I’m a little late, but I loved this “Earth Day” cartoon over at EzineArticles. The whole point of it is to write more evergreen articles. You know the kind – the ones that can stand the test of time.
Q: How Do You Pick A Good Article Directory, Lisa?
A: When I first started doing article marketing purposefully, I had no idea where to publish my articles besides my own website. I soon learned that finding a decent article directory to publish to would be the best thing for me to start spreading my content to a larger audience. So what makes a good article directory? This is a question I am often asked and so I will break it down for you in the simplest of terms so you can get started quickly…
1. Do Humans or Computers Review Your Articles?
If you find that your articles are automatically accepted at an article directory and the site seems to be totally automated, you might assume that that is a good thing. But it is not. That means that every article that crosses their path gets accepted. A lot of junk, spam, and crappy articles. You do not want to be on that type of site.
2. Who Owns The Site?
If you can’t click on a link on the home page of the directory and find out who founded it, who runs it, and why — chances are you have an owner who isn’t looking for you to question him about anything concerning your articles. He just wants your content without giving customer service or author support.
3. How Soon Are Your Articles Reviewed?
Confessions of an old article directory owner (me:) — I was late reviewing articles. Mainly because I had little support. It was just me and two other staffers. And it was a part time gig for them. So it’s best to look for a site where articles seem to be reviewed within about 24-72 hours. Another example is, I recently got an article acceptance email from a site that I submitted to at least 2 months ago. They don’t have to worry about me submitting there anymore!
4. What Extras Do They Provide?
One of the great things about submitting your articles to article directories are some of the features that they offer in an effort to promote your work. So look to see if they offer RSS feeds, email alerts, social media (Twitter), share with a friend scripts.
5. Can You See Results?
Ultimately you will have to track and test your article directory submissions to make sure that the site is generating traffic back to your landing pages, squeeze pages, or main site. That is a true test of whether or not you should submit and continue submitting to any one article directory.
I love article marketing. I write a lot of articles. I write one and move onto the next one. Sometimes I forget to check on some of the old articles, and that’s a really BAD idea. Want to know why?
1. First, the fantastic advantage to article marketing is that you continuously get traffic to your content as long as that article is alive and well on the web. So that means people will find and read articles that you have written years ago but expect them to be current, relevant, and if needed – updated. So…
2. Are your links updated? I have been guilty of this in my article marketing, in fact just recently, I discovered an outdated link. Many times I may recommend a resource in an article that was working at the time, only to find out weeks, months, or years later that the link is no longer valid. This goes for those shortened links too (tinyurl, bi.tly). Some of my tinyurl links no longer work. While they say that these links never expire — I wonder:) So use shortened links with caution, and check on them periodically.
3. Is your article marketing evergreen? Do you write timely stuff such as on current events. etc? Or do you use evergreen article marketing? Ones that can stand the test of time and do not depend on a specific time such as a holiday (Christmas) or a news event (presidential election). If you do NOT write evergreen content, it would be best to make sure that your articles are still relevant. If they are out-of-date or inaccurate, do NOT delete them, because they are already ranking in the search engines. What you can and should do is add an “update” to the top or bottom of your articles. Readers will appreciate this a great deal, plus it’s just good article marketing etiquette.
4. Have you monetized your articles? You may find that when you first write your content, that it was simply as it was intended to be – a source of information for your readers. Later you may find that as you grow your business that you have created a product, service, or know of an affiliate product that would compliment the subject matter of your old content and it would be a good idea to reference it or link to it in your articles.
So you get what I”m saying right? While I obviously encourage those involved in article marketing to write fresh content as often as you can, it is also just as important to update that content you already have published when needed in order to get the most benefit from all of your wonderful content!
