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How to Write a Promotional Article

By Patricia Fry

Are you seeking publicity for your book, your business or a favorite cause? Advertise your project or company for free through magazine articles. Yes, FREE. In fact, you may even earn a little money. Most magazines pay anywhere from $50 to $1000 for a feature article.

An article offers greater exposure than an ad because people will actually read an article that relates to a topic of interest to them. Here are some tips and techniques for producing successful promotional articles:

Give the reader something he/she wants.

Offer information or a point of view that is important and useful to the reader. Let's say that you have recently launched a Web design business. Rather than writing an article about how wonderful your services are, offer something concrete and helpful about Web design. For example, "How to Design an Effective Home Page," "Tips For Attracting More Traffic to Your Site" or "How to Select and Work With a Web Design Specialist."

Maybe you've written a book about garden insects. Instead of producing a promotional article about the value of your book, offer one featuring bugs you can import for the health of your garden or ideas for protecting the good bugs in your yard.

How do you get the publicity you seek? Through your tagline at the bottom of the article. For example, "Joan Evans operates ABC Web Design in Carmel, CA. www.ABCwebdesign.com). Or Brandon Smith is the author of "Insects: Friend and Foe" (XYZ Press, 2002), www.xyzpress.com.

Choose the right magazine.

When selecting a magazine to approach, consider the following: Circulation (number of readers), area of distribution (are you looking for national, international or regional exposure?) and suitability.

To promote a Web design business, you might consider targeting magazines for writers and small business owners. You can also reach out to more specific audiences through specialized magazines such as those for plumbers, electricians, printers, nurserymen, retail store owners and so forth. For the garden insect book, you might approach home and garden magazines as well as rural, regional and general interest publications, for example.

I've promoted my grandparenting book through religious, parenting, senior, family and women's magazines and my luau book through regional, travel, barbecue, lifestyle and cooking publications.

Keep the hype out of the article.

As tempting as it might be to advertise your book in the article, don't. You can write a piece telling how to choose a Web design professional without saying, "Choose me." You can talk about the benefits of good insects in your garden, but avoid saying why your book is better than the rest. Let your expertise shine through in the article. The point of a promotional article is to position yourself as an expert. You'll find that most magazines won't publish an article that borders on a sales pitch, anyway.

- Copyright 2002 Patricia Fry

Patricia Fry has been writing for publication for 29 years, having contributed hundreds of articles to about 160 different magazines. She is also the author of 12 books, including "A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles" (http://www.Matilijapress.com).

 

 

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