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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition   |   March 2005

How to be a Recognized Expert: Write Your Socks Off

Part I of III

According to Harvey J. Coleman in Empowering Yourself, success is made of three components: performance, image and exposure (P.I.E.). He writes that performance only accounts for 10 percent of your success — image is 30 percent, and exposure is 60 percent. Performance is important. But if you do a great job and no one knows about it, you’ve lost career control.

One of the most efficient ways to, pardon the expression, expose yourself is to write articles that reach your target market. You don’t have to be Hemingway to write and publish valuable pieces that will establish you as a leader in the mortgage industry.

This is the first installment in a three-part series on why writing articles establishes your credibility, how to write articles for your market and how to leverage your article to increase your visibility, status and business.

Why write articles?

If you’re not convinced writing is worth your time and effort, consider this publication, Scotsman Guide. The residential edition lands in more than 47,000 loan-origination offices every month (more than 21,000 for the commercial edition) . Multiple people likely read each edition at the office. That means that more than 564,000 people read Scotsman Guide’s residential edition each year.

Let’s say Scotsman Guide readers are within your reach, but you don’t want to reach them by writing an article. In a few cases, you might be able to acquire subscriber lists and mail directly to customers; that can be costly and time-consuming. You can advertise, which is important for the publication, advertiser and reader. An advertisement asks for business. An article educates your reader.

As for articles, you’ll benefit from writing them because you can:

  • Get your picture in front of potential customers. Readers will feel they know you. 
  • Share valuable information with your readers that will help them be more successful.
  • Offer additional information that will drive people to you and your Web site.
  • Qualify potential leads.
  • Sell products without pushing your products.
  • Get speaking gigs.
  • Turn your articles into a book, but be sure to review publication bylaws for reproduction rights.
  • Learn more about your industry when you research your articles.
  • Learn what your customer values.
  • Use your published articles as marketing pieces.
  • Use your articles as customer-service tools.

For whom to write?

Focus on your market. Do you want to get in front of other mortgage brokers, Realtors, end-users or vendors? Do you want a global, national or local audience?

Contact the publications you read. Request their writer guidelines. Talk to the editor, if possible. Consider the associations to which you belong. If they have newsletters, bulletins, magazines or Internet publications, you have an “in” because you are a member. Write for your customers’ associations, too.

If you are speaking for a group that has a publication, offer to write a brief article on your topic to promote your talk or reinforce your points after your presentation.

Where to look?

Visit the American Society of Association Executives’ Web site, You’ll find about 23,000 associations listed. Most have newsletters that need your expertise. Another source of publications that cry for copy is 2005 Writer’s Market. Locate this book in the reference area of your library. It lists information for hundreds of publications, from Crochet World to Gumbo Magazine to Fortune.

 Each state and large city has a magazine, too. Think of decorating and lifestyle magazines, also. Perhaps readers of Country Home, Fine Homebuilding or Midwest Living, with its circulation of 850,000, would value your expertise.

In addition to Scotsman Guide, look locally at your daily newspaper, business journal and neighborhood weekly. Even if the Wilshire East Neighborhood Association only covers two square miles of 200 readers, it’s worth getting your article published in its publication.

Don’t overlook opportunities to be published on the Internet, either. Offer an article idea to an e-newsletter or ’zine to which you subscribe. E-newsletter editors always are looking for material.

The idea is to get published and recognized as an expert. Next time, we’ll cover what to write about and how to put together an article quickly. You’ll find many resources, such as Chase’s Calendar of Events, to find timely story topics. Here’s a sample. May is National Prepare to Buy a Home Month, and May 1 is New Homeowner’s Day, Save the Rhino Day and Stepmothers Day.

In the third article of this series, I’ll show how to turn even one paragraph penned for your church bulletin into gold.

Until then, research which publications would be a good fit for you, find out their guidelines and start a file of ideas. Look to your customers for ideas. What do they ask you about? What keeps them up at night?

Now get out your No. 2 pencils. Sharpen them. Scare up a legal pad and a few file folders. And prepare to write your socks off.


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