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January 23, 2009

Gordon Ramsey’s Success Secret: Put Yourself In The Mind Of Your Customers

During the course of my work, I get to literally read or scan articles written by hundreds of authors every week – thousands every year. I have seen the best and the worst of what people have written to promote their businesses online.

Experience has taught me who will be successful with article marketing and who will fail with article marketing. I have also learned that anyone can be taught the secret to successful article marketing, but not everyone wants to accept what is being taught.

Business Lessons From Chef Gordon Ramsey

The other day, I was watching Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America. If you have never seen the show, Gordon Ramsey is a popular and successful chef, whose name and reputation is known around the world.

Restaurant owners – many of whom are chefs – contact Ramsey and ask him to visit their restaurant, in essence to help them to save their restaurant from economic failure. The most amazing thing about the process is that many of the chefs have personally asked Ramsey to come, yet when he arrives, they fight with Ramsey every step of the way – determined that Ramsey will not force them to change their ways.

On day one of his visit, Ramsey tries the food as a customer and talks to the owners of the restaurant. On day two, Ramsey observes the operation of the restaurant. On day three, he has designers come in and remake the dining room and he trains the staff to understand the changes that will take place. On day four, Ramsey uses his skill to swamp the restaurant. On night four, most restaurants will have a line out the door.

It is a process that will save most restaurants, from failure.

Whether an employee or the boss, the chef always seems to believe that he or she is smarter than Ramsey, and they tend to reject the problems that Ramsey identifies and the solutions he provides.

How Gordon Ramsey’s Advice Can Help The Online Marketer

In one episode, Gordon Ramsey said that the difference between a successful restaurant and one that fails can be summed up in one thought, “A successful restaurant is one that puts the desires of its customers, above the desires of its owner.”

In the restaurants that Ramsey visits, customers simply desire good food at a fair price. But when a restaurant is suffering from slow sales, the first corner that owners usually cut is in eliminating “fresh food” in the kitchen. By eliminating fresh food and replacing it with canned or frozen, restaurant owners find that they can save an awful lot of money, but that step often drives away even more customers from the “fine dining” experience.

The online marketer is much in the same boat as the restaurant operator.

The online marketer needs to give online consumers a good product at a fair price, but the seller must resist the temptation to cut costs in ways that will hurt the business.

How This Applies To Article Marketing

Article marketing was developed in recognition of the fact that people go online to learn. Online marketers realized that if they were willing to teach, they could use the content they created to “attract” customers to their products and services.

Somewhere over the years, the purpose of article marketing was redefined and perverted by someone with something to sell. A lot of online marketers accepted the new definition that said that the only purpose for article marketing was to build inbound links to one’s website. They said you only needed to put together enough words – 300 to 500 words – so publishers could accept your “links”.

“Attraction marketing” was set aside as the “old way of doing things”, and replaced with “link building” as the “new and improved” way of marketing a website.

I count myself lucky that I learned “article marketing”, when it was still understood as “attraction marketing”. I count myself lucky, because I remain able to “attract” hordes of traffic and considerable sales for my websites, by using article marketing the way it was originally intended.

Interestingly, the people who adopted article marketing under the “new and improved” model soon began to realize that the new kind of article marketing was not bringing the kinds of results that people were promised. So the “new and improved” model was recently “improved” again. Now the common knowledge of the “new and improved” model say that the search engines reject “duplicate” copies of articles on the Internet. To combat this, marketers are using software to rewrite an article dozens of times, so that they can put “unique computer-generated content” on each website.

I predict that the “new, new and improved” will be as unsuccessful as the “old, new and improved” model was. It is not that the search engines changed to reject “duplicate copies” of articles. Instead, the search engines started to reject articles that proved to offer no real value to readers.

Of course, this statement may generate a very important question in your mind. How does the search engines’ algorithms know which articles provide value to their readers and which ones do not?

