Welcome to the seventh unit of the ‘Journey Into Internet Marketing’ tutorial series.
This one is all about article marketing.
If you have not done so, it is recommended you read over Part 6 – Review Sites first.
In this module, you will learn all you need to know about the theories behind article marketing and how you market with articles for maximum effect.
By the time you have completed this unit, you will understand exactly why for many online marketers, article marketing is a cornerstone upon which their business is built. Above all else, you will learn exactly how you can use article marketing in the most effective and ultimately profitable way.
The basic concept of article marketing is that you write articles which you subsequently publish on the Internet to help publicize and market your business.
Article marketing is something that you can do without spending any money, although there is a degree of time and effort involved. But if you do not want to spend money on marketing or do not have much cash to invest in your business, article marketing is ideal.
In the fifth tutorial in this series, you were introduced to the concept of search engine marketing and keyword research. Both of these concepts are relevant to article marketing as well.
When you begin to write your first marketing article, your starting point should be a keyword phrase related to your market niche. You will already have this because of previous keyword research. Your whole article is constructed around this keyword phrase.
Once you have finished writing an article, there are two ways you can use it – by marketing it through your own website internally, or by placing it on an external, 3rd party article directory.
Marketing internally involves publishing the article on your site whereas external marketing involves publishing it on websites all over the net.
Publishing articles externally has two positive benefits for your online marketing venture.
The first is that people who use these external resources will find your articles, and if they like your content they will visit your site as a result. The fact that they read your article suggests that they are already interested in your topic, so this visitor is a prime prospect for the product or service you are promoting.
The second benefit is that publishing articles externally creates incoming links to your site. This helps to push your website up the search engine rankings and of course, if this puts you on the first page of the results, it attracts targeted visitors searching for your keyword term.
Writing your article
We will quickly run through how you create an effective article with a hypothetical example. In this case, imagine that the keyword phrase you are focused on is ‘vintage wedding cars’.
What you need to do is write an article of between 400 and 700 words into which you can weave this keyword phrase a certain number of times.
The keyword must appear in your article title and if possible, near the beginning of it. It should then appear in the first and last paragraphs of your article as well as throughout the rest of the body text.
I would suggest that you aim for around 2% of your article to be made up of your keyword phrase. In other words, if your article is 400 words long, your keyword should appear approximately 8 times.
Too many less than this and you risk the search engines not recognizing your keyword phrase. But if you use the phrase too many times, your article looks ‘spammy’ to anyone who is thinking of reading it and also to the search engines.
Your article title is also extremely important, so it pays to spend some time on making sure that it is as punchy as possible.
As an example, including numbered tip lists is one highly effective way of crafting an eye-catching title, so you might use something like ‘Vintage wedding cars – 7 easy maintenance tips’.
There are a few reasons why your title is so important.
Firstly, no matter where your article is published, it is the title that will decide whether people decide to read it or not. In directories and on the search results pages, it is your title that draws readers in.
Secondly, your keyword in the title ensures that the search engines understand that this is the keyword that you are trying to achieve a search engine ranking for.
Mentioning a ‘numbered tip list’ in the title makes writing the article extremely easy. All you need to do is run through the tips one by one. Add a suitable introduction and a concluding paragraph and that’s the job done.
An alternative way of crafting an effective article is to follow this simple model:
Introduction: Tell the reader what they are about to learn. Body text: Present and expand upon three facts or snippets of information that build on what you announced in your introduction. Conclusion: Remind the reader of what you have just demonstrated.
That’s it. It really can be as simple and straightforward as this.
Now that you have a couple of different ways to write articles, we will look at some ways you can use them to publicize your site.
One of the most popular ways of publishing articles is on article directory sites. These are sites which feature thousands of articles on a range of topics the width of which is only constrained by the imagination of contributing authors. And anyone can be an author for these sites at no cost.
The leading article directory sites are extremely popular with both human visitors who want to read articles and with the major search engines too.
The best-known article directory site is EzineArticles.com, a site that is popular with readers and Google alike:
Because of this level of popularity, publishing your article with this particular directory has the ability to drive lots of targeted visitors to your site. And because it’s a favorite of Google, your article can also achieve a search engine ranking of its own.
The first thing you need to do is sign up for a free account.
After you have done so, I would recommend that you create an author profile that includes a picture as well. This is not absolutely necessary at this stage, but having a profile makes you seem far more genuine, plus I know from experience that articles from authors with profiles are far more likely to be taken seriously.
So, take a few minutes to create your profile and upload your image. Next, you begin the article preparation process.
You begin by making sure that your keyword phrase is highlighted in your article title. This ensures that it is listed in the proper place by the search engines and allows directory users to find your article.
You also need a two or three sentence article summary that you will upload to EzineArticles when you submit your masterpiece.
