Last week, we talked about improving the ROMD of your print ads. One of the best ways of doing this is using direct response.
Of course, regardless of ROMD, one of the issues with taking out an ad in a publication is the cost.
Let’s face it, it’s expensive
Well never fear, this issue will share a low cost alternative you can use to save money.
The advantages of said alternative?
- It positions your company as a provider of valuable information and an industry leader
- It saves you money – thus increasing the return on your marketing dollars (ROMD)
- It can be more effective than print ads. Because in most cases, it provides information your readers want, and subtly motivates them to request more. In other words, it does what print ads do, but at less expense.
So what is this mysterious alternative?
Well, instead of taking out an ad, try writing an article for the publication instead.
Not as mysterious as you thought? Well, it’s not quite as simple as just writing an article and getting it published.
The article needs to have certain elements in place for it to work.
The key here is making sure the content takes a direct marketing approach. Just like if you were to use an ad.
And you can also do this with an application note.
But, by definition, an application note is talking about your product. So it’s less subtle.
So if you go the app note route, my advice is to play up the results and benefits that your customer is enjoying, rather than mentioning the product all the time.
You can talk about the product occasionally, but it’s good to talk about it generally in terms of the technology without constantly mentioning it specifically.
Tips for writing articles – an outline
For the article itself, make sure it’s an unbiased take on a specific topic. If you use the piece to talk all about your product or company, then it doesn’t work.
Here are some pointers to remember when writing your article:
- Know your readers – marketing 101 but people still forget it.
- Write clearly and conversationally – write the way you talk
- Be concise and simplify as much as you can – avoid big words and long sentences
- Be consistent – make sure numbers, symbols and abbreviations are all the same throughout the article
- Be specific, rather than general – in copywriting, they say specifics sell. Technical readers are interested in specifics and solid technical info
- Break the writing into short sentences and paragraphs
- Use the active voice – say “the team performed the experiment”, instead of “the experiment was performed by the team”
Don’t forget, we’re still talking direct response here.
So make sure there’s call-to-action at the end. This can be included in the “about the author” or “about the company” section.
Some people call this a resource box. It’s the part at the end of the article or application note that’s all about you.
Using a resource box turns your article into a powerful direct response piece – essentially like an ad but without the expense.
Now to be fair, some publications won’t allow this. Some will allow only contact details while others won’t allow any promotion at all.
But try and at least get your contact details in there, if possible.
And if you can use a call-to-action, then do it. Ask your readers to visit a landing page and download a guide or brochure for more information
Another great thing about publishing an article or application note in a trade journal is you can use it as a reprint. Calling the article a tip sheet or resource guide and then using it as a bait piece or tradeshow handout is very effective
And similar to the advice on brochures, give the article an attention-grabbing headline when using it as a reprint.
The bottom line is publishing an article instead of an ad not only saves you money, but it positions your firm as a provider of valuable information.
And don’t forget to write your article like a mini-white paper and focus on helping your readers understand an issue, solve a problem or make a decision.
So consider going this route next time you’re concerned about spending a ton of marketing dollars on print ads. Publishing an article can do the same thing for you, often more effectively.
And did I mention it’ll save you money?
Until next week,