My kids are going through that “gross” phase. You know the one where you never wanted to take a bath or brush your teeth? So while it makes sense for them to get dressed, eat breakfast, then brush their teeth to get all the pancake syrup off — that’s not how it’s going down right now in the Angelettie house. Now I tell them to get out of bed, sleep walk to the bathroom, and brush their teeth right away to get it over with. At least I know that their teeth were brushed AND that’s one less battle I have to deal with in the morning. The same principle applies for this writing tip.
So you can stop battling yourself all day about when you’re going to write, what you’re going to write etc. Just get it over with! Write your articles first thing in the morning and worry about other things for the rest of the day. I know that this writing strategy works really well for me, because I tend to agonize over things sometimes to the point where I am paralyzed. I have often put off writing articles because I wanted to tie them into a product that isn’t ready yet, and then nothing gets written that day. That is not a strategy for article marketing success. You have to consistently write to see results.
So what I often do is get up, wake the kids up, and then go to my office and write an article. Even if its only a 250+ word blog post (I prefer writing 400 word articles), it’s content out there doing its job. Educating (hopefully:), entertaining (sort of:), and attracting new clients (always!). After that – I go down and cook breakfast.
Can you find an extra 15 minutes in the morning to write your articles and get it over with?
This is a great time to write all about LOVE, and I promise you that you can tie in love, relationships, marriage, dating, attraction, lust, sex, weddings, or something close to it to your niche. No matter what you sell.
Also, if you are an affiliate marketer then this is a great niche for you. You can easily monetize your content with a variety of affiliate products. So take the time to get a nice traffic surge to your articles and site(s) this month and write a few valentine’s articles. Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing:
1. Write an article on the history of marriage.
2. Write an article on what modern marriage looks like in different countries. *Oprah covered this topic recently.
3. Write a Valentine’s article on instant attraction. How to know when the other person feels the same.
4. Write an article about love and dating someone with pets (that you hate!)
5. Write an article about how career and love can be hard to mix OR how you can find true love at work
6. Write about all these hilarious love-themed reality shows like The Bachelor or For The Love Of Ray J
7. Write about the economics of Valentine’s Day. How much money is spent annually on this holiday?
8. Write about the origins of Valentine’s Day to support or challenge the theory that it is a “Hallmark Holiday”.
9. Write top ten lists articles such as the top 10 romantic getaways, top 10 romantic songs, top 10 romantic movies, etc.
10. Write an article on your favorite couple in history.
Monetize Your Valentine’s Day Articles
Also, if you are publishing these articles on your own blog, site, or in a directory that permits affiliate links, make sure you that you monetize your articles. Valentine’s Day is a great holiday for affiliates. Want to start with the easiest and highest-converting affiliate programs?
Check out Amazon. They recently sent out an email asking me to show my Kindle some love featuring red Kindle covers, lights, and other red (Valentine) themed accessories for my Kindle.
*Hot Tip – While it’s not too late to see some sales now, remember that you can create a Valentine’s Day or Love-Themed related WordPress blog and continually add monetized content to it so that by next year you will see a definite increase in revenue .
When I ask new clients why they haven’t written their first article yet, I often get a lot of shim-shammy answers! “Uh, I don’t have the time. Oh, I don’t know what to write about.” These are not valid reasons to not write. And using my psychotherapist background, I will tell you that it is rarely the truth.
The real reason why many people like yourself never write a thing — and that goes for articles, ebooks, print books, etc. is because you are embarrassed by your writing. You don’t like what you’ve written once you write it. You crumble up the paper and throw it in the trash can. You press delete on the last 3 sentences you wrote. You close the application and do not “save” the last document. Have you ever asked yourself why?
One of my clients explained, “Writing is so personal. I think people will make a judgment about me and what I do based on what I write.”
To some extent, she’s right. Your writing will be seen as a reflection of your business. Your articles have to give something of value to the reader. If they don’t, then a judgment may be made that you are not really an “expert” on your topic. Your writing needs to clearly position you in article after article as someone who knows what they are talking about. Not necessarily someone who writes eloquently.
