers, consultants, lawyers, architects and others -- who want to build their profile as experts or thought-leaders. Informative articles published in online and print publications read by potential clients are a credible and effective way to build awareness and credibility in current and future clients. Articles are the foundation of a thought-leadership program that can lead to speaking engagements, e-books, white papers and published books. The course discusses the role publishing articles in print and online publications read by prospective clients; how to find effective publications; how to present the article concept to the editor and gain her/his buy-in to the idea; how to motivate the reader to take action based on the article; the various themes for articles to accomplish this; and ways to get social media leverage for published articles. The ten lectures total about an a hour and a quarter; reviewing the attached Action Plan and doing the homework for each lecture takes about anther two hours. With this course, you will have the start of a thought-leadership program and have a clear idea of how you can use articles to build your professional profile.
Consult your business plan to refresh your mind regarding the markets you want to pursue -- by type of industry, according to the profession or occupation of the key decision-makers, and by geographic area. Think of the referral sources who can steer business to you. Refreshing your memory about the people you want to reach will help you generate articles relevant to them, and to help you find publications reaching your intended markets.
Successful article publishing depends partly on your abilities to meet the editor’s needs. Learn where contributed articles fit into their work, common mistakes that contributors make and how to avoid them, and how to build good relations with editors. Learn what kinds of pictures they want. We’ll look a three main types of publications: traditional print business magazines, association and professional websites, and third-party blogs. Note that editors do NOT want to be part of your marketing campaign, so the article cannot be a sales pitch. But you can still get your marketing message across - by showing yourself to be a good source of solutions.
Motivating anyone to take action depends on either persuading them that they have a problem that they need to solve right away, or that they have an opportunity that they will miss out on, if they don’t take action. Articles must either address the problem (that would be “fear”) or outline the opportunity (greed). We’ll discuss examples of both.
Clients need to know that you can get results for them. Two ways to show that you are good at implementation are by writing case studies and how-to articles. Case studies work if they are genuinely of interest to the reader, and contain lessons that the reader can apply. How-to articles must be about an area that the reader can apply and will want to get the results.
Editors are busy people, and don’t have time to read an unsolicited manuscript. They want to develop content specifically for their publication -- the topic of the article, the length, style and tone. So, they would rather work with the writer to guide her/him about how to develop relevant content. Your best means of presenting an article idea is with a query letter, covering four points: the topic, why the readers would be interested in the topic, some of the themes to be covered in the article, and the writer’s qualifications.
You’ll learn effective strategy in a follow-up phone call to the editor, and the need to reach agreement on the length, section of the publication, and deadline. Pictures and other graphics are important, particularly for blog posts. You’ll learn why it is important to have rights to the images -- and the problems involved in using stock imagery. If writing isn’t your strong suit, consider working with ghost-writers, copy editors and proofreaders.
How to optimize your article for content marketing purposes and gain maximum benefit from it as part of your content strategy. This includes ways to help your article get ‘found’ online, and to increase your search engine rankings. Get further ‘stretch’ for your article through pushing it out through effective social media, particularly through LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
Reinforce the most important points in the course
My background in journalism helps me explain how the news media work -- and how to develop a ‘story’ that grabs the reader’s attention. With 15 years of marketing experience with firms in accounting, engineering, law and architecture, I understand how to market business professional services. You’ll benefit from the work I’ve done to apply the skills that have succeeded in print media, to content marketing and social media. I’ve authored four books on thought leadership, publish my own articles, and make public presentations frequently -- part of sharing knowledge and staying current with developments. I've given close to 100 speeches, workshops and other presentations on building a professional profile, to audiences throughout the US and Canada