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Quick and Good Content Ideas for Your Ezine or Website



Quick and Good Content Ideas for Your Ezine or Website
Written by Craig Warren
http://www.craigsonlinetips.com/goto/sotam/

Publishing articles, especially via an e-zine, is the
ideal opportunity to showcase your business. By sharing
your knowledge and expertise, you build credibility as an
expert, while spreading the word about your services and
products.

While I’m sure that sometimes you have dozens of content
ideas, I bet other times you find yourself staring at a
blank computer screen, grumbling that it’s publishing
time again. Well, have no fear! Here are a few quick and
good content ideas for when you’re in a pinch.

* Describe a problem you’ve solved for a client/customer
and use that as a springboard to offer more general
advice. Show your readers how you’ve helped customers
address challenges, case studies if you will. This
positions you as the expert in your readers’ minds more
than your coming out and saying so.
Give real-life success stories.

* Think of three areas in which you’d like your clients
to think of you as a resource. Now develop content in
those areas. For example, in my past life as a
professional copywriter, I really enjoyed writing for
websites. To help encourage my clients and prospects to
hire me for these projects, I published several articles
on how to write web copy that sells.

* Read industry publications for ideas. Are there any hot
issues in your field right now? The more controversial,
the better. Don’t be afraid to offer your own opinion,
your readers want to know it. After all, YOU are the
expert in their eyes.

Jot down 8 questions your clients have asked you in the
past. You know, the ones they ask you over and over.
Answer each in a short article. If you publish weekly,
that’s two months’ worth of content, right off the bat!
And if you can’t think of any questions, send all your
current clients/customers a quick e-mail, asking them
what topics they’re most interested in learning more
about.

* Learn anything neat lately from an industry conference,
workshop, seminar, or insightful article? No one says you
have to reinvent the wheel of information! Pass on any
gems of advice you’ve learned elsewhere, just give them
full attribution. Or give your opinion of the event or
article itself. Your readers will appreciate your
frankness.

* Offer a list of your top 5 or 10 tips on a certain
subject. It’s much easier to bang out a list of tips than
to put together a real article. Of course, the tips can
evolve into an article if you wish! Be sure to list your
best tip first, or at least close to the top. If you
fire your biggest gun last, you risk losing your
audience before they get to the good stuff.

* Interview associates whose expertise would interest
your readers, while not competing with yours. E-mail
interviews are incredibly easy to do. Just send your
interviewee 3 to 5 questions via e-mail, edit their
answers and have them approve the final version. Be sure
to give them a short plug in your e-zine as a thank you.
A one or two sentence description of their business and
their web address should be fine.

* Recommend books and resources that you use and offer
full reviews on them.

* Invite clients or readers to write you with their own
questions and answer one in each issue. Right after
their question, publish the person’s name, business and
web address, with their permission. They’ll enjoy the
attention and free publicity!

* Invite readers to send in profiles. Ask them to tell
you about themselves — their names, businesses,
locations and how they use the information gained in
your e-zine. Feature one profile in each issue or one
every few issues.

* When all else fails, borrow an article! There are
dozens of websites offering hundreds of articles that you
can use in your e-zine. The articles are free and
available for you to use immediately. The only catch is
you’re required to leave the entire article intact,
including the author’s promotional information. One of my
favorite places to search for articles is
www.ezinearticles.com

One last note: Keep in mind that if your e-zine’s main
objective is to get you more clients and customers, you
should NOT feature other writers’ articles more than once
in a blue moon. Remember our main goal is to continually
showcase YOU.

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Tips For Writing A Great How To Article

Tips For Writing A Great How-To Article
Written by Craig Warren
http://www.craigsonlinetips.com/goto/sfi/

If you are using articles to help drive traffic to your
website you will need to come up with ideas for articles
that people will want to read and publish. The quality
of articles found on article directories can vary
significantly so it is important that yours are among the
best available for your article marketing campaign to be
successful.

There is no end to the subjects you can write about and
you can use any style you wish. However, it has to be
something that people will want to read. How to articles
are very popular with both website owners and readers and
can be a great way to get your article marketing campaign
underway. Basically, the purpose of a ‘how to’ article is
to explain to a reader how to do something.

Of course, you will have to have a good knowledge of how
to do the task yourself before you can think about
instructing anyone else how to do it, so stick to what
you know. There are many possibilities. If you have
experience in networking you could write a ‘how to’
article on how to set up a router at home, or if you love
cars you could write an article on ‘how to service your
car’. There are endless possibilities for ‘how to’
articles, in fact you are reading one right now.

So let’s get started. When you are writing a “how to”
article, remember that you are the teacher so write in an
authoritative tone. You are sharing your expertise with
someone who may have little knowledge of the subject at
hand. So keep your writing style simple and your
instructions clear.

