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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

In an effort to build some public relations and credibility in my computer consulting field, I'd like to write an article on a computer-related topic and submit it to various magazines for possible publication. Has anyone ever tried to do this? Is it hard? Any advice or tips would be great.

Thanks, Eunice Z.

Answer: from our Guest Expert Terri Andrews of The Turquoise Butterfly Press

Write Yourself Some PR!!!

Hi, Eunice!

You're definitely on the right track -- one of the most effective ways to gain publicity and secure free advertising is to get your name in print! Many careers have been launched with just one review or write up in a major publication, or even after just a few "short takes" in some minor ones.

Is it hard, you ask? Not necessarily. It depends on how you reach the publications. Fortunately, I've traveled that road many, many times and can supply you with a few shortcuts.

Start Small, But Think Big.

Pour over newspaper, magazine and website articles that pertain to your work -- and respond with a letter expressing your opinion. Letters to the Editors are one of the most widely read sections in any magazine or newspaper and they can bring you some fame along the way.

Here's a juicy example for you.

When I founded my first newsletter for divorced parents in 1993, I spent an entire day each month at the library locating and copying every article that dealt with divorce, custody, step-parenting, parents rights and court rights. I'd sit down and write a response to every single article -- and at the end, I'd offer up a free sample of my newsletter or a flyer on a specific topic. My first letter appeared in American Woman magazine and I received thousands of responses! Since then, my letters have been published in magazines, such as Psychology Today, George, Child, Parents, Woman's Day, Energy Times, Health and many more!

Don't forget your local newspaper -- mention your name, biz, and address. Letters to the local (or national) newspaper are excellent opportunities to secure free publicity.

Spread the Word about Your Expertise

Consider sending a press release to every magazine that's connected to your computer consulting biz. In it, introduce yourself, your biz, and note that you're available for consultation on articles. Let them know you also write beefy, savvy articles. To back up your claim, include any press clippings you may already have about your biz service.

Articles are great PR -- but magazines are hard to break into. Most publications will gladly accept work from an expert in a particular field. So, the more credentials you have, the more your article will appeal to the editor. And the way to build your credibility is with the letters to the editors and other published news clips.

Serve up Your Own Website or E-Newsletter

Other secrets for building up your "expertise" portfolio is to create your own website or electronic newsletter. If that's too big for you, write for other computer consulting newsletters and websites. The more your name is in print, the better your chances are to attract the eye of the editors you crave to please. These editors can help you reach millions of people, giving you the high profile and credibility you're shooting for.

Be a News Hound

Keep your nose out for news brewing in your computer consulting field. For example, if you hear of a computer show coming to your area -- call the newspaper and ask who was assigned the story and see if you can assist or get in a quote. Or, make yourself stand out at the expo. Get on the other side of the story by being newsworthy and get your face in the paper as a local expert!

With thousands of writers sending thousands of articles to thousands of magazines -- the competition is stiff. That's why your press clips and "expertise" reputation are so vital. Often times, they're even required with your manuscript.

Yes! You can and should try your hand at writing articles for gaining PR and credibility. If you have a knack for writing and have some hearty, helpful advice to dish out -- then writing your way to some publicity should be a piece of cake!

Good Luck!

Terri

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