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Article marketing: Should you share experience or expertise in your articles?

Many coaches and other service providers struggle with feelings of being an imposter. "Why would anyone hire me?" they wonder. "Why would anyone want to read what I write?" they ask. "I'm no expert!" they proclaim.

Part of my mission has always been to encourage my clients and readers to claim your expertise; to recognize that your unique combination of experiences, knowledge, skills and personality are exactly what someone else needs to overcome their problems and achieve their goals. Your experience has granted you expertise.

So now there are two distinct voices you can write with in your articles. The first is to focus on sharing your experience with your reader. Maybe you are a member of your own target market. Maybe you have helped many other people with these exact same problems. Or both.

Either way, by sharing your experience you help build trust as someone who really knows about and understands the situation. You build a connection by identifying your involvement in the community of people that your reader belongs to. And you provide hope and proof that others have solved this specific problem.

You can share your experience with case stories, examples or by making interesting connections between the topic and things that happen in your day-to-day life.

The other voice you can try on is that of an expert. You may have used your experiences to create theories, explanations or models. The most common expert offering is a list of tips or how-to's. When you present a list like that, it's not likely you would introduce each point with, "In my experience, a good way to start your spending off right in the New Year is..."

Instead, you present each recommended action using direct, active language and a clear suggested action for your reader to take (e.g., "Create a plan for your spending, not a budget"). And this is a perfect place to take an expert authoritative tone. Sharing your expertise this way increases your credibility and further reinforces your reader's trust that you are committed to providing them with solutions now and in the future.

So should you share your experience or your expertise? The answer is YES! You need a balance between them. If you only share experience, your readers may value you as a peer but may not think of you when it comes to paying for solutions. If you only share expertise, your readers may respect and revere you, but lose touch if they start to feel lectured to.

Comments

Linda Dessau

Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Ruth!

Ruth Seebeck

Ego is one thing, experience is another. Sharing your story in the hope that it can help someone can be done without self-promotion. Empathy, I think, is the key.

Another piece of advice I've heard is the "I understand how you feel; I felt the same way, but here's what I found out" message.

Linda Dessau

Thanks, Lisa! I'm glad you could relate.

Best wishes,
Linda

Linda Dessau

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for your comment and for the great question. Sharing your experience doesn't necessarily mean that you're being promotional, or that your piece would be rejected by EzineArticles.

That being said, your blog is probably the most appropriate place to share your more personal experiences.

You might want to check out my previous posts about stock articles versus specialty articles (http://lindadessau.typepad.com/ideagenerator/2009/11/article-marketing-stock-articles-versus-specialty-articles.html) and blog posts versus articles (http://lindadessau.typepad.com/ideagenerator/2008/11/blog-vs-article.html).

Let me know what you think!

Best wishes,
Linda

Lisa Wells

Excellent points (as usual) Linda! Sometimes I feel like you are talking to me when you write these posts. :)

1) I AM a member of my target market but 2) also like to share my expertise and 3) have solutions to sell. But it's a balancing act for sure. Thanks for sharing!

Sharon Lippincott

Linda, I totally agree with you on the value of sharing personal experience. This is a challenge though if we are writing for EzineArticles. Those articles are to be clinically clear of ego, and they'll be rejected for the least whiff of "self-promotion" anywhere but the footer.

Any suggestions on a workaround? This limitation has kept me from submitting a pile of articles to them.

Can you recommend alternate posting places with wide exposure that allow us more leeway?

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