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November 18, 2008

Article Marketing: 3 Simple Steps for Getting Started

Every business owner has this thought, “I know I need to be marketing my website–but how?” And then you keep hearing about article marketing, how it’s a great and simple (and cost effective!) way to bring exposure to your website, build links, increase traffic and bolster search engine ranking.

After hearing the dozenth colleague recommend it, you decide to take the plunge yourself.

Now what? What do you do, where do you start, what should you write? How do you really ‘get into’ article marketing?

A legion of questions jumps into your brain stopping you dead in your tracks.

Whenever we start a new endeavour, there’s a bit of trepidation, but if you can take a few practical steps going in the right direction that feeling of nervousness and confusion will start to fade away.

Whenever a newbie article marketer asks me how to get started, I give them these 3 simple steps:

1) Write an article.

Duh, right? You probably already figured that part out, but before you start writing keep these guidelines in mind:

*Write on your area of expertise. If you happen to sell products at your site, please don’t write specifically about the product you sell. To do that would make the article appear sales oriented, and with article marketing the articles are always educational. Write as if you were a teacher trying to help a newcomer understand your niche.

*Do you have already content that you can re-purpose into an article?

If you have a blog or helpful articles on your website, you may be able to save a little time by using the original content as a launching pad for a new article.

The idea is to *teach* your reader something, so you can look through your previous blog posts, find some that are of the “how to” variety (posts that teach folks how to do things) and then use that post as an outline for an article.

Please note: it isn’t advisable to use content from you blog or website verbatim in an article–re-work the content so that the post or articles on your website remain unique.

*Keep your articles between 450–1500 words, but ideally try to shoot for 700-800 word articles. The first parameter are word limits that most publishers will accept. The 700-800 word articles are ones that are most attractive to ezine editors because they fit nicely in most newsletters.

*After you’ve written your article, be sure to proofread it thoroughly–remember that once you submit this article it will be published on websites over which you have no control, so you want to be sure your article is free of typos and grammatical errors.

2) Find a publisher.

There are 3 main publishing avenues for article marketers–article directories, ezine editors, and announcement lists.

For your first article you may just want to do a Google search for “article directories” and choose one to submit to. You will need to register at the directory, filling out a “new author” form, and then do the various steps to activate your account.

3) Submit your article.

*Be sure that your article is in text format only before trying to copy and paste it into the online form. By having your article in text only format, it helps your article appear with the correct line spacing and formatting. If you do paste your article directly from Word (which is not text only), you may need to fiddle with the article for a while until the formatting is correct.

*Choose the appropriate category for your article. The category is determined by the topic of your article–this is one reason why it’s extremely important to write articles on the topic of your website.

*Spend time crafting a strong resource box. Wtih article marketing the resource box is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The author bio that includes a link to your website makes it possible for traffic to flow from your article to your site. That’s what you’re going for, isn’t it? More traffic!

For the most effective resource box, be sure to include these 4 items:

Your full name. A little bio info and a few of your credentials. A reason to click through to your website. A link to your website.

That wasn’t hard, was it?

They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step–this is your single step.

As you get used to submitting articles, you’ll be ready to learn more advanced techniques, but for now these basics will serve you nicely. As a beginner, the idea is simply to get comfortable with the writing and submitting process–do these 3 simple steps and you’re on your way to becoming an expert!

A trick that many expert article marketers use is to submit article automatically, saving time and increasing their article exposure. Steve Shaw created the web’s first ever 100% automated article distribution service,, which distributes your articles to hundreds of targeted online publishers with the click of a button! For more information, go to =>