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by Sarah Hamaker, reluctant marketer

Articles can be a fantastic marketing tool for writers. After all, writers are passionate and articulate about our subjects, which can translate well into shorter pieces for blogs, magazines, newspapers and other forums, both online and in print.

Long before I was a published book author, I was (and still am) a freelance writer, penning pieces for national trade associations as well as Christian and newspaper websites. For example, I’ve written about the history of slurpees for the National Association of Convenience Stores, profiled Herman Cain when he was running for president last election cycle for ChristianPost.com, and discussed ways parents can help their children avoid sibling rivalry for Crosswalk.com.

It was the latter piece on sibling rivalry—a topic I had pitched to the Crosswalk editor—that grabbed the attention of an editor at Beacon Hill Press, which in turn led to a book contract to write on the topic for the imprint.

Image courtesy of gt_pann/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of gt_pann/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I point that out to highlight the marketing potential of the modest byline and author bio. Yes, writing articles takes time and effort, but we should also consider the possibilities for spreading the word about our work and our status as an author.

Writing articles provides authors with at least four marketing boosts.

  1. Name recognition. The more our name is in front of readers, the more likely they will remember us, which is always a good thing when they come across our name on a bookshelf at their local bookstore or when scrolling through book lists online. Articles provide at least two times a reader could see our name: the byline and the bio.
  2. Book promotion. Sometimes, we can excerpt our own work for an article or mention our book title in a piece. Again, our bio at the end of a bylined work can provide an easy way to list our latest title (and sometimes, include a link to purchase the book).
  3. Wider audience. Writing for a website or magazine gets your name in front of different group of people than perhaps your usual comfort zone. You have the opportunity to expand your sphere of influence to new horizons.
  4. Brand building. Want to be an expert in a certain field or shore up your credentials? Writing articles on topics related to your field or expertise is a great way to build your brand and position yourself as a go-to person for that subject.

Next month, we’ll talk about how to pick article topics.

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About Sarah Hamaker

A freelance writer and editor, Sarah Hamaker has written Ending Sibling Rivalry and Hired@Home. Her stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Sarah writes frequently about parenting for Crosswalk.com and the Washington Post's On Parenting blog. She won the 2015 ACFW Genesis award in romantic suspense.

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