The Low Down on Article Marketing

Article marketing is an effective way to broaden the online presence of any small business. By distributing articles to various article directories on the Internet, your business can reap the benefits ranging from an increase in web traffic, lead generation, new customers and a solid reputation. It’s a simple concept that has the potential to take your business to the next level and higher.

The foundation of article marketing has evolved from a well-known strategy called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO; a practice where web pages are optimized with keywords and published online in an effort to increase search engine rankings. There are three steps to article marketing; research, writing the article and distribution.

Research

The first step is keyword research. It is vital to inundate your article with keywords that you want to rank well for in the search engines. For example, assume you sell used DVDs online. You should research what keywords people are searching for relative to the term DVD (i.e. rent DVD, DVD rentals, DVD, or buy DVD). Then, you would make a list of approximately 10 or so of these keywords and sprinkle them throughout my article. This step is relatively simple and only takes about 30 or so minutes; unless of course you are still using dial up Internet.

Writing the article

You cannot just put together a glob of information and call it an article, as many marketers do today. The article needs to be well written and provide value to its readers. If you are a good writer, you can do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. The goal is to write an objective article related to the topic of your expertise; and naturally placing the keywords within the content of the article. The article should not be a sales pitch or an advertisement. In fact, many article directories will not even accept articles written with a “sales type” approach. The article should be written with the intention to educate your target consumer group about some aspect of your industry. It’s always helpful to have a catchy title for your article.

In addition to keyword rich article, a second critical component of this strategy must include the distribution of a website’s URL, commonly referred to as back link. Most, if not all, article directories allow for an author resource box where links can be easily placed. Publishing a website’s address at the end of articles will allow interested readers to conveniently visit the site by clicking on that link.

Distribution

This is the component of article marketing that takes some time. It is good practice to manually submit these articles to each directory; as most directories have banned article distribution via automated software. Besides, by using automated software, there is less control of the article and the article resource box. I am not even sure the automated software even works properly. Don’t waste your time distributing article to every directory you can find either. Instead, be picky and choose wisely about which directory you want to house your article.

Article Marketing Does More Than You Think

Article marketing does more than simply reinforce your internet visibility. Unlike direct marketing, it actually presents a unique opportunity to educate your target consumer group in an effort to build long term, profitable relationships with them. Paid advertisements usually lose potency and relevance over time. But a well written article will continue to be republished on various newsletters, websites, forums and blogs; and trigger a viral marketing effect that will last for months at a time.

Benefits of Article Marketing

Anchor text. Most of the article directories allow for the author to select the anchor text of the link in the author’s resource box. This is the primary value of the links from the article directories. For example, if you are trying to rank for the key term “internet marketing”, the anchor text would display “internet marketing” but it would link to your website.

Relevant One Way links. Say goodbye to reciprocal linking. It’s not as effective as it used to be. Article marketing provides one way links from web pages that are categorized within the directory according to topics such as technology, weddings, communication or small business. Additionally, most of the directories use the article title as the webpage title; and rest assured that the title of the webpage with your link has your target keyword.

Website Traffic. Those who read the article and our interested in it will click through to your website and bring relevant traffic. Clearly, this is first step to building a relationship with them.

Viral Marketing. Most article directories allow other webmasters to reprint (or republish) any articles within their directory. Usually, republished articles can be found in additional directories, niche websites, forums and blogs. A well written article will go a long way.

Mindshare. A click-through from a traditional link is just another random visitor probably not even interested in your value proposition. But someone who has read an article and clicked through from the author’s resource box link is generally a highly qualified visitor who has been partly sold on the value of your offering. Meanwhile, even readers who do not click-through have been exposed to your message which can reinforce your long term brand effectiveness.

Finally, the Conclusion
The fact of the matter is that article marketing is only one component of a successful marketing or SEO strategy. You cannot expect to invest a few dollars here and there and wake up in the morning with profitable business, showing up in the number one position in Google and Yahoo for your key terms. Article marketing is one strategy that should be used in conjunction with other strategies as a part of your overall marketing mix.

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