At the beginning of your article tell your reader what
their goal is and summarize how it is going to be
achieved. This will prepare them for the task ahead. You
should also inform them of what, if anything, they will
need to have to hand to complete the task. Going back to
the setting up a router example, you would need to tell
them that they will need their computer, router,
instruction booklet and perhaps and ethernet cable to
complete the task.

Also, you must start at the beginning and work through
the task step by step. Sometimes it may be beneficial to
use bullet points to help give the impression that it is
a step by step process. Alternatively you can link the
steps with words like ‘next’, ‘and then’ or ‘now’. If you
are new to writing the bullet points option might be best
for you as it keeps things simple and helps you avoid
complex grammatical structures.

As you write, re-read your text every few paragraphs and
try to read it from the reader’s point of view, assuming
they know nothing about the task at hand. As an expert on
the subject it can be too easy to make things over-
complex because the task is second nature to you. Try to
imagine you are doing it for the first time and instruct
the reader accordingly. Going back to our previous
example, will the reader actually know what an ethernet
cable is, or what a router is for that matter?

If a particular stage in the task is complex you may want
to repeat the instruction, or ask the reader to check
their progress so they are sure they have followed your
instructions successfully.

With longer articles it is important to do this regularly
so the reader does not lose track. Summarize what they
have done so far, tell them what should have already been
achieved and ask them to check that everything is as it
should be. If a reader finds that the project does not
look like what you have described, they can then retrace
the last few steps and see where they went wrong.

If you work through your article in this manner you
should be left with a clear, concise ‘how to’ article
that takes the reader through each step of the project
to completion. Read it again, at least twice, to make
sure that it is well written and that instructions are
clear. Wrap up with a concluding paragraph congratulating
the reader for a job well done.

And finally, the icing on the cake, the headline. This
does not necessarily have to be done at the end. It can
be done before you write the article but you may find
that headline ideas will come to you as you write your
content. Be sure to spend some time perfecting your
headline as this can be the difference between the
success and failure of your article.

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The Follow Up

The Follow Up
Copyright © Craig Warren
http://www.craigsonlinetips.com/goto/sfi/

Your Fortune is in the Follow Up!

Would you blow your entire annual marketing budget on
just one ad to run once during the Superbowl?

Of course you wouldn’t. You know that people seeing your
message just once wouldn’t be enough.

Then why do we tend to spend our time and dollars on
single-shot marketing, rather than repeated messages?

The answer is… most folks just don’t know any better. Or,
perhaps it seems boring to repeat your message over and
over and over and over.

But the truth is, your fortune is in the follow-up!

One weekend I was able to hear direct marketing master
Bill Glazer (marketing mentor who runs Glazer-Kennedy
Inner Circle..along with Dan Kennedy) speak at a
conference in Los Angeles. During his talk, he shared
with the audience how he spent the last few decades of
his life running Baltimore’s #1 retail men’s clothing
store, Gage Menswear, along with his late father.

Bill talked about one of his first direct mail campaigns,
and how during the planning stages he announced to his
dad that they were going to mail a special promotional
offer to the same list not once, not twice, but three
times. His father was appalled and yelled at Bill that
he was crazy and was wasting their money!

Bill persisted and mailed all three pieces of the
campaign. Well, their results revealed that mailing
the exact same offer three times not only increased their
response, it DOUBLED their response! Pop was floored, and
he sure was delighted with the flurry of sales that came
in. From that point on he also trusted Bill with their
marketing dollars.

It’s simple… people are inundated with messages every
day. Last statistic I heard was each of us sees over 3,700
distinct messages a day! That means you need to repeat
yourself over and over if you’re going to break through
the clutter, actually get their attention, get them to
read or listen AND get them to respond.

Your assignment is to now look at all areas of your
marketing and advertising in your business, and see where
you need to add some follow-up.

Some quick places to look at:

Your Ezines

Are you publishing your ezine enough? Once a month just
doesn’t cut it anymore. You should be reaching out and
“touching” your prospects and customers at least once a
week, if not more.

Teleseminars and Live Events

When promoting events, you’re going
to need many more than one or two announcements or
mailings. As a general rule, when I’m really trying to
fill up a teleseminar (phone seminar) I sent out at least
three emails dedicated to the promotion. For live events,
you need dozens of messages, and well ahead of time. Most
of the trainers I know start marketing no less than six
months ahead of any live event they’re hosting!

One-on-One Marketing

If you cold call or mail out letters to prospects, how
many times are you following up? Don’t be afraid to call
or mail again. I myself have finally responded to an offer
after I’ve been contacted several times, and was glad the
vendor took the initiative to follow-up.

Advertising

Instead of blowing your budget on a few large ads per
year, try running a smaller ad much more often! Also,
most publications, both online and offline, will usually
give you big discounts for purchasing more than one ad at
a time.

Remember, many marketing experts who test all these
strategies say that repetition is the key. So don’t even
feel you have to be creative with your marketing – just
saying or mailing the same thing over and over is better
than not saying it or mailing it again.

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