The most important question to ask yourself before writing an article or blog post for marketing purposes is exactly how you want that piece to position you. For example, if you are a relationship coach with expertise in dating, resolving conflicts, and clear communication, and you like to work with baby boomer singles and couples, effective pieces for you could be on topics like:

  • How to find time for dating when your job keeps you busy
  • Steps for resolving disagreements when you don’t see eye-to-eye with your mate
  • How to talk to your spouse so he/she will listen

Ineffective pieces for you — although probably well within your expertise to write — would be topics like:

  • How to find time to return to school when your job keeps you busy
  • Steps for resolving disagreements with vendors who support your business
  • How to talk to your boss so he/she will listen

These second three examples would share useful information with your readers, but they would not position you as a relationship coach. If you’re going to take the time to write a piece, make sure it will appeal to the core of your market niche and contribute to a larger body of work you will ultimately create to serve their needs. The best way to establish your expertise is to write many pieces on related themes instead of skipping around to widely different topics.

When choosing a topic for a piece you’d like to have published beyond your own blog or newsletter, keep in mind the perspective of editors and content producers who will be considering your article for publication. What they want from you is material that will inform, inspire, or entertain their audience. If you can provide that, they will be willing to publish your piece.

What editors don’t want are topics that are primarily self-promotional. A professional organizer will easily be able to place articles on organizing the kitchen or purging the clothes closet. But few editors will be interested in an article on how to work with a professional organizer or why you should hire one. This is also true of your blog or newsletter readers. If you provide information that will help them, they’ll continue to subscribe. When your pieces lean too much toward promoting your services, your readers will disappear.

An article or blog post is not a book; keep the topic for each piece simple. Many new writers fail at producing good pieces because they try to cram too much into them. A typical newspaper or magazine article is 800-1200 words. Pieces written for blogs and ezines are more often 600-800 words. In that small amount of space, you can’t communicate a lot of complex ideas.

Choose just one main idea for each piece, and provide three to five key points that support that idea. If you find while writing that other good ideas begin to emerge, put them aside — those can be topics for your future pieces.