PR can seem intimidating, it can sound expensive and unnecessary. But it’s also some free marketing that you can do to a basic level yourself. This may be second nature to some people but alien to others so I thought I’d share it. Before writing a business article – consider:
What are you trying to achieve?
Are you doing it to create more sales generally? Launch a new product or service, more buzz about your company? Sell a new product to an existing customer base? Get new customers? All of the above?
Who is your audience and how do they like to be spoken to? What’s their level of understanding of the subject?
Understanding your audience is key in any marketing activity. Are you trying to appeal to the techie or the marketer?Senior level execs or a more junior person? How well do they understand the topic? Will they understand the acronyms and abbreviations you want to use or should you explain them?
Why should the audience commit to reading your article?
Everyone is time-poor these days and constantly bombarded with articles and blogs to read. What’s in it for them? Will they learn anything? Or is it a thinly veiled sales message – if so, stop now. Give your readers some credit and remember that no-one likes to be sold to.
What are you trying to convey in the article?
If it’s a thought leadership piece, keep it simple and keep to one message at a time. Introduce the topic, discuss its merits and pitfalls – give a rounded argument and conclude cleanly and succinctly.
How do you want your company to be viewed?
Is your company friendly and personable or maybe a little more formal?
Which channels will be used to get this article in-front of the audience?
Every company has its own channels these days and everyone needs content for them – be it social media, a website or newsletter. What you put on your own channels should not be too dissimilar to the content that your industry magazines use. Using your own channels gives you more freedom but keep the pieces informative and useful. By all means include factual sales pieces – but make sure they are titles as such and that everyone knows what they are. Don’t use your own channels to promote blogs that are thinly disguised sales pieces. Your customers will be tricked into reading them and will feel cheated.
If there is a third party involved, take a look at how they present their articles and follow their style etc. If you have been commissioned to write a piece for a business magazine then find out their parameters – how many words will they need, and by when. What exactly do they expect from you? If they have asked for an opinion piece then write one – don’t use the space to try to sell. The editor simply won’t publish it and you will have ruined your company’s creditability.
How long do you think people will commit to reading this article?
If your target audience is new sales prospects and this is their first introduction to your company then they won’t be willing to spend a long time reading something - but they may spend longer if they already know you and your company.
Get someone else to proof read your article for you
Even the best writers find it hard to proof an article they have written themselves because you read it as you think it should read, not how it actually is. Everyone makes mistakes, but do try to minimise yours.
To conclude: put yourself in the readers’ shoes. Would you give up your valuable time to read your article? If the answer is no, then start again at the top!
Thanks to Jill Hawkins from Aniseed PR for this article, if you’d like further information on PR, drop Jill an email here.
No More Ifs Or Buts.