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April 5, 2010

Article Marketing Success Tips: How to Write and Promote Articles

article writing

One of the most powerful and effective ways of promoting your business is through the method of article marketing. However, like any other marketing method, in order for article marketing to be successful, it has to be executed properly.

This article will teach you how to properly execute the method of article marketing.

In order to get the absolute maximum potential out of your articles, they must not only be appealing to potential readers, they must be appealing to search engines as well. Therefore, this article will discuss both the research you must do before writing an article, as well as provide an outline on how to actually write an article.

Before writing your article you must:

1. Create an outline

The outline of your article should include a headline or title, an opening, body, or what I like to call the “heart,” close and resource box. Let’s discuss each of these components in detail:

Headline – The purpose of the headline is to get the readers attention, and compel her to read your article. But if your headline is weak, chances are, your article won’t get noticed, and won’t attract nearly as many eyeballs as it could have.

Here’s an interesting stat that will help drive home my point. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your article’s headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your article?

That means most people will decide whether or not to read your article, based solely on how compelling your headline is. In other words, if your headline doesn’t capture the readers imagination, your article simply won’t attract as many eyeballs. That’s why it’s critical to get the readers attention with a compelling headline.

This is especially true for online copy, because Internet users are notorious scanners. Here are a few examples of compelling headlines:

The 10 Biggest SEO Myths Exposed
The Seduction of Internet Marketing Newbies
Obama, Giant Lollipops and Unique Selling Propositions
How to Write Headlines That Make Readers Slam On Their Eyeball Brakes

By the way, those are all real headlines from real articles. In fact, I’m the author of each of those articles. Notice how each headline peaks your curiosity, and makes you want to read more?

If you would like to learn how to write compelling headlines, I suggest you Google my article, How to Write Headlines That Make Readers Slam On Their Eyeball Brakes.

Opening – Your opening paragraph should pick right up from where your headline left off. Don’t waste your readers time with a bunch of irrelevant fluff, for the purpose of filling out your article. Get to the point. Be concise with your words, and explain what the article is all about in your opening paragraph.

Body – The body or “heart” of of your article is where you provide the beef. In other words, this is where you explain in detail how you can help the reader solve her problem. Be specific, and give verifiable facts, figures and proof whenever possible.

Also, when making your case in your article, break up each point into separate paragraphs or bullet points. Better yet, create subheads for each point. This will make your article easier to read, as most Internet users are notorious scanners, as I stated earlier.

Close – There is no iron-clad rule for closing an article. Some experts suggest closing your article by briefly summarizing your most important points. Others suggest closing with a call to action. My position is don’t worry about how you’re going to close your article. Just write, and let the flow of the article and your writing momentum lead you to a natural conclusion.

Besides, some would argue that the resource box is the actual close anyway, since it’s the last thing that readers see.

Resource Box – In essence, a resource box is classified advertisement about your business. In fact, the resource box is the only place in your article that you should promote your business.

You`ll get far more click-thru’s from your resource box, if you provide a benefit to the reader, as opposed to just nonchalantly listing what product or service you sell.

For example, instead of just saying “Visit David Jackson`s Website Design, “ which is weak and ineffective. Say “Visit David Jackson`s Website Design – Award Winning Website Design At Small Budget Prices!”

Again, always provide a benefit to the reader, so that she is compelled to click-thru to your website or landing page.

As a rule, I tend to keep my resource box relatively short – no more than a two or three lines. However, it is permissible to have a resource box that is five or six lines long.

Oh, one more thing. For best results, make sure your resource box is relevant to the overall theme of your article. For example, if your article is about pet grooming, your resource box should be relevant to pets – not how to grow the world’s largest tomato.

2. Choose a topic

Your number one goal for writing an article should be to write about a topic that solves the readers problem – not promote your business . Unfortunately, many article marketers make the fatal mistake of writing about themselves or their business, instead of writing useful content that solves the readers problem. Then they wonder why article marketing isn’t working for them.

ALWAYS think about the reader, and solving her problems first. If you do that, chances are your article marketing efforts will be successful.

So what should you write about? Write about things you know, and are passionate about. For example, I love marketing. I have twenty a year background in sales and marketing, so those are the topics I write about.

