How to write how-to articles

Do you feel like a well-kept secret?  You are not alone. When I survey professionals, entrepreneurs and consultants

Marc Emmer is a consultant who markets himself by writing and speaking. His latest how-to book is Intended Consdquences: Design the Future You wish to Create. He will be on the panelists at my upcoming Nov. 13-14 "Marketing With A Book Summit" in La Jolla, CA.

about their No. 1 lead generation challenge, two out of three say that not enough potential clients are aware of their firm.  Some think the solution is to produce a beautiful brochure (and for some, not-so-beautiful, but that’s another problem) and send it out to potential clients. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The Advantage Of The How-To Article, Blog and Chapter

Here’s why brochures are a colossal waste of money for professionals and consultants. Think about yourself for a minute. When you have a business decision to make, which would you believe more: a slick brochure or a how-to article written by an expert in a respected trade journal?

 Most brochures violate several of the rules of client seduction.  Brochures assert how great you are, they don’t demonstrate your expertise.  An article is quite the opposite. Trade journal articles provide credible lead generation messages. In fact, a recent research study showed that trade journals are perceived as more credible sources of information than even the traditional business press of The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week and the like. The best brochure you could ever produce is the how-to article you write that a prospective client tears out of the publication to save as reference.

 Here’s more evidence. What brings potential clients to your Web site?  A study by Jupiter Communications showed that the No. 2 reason (at 57 percent) was that someone told them they should go see the site.  Makes sense, but why did it finish second?  Because the No. 1 reason (60 percent) was they heard about the Web site in a newspaper or magazine article or in a TV or radio broadcast.  Advertising wasn’t even close, despite the fortunes spent on promoting Web sites (who can ever forget those dreadful Super Bowl ads?).

 Writing articles is the quickest and easiest way to obtain the awareness you need to seduce potential clients.  Here is your step-by-step flowchart on how to do it.


  1.  Pick the three biggest problems you solve for clients, then turn each problem into a how-to topic
  2. Select the three biggest trade journals that your clients read that accept outside articles
  3. Study the trade journals to see the type of article they accept and the right editor to approach 
  4. Brainstorm your article topics and make a list of your how-to advice
  5. Decide if you will write the article yourself or use a ghostwriter
  6. Write a query letter and send it to the trade journal editor
  7. After go-ahead from editor, write and submit your article

About Henry DeVries

Best-selling author and “marketing with a book” expert Henry DeVries is an authority on typing and talking: how to maximize revenues by writing books and making speeches. He speaks to thousands of business leaders, professionals, and consultants each year, teaching them successful tactics that shine a spotlight on their company, cause, or career. Along with his best-selling books — Self-Marketing Secrets, Client Seduction, Pain Killer Marketing, and How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett — the buzz-building tools of Henry DeVries have been used to dramatically increase revenues and leverage marketing budgets for two decades. He speaks to thousands of professionals and consultants each year, teaching them scientifically proven tactics that bring them new clients.

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