The key to eliminating writing embarrassment is to:
1. Write Like You Talk
Do not try to sound like a college professor when your write your articles on homemade dog food! It’s just silly. My 5th grader should be able to read your articles and understand them. If not, then you could be writing way over the heads of your audience. People will connect with you, your message will resonate with them, if you speak to them directly and in your everyday voice. Imagine if you were talking about your topic with a friend in your kitchen. That’s how you should write about it as well.
2. Don’t Over Think It
I was paralyzed for literally years about doing teleseminars. That is because I always over thought them. What was I going to talk about? Would I say the right things? That’s what many people do when it comes to writing articles. Did that sentence sound good? Is anyone going to read this? Just stop it. Really. It’s way more important for you to just get the article written and out there in the world. Perfection is not necessary nor the end goal of article marketing.
3. Get Support
Sometimes we all need a little pat on the back or just a little encouragement. Do you have those types of people in your life? Luckily for me, those people are often from my own list. If I write an article that truly resonates with people, I can always tell, because I will get a lot of retweets on Twitter or I will get a lovely personal email from someone. That feels great to me. Sometimes its all I need to motivate me to write a few more articles after dinner.
If you don’t have that list of people yet, send one of your articles to a friend, to a peer, to someone who “gets” what you do for a living and ask for feedback. Sometimes you will get a “great job” and other times you may get a really constructive critique such as “hey, I wish you would explain more about…”
This is what professional fiction authors do all the time. There are not many authors who when they were new to writing, didn’t join a writer’s group, looking for feedback on their writing. That’s one of the reasons I create the article marketing network, so that writers could submit their articles to others for critique or virtual “pats on the back”. It’s free to join and people are on their connecting and talking about their writing.
Finally, if you think that your embarrassment may be somewhat “deserved” because you just haven’t figured out the whole article marketing thing, you may want to work with me personally and get a one-on-one article marketing makeover. I love doing these because they really transform peoples’ blocks when it comes to writing as well as the quality of their content.
Whatever you do, I hope that you will use one of these tips or resources to get past the feelings of embarrassment and fear that’s stopping you from your writing potential. That’s the key, you’ve go to do something different to see a different outcome.
Are you ready to write without fear today?
I love fresh new beginnings. That’s why I love Monday mornings. September for the kids. Januarys for the obvious reason — the beginning of a new year.
That’s why I am going to offer you the chance to build a fresh new beginning for your article marketing efforts. You know, just in case you haven’t been writing like you should:)
If you have been thinking about writing, wondering what to write, hesitating to put your thoughts down, wondering who on earth would read what you write, overwhelmed with where to publish or how to promote your articles — I have one huge word of wisdom for you… STOP!
You are no doubt driving yourself simply crazy trying to figure out how you are going to launch a successful article marketing campaign that will bring you traffic and furthermore sales. You are thinking the entire process through from start to finish and getting stuck with all there is to do in between – and that’s write.
So here are a few of my suggestions to pull yourself out of this analysis paralysis and kick-start your article marketing in 24 hours! Let’s get this fresh new beginning going:)
Key 1 – COMMIT
There are trillions (okay maybe not that many:), but dozens of internet marketing strategies you can use to promote your online business, and there are oodles of “experts” out there who want to sell you the next great tool, software, or coaching program to market your business.
But the truth is, and I learned this the hard way over the years, that until you commit to one primary marketing strategy you will simply continue to tread water. You will never truly compete in your market until you pick a marketing method and go hard!
So that’s the first key in making article marketing truly work for you. You need to commit to using it as the primary source of organic traffic to your site. Period. Once you’ve made the intellectual decision to do that, then the rest of the work of building your article marketing campaign is easy and natural.