Many article marketers are lazy about this, using the first two or three sentences of the article itself. This is a very bad idea if you want to drive targeted visitors to your site from your articles.
To explain why, these are the top EzineArticles entries for ‘vintage wedding cars’:
As you can see, the article summary appears beneath the article title. It is the combination of the title and description that ultimately decides whether a visitor thinks your article is going to be worth reading or not.
Hence, if you use the first two or three sentences of your article completely out of context, your description does nothing to encourage that visitor to keep reading. A poor summary loses readers in other words.
What you should therefore do is write two or three sentences that read like a short ‘sales pitch’ for your article. It should not be overly hyped or ‘salesy’ but it must tell the reader why your article is worth reading. And make sure that it again contains your keyword phrase.
Okay, so now you have your title, a short description and the article itself. You are now ready to proceed with the article upload process.
To do this, log into your account, click the ‘Article Manager’ link at the top left hand corner of the page and then Submit A New Article’:
At the top of the page, select a suitable ‘Category’ and a ‘Subcategory’ (if appropriate) for your article:
Next, it is your title and the short summary that need to be added:
After this, you copy and paste the main article into the submission form, after which you add a list of keyword terms. You should of course include your main keyword term in this list but as you have 100 characters available, include as many appropriate keywords as possible.
The final thing to include is an ‘Author signature’ which is sometimes known as a ‘Resource box’. Besides the title, the information included in the resource box is the most important of the whole submission process.
In the first place, this is where you include your ‘call to action’ to anyone who has read your article. Your main objective at this point is to persuade this reader to visit your site. This is where you do so by telling them how they will benefit from visiting your site. For example, you might include something like ‘For lots more great free weight loss tips, visit YourSite.com now’.
In this resource box, you can add up to 3 links to your site, although two is usually enough. One of these should be the full URL of the page that you want the article reader to go to after they have finished reading. This could be your home page, sales page or a page where there is more information that ties in with the article subject.
The second link should always be what is known as an anchor text link. An anchor text link is the main keyword around which you have constructed the article which is then hyperlinked to the appropriate page on your site.
It will appear in the resource box as vintage wedding cars and is created using a snippet of HTML code like this:
<a href=”http://www.YourSite.com”>vintage wedding cars</a>
Anchor text links are a very powerful way of indicating to the search engines what your keyword is. It also creates an incoming link to your site which is keyword targeted. Including an anchor text link in your resource box is therefore vitally important.
Once you have completed the resource box, your article is ready for publication. Click the ‘Submit This Article’ button at the bottom of the page, and that is the job done:
When you submit your article to EzineArticles, it will be reviewed by a human reviewer before publication.
If your article is accepted, it will be published within a couple of days. However, if the article is rejected for some reason, you will receive an e-mail explaining why. Make the necessary changes before resubmitting your work.
Squidoo is an online publishing platform where you can create a modular mini-site in less than half an hour. But even though you can build a site in a very short period of time, Squidoo ‘lenses’ are nevertheless very powerful marketing tools because the site is popular with both net-users and the search engines alike.
To build a lens after writing a marketing article, the first thing you need to do is open a free Squidoo account.
Now, log in to start the site creation process. Scroll down the home page until you see the big blue ‘Create a Lens!’ button:
The first thing you must do is input what the ‘lens’ that you are about to create will be about. This will be your mini-site title, so remember to include your keyword phrase:
Click the orange ‘Continue’ button to move to the next stage of the process.
On the next page, you will be asked for your ‘goal’.
I have experimented with all four options shown on the page and have never really noticed any significant difference in performance terms. For this reason, I leave it as per the default setting shown here:
Again, click the orange ‘Continue’ button to move on.
Next, you have to select the URL that you want to attach to this mini-site and the category for it. If possible, try to grab a URL that is the same as your title to ensure that your keyword is emphasized to the search engines:
If you attempt to click the ‘Continue’ button you will be notified whether the URL you have chosen is available or not. If it is, it will now be allocated to your lens.
If not, you need to choose another URL. In this case, you might try hyphenating the keyword term (vintage-wedding-cars) which is still very well targeted.
In my example, the URL ‘VintageWeddingCars’ was available, hence I have now ‘reserved’ it for my lens.
Clicking the ‘Continue’ button brings me to the next page where I can include three additional keyword tags. As adding additional keyword tags helps to clarify what your lens is about, this is an option that you should always take advantage of:
Input the ‘captcha’ code, click the ‘Build My Lens’ button at the bottom and that is the initial site setup process complete.
What you will now see looks something like this:
At the top of the page, you click the first ‘Edit’ link (1) to open the text box into which you paste your article. Where it asks ‘Why not add a title?’ you add the title of your article. On the right-hand side of the page, you see all of the optional modules that you can add to your mini-site (2).
