Writing an article for a trade journal or a local newspaper can be a great opportunity to present your company as the expert and deliver some very controlled messages. Unlike other forms of coverage, there is no one else quoted in the article to balance up your views.

In submitting a business article, the aim should be to do three things:

• Promote the firm’s services to businesses and organisations
• Demonstrate the individual’s and the firm’s expertise on a relevant topic
• Demonstrate that you are an organisation that can help and that you are easy to deal with

The readership

It is important to think about the readership. In a regional paper or business magazine it is likely to be business owners, employees and the general public therefore the style and approach should reflect this. In a trade magazine the readership will generally be people in your sector but you should still be wary of assuming too much knowledge.

The tone and the language

The golden rule is to write for the general public not yourself – therefore your language must reflect this and must show that you are not wrapped up in industry jargon. You need to translate everything into easily digestible phrases and everyday business terms. For example, if you are a law firm you should avoid large amounts of case law unless you are sure it helps illustrate the issue.

The tone should be relaxed but professional and the overall feel should be of an organisation that is very approachable and helpful. You should not plug your services directly in the copy – if the article is well written and relevant it will work harder with just the by-line to say who wrote it at the bottom.

A possible structure for the article

A good structure for an article is shown below. It is based on the core principle of good business writing – “a beginning, a middle and an end”. In this context it becomes “A topical hook, the problem and the solution”:

• An introduction

A topical hook to grab attention – is there a recent news story that illustrates the problem you want to talk about?

• An outline of the problem

What is the problem that businesses face? What is the issue that you are trying to address, how does it manifest itself and how does it affect the reader?

• The solution

What do employers, companies, organisations need to do? Are there a set of easy steps or three simple rules to follow?

The net result should be a piece of writing that enhances the reputation of your organisation and allows the reader to see how working with you could benefit them.

Author's Bio: 

Gordon Maw was media trained by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and has over 20 years experience working in PR and communications. He was formerly the Director of Communications for Virgin Money.

Gordon is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and has worked with a broad range of newspapers and broadcasters both in the UK and beyond. He has appeared as an expert commentator on programmes such as ITN’s News at Ten, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, BBC News 24, Channel Four News, Radio Four’s Today Programme, Radio Five Live and Channel Four’s Dispatches and been quoted in everything from the Financial Times to The Sun.

Having worked with journalists for years, Gordon knows exactly what they want and how best to position individuals and organisations to deal with the press. Today Gordon trains and coaches other people in how to get the most out of their time in the media spotlight and has worked with a wide variety of chief executives, press spokespeople and celebrities ranging from Sir Richard Branson to the Strictly Come Dancing team.

In 2005 Gordon founded MAW Communications as a specialist PR agency providing consumer and business to business public relations solutions.

The client list includes Virgin Money, Gocompare.com, London theatre ticket comparison site SeatChoice.com, Howes Percival LLP, Online Media Group and Turton Middleton.

In 2008 MAW Communications was a finalist in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Awards.