Key 2 – ORGANIZE
There are a rare few people that can write on a regular basis without planning or organizing what topics they are going to write about. Instead, I have found that more often than not, when working with clients that most people need a little organization. A little planning. This is the step that makes a lot of people nauseous, so pay attention as I eliminate the fear of planning content…
Let’s use this example — if you find a holiday to write about for every month of the year, you will have effortlessly planned 12 articles. Presidents day (January). Valentine’s Day (February). And the list goes on. Now imagine if you write a series of three articles around those holiday tie-in articles. You now have 36 articles! For example, if you write a Christmas series, you can write an article about the upcoming holiday, another right before the holiday, and another after the holiday article.
The rest of your articles can be planned around basic information and problem solving in your niche. So say you have 10 of those. Add another related article to each of those to make an even 20 articles – and now you have organized and planned over 56 article topics for the year. For example, in the depression niche, people always search for the “symptoms of depression”, so you can always write an article on that, plus a related article on what to do if you see those symptoms.
Remember that there are always those random article ideas that come along too. So using this plan as well as allowing topics to naturally occur, you will have more than enough content to build you “fan base”.
Key 3 – ACT QUICKLY
Now that you have made the decision to seriously commit to writing enough content to drive lots of new traffic to your website, and you have taken the initial steps to organize and plan out that content, all that is left for you to do is do it!
Don’t sabotage yourself by talking yourself out of writing today. Sure, you may have a ton of other things to do today, but I sleep better at night knowing that I have taken some type of action step towards driving traffic to my sites. Remember that acquiring new customers will account for about 80% of the work in your online business. All the rest is easy.
Commit to writing an article as soon as you finish reading this one. Publish it to your blog, someone else’s blog, or an article directory like ezinearticles.com. If you need help getting going, I strongly recommend that you take a look at my article marketing training course created specifically for beginners – Articology. I walk you step by step through the article marketing process and beyond.
As an article marketing evangelist and somewhat of a purist, I am still obligated to try any new article marketing automation and/or article marketing service available in order to guide my community to the “best” products and services. I take it very seriously. I join these programs, pay good money (that I could be using on my kids:), all to make sure that my members aren’t being taken for a ride. After several months of using some of the “better” article marketing services — this is what I have found.
The better article submission sites and article marketing sites often offer writers the opportunity to create “unique” versions of their articles in an effort to avoid the dreaded article marketing duplicate content penalty. This is usually the feature of their service that they highlight mostly because it justifies the monthly cost of their programs. Other article submission services that only submit your articles to directories and 3rd party websites, usually charge a lot less.
So these are the problems I have found with this distinct article version feature in most programs…
In essence, you are re-writing your first article, chunk by chunk, using their web-based programs — BUT — it takes a very long time to re-write your article using this system. Time that some of us (maybe not all) could have written our own versions of the original article all on our own. For me, I have found that I can re-write my articles with less aggravation without the program.
These article creation software programs don’t always hit the mark, in fact they quite often miss it. After you’ve spent about 25 minutes creating your various new “article chunks” you’ll be surprised to see just how little the variations are between your articles. Little enough that you may not end up with as many distinctive versions of your articles as you had hoped. My search engine results for articles I had written with a few of these services showed that. There still were “duplicate results” in my Google search for my articles.
And this is my biggest one, when it comes to article marketing automation, where is the accountability? One thing that has always bothered me about all of the article submission and article marketing services that I have tried over the years, is that you never really know where your articles have been submitted. You never get a true picture of your results. And this is why…
Many of the article marketing services out there submit your articles to about 10 relevant sites, and then to hundreds of blogs that they own and rarely update with relevant information. So your articles do get submitted, but to mostly dead man’s land. The untended blog abyss!
Now having said all of that, let me add that many of the services out here designed to do all of your article marketing automation, do what they say. They do submit your articles to more than one publication, and some others even submit distinct versions of those articles, but you must ask yourself — are you willing to pay $27, $37, $67 a month for a service that does this but with all the limitations that I have mentioned above including no tangible way to know where your articles are published?
So this is an open letter to all article marketing automation services: Will you add accountability to your service? Can you show me a list every month of where my articles are published? Can you be a bit more transparent about what relationships you have with other publications, or at least if you are publishing my articles to your