June 5, 2009
One of the best ways to get free advertising and links back to your site is to write good articles and publish them on blogs and websites around the Internet with a link back to your site. Doing this in a systematic way is usually called “article marketing.” I have done it for years and believe me it works! However, my enthusiasm for article marketing is started to wane due to an avalanche of poorly written articles which do not provide end users with useful information.
In the same way that reciprocal linking was destroyed by misguided users trying to “game” the search engines, article marketing stands in a precarious position today. I publish three article directories and I can assure you that most of the articles submitted should be consigned to the recycle bin because they go against the basic idea of providing good useful information in an easy-to-read fashion. In case you are writing articles, or about to have some articles written for you, here are three important tips for doing it properly.
1. Provide Information and Not a Sales Pitch
It is futile to write directly about your product and explain how great it is. If this is what you want to do, it is better to write a press release and explain the newsworthy features of your work. An article for publication on another website should be related to your area of expertise, but should not be bragging about you or your product.
For example, if you operate a garden supply business, then write “how-to” articles helping people to solve some of the gardening and landscaping problems that they might be facing. You don’t have to say how great your garden supply business is. If you write well and provide useful tips, then the readers will be impressed and they will want to click through on your link and find out more about you and your business
People who visit your website after reading a good article are high quality visitors, because they have been “pre-sold” on you. They already regard you as an “expert” and will be more inclined to buy your products or subscribe to your newsletters than someone who clicks through on just any old link.
2. Write the article properly or get the article written by someone who can write!
If you were to submit an article to your English teacher in high school or college, would you want to hand in something with obvious grammatical mistakes even in the title itself? Of course you wouldn’t but that doesn’t stop people from hiring unqualified ghostwriters to write tons of sub-standard articles for them at $5 per article.
Try writing an intelligent 500 word article. Can you do it in ten minutes or even twenty minutes? Probably not. Take the time to write your article well and if you are hiring someone then you should opt for a native English speaker who will give it a reasonable amount of time. You may have to pay more for it, but you will gain in the end.
How will you gain? Well written and informative articles get reprinted at a much greater frequency than the junk or filler articles. You will gain with more links and most importantly you will get more credibility as an expert in your field.
3. Format Your Articles Properly
One of the keys to effectiveness is the readability of your article. Do you like looking at a long block of printed words without any paragraph breaks? Take the time to divide your articles into short paragraphs punctuated by sub-heads. It will give your readers a chance to assimilate your message more easily.
The reason why I am particular on this point is that many people use automated article submission systems which push all the paragraphs together. Editors have no time to make these corrections for you and may delete the articles. Alternatively, your article may be published, but in a way that turns off the reader, rather than inspiring her to read the whole article. Submit your articles in a proper format and make sure that your submission system sends a well formatted version to the publishers.
If you follow these three tips then you will be “adding value” to the Internet rather than clogging it with useless filler. You will be doing a service to the public, and in the end it will work to your benefit too.