Thursday, November 16, 2006

Coming Up With Article Topics For Your Business

Coming Up With Article Topics For Your Business
Copyright © 2006 Mark Silver

Ever wonder where the newspapers all come from? I don't mean the ink and paper, I mean the writing.

Day after day, every newspaper in the country turns out hundreds of column inches of writing, tens of thousands of words. Often from the same handful of writers. Where do they get all those story ideas, day after day?

Meanwhile, you know you need to write articles, workbooks, even a book to support and promote your business, and you're left staring at a blank screen. It's not fair- how do they do it, and how can you write as much as a reporter?

Reporters have beats.

A reporter is assigned to an area of expertise: maybe it's health, or business, or farming. They know their area, or learn it, inside and out. They learn who the influential people and organizations are, and those people, if they are smart, know the reporter.

And they send press releases to the reporter, which the reporter reads. The good ones turn into stories.

Well, there you go. Your business is concerned with a certain area of life- that area of life is your beat. You're all set- git writin'! Except...

Except no one sends you press releases.

Not all reporters work off of press releases. Some work off of investigative journalism, you know, where all those movies come from. Like the other beat reporters, investigative journalists know their area, but instead of writing from press releases, they go digging for news.

They ask questions. They sniff around what's happening. And, when they find something, they report about it.

Think of the last time you found out about something interesting in your circle of friends- did you talk about it? I'm not talking about nasty gossip, just maybe a friend of yours met someone and they're getting married. You probably asked all kinds of questions- Who is this person? How old are they? What do they do? How did the two of them meet?

By the time you're done with your questions, you have a whole story. And you tell it to your next friend, with no lack of content.

At the bottom of every great story is a great question.

Just one great question. Your job isn't to find the article, it's to find the question. And where do questions naturally come from?

That's right, they come from your customers and clients. For instance, this morning one of my clients emailed me: "Mark, again a newsletter that strikes at the core of what I've been talking about with other health counselors this week... Can I ask how you decide what to write about each newsletter?"

Hmmm... what did I end up writing about this week?

It can't really be that simple, can it?

Keys to the Reporter on the Beat

  • But my clients' questions are old hat- won't the articles be humdrum, too?

    Well, of course they're old hat, to you, because you've already answered them for yourself. But, they aren't boring to the client who is asking it, are they?

    I'm guessing that if the client was sitting in front of you asking the question, you wouldn't be bored answering it, simply because your heart has a connection to your client or customer. Let go of thinking that the question needs to be awe-inspiring or fabulous- the important thing is the quality of heart connection.

    Write the article as if you are just talking to your client, and you'll see the boredom evaporate like mist in the morning.
  • Wisdom needs an empty basin.

    I don't know about you, but I find some of my most powerful answers have come through when I'm in front of a client or a class, and they've asked me a genuine stumper of a question. And then, the wisdom pours through, and I'm writing as fast as they are: "Hey, that's pretty good! I need to remember this one!"

    Why does this happen? The need of the moment is what pulls the help through. If you are trying to write an article by simply thinking something up and pushing it at them, then you aren't responding to a genuine need in your readers' hearts.

    A sincere question inclines your heart to want to be of help. Your own sincerity and heart connection allows the wisdom to pour through.
  • Repetition creates flow.

    You might not like this one, but you'll want to write an article more often than once a month or once a quarter. Twice a month or weekly will give you the best results. Why?

    For the same reason that a single drop of water every ten minutes will take thousands of years longer than the mile-wide Columbia River takes to wear a channel through the gorge east of Portland.

    The more you write, the easier it will be. It will also take the weight off of each article needing to be a Pulitzer Prize winner. It's just the weekly article, answering a question. If it's not your best, at least it helped someone, and the next one comes next week.

    Try it right now. I wrote this article in 45 minutes,not including editing time. Pick a question from a client, and answer it in 12-20 paragraphs. Bingo- that's your next week's article.

    The best to you and your business,

    Mark Silver

    About The Author:

    Mark Silver is the author of Unveiling the Heart of Your Business: How Money, Marketing and Sales can Deepen Your Heart, Heal the World, and Still Add to Your Bottom Line. He has helped hundreds of small business owners around the globe succeed in business without losing their hearts. Get three free chapters of the book online:

    Article Source: thePhantomWriters Article Submission Service

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