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Victims of Sandy Hook

Stop the Slaughter of Innocents. Congress is bought and paid for by gun lunatics and gun promotion groups. If you want to live in a safe America, help buy Congress back for America. Send a donation to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 909 Third Avenue, 15th Floor New York, NY 10022

Ten Strategies to Create Articles When You're Out of Ideas

When I mention writing articles as a way to establish your expertise online and increase traffic to your web site, my clients typically exclaim one of two things: 1. They remind me how much they hate to write; or 2. They tell me that they have no ideas of anything they could write about.

Many people who hate to write love to speak. Instead of writing an article, you could actually speak about a topic, digitally record it, and have it transcribed and then sent to a freelance writer for editing. If you want to have your article recorded and transcribed at the same place, check out iDictate. For a freelance writer who'll edit your transcription, or to find someone who will write articles for you, check out ELance, and post your requirements and your budget at their site.

Please keep in mind, however, that when you hire a ghostwriter, your "voice" may be lost in the writing shuffle. Some of the more successful newsletter publishers write just as they speak, so I feel as though I get a true sense of who they are as a person as I read their material. In order to truly begin to create online relationships through your writing, you'll want to involve yourself somewhat in the ghostwriting process so your uniqueness and personality are adequately conveyed in your articles.

The most common complaint I hear, however, is from clients who tell me that they lack a focus for their writing, or are at a loss for a topic for an article. Many of my clients marvel at the apparent ease with which I write an article for my newsletter each week. Trust me - it's far from effortless! Many times I'll begin writing an article about one topic, and another stronger topic emerges. I'll then completely change my focus and write about the second topic instead. I'll admit it's not always the easiest process, but the glowing reviews I receive from readers about my articles make it all worthwhile.

There are some days when I sit down to write and I haven't a clue where to begin. That's when I start to review my "magic box" of writing tricks, and see what emerges. Here are the strategies that I keep in the box:

1. Write down five problems you've helped clients solve. As a service business owner, clients hire you to solve a specific problem they're having. What are 3-5 most recent problems that you have helped solve? You can create an article that is a case study (with your client's permission, or making it generic enough to hide the client's identity) that becomes a learning experience for your readers, based on the original problem and the solution you provided to the problem. Many problems that clients present to you are problems that commonly occur, so your readers will love the "heads up" you give them about a particular issue.

2. Tell a story about a recent experience you've had that can become a lesson for your readers. One of the most interesting newsletters I read, David Frey's Marketing Best Practices, usually contains an article about a piece of collateral marketing material that David has received or seen. He shows a picture of the actual marketing piece, his reaction to it, and writes about how his readers can use that technique in their business. I love to read about what he's experienced and how I might incorporate that technique into my business.

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