Perhaps, you have a passion for cooking, or scuba diving, or building model trains, or barbie dolls. Whatever the topic, it’s important that you have a real passion for it. Why? Because that passion will shine through in your writing, and make your articles much more effective and enjoyable for readers.

If you have difficulty coming up with a topic you feel passionate about, visit topical forums, and read online newsletters or magazines related to your field of interest. One of my favorite ways of coming up with ideas to write about is by watching the news on tv.

3. Research your topic

Even if you have complete mastery of a topic, do your research. Double-check your facts and figures. Why? Because nothing stays the same, things change. New technology comes along. Improvements are made. What may have been a working concept a year or two ago may no longer be viable. Be sure that what your writing is well-researched and completely accurate. Otherwise, you will damage your credibility.

4. Research your keywords

I said earlier, in order to get the absolute maximum potential out of your articles, your articles must not only be appealing to potential readers, they must be appealing to search engines as well. This means sprinkling searchable keywords throughout your articles (including your title) that attract search engine spiders. The best way to research appropriate keywords is through the use of keyword suggestion tools.

An excellent keyword suggestion tool can be found at:

http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/search.html

By the way, when interspersing your researched keywords into your article, be careful not to repeat them so often that they looked forced. Overdoing it with keywords (keyword stuffing) will make your article read unnaturally, and will lead to an unpleasant experience for your readers.

In addition, if search engine spiders discover too many of the same keywords in your article they will penalize your article for spamming. This will adversely affect the search engine ranking of that article. It might even get your site blacklisted if the spiders detect a pattern of keyword stuffing on your site.

So, what is the correct density of keywords for an article? Personally, I don’t think keyword density even exists as a calcuable numeric constant.

5. Write your article

Remember, and I can’t  emphasize this point enough. Your goal should NOT be to promote your business in your article. Your goal should be to solve the readers problem – period. That’s the only thing you should be focused on. The place to promote your business is in the resource box – and that’s the only place.

When writing your article, write in a folksy, conversational style, like you’re talking to your best friend or a family member.

Also, don’t worry about the length of your article, just write. It’s more important to let your thoughts and ideas flow freely, than worry about the length of your article. Besides, after you finish your article, if you feel it’s too long, you can always break it up into two or more parts.

An excellent tool for counting the number of words in your article can be found at:

http://www.wordcounttool.com/

Most online publishers prefer articles that are between 500-800 words and will not accept articles that exceed those lengths. Others prefer longer articles, over 800 words. So be sure to read the publication’s guidelines, before you submit your article.

6. Overcoming writer’s block

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, ideas and thoughts just aren’t forthcoming. When that happens, don’t force the issue. Put the writing aside for awhile, and go listen to your favorite CD, go for a walk, take a long drive, go see a movie.

Do whatever you like to do to relax your mind. Then come back later, and try writing your article with a fresh outlook.

7. Let your article marinate

After you finish writing your article, let it marinate for a couple of days. Then come back and proof-read it with fresh eyes. This will enable you to find any spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors you may have missed the first time around, as well as rewrite or change certain parts to make the article flow better.

8. Spell Check your article

Once you’re completely satisfied with the final version of your article, ALWAYS run it through spell check a couple of times to check for any spelling errors you may have missed when reading your article. A word of caution, however. Spell check is a great tool, but it’s hardly infallible.

After running your article through spell check, re-read it a few  more times to be certain there aren’t any spelling errors spell check might have missed.

You also want to make sure that your article has a nice rhythm and flow to it, and doesn’t go off on tangents. If you’re unsure about the flow of your article, ask other people to read it to get their feedback.

An excellent spell check tool can be found at:

http://orangoo.com/spellcheck/

9. Should you format your article?

Most ezine publishers prefer articles to be formatted to 60-65 characters per line. This is mainly for the convenience of their subscribers who receive their ezines via e-mail. If the sentence length is longer than this, the article may break up during delivery and be impossible to read.

However, if you plan on submitting your article to article directories exclusively, it probably isn’t necessary to format your articles, as nowadays, most article directories will automatically format your article.