In response, let me ask you this: How many people link to your articles on those third-party websites? See, there really is a simple method that the search engines can use to determine if a particular article has any value to its audience. The search engines can count the number of links pointing to an individual article on a third-party website, to determine if people find that article useful to the needs of the consumer.

So you have got to ask yourself, will the “new, new and improved” model of “unique computer-generated content” provide enough value to readers to attract links from third-party websites? If you answer this question honestly with a “no”, then you will have also predicted the failure of the “new, new and improved” model of article marketing, as I have.

Remember Gordon Ramsey’s Advice

“A successful restaurant is one that puts the desires of its customers, above the desires of its owner.”

It is true that article marketing done as I do it (attraction marketing) is more expensive than the “new, new and improved” model of article marketing, but it also produces better results. Just as “fresh food” will attract more diners to a restaurant, the more expensive “hand-crafted” and “polished” articles will attract more links to the article and more visitors to the author’s website.

First off, article marketing – as it was done in the early days of the Internet – will accomplish more than one goal. When done well, the article will find an audience in newsletters, which can introduce your marketing message to thousands or hundreds of thousands of prospects in a single day.

Like you, we also have goals of building links for our websites and achieving a higher search engine placement for our websites, but we consider search engine placement to be secondary to the main goal of attracting customers to our websites’ products and services.

So in order to achieve our first goal of reaching large audiences for our articles, we have to “attract” readers to our articles, by teaching our prospects something of value to them. When our article delivers value to our readers, then the article’s resource box will generally deliver prospects to our website, where the real selling takes place.

In our world, our article on a third-party website will attract links from other websites, because we put the needs and desires of our customers / readers ahead of our own needs. And after our article has been delivered to tens or hundreds of thousands of readers in various newsletters, we will also achieve our search engine goals, because most newsletter publishers will publish a copy of the article in their online archives and people will link to it.

If It Is Not Broke, Don’t Fix It

Yes we consider the search engine goals to be important to our long-range plans, but we find that we don’t have to put a “unique article” on every website to get great search placement. Because we have never embraced the “new and improved” model of article marketing, we know that the “old-fashioned way” of doing things works just fine – even today.

Consider this:

  • has a PageRank of 6;

  • has a PageRank of 7;

  • has a PageRank of 10;

  • has a PageRank of 8;

  • (Wall Street Journal) has a PageRank of 7;

  • has a PageRank of 8.

    Besides being news websites, do you know what else these websites have in common?

    They all buy some “news content” from the Associated Press ( and United Press International ( What that means is that all of the news outlets buy and publish the same articles from the same sources, and yet, we don’t see the search engines penalizing the news sites, do we?

    If the search engines are not penalizing the corporate news websites for printing the same non-unique articles, then why should we believe that the search engines are penalizing non-unique content on your website and in your article marketing endeavors?

    In Conclusion

    Article marketing works well when people link to your articles – on one third-party website or a dozen third-party websites. But in order for people to want to link to your articles, the content must be top-notch. People aren’t going to link to crap articles; so computer-generated content should be avoided in the same way that fine dining restaurants should avoid buying canned foods.

    By focusing on the desires of our future customers (solutions for their problems), we are able to use article marketing successfully to promote any website we want to promote. We think about what is important to our customers, and then we answer our customers’ questions. By putting ourselves into the mind of our prospects, we are able to give them the exact kind of content they want to read.

    In doing so, we successfully drive traffic to our websites, AND we create excellent search engine placement for our websites. And when we say websites, we do mean more than one website. We successfully utilize article marketing for dozens of websites, so we know that what we teach can be duplicated by the masses, if only the masses are willing to accept what we teach.

    Trey Pennewell works for article distribution service and provides process support for the Pay-For-Ranking SEO service. Just recently, The Phantom Writers introduced professional Video Articles production, to help its customers take advantage of the new frontier in Video Marketing, using great video content and video sharing sites such as YouTube and others.