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By: Nick Nichols

Updated 6/27/03: Get more exposure and publicity for your business by avoiding the success-limiting blunders that many article authors are making.
Want to get more mileage out of the articles you write and submit to newspapers, magazines, trade journals, newsletters and online content sites?

Just avoid the following blunders that many authors are making. I guarantee you will get more business than you're getting now.

1. Weak, vague or boring title.

Why are you reading this article? It MUST be because the title interested you. The more compelling your title is, the more people will read your article. The more targeted and specific your title is, the more qualified prospects will read it.

2. Weak, vague or boring opening.

Okay, my title got you to START reading my article. I bet it was my OPENING that got you to CONTINUE reading! I start out with a challenge, then I give a teaser for my solution, followed by the main BENEFIT you'll get by reading my article. Tell people why they should read your article up front and more of them will.

3. Paragraphs too long.

We live in a hurry-up world and people want you to get to the point quickly. Long-winded paragraphs are hard to read and are often skipped. Make it easy for people to read what you have to say by limiting your paragraphs to five sentences or less and only one point or thought per paragraph.

4. Too many fancy words and/or too much industry jargon.

If you want your article to be interesting and relevant to the maximum number of readers you should avoid using words or jargon that are obscure or only understandable by people in your industry. You never know who might see your article outside your industry. Why make it hard for people to see the value of working with you?

5. Unprofessional or non-existent Web site.

The very first thing I do after reading someone's article is to attempt to visit his or her Web site. If the person doesn't believe enough in him or herself to have an Internet presence, then why should I believe that person is any kind of an expert at all? If the site is poorly designed or looks like it hasn't been updated recently, I dismiss that person as a wannabee. Don't make this mistake! Get a professional Web site NOW!

6. No specific, targeted call-to-action in resource box.

Frankly, most strangers who read your articles really don't care about where you went to school, what degrees or certifications you have, or other "name, rank and serial number" details. All they care about is what's in it for them if they take the next step. You MUST, repeat MUST create a compelling, targeted offer that will motivate qualified prospects to contact you. For example: Not getting the results you want from your articles? Nick Nichols shows you how to create a compelling call-to-action that will drive qualified prospects to your Web site. Get this free report at GetSalesNow.com/im and learn three ways to get more people to respond to your articles. 7. No branded email address.

When an alleged expert lists an ISP email address (you@aol.com, you@msn,com, you@earthlink.com">you@earthlink.com, etc.), that person is missing an important branding opportunity. If the person lists a free address, like Hotmail, Netscape, Yahoo!, etc., I cringe. A branded email address (you@yoursite.com) is a low-cost way to tell people you are serious about your business and proud to publicize it. Why give ISPs free advertising when you can help yourself instead?

8. Misspellings and/or poor grammar.

This should be obvious, yet far too many authors don't bother to spell and grammar-check their work. An article with careless errors implies that you may be careless in your work. It conveys that you are uneducated, and don't care enough about yourself to be the best you can be. Why let that happen when it's so easy to run a spell-check and proofread your articles?

9. Article too long or too short.

Writing articles and submitting them free is a way to position yourself as an expert. You should strive to solve problems your target market has in a way that demonstrates your expertise, yet generates curiosity and motivates qualified prospects to investigate further. I've found a good rule of thumb to follow is that 500-800 words provide a meaningful sample of what you can do without giving away the store.

10. Requiring permission/notification.

When I see an article that is posted at a content site that requires me to ask permission to use it, I usually skip it. I don't have time to compose an email and then wait for a response. I've tried that and incredibly, some people take DAYS to get back to me! If the main purpose of writing and submitting articles is to get them circulated, why make it hard for people to promote you? Give permission in advance and you'll get much more exposure!

11. Too many links.

As one who uses third-party articles for some of my client's HTML ezines, I cringe when I see an article that has more than one or two hotlinks. Why? Because embedding hotlinks into an HTML ezine is much more work for me. I usually pass.

Instead of putting a lot of links into your article, create a resource page at your Web site and refer people to it in your article. This way, people have to go to your site to use the links. What a concept!

12. Hidden resource box links.

Again, as a user of third-party articles, I want to give the author credit and a plug. So make it easy for me! Make your links as short as possible, e.g., GetSalesNow.com/im. And make them visible. Most article sites convert your text to HTML. If you simply say, "click here," without listing the URL, people who copy and paste from the screen (majority) will not capture your URL. No URL = No visits = A wasted effort.

Nick Nichols shows coaches, consultants and freelancers how to get more long-term, high-paying clients. Get his free special report, "3 Secrets You MUST Know to Survive and Prosper in a Tough Economy" at GetSalesNow.com/im.

About the Author

Nick Nichols helps consultants, coaches and freelancers get more long-term, high-paying clients in less time, with less effort and frustration than ever before. Click here: GetSalesNow.com to learn how to do this.

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