There's no better way to promote your business for free than to write articles for the Internet. It is particularly good for promoting services where advertising doesn't work as well even if you can afford it.
All business is about relationship. You can't meet face-to-face with each person, or even reach them on the telephone every time. Often your contact will have to be in writing. How good is your writing?
"I'd Rather Have a Root Canal"
Writing is right up there with public speaking for many of us. It's so public, and, in the case of writing, so permanent.
My mother used to say, "Never put anything in black and white you wouldn't want the whole wide world to see." It's a wonder I could write at all! Scary thought, isn't it. Since I coach Emotional Intelligence (EQ), let's turn that around and say, "Put things in black and white you want the whole world to see." That's the power of the pen, mightier, after all, than the sword.
I went on to major in English and then to earn my living writing. However, you don't have to be a professional writer to write something someone else can enjoy or benefit from, or to write for your own enjoyment or wellness
Remember: You Aren't Writing for Miss Crumplestine Anymore
The first point you should know is that writing for the Internet should be at the 6th to 9th grade level.
Not everyone on the Internet has a college education, or even a high school education. We are all in hurry, and we want out information fast. Short, uncomplicated sentences work well. So do lists. No need for big words. Just clarity.
Why is Writing So Hard?
Here is a scenario that happened to me repeatedly when I was in public relations. The boss would call me in and say, "I don't know how to say this." I'd say, "What is it you want to say?" and I would have my pad and pencil handy. He or she would start talking, and I would start writing And what I wrote down was exactly what the person was saying!
I would then go back to my office, dot a few Is and cross a few Ts, return the article to them, and they would say, "How marvelous. How do you do it?"
Yes, of course I cleaned up the grammar and added or subtracted some adjectives or adverbs, and maybe changed the order, but the point I want to make is that if the person had just written down what he or she was thinking, he or she wouldn't have been far from having a good enough article or letter. Yes, I polished it, but the diamond in the rough was still there to be polished!
It happened just the other day, which is what prompted me to write this article. Someone had written me an email with something profound in it, and I asked if I could quote her in an article. When I finished the article, I sent it back to her, with her rather lengthy quote, and here is her reply: " Seeing my words in print, I am surprised at my own clarity. Goes to show that spontaneous reactions are often the truest."
Then yesterday, I asked someone else if I could quote them, and she wrote back: "Reading that you want to quote me I am awash with emotions - pride, astonishment, surprise, delight, a little scared, somewhat uncomfortable."
It's an Emotional Thing
Do you see the emotion in what they've written back? We know from Emotional Intelligence how emotions can fog the brain; the analytical part of the brain.
How so? Many emotions go through your brain if you aren't used to writing a lot because of the thoughts you're thinking, because of your self-talk. Here are some:
"I don't know how to write...I'll say something stupid...My 6th grade teacher said I was a terrible writer...Someone will misunderstand what I write and I'll get cards and letters...I can't do this...I hate to write...I flunked writing sophomore year in high school...My last English course was freshman year in college...I never finished high school."
There are two major ways to learn how to write: read and write.
The best writers are those who have read the most. Why? Because your brain is a marvelous thing, and picks up what you're reading, and you don't have to learn any rules. Just as a child learns how to speak. We all learn how to speak around the house. Later on in school we learn grammar rules, but we've been speaking for years.
You have to read the GOOD writers, of course. Read the hard stuff. Dostoevsky, Faulkner, Shakespeare, Dante. This sort of reading will benefit you in many ways.
Then write. A writer writes! Like any other skill, you have to do it to learn it. You can read about it, and memorize rules, and attend seminars, and go to workshops (and by all means read Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" a classic that's now in its fourth edition) but you must not stop there. You must start writing.
One of the best ways to direct the actual writing process is to work with a writing coach. You won't be able to judge your own writing appropriately at first.
What Doesn't Work
What will NOT work is learning some skills you are not able to use because your emotions are interfering, or you don't use because you never sit down and apply them.
You must actually start writing. Like learning a language, it's practicing it that makes you fluent.
The "Meta" Way to Improve Your Writing
A meta way to improve your writing is to develop your Emotional Intelligence. It teaches you how to manage the emotions which are throwing obstacles in your path to learning writing. It has the added value of helping you to learn in general, not just writing.
It's about getting the emotions out of the way that are hampering you from learning. We all suffer from this to one degree or another. We all had a teacher at some point who was harsh or punitive, or a circumstance where we weren't able to learn it fast enough. Maybe we were rushed, and fell flat on our face in public, or were embarrassed. Maybe we had a parent who said, "Marsha will never be an artist," or "Freddie can't do this or that." Getting rid of the memory of these experiences is managing your emotions, and part of Emotional Intelligence as well.
One of the wonderful things to me about the Internet is the opportunity it gives all of us to "tell our story."
Get in there and write, whether you do it for publication, for money, for fun, or to promote your products and services. You have things to say that others need to hear!
Writing things out also brings clarity to your thinking process. Studies show that writing things down improves your efficiency, and even is good for your mental health.
About the writer: Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, Coaching in all areas: relationships, writing, job success, emotional intelligence, career. For help with marketing, see Web Strategies . Susan will also write and submit articles for you to promote your business.
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