Want to boost your firm's exposure and credibility in the marketplace?
Write articles for industry publications that reach your target clients.
If you propose compelling topics that solve problems for readers (that is, your customers), you'll find editors who will publish your ideas—and that can be great for business.
Each article that gets published with your byline ...
1. Positions you as a sought-after expert in your field
Academics understand this well, as they're often pressured by the mantra "publish or perish." If you're an attorney, accountant, consultant or entrepreneur who sells expertise, the same applies to you. The value of your knowledge hinges on how well you're recognized by the public as a qualified expert. A published article communicates that you are indeed an expert because your knowledge and ideas merit publication.
2. Projects a (tacit) third-party endorsement
If a trade publication is willing to devote valuable space to print your article, then what you say must be good, right? At least that's the assumption readers subconsciously make.
3. Raises the value of your expertise
Authors who are widely-recognized attract much higher public speaking fees than someone who may have equal, or even more, expertise but is lesser known. That's why a Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Collins, or Ken Blanchard command speaking fees in excess of $50,000 per talk, while lesser-known experts, who speak on similar topics, don't have the same leverage.
4. Strengthens your competitive advantage
In whatever business you're in, your clients want to look smart for choosing you. Customers would love to be able to point their colleagues, partners or management to published articles that validate why they think you're the best choice over the competition.
5. Remains a powerful sales tool long after the publication date
There are myriad ways to squeeze promotional value out of each article—well beyond its inital impact after publication. Use article reprints to enhance direct-mail campaigns, networking efforts, brochures, sales presentations, and press kit. Share the article link via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels. Repurpose the content for email marketing campaigns, blog posts, white papers, and sales training guides.
6. Educates prospects on your business
Get prospects up to speed on your services before you meet with them—by sending them reprints of your articles. This will help you cut down the time it takes to educate potential clients--and thus shorten the time it takes to sign them on as clients.
7. Facilitates qualified referrals
Published articles equip your clients to be your best salespeople. Clients will say something like, "I know the perfect company for you. Here's an article their CEO wrote on these challenges you're experiencing."
8. Serves as an effective employee recruiting and retention tool
Published articles not only increase your visibility to prospects, but also to potential employees. When you're pursuing top talent to expand your business, published articles can help tip the scales in your favor.
9. Leads to additional PR opportunities
Reporters and editors want to interview industry experts to support their research. When you write and publish articles on a consistent basis, you'll be able to attract more inquiries from the media to get quoted as expert sources in their articles.
The Bottom Line
When customers trust you as an expert, they're more likely to entrust you with their business – and that's precisely what published articles are designed to help you achieve.
Photo: Taken of article published in the Fall 2013 issue of Utility Fleet Professional
About the Author: Sean M. Lyden is CEO of Lyden Communications LLC (www.lydencommunications.com), a business communication consulting firm that advises companies on honing their message and their methods to more effectively influence their markets -- whether customers, partners, investors or employees. Practice areas include content strategy, sales strategy & coaching, and executive communication consulting. A feature writer for several automotive and trucking trade publications, Sean is also co-author of “How to Succeed and Make Money on Your First Rental House” (John Wiley & Sons) and contributor to "The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide” and “The Great Big Book of Business Lists,” both books published by Entrepreneur Press.
© Sean M. Lyden, All Rights Reserved