In a world filled with tweets, ever-breaking news, a thousand TV channels and podcasts galore, is there any point to toiling away at an article, then seeking a journal or magazine willing to publish it? It would seem that no one is likely to read about your hard-earned wisdom any more, much less be influenced or educated by it.
Yet many of the reasons that have always propelled business experts to take the time and trouble to write and publish an article (or two or more) still ring true today, ensuring those of us who do make the effort will surely reap the benefits of competitive advantage when measured against those who do not. Here are five reasons how and why this is so:
1. Publishing articles can promote your business
If your target market consists of multiple specific industries, spreading the good word about your service and products via industry publications can amplify and extend the reach of your marketing. While advertising can do the same thing, that can be quite expensive while provoking skepticism vs. buy-in.
Recognizing that someone is paying for an ad causes us to doubt its veracity while content verified by a third party, such as by the editorial staff of a publication, does not. Thus an article in a publication may transmit virtually the exact information found in an ad, yet the article and its author will be considered more believable.
2. Publishing articles offer higher levels of credibility
A white paper posted on a website or LinkedIn is nothing more than an article the author never bothered to get published. Although most such unpublished articles are perfectly worthy of publication, their authors simply chose not to take the next logical step. As a result, an opportunity that could’ve elevated an author’s credibility to the status of “thoughtleader” has been missed.
3. Published articles are high-level sales tools
Retirement benefits thoughtleader Dan Cassidy makes it a practice to show up at every sales meeting with a briefcase filled with reprints of his many published articles. When his prospect’s talk turns to a particular topic Dan has written about, he quietly mentions, “I actually published an article on that very subject in a business journal. Let me see if I have it with me.”
He then shuffles through his case until he locates said article, pulling it out and sliding it across the conference table. The relevant reprint serves as an additional credibility touch point that moves Dan a step closer to landing the client. This tactic is a fine example of how published articles can function not only as marketing tools but as selling tools as well.
4. Publishing articles can promote your book
Do you wonder how to get the word out about a book you have recently published in addition to traditional actions like book reviews and radio interviews?
A great one is to carve text out of your book for use as a standalone article. Doing so delivers the “flavor” of your book while alleviating the “heavy lifting” of writing an article from scratch. Such “article-excerpts” typically persuade would-be book buyers to learn more about your book by clicking over to Amazon or your book’s website. Sales of your book increase as a result.
5. Publishing articles can lead to actually WRITING a book!
Many business experts long to write a book of their own but get stuck on how to make time for such a lofty goal. The idea of sitting down for hours on end and plugging away at such a lengthy text can be off-putting to say the least. But by writing and publishing smaller “chunks” of what might eventually become a full book is one strategy for making things a whole lot easier. After a year or so of such “piece work,” voila … your book is born! From there, the production stage of publishing a book will complete the job, e.g., editing, cover design, printing, etc. Writing articles that can later be used as chapters can make your daunting dream of a published book at long last come true.
Publishing articles separates you from your competition in that only a scant few of your competitors, if any, will also be engaging in it. By positioning yourself as a published thoughtleader, you and your company will be viewed as a go-to expert without equal. Once that transformation takes place, customers will begin seeking you out and telling their colleagues to do the same.
Ken Lizotte CMC is Chair of the CEO Club of Greater Boston, and Chief Imaginative Officer (CIO) of