In our local weekly newspaper there is an ad every week written by a chiropractor. It doesn’t look like an advertisement; it just features one question each week that the chiropractor answers. It is always a question that is general enough to interest the average person; I mean, who doesn’t have back problems now and then? The answer is clear, concise, and to the point. I’ve looked for it every week for several years. Then one day I really did hurt my back. Guess who I called? A perfect example of public relations and promotional articles.
Promotional articles should be a regular part of your public relations consulting plan. If well written and well placed, they can be a great source of free advertising for your client. Establishing your client (or yourself, if applicable) as a subject matter expert raises its level of credibility in the minds of potential customers.
Points to Remember
When you write your promotional articles, there are a few key points to remember:
- Write as though you are a journalist. You should include an introduction (your lead), the body (the actual story,) and a conclusion (summary and call to action).
- Categorize your subject, breaking it down into points or steps. Most people want to learn what they can with the least amount of reading, so a long body of text might discourage them. Using bullet points or numbered steps makes it much more enticing.
- You want your promotional article to be informational, establishing credibility, so be very careful to give the article an informational tone, not a persuasive one. If the reader feels he is being “sold,” it is a sure turn-off. Either find very subtle ways to refer to your client or don’t mention the client at all.
- Include an author box. This is where the promotional part comes in. If you are writing the promotional article for a client, then you will do it as a ghost writer, making the author box about your client.
- Write the article in second person. When the reader feels you are speaking directly to him, he feels a connection to you, the author.
- Once you have finished your article, check it over thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors. One misspelled word or incorrect grammar usage will immediately destroy your credibility as a professional. Read it through from an objective viewpoint – checking your wording and phrasing, making sure it flows smoothly and makes sense to the layman.
A Regular Activity
As I said earlier, public relations and promotional articles are the perfect couple and should be a regular part of your PR planning. Distribute your articles everywhere you can – your client’s website, newspapers, blogs, business magazines and ezines, newsletters, etc. If your client’s website is a continuous source of new articles, potential customers will want to check it often for new information. Then when they need a product or service you offer, guess who they’ll call?