Publish or Perish
© 2013 Elena Fawkner
Publish or perish. If you’re in academia, you know the
expression well, I’m sure. It means that if you want to
progress in your career, you will write books, articles,
papers and theses and have your work published and reported
in the leading journals. In other words, you are expected
to make an original contribution to the body of work in your
area of expertise.
The same holds true if you want to progress in your career
online. If you don’t make an original contribution to the
body of online material in your area of expertise, your
business will never really come into its own.
You’ve heard it before: on the Internet information is king.
The best website is the one with great original content.
Similarly, the best ezine is the one with great original
articles and other content. People flock to the Internet
because they have an insatiable desire for information, and
they are looking to you to provide it. If you don’t, they
won’t hesitate to move on to someone who will.
Fortunately for your business’s competitive edge, there is
no shortage of online “businesses” out there who fail to
make the grade. There is many a website and many an
ezine that makes no original contribution to the body of
online information in their respective arenas. These are
the websites that slap up a few affiliate banner ads and
otherwise consist of little more than links to other websites
that DO provide useful content. Then there are the ezines
that consist of little more than a couple of articles written
by other people interspersed with a few classified ads. Any
idiot can do that!
You can use this unfortunate fact of Internet life to your
competitive advantage by creating the website and/or the
ezine that DOES contain quality original content. The
backbone of such a website or ezine is the well-written,
topical article. That doesn’t mean you must write articles
for your website (although you may and should certainly do
that). It means that you should write articles about a
subject of interest to the same group of people who would
be interested in your website and then submit your article
to various submission points on the ‘net.
Following this approach, you don't need to worry about
"driving" traffic to your site or ezine. Allow your articles
to showcase your expertise and you will draw people
to you. It's a "pull" rather than "push" approach to
Also, other websites and ezine publishers looking for
fresh content for their own sites and ezines will publish
your articles and, provided your article includes a
resource box at the end (this is the little ‘blurb’ of 5 or
6 lines you see at the end of articles containing a bio
about the author and usually a link to his or her website
or own ezine), you will generate traffic to your website
and/or an increased following for your ezine.
But, I hear you say, “I can’t write”, “I don’t know what to
write about”, “I don’t know about anything that people would
be interested in reading about.”
Rubbish. Let’s take these excuses (and that’s all they are)
1. BUT I CAN’T WRITE
If you can talk you can write. Just like if you can read
you can cook. The beauty of the Internet as a communication
medium is its informality. Have you noticed that writing is
different online than it is off? You will rarely find
writing on the net that is stilted and formal. Not if the
author expects to be read, anyway. It is much more
conversational in style and tone. So write how you would
talk if you were speaking to your reader rather than writing
to them. You’ll be surprised how quickly this becomes second
nature. Just do it.
2. BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT
Write about what you know, what interests you, what you are
passionate about. The Internet community is V A S T. There
is guaranteed to be a segment of the online community
interested in any and every topic under the sun, including
your passion for whatever it is that gets you going.
I read an article the other day about how to keep white
clothes white. That wasn’t a topic that particularly
interested ME but judging by the number of contributions
made by readers of this particular ezine, many found it
fascinating. Go figure! So, write about what you know and
don’t try and prejudge how interested others will be. Your
potential audience numbers in the hundreds of millions.
You’ll be surprised how many people will be interested in
reading what you write.
3. BUT I DON’T KNOW ABOUT ANYTHING THAT
PEOPLE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN READING ABOUT
This excuse really follows on from the previous one.
Essentially this statement says “I know what I am interested
in and could write about it but it’s not very interesting so
who’d want to read it?” Typically, this person is
interested in the “everyday” details of life such as raising
children, coping with a difficult step-daughter, the
challenges of stretching the paycheck to cover this week’s
grocery bill. This is the fodder of life and it’s rich,
fertile ground for article topics.
If you live from paycheck to paycheck finding it a challenge
to make ends meet each week, write about that. Write about
the ingenious ways you stretch a dollar, how you can make a
nutritious dinner for four with only $5, and how you save a
fortune on children’s clothes by sewing them yourself.
If you’re a stepfather living with a hell’s angel of a
step-daughter, write about your experiences, what’s worked
for you, what hasn’t. If you’re a stay at home mom, write
about the challenges of raising a terrible two year old and
all that goes along with it.
Believe it or not, your real life, your everyday experience
has a built-in audience. There are many people out there
just like you and they’re always looking for information
about how to improve their own lives. Be an example. Share
your experiences with others. Enrich their lives.
OK, I can see I've convinced you. Now you want to know
where to submit your articles, right? Good question.
Here's where I submit mine:
Find Your Dream
Free Content (mailing list)
Article Announce (mailing list)
Publish In Yours (mailing list)
Once you get into the habit of writing articles about your
experiences and interests you will find no end of things to
write about. Make sure you capture your ideas when they
occur to you. I keep a section in my diary for this purpose.
Whenever I'm stuck for an article idea I just pull out my
list and inspiration strikes!
On the Internet you don't have to find a publisher for your
work. You publish yourself. You can make an original
contribution to the body of information on the Internet
today. That's pretty powerful. Never before have you been
able to reach so many so easily, so inexpensively. Never
before have you had such an opportunity to touch so many
lives. Build your business around what you know, what
you're passionate about and you can't help but succeed. But
you have to start talking out loud.
So, get to it. Write your first article TODAY! Share your
wealth with the Internet community and it will do the same
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ...
practical ideas, resources and strategies for your home-based
or online business.