November 18, 2009
There are many ways that you can advertise your website – social media, e-mail marketing, reciprocal links, newsletters, pay-per-click, contextual ads, banners, ezines, etc.
However, in my not-so-humble opinion, for pure longevity and cost effectiveness, one method stands head and shoulders above all others – article marketing. Let me rephrase that – correctly applied article marketing. Because there’s a right way, and a wrong way to do article marketing. But I’ll get to that later.
So what exactly is article marketing?
In a nutshell, article marketing is a form of advertising in which businesses write articles relevant to the nature of their business, and/or the products they sell. These articles are then distributed and published in the marketplace.
An article generally consists of a byline and/or resource box that includes a brief description about the author’s business or offer. If what you’ve written is interesting, readers will be compelled to click on the link in your resource box, which takes them to your website or a landing page of your choosing.
So what makes article marketing the greatest advertising method ever?
Well, there are several things:
Well-written articles that actually help the reader solve a problem, have the potential to establish you as an expert in your field, and give you an important edge over your competition. This added credibility can have a profound effect on your bottom line. Because as consumers, we tend to buy from companies we know and trust. That is why brand names are so powerful. They’ve earned our trust over the years, and as a result, we’re willing to pay more for brand name products.
However, psychologically, it goes much deeper than that. Over time, prospects have become increasingly suspicious and distrustful of advertisements. So when they see an advertisement, their defensive shield automatically deploys. Getting past that shield can often be difficult, and can have a significant impact on your conversion ratio, as well as your ROI.
On the other hand, when prospects read a well-written, informative article that they themselves sought out, their mindset is entirely different. Their defensive shields are down, because they’re not reading an advertisement – so there’s no reason to be on alert.
As a result, when prospects arrive at your website, they are more relaxed and less apprehensive because they arrived willingly – without sales pressure, trickery or hype. And because they just read your article, there is a certain degree of familiarity and trust already established – greatly increasing the chances that they will purchase whatever it is that you’re selling.
Small Business Expert, John Jantz (Duct Tape Marketing) describes branding as “The art of becoming knowable, likable and trustable.” And while that’s an extremely simple definition, it’s also profoundly accurate. Because while branding has a variety of definitions, they all have the same end game – the same goal. And that goal is to become well known, well-liked, respected and trusted.
So how does writing articles pertain to branding? Each time you write an article, and readers click on the link in your resource box and visit your website, you are building your brand. Because through your articles, people are getting to know you, and hopefully getting to like, respect and trust you. And if you consistently write quality articles that actually help people solve their problems, that will go a long way toward gaining their trust.
3. Targeted Traffic
All traffic is not created equal, and the best kind of traffic is quality, targeted traffic – which is exactly the kind of traffic article marketing generates. Let me elaborate on that: People generally gravitate towards information that focuses on the subject matter that they’re interested in.
For example, people who own tropical fish will read information related to tropical fish. Food lovers will read information about cuisine, and so on and so forth.
So when you write articles on a specific topic, readers of your articles are already targeted. And if your proposal is at all relevant to the subject matter of the article itself (which it should be), you have a better than average chance of converting readers into customers.
4. Search Engine Optimization Benefits
Article marketing has several important SEO benefits. First of all, if your article is well-written and offers real value (which it should), it will be linked to by many quality, relevant websites. These links are known as inbound links, and are important because they’re among the principal criterion that search engines use to rank websites.
In theory, the more quality, relevant backlinks you have pointing to your website, the higher your site’s ranking within the search engines. Again, in theory.
Speaking of ranking, have you noticed that whenever you do a search for information on a particular subject, most of the top search results are usually articles?
That’s because search engines love content, and prefer a page full of relevant content, as opposed to a page full of links, banners, images or Adsense ads. If you would like to rank highly for specific keywords, article marketing can help you achieve that goal.
By including your keywords in your article’s title and throughout your article, depending on where your article is published and the popularity of your keywords, it could very well end up on the first page of the search results.