Choose the modules you want to add – adding an extra text box for another article is good as are images, YouTube videos, eBay and a Guestbook which allows your visitors to comment on your lens.
Having extra content in addition to your original article on the site makes it look less ‘spammy’ and more like a ‘cared for’ website. Consequently, adding extra modules is always a good idea
In your main article, you should link from your lens back to your main site with an anchor text link. This ensures that anyone who comes to your lens and reads it can visit your main site. It also generates a one-way link from your lens to your main site. As Squidoo is a Google favorite, this link has significant value for making your site more ‘visible’.
The secret of creating traffic generating lenses is to keep building them bit by bit. If you come back once or twice a week you can add additional articles, links to new videos and so on. As a result, your lens will quickly acquire a value of its own.
However, making sure that other Squidoo users and the Internet using public in general know about the existence of your lens is also extremely important.
One of the easiest methods of doing this is to send information about your lens to the main online directories and resource sites by RSS.
Now, you don’t really need to know too much about RSS at this stage apart from the fact that it is a way of ‘pinging’ information about your site to the outside world. This is therefore something you should do every time you add new articles to your lens.
To do so, open the ‘public view’ of your lens to find the orange RSS icon. It might be at the side of the page or at the top as in this example:
Click the link and you will see your RSS feed page with the URL at the top:
Copy the URL and head over to Pingomatic. This is the free service that enables you to distribute information about your new lens.
Add your keyword title at the top, your main lens URL and the URL of your RSS page as shown here. Then ‘Check all’ as indicated and hit the button at the bottom of the page to ‘ping’ details about the lens you have just built:
Next, search Squidoo for other lenses in your market and leave a meaningful comment in the guestbook on any lenses that you find.
Also, search Squidoo groups for those that are appropriate to your market. Join each group, check out individual member sites and leave meaningful comments in their guestbooks.
When you start leaving comments that add value to other lenses, the people on whose lenses you leave comments will come to your site and reciprocate. They may also visit your main site to see what you have to say as well.
If you link to your own site, you have attracted a very well targeted visitor. Alternatively, you could include a direct link from your lens to an affiliate offer that you’re promoting, in which case you might generate a sale.
Many affiliate marketers make a very good living using a Squidoo lens as their main promotional tool. There is no reason whatsoever why you can’t do the same.
For example, you are not allowed to link directly to an affiliate product offer from an EzineArticles article. You can however link to a Squidoo lens which carries a link to your affiliate offer.
If you use some of your articles to drive targeted traffic to your lens, the chances are that you will make some affiliate product sales with the help of Squidoo as well.
Once you understand Squidoo and the modular mini-site principle that underpins it, building a mini-site with HubPages will be a piece of cake as the process is essentially the same.
As with a Squidoo lens, your HubPages ‘hub’ is a modular mini-site where you publish your articles which you link to your main site or to the affiliate product offer that you are promoting.
HubPages is another mini-site host that is extremely popular with the major search engines. Consequently, constructing a ‘hub’ is an excellent way of driving additional targeted visitors to your main commercial offer.
Signing up for a HubPages account is free. After you have done so, the process of creating your mini-site is almost exactly the same as it was with Squidoo. The only thing that you have to be a little careful of with HubPages is that they can be a little ‘sniffy’ if you link directly to an affiliate product offer. I would therefore recommend that you do not do so.
There is of course nothing to stop you linking from your hub either to your Squidoo lens or to your main site where you are promoting your affiliate offer. Otherwise, after mastering Squidoo, building a hub will be very easy.
Just as with Squidoo, after you finish writing a hub you should ping the information about it through pingomatic.
Another way to increase your hub’s exposure is to search for other hubs in your market so you can comment on them and look for appropriate groups to join.
This kind of activity drives targeted visitors to your hub and alerts the search engines to its existence. This is the real essence of marketing with articles.
There are many other article directories out there, such as GoArticles, however Ezine Articles, Squidoo and Hubpages are the three primary sites you should write articles for.
Article marketing is a form of online promotion that has many advantages.
Marketing with articles costs nothing. Furthermore, because once they are published, they stay ‘live’ for a long time, articles have the ability to drive traffic to your website for months or even years.
Writing articles is not particularly difficult either. You do not need to be Shakespeare and many of the most successful article marketers are not even native English speakers so there is no need to worry about your writing skills.
Anyone can market their online business writing articles, but there is one key to article marketing success that you should not ignore.
Article marketing is a numbers game.
The more articles you publish, the more targeted traffic you’ll drive to your site, it really is as simple as that.
Consequently, once you have written your first article, do the same again and again and again.
Building an ever-growing ‘library’ of published articles is just about the easiest way of ensuring that your site enjoys a never ending stream of targeted traffic.
It is now recommended you proceed on to Part 8 – SEO Explored.