Today, article marketing is probably one of the most powerful and inexpensive forms of marketing online available to small business owners and non-profíts. For those not savvy with the term “article marketing,” here is a quick definition:
In exchange for a little sweat and focus, an article author (you) shares their wisdom and experience with the world by posting their short article of advice or insight to blogs, social media, and article publication sites. Within those articles are one-way links leading back to the author’s own website, raising the website’s “authority” karma with the search engines and increasing qualified traffíc.
You Are the Expert
Here is a little mental preparation for you. I want to make sure you are looking at article marketing – and yourself – through the proper lens.
When you produce articles, it is your goal to encapsulate gems of experience-hardened wisdom and share them with the online community. In doing so, you:
1. Help to advise those who are seeking that knowledge, and you
2. Position yourself as an expert on the topic. (Important!)
Warning: Don’t get caught up on the term “expert.” Many humble folks who are vastly knowledgeable about their industry wouldn’t refer to themselves as experts because they are also aware there is much they don’t know. You don’t have to know it all. You just need to know more than your customers and then know where to find the answers when you are stumped.
Your Mission: Inspire, Inform, Entertain
Your primary goal in business is to help, right? Businesses and nonprofit organizations provide products and services with the intent of helping people. (Naive? Maybe. Choosing to see the best? Definitely.) That might mean helping to:
1. Provide a solution to a problem,
2. Offer inspiration, motivation or elevation,
3. Foster greater awareness to a social concern, or even to
4. Entertain and enthrall.
The best place to start? Begin with what you know. Offer advice. Offer your life experience. Offer sagacious words of wisdom. Expound and elucidate. Maybe even do a little research. Article marketing is your vehicle for taking your wisdom to your audience, answering their questions before their questions have bubbled up.
Step 1: Target Your Topic
What do you specialize in? What do you know a lot about? What is the point to your website? After all, the goal of any article marketing campaign is to place articles of value out into the world and grow your number of back links (links that point back to your website from another website.) Google and other popular search engines/directories see these links leading into your website as proof you must be something of an authority.
Translation: On the Internet, you are somebody important if other people say you are. It’s like high school all over again! Yeah!
Step 2: Write the Article
To begin marketing with articles, you must write the articles. No kidding. Sure, there is some work involved here, but the rewards can be great as qualified traffic to your website increases. Yes, I’m aware there are certain sources for pre-written articles on a myriad of topics, however I would recommend against putting your name on other people’s work. Call me paranoid, but here are some possible dangers with this:
1. Loss of credibility and damage to your reputation when it’s discovered you’re not writing your material,
2. Being called upon to discuss a topic you barely considered to begin with, and
3. Being accountable for someone else’s errors if they pop up.
Remember: One of the greatest things about writing is the fact you’re building an asset when you write. You are building a piece of reproducible and shareable knowledge. This is what “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author, Rob Kiyosaki, refers to as “doing it once and replicating it over and over.”
To write an article, you don’t have to be a Harvard literature graduate, but you should know how to complete a thought, hold a one-way conversation with a person, and use spellcheck.
* First, know what your goal is for your article. What is your point? Being clear on this will help keep you on track as you craft your introduction, body and conclusion.
* Next, pretend you are relaying this information to a friend. What would you say? How would you counsel them if they came to you seeking this advice?
* Finally, use spellcheck. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Read the article aloud to test for smooth flow and phrasing. Ferret out all typos, grammatical errors and punctuation gaffs. If missed, these mistakes can detract from your writing and credibility.
The Resource Box
The last detail you’ll consider for your article will be your resource box. Your resource box is the little paragraph at the end of your article that tells the reader a little about you and how to contact you. It should always include a link to your website. Always. You want your readers to be able to find you if they desire more information and you want the search engines to see you as an authority through that back link, remember?
Key point: In your resource box, you don’t always have to use the same link back to your website’s homepage. In fact, you will likely have greater success by linking to the page on your site most closely related to your article’s topic. This moves visitors from the article directly to their topic of interest. (For example, if a web design company also offers web hosting, their article “How to pick the best web host” should link back to the page on their website that describes their web hosting services.)
Step 3: Launch!
There! You have produced a shiny little gem of literary brilliance. Now it is time to set it free.
1. Place it on your blog (if you have one and if it fits appropriately).
2. Share it with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and your other social media outlets. You can post it over and over by hand or use tools like PingFM to automate this process.
About The Author
Matt Schoenherr is a husband, father of four, business owner of Dreamscape Multimedia, and marketing consultant. As a syndicated author of a marketing and public relations column, Matt writes for a national online news magazine. Matt has over 17 years of national community outreach experience. His blog at www.mattschoenherr.com analyzes marketing concepts, delivers marketing ideas and occasionally explores the more magical side of life.