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May 27, 2009

Article Marketing: How To Capture A Reader’s Attention With Your Article Summary

When you’re doing article submissions, you’ll notice a field on the submission page that asks for an article summary (aka, short description).

As an author, you may not realize all the places where your article summary is used, but the article summary is a prime opportunity for luring readers to your article.

How is the article summary used?

The short description of your article will appear on the summary page of an article directory and also in Google and the other search engines in search results pages.

There are a few different types of summary pages on an article directory–there’s a summary page for a particular category, for each individual author (usually a list of your articles with their summaries), and if your article appears on the main page of an article directory a reader will see your article title and your article summary.

Is the article summary important?


Think of your short description as a billboard along the interstate miles away from your business. You can’t see the billboard from your business, but depending on what you write on the billboard, you can effectively lure someone from the interstate to your business.

Google is the interstate and your article summary is the content on your billboard. Don’t you want to take advantage of all that traffic and direct readers to your article?

A potential reader is doing a Google search and is scanning a list trying to decide what page to click through to, and your short description can be the deciding factor as to whether they click through to your article.

What makes a good short description?

Whether you know it or not, you probably already know the answer to this. Go to your favorite article directory and look at the list of titles and article summaries.

Some are better than others, right? Some of the short descriptions make you want to read more, while others make you say, “No thank you–next!”

When you’re doing your next article submission, here are a few tips for capturing a reader’s attention with your article summary:

1) Your short description should tell what your article is about. Give specific info–what is your article topic and what info will you be providing in your article?

2) Try to lead the reader into your article from your article summary. Here’s an example:

“With some creativity you can transform your articles into multiple pieces of marketing content which can save you time, extend your marketing reach, and create more doorways for potential customers to find you. If you’re in the mood to stretch your marketing content mileage, try one of these 3 creative uses for your articles.”

This summary tells the reader what the article is about, how the information can benefit them, and what awaits them when they click through to read the entire article.

3) Write in complete sentences.

Sometimes you will see an article summary that just says something like: “Article about windshield wipers”

That’s it–end of story. Not a very compelling enticement for a reader to click through and learn more, is it?

No matter what the topic of your article, you can phrase your article summary in such a way that readers interested in that topic will say, “Hmmm, I want to know more!”

4) A short cut may be to use your intro or closing paragraph or some other part of your article as your short description. You don’t necessarily have to write your short description from scratch. Lots of times I will look over my finished article and pick out phrases and sentences that I think represent the article and would be good at luring a reader in.

Bonus tips:

  • Mind your word count–Usually a publisher will require a short description to be 450 words or less, including spaces.
  • Do not mention your own business or website address in the article summary, as many publishers do not appreciate that. The article summary is not your resource box–the article summary is a description of your article, while your resource box is the place where you can talk about yourself, your business, and your website.

Writing an article summary is not hard, but you do need to put some thought into how your summary will appear to your readers.

Think of your article summary as being a little advertisement for your article. Put yourself in the shoes of a person who is looking at a long list of results in Google–what sort of summary would make you want to click through and read the entire article?

If you want to get a greater readership for your articles and build more links, it’s a great idea to enlist the services of a trusted article submission service, such as Steve Shaw created the web’s first ever 100% online-based article submitter,, which distributes your articles to hundreds of targeted publishers with the click of a button. For more information go to=>