How do I choose an article topic that will attract clients?

Q & A by C.J. HaydenThe most important question to ask yourself before writing an article for marketing purposes is exactly how you want that article to position you. For example, if you are a relationship coach with expertise in dating, resolving conflicts, and clear communication, and you like to work with baby boomer singles and couples, effective articles for you could be topics like:

  • How to find time for dating when your job keeps you busy
  • Steps for resolving disagreements when you don’t see eye-to-eye with your mate
  • How to talk to your kids so they will listen

Ineffective topics for you — although probably well within your expertise to write — would be topics like:

  • How to find time to return to school when your job keeps you busy
  • Steps for resolving disagreements with vendors who support your business
  • How to talk to your boss so he will listen

These second three examples would not position you as a relationship coach. If you’re going to take the time to write an article, make sure it will appeal to the core of your market niche and contribute to a larger body of work you will ultimately create to serve their needs. The best way to establish your expertise is to write many articles on one theme instead of skipping around to widely different topics.

When choosing an article topic, keep in mind the perspective of editors and content producers who will be considering your article for publication. What they want from you is material that will inform, inspire, or entertain their audience. If you can provide that, they will be willing to publish your piece.

What editors don’t want are topics that are primarily self-promotional. A professional organizer will easily be able to place articles on organizing the kitchen or purging the clothes closet. But few editors will be interested in an article on how to work with a professional organizer or why you should hire one.

An article is not a book; keep the topic for each article simple. Many new writers fail at producing good articles because they try to cram too much into them. A typical newspaper or magazine article is 800-1200 words. Articles written for the web are often 600-800 words. In that small amount of space, you can’t communicate a lot of complex ideas.

Choose just one main idea for each article, and provide three to five key points that support that idea. If you find while writing that other good ideas begin to emerge, put them aside — those can be topics for future articles.

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