One of the very best ways to promote a new site, service or offer is writing articles.
Article Marketing is tedious, time consuming and mind numbingly monotonous, but it is also is just about the EASIEST way to print money straight from your keyboard.
I’ve often said that if Tony “Scarface” Montana were to have discovered article marketing in that Cuban detention center, rather than columbian gold, we would probably have watched Al Pacino work his way up the internet marketing totem pole rather than suffer the ignominious fate of a disgraced cocaine trafficker.
Article Marketing is smart, profitable, and you’ll never have to worry about dying in a hail of machine gun fire after you submit them.
But, if you’ve tried using articles in your marketing machine, you may have found less luck with their results than those people like me sing about regularly.
Let’s take a look at some potential reasons why, and how I’d fix them in your shoes.
This is EXACTLY what I do when I begin an article marketing campaign – it works for me very well….and will do the absolute same for you if you apply these simple strategies in your own.
Pick a Product:
You NEED to start here. Don’t do your keyword research first…and then try to squeeze a relevant product into the keyword list you’ve generated. If you are doing this – you are working ass backwards. Go find a good, solid high converting product that you think you can write about and sell. I’m a big fan of the bum marketing stuff, as it’s simple, clean and has been shared for free…but the biggest mistake I see here is the resulting reliance on Clickbank sort of products.
Go out and sign up for CJ.com – Linkshare, etc – and get REAL products in your affiliate marketing arsenal. Nothing says you are relegated to selling cheap E books on picking up women and teaching your dog to moo like a cow.
Clickbank is like training wheels on a bike: Important to have when you start, but if you are still using training wheels 5 years later, you know you havent’ made it out of the neighborhood yet. Sign up for REAL affiliate programs, with national offline marketing campaigns and name recognition that you can piggy back off of to immediate profitability.
( ie – people aren’t reluctant to rent DVD’s from Blockbuster, or weight loss products from Medifast – but they very well be for high hype, low recognition product lines you’ll find on the smaller affiliate networks specializing in digital products )
Do your Keyword Research: I’d recommend you pay for your keyword research too. I do – and it’s quicker, cleaner and easier than using all of the free tools that are available in fragmented forms in disparate spots.
I use and recommend Spyfu.
Is it perfect? No, it’s not. Is it worth 10 bucks a month to have a wealth of competitive intelligence at your fingertips? Yes, it most certainly is.
Don’t write your titles like you would on a blog or website. Blog posts are rife with “how to’s”, “top ways”, etc – this is a proven way to increase readership and generate incoming links, but it’s NOT what you want to do with articles.
If your keyword phrase for example is “write articles” – rather than title it like I have done for this blog post, you would simply bring the keywords to the front of the title – and shift the “how to” towards the end, like so: “Write Articles that Convert Like Crazy: 3 Fast, Fun & Free Tricks That Work Like Magic!” – or – “Write Articles for Fun & Profit: Simple Success Strategies You are Going to Love”.
Always front load your title with your keywords when submitting to the directories, because the keywords, and their location in the title text is probably not only the PRIMARY driver to their position thereafter in the search engine results – it may be the SOLITARY driver as well.
(Update for 2009: Here is an 11 point article title template I added in the Spring of 2009 that many people have found helpful…….that builds on this concept in a bit more detail) Don’t mess this up, you aren’t writing link bait – stick your keywords up front. ( you can actually re-write the article for your OWN site this way and post a modified version of it there as well)
Be resourceful with your resource box. Do write a benefit laden, eyeball pulling, collar dragging, incentivized, compelling, cajoling, coercion creating reason for them to click on your links and come face to face with your offer, free report, squeeze page, etc. Do NOT write about your personal biography, extraordinary good looks, high school cheerleading awards, don’t have a picture of yourself in sunglasses or a tank top, don’t refer to yourself in the third person, and don’t list your full resume. You aren’t looking for a job. You only want a simple click of the mouse. It’s quite easy to get – and once you cut out the extraneous noise in the close, you’ll find it much easier to get more.
This is a trick I’ve tried and tested repeatedly, and in MOST markets….it works like a charm. I almost hate to share it – but here it is anyway.
Write VERY short articles. And lots of them. Keep the articles UNDER 320 words. Under 300 for Ezine Articles ( the granddaddy of Article directories) is best.
But…here is the trick. Create one LONG resource box that you save in your author account.
Break it up into several paragraphs, each paragraph has a link to your offer page as above.
( Ezine will accept two links in the resource box as a matter of policy – I’ve found that more often than not – they’ll take three without complaint if you are a solid contributor to the community)
Your resource box in this example should be a STRONG close….and should APPEAR to be part of the article – ie – almost no transition between the preceeding short article and the saved resource box.
As you are allowed to “sell” in the resource box area…this simple approach will seemingly extend the article with a strong sales message, live links, and solid close, in EVERY article you submit on this topic, as this is your default signature file for each. This works tremendously well for me, and I attribute a lot of my article marketing success to this, and this alone.
As a quick point of reference and “proof” on the above method – I worked with someone privately on optimizing her article submissions over the past two weeks.
Prior to our coaching sessions, her articles were getting an average of between 20 and 100 views per month – and she was getting an abysmal CTR in the resource box – about 10% give or take, which as she and I discussed, is absolutely terrible, especially considering she is a pretty girl and had a picture of herself in the profile..:-)
We made a few of the revisions I mentioned above, added some better keyword research tools, a more compelling offer and STRONGER WRITING ( which is imperative if you want to succeed) and our views not only went through the roof…but the CTR as you can see in the screenshot is pushing 50% in many of the more popular articles of the group – and cumalatively, in a VERY expensive market ( Womens Health) this set of article submissions alone, which were ALL done in ONE day, have resulted in about 1000 new visitors to her once lonesome landing page.
Which makes me feel good – and gives her the positive reinforcement to know this CAN be done successfully after all!
Hope this was a help to you as well..:-) Be sure to ask questions if any of the above wasn’t clear.
Update for Fall of 2009:
Please note……some of the above tactics, most notably resource box length and amount of links that are presently permissable – have been discounted for EZA as they have implemented policies on length of resource box relative to words in the article themselves. The good news? We still actively write and submit articles predicated on ethos above….and they still do very well!
Remember……lots of things evolve, change, morph and move over time and while you always have to be aware of these evolving best practices……if you prepare your approach on adding value and creating good content, you’ll never be chasing your tail on tactics, or having to start from scratch when one successful “strategy” disappears!
I’m NOT a big fan of retrospectively changing blog posts – as I sort of believe things should stay in the spirit in which they were shared, but this was written a few years ago, and in light of these recent changes, I thought it was appropriate! Thanks for reading and enjoy your day. This has been a recording.
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One LAST Revision (2013)
This article is really, really OLD….and yet still gets a lot of traffic – some of the above is now pretty dated…..and while the over-arching ethos and approach still works wonderfully well, some of the very specific recommendations are a bit circa 2009-2011.
In 2013, I still use article marketing heavily in my own content marketing campaigns – have more than 100 thousand new readers in JUST the last 6 or 7 weeks from old articles…….and you can check out the very update to date BEST practices for launching a brand, blog or business with articles on our Kindle book of the same title –
Both cover article marketing from a more current paradigm and perspective – AND are both priced on Amazon for the cost of a cup of coffee as well – you can read them both in one day – and have a killer business building strategy that not one in every 200 online entrepreneurs understand.[/symple_box]