That being said, I want to make something perfectly clear. By no means am I advocating creating content specifically for the search engines – quite the contrary. When writing articles, your number one goal should always be to provide your readers with good, solid information that helps them solve a problem. If you happen to derive SEO benefits as a result of doing that, well, that’s just icing on the cake.
5. Article Marketing is Cost-Effective
Article marketing generates quality traffic that is every bit as good or better than advertising you have to pay for… except you don’t have to pay for it. Unlike paid advertising, which produces only a temporary boost in sales and traffic and then has to be repeated (which can get expensive), articles will remain in the search engines and on other people’s websites for years to come, paying valuable traffic dividends – not unlike how money earns interest in a savings account.
I guess you could say, writing articles is like money in the bank – provided, of course, you continue to write and submit quality articles for publication on a consistent basis, article marketing will produce a constant stream of targeted traffic to your website. I can tell you from personal experience, as long as you continue to churn out quality articles for publication, your traffic well will never run dry.
6. Articles Are Viral
Articles are extremely viral, and if people find value in what you write, they will voluntarily pass along your articles to others. I’m constantly receiving articles in my e-mail box from friends and colleagues of mine. Conversely, when I come across a good article I think someone might be interested in reading, I also pass it along.
In fact, many websites that publish articles encourage this type of viral activity, with highly visible “E-mail This Article to a Friend” links.
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the viral impact of article marketing. If your articles are well-written and present valuable information, they could be passed along and read by hundreds of thousands of potential prospects.
Hire a Ghostwriter
Okay, let’s suppose you like what you’ve read so far about article marketing – but you can’t write. No problem. You can still participate, because it’s possible to hire a ghostwriter for a reasonable fee, who will ghostwrite articles for you, and give you full and complete ownership of those articles. Probably, the best known and most reputable website for article ghostwriting is Bill Platt’s ThePhantomWriters.com.
A Word of Warning
I’m sure you’ve heard the axiom, “You get what you pay for.” Well, unfortunately, that applies to article marketing as well. Believe it or not, there are article writing services that will write articles for as little as five dollars. That’s not a typo. Many of these companies originate in India.
My advice to you is, stay away from those companies. Common sense should tell you that you can’t get a quality article written for five measley dollars – at least nothing a respectable publication would want to publish. You just can’t.
In addition, the people who write those bargain-basement articles usually don’t have a firm grasp of the english language, and often write articles that are incoherent.
If you are serious about article marketing, and you don’t have the ability to write articles yourself, have enough respect for your readers – and for the image of your business to let a professional write your article.
How to Do Article Marketing the Right Way
As I mentioned in the opening of this article, there’s a right way, and a wrong way to do article marketing. I’m going to share with you the right way. The reason I bring this up is because, until recently, I was doing article marketing the wrong way. I don’t have a problem admitting that.
And while I was getting decent results, I could have been getting even better results.
Anyway, what turned me around was an excellent article I read by Mark Daoust titled, “The Misunderstood Marketing Method.” In his article, Mark writes:
“Instead of signing up for the latest article distribution program that promises to blast your article to a gazillion publishers that you may not even want publishing your article, choose one or two initial publications that you would like to be featured in, then work on developing a relationship with them.”
The last two lines of that quote totally changed my article marketing philosophy:
“Choose one or two initial publications that you would like to be featured in, then work on developing a relationship with them.”
And that’s exactly the method I use today. I’ve established a relationship with a couple of select publications, and I submit my articles to them exclusively. If you want to have some control over where your articles are published, I advise you to do the same.
In closing, article marketing requires a commitment of continuous effort. After all, nothing worthwhile comes easily. But I promise, if you make that commitment, the end result will be well worth it!
David Jackson is the owner of http://reviews-by-customers.com – the Internet’s hottest new business directory. If you would like The Secret to Non-Stop, FREE Targeted Traffic, read this: http://tinyurl.com/ygdrd68