This is also the case with many online publications. However, whether you’re submitting to article directories or publishers, ALWAYS read the article submission guidelines, before submitting your article, to prevent your article from being unnecessarily rejected.

In the event you need to format your article, an excellent formatting tool can be found at:

http://bookyourselfsolid.com/format_text_tool.php

10. Write Consistently

Writing one or two articles and then quitting isn’t article marketing. Article marketing requires writing lots of articles, consistently over time. You must be totally committed to article marketing, or it simply will not bear fruit.

That means that you must write articles – even on days when you don’t necessarily feel like writing. You must set-up a writing schedule and strictly adhere to that schedule. Article marketing requires discipline and consistency.

11. Publish your article

Before submitting your article elsewhere, ALWAYS publish it on your own website first. Then wait approximately 48 hours, before submitting it elsewhere for publication.

The reason for publishing your article on your own website first is so that spiders crawling your website will recognize your article as original content. As a result, your website will be indexed in the search engines as being the original source of the content.

12. Submit Your Article For Publication

So where should you submit your articles? The popular thing to do is to submit your article to top article directories, or article distribution services that promise to blast your article to thousands of publishers that you may not even want publishing your article.

But is that the most effective way to promote your article? I think not. Here’s why: When you submit your article to article directories or use an article distribution service, chances are your article will get buried among the thousands of other article submissions.

Instead, why not choose one or two quality publications that you would like to be featured in, then focus on developing a relationship with those publications?”

That’s exactly the method I use, and I can tell you from first-hand experience, it’s extremely effective. I’ve established a relationship with a couple of select authority sites, 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 likewise.

That being said, I realize that it’s not realistic or even appropriate for everyone who writes articles to submit them for publication. After all, not everyone who writes articles writes well enough to be published in reputable, top tier newsletters and magazines.

Unlike most article directories that will publish virtually anything that’s submitted to them, authority sites reject far more articles than they accept. That’s just a fact.

That’s why it’s important to be completely honest with yourself about your writing ability, and give yourself a reality check. Compare your articles to the ones that are published in top tier newsletters and magazines in your chosen field. Better yet, get an honest assessment of your articles from friends and family members.

After that, if you honestly feel that your articles are as good or better than the articles in those publications, then go ahead and submit to them. Otherwise, submit to article directories whose approval process is much less stringent.

Top article directories include EzineArticles.com, ArticlesBase.com, GoArticles.com and IdeaMarketers.com.

In closing, article marketing can be an extremely powerful tool in your marketing toolbox, but like any tool, it is only as good as the execution behind it.


David Jackson is the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Free, common sense marketing tips to help grow your business! http://free-marketing-tips-blog.com

6 Responses to “Article Marketing Success Tips: How to Write and Promote Articles

    avatar Carol Lewis says:

    Hello, There is so much good information here. I will be back so I can take it all in and improve my blogging.

    avatar Blooms says:

    very good. is it ok to imbed links back to your site and/or products in your articles or is that a no no.

    avatar samuel mowe says:

    hi great stuff what ive found,helpfull
    Write and publish your own ezine. Magazine publishing is no longer limited to the rarefied atmosphere of Rupert Murdoch and his ilk. Ezine publishing centers allow you to create and distribute your content with affordable templates.

    avatar Bill Platt says:

    Blooms,

    It depends. Some publishers auto-reject articles with links in the body of the article.

    Other publishers prefer links in the body of the article, pointing to third-party resources that support the context of the article.

    Some publishers don’t care either way.

    If you put links in the body, some publishers will reject your article automatically, while others will use your article unmolested.

    So long as you understand that there is a trade-off – more links in article vs. more publishers using your article, then the decision is yours.

    As you can see, the author of this article DID use links in the body of his article.

    He did not need to set anchor text on his links, because they linked to third-party resources.

    If you are linking to your own website or products, that is officially a no-no, but you can do it, if you are willing for a lot of publishers to refuse to publish your articles.

    avatar Carol Lewis says:

    I thought this article was so good that I put a link for it into my blog.
    Cheers
    Carol

    avatar Helen says:

    Thanks for the useful links. Here is another free spell check tool for your collection – http://www.spellchecker.net/spellcheck

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