Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Using Articles to Build Your Writing Platform


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

I continually am amazed when I mention writing articles I get so many blank stares. It is like nobody ever thought about writing articles.


But I would love to “plant a few seeds” and encourage you to write more articles. Why would you want to do that? Any number of reasons but today we are just going to concentrate on one. 

Writing articles is a great way to get your name out there and establish yourself in the writing world. If you do enough writing on he subject, you may find yourself labeled as an expert in that area. Then you can become the go-to person in your area of expertise. 

If you are a new writer, this is just as much for you as other writers. Here are a few suggestions for all those trying to build their platforms and find their places in the writing world. 
  • What do you like to do? Are you a master gardener? An expert cook? Do you raise dogs or have had pets of the same breed since growing up? Do you have certain skills that could benefit others? A good place to start writing articles is to begin with a subject you know. For those of you who are book writers, maybe you can write about a subject related to your book. That way your article will serve double duty as it introduces your book to the world. 
  • If you are counting on your articles for platform building, make sure your articles in some way show you as the person you are trying to promote. For instance, if you choose to write about gardening since that is one of your favorite things to do but your platform is parent/child relationships, be sure to include a paragraph or two about that in your article.
  • Obtain the guidelines to a periodical that would be a good fit for your article. Write your article paying specific to the magazine guidelines, and don’t think you will be the exception to the rules.  Don’t just aim for the biggest magazines you can find. Sometimes a more focused publication will introduce you to a large group of readers that are well-targeted for your subject. An article can serve as an introduction to a new group of loyal supporters for you.
  • Then write your query letter. Query letters are another subject for another time. But this is another part of article writing that requires great care. After all, this is your introduction to another group – editors of the publications. 
  • Pay close attention to your bio. Make sure you include information that will connect to the magazine’s readership. If you have a new book coming out that relates to your article, mention “Mary Smithman is the author of the soon to be released Growing Up on the Farm.” This only works if you are writing about a farm-related subject, of course. Also include that Mary often writes and speaks on the subject of parent-child relationships, thereby increasing awareness of your platform.

As your name is seen more and more in the bylines of your articles, people will more frequently ask you questions about your subject. That is what you want to happen—lots of readers who see you as the expert. When that happens, you have successfully used articles to help you begin your writing career and start building a platform that will help others recognize you as a respected person in your field. 

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Using articles to build your #writing platform - @LindaGilden on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Writing articles can give a big boost to your platform, tips from @LindaGilden on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Linda Gilden is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She loves to take one subject and create multiple articles from that information. Linda finds great joy (and lots of writing material) in time spend with her family. Her favorite activity is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing children.

To find out more about Linda, her writing, and her ministry, visit www.LindaGilden.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

10 comments:

  1. One of the finest books I've ever been blessed to learn from... Articles, Articles, Articles. So much more than instruction, it's guidance from a trusted friend. Thanks for all the encouragement in your post above Ms. Linda. Now I've got to go re-read submission guidelines for that magazine! God's blessings ma'am...

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    1. Thank you so much, Jim, for your comments about Articles, Articles, Articles. It ha been a fun journey and I love encouraging people to write articles for so many reasons.

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  2. Two things that came to my mind. I have been writing a blog for quite a few years (http://deborawephraim.blogspot.com) and have used some of my writings for articles.Since it's not a widely familiar blog it doesn't seem to be in competition with any other publication. Second item is bio. I've struggled with this aspect since I don't have a published work, I've been a partner with my husband in several businesses, but if I'm not careful my bio comes out more as a praise of my husband's life work. I feel as if it's supposed to be my bio, but mostly I've been a homebody working at home, being with the kids, etc, etc, etc... I've recently changed the original bio I had on my author website, and I believe it's better, but tips would be helpful? https://deborawephraim.wixsite.com/donevywestphal

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    1. Enjoyed your website, Donevy. Keep writing those words that make a difference!

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  3. As always, Linda, your advice about article writing pings on a nerve and inspires me to look for more opportunities. Thanks for your sharing your expertise.

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    1. So glad, Barbara. Keep writing those articles!

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  4. Thanks for this good articles on articles. As a retired journalist I wrote many articles for several newspapers. But... as a platform builder? I'm not as sure of my self. Your third point is the hardest to do, I think. Find the magazine that would like your articles that would build your platform. There aren't that many magazines out there any more. And I confess to knowing fewer online zines that I could submit too. (The lives and adventures of Missionary Kids in Africa) Any suggestions? Love to hear them.

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  5. Thank you to all who commented. So glad you enjoy the article information and I hope you will try some new aspect of article writing. Jackie, as far as markets for the lives and adventures of missionary kids in Africa, sounds like a great children's fiction series to me! As far as articles, many denominational magazines use missions articles and some denominational magazines have an entire magazine dedicated to missions. I know the Southern Baptists do and I am sure there are others. Or what about missions curriculum for children. They would love stories about missionary kids in other countries.

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  6. Thank you Linda. Our own church doesn't have a publication, but I'm sure others do. I will check them out. And YES, my current manuscript is a collection of those children's fiction stories, telling about life/adventures in Malawi Africa, where I've visited 4 times on short term mission trips.

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  7. Thank you, Linda, and back at you. Your article was encouraging, and as writers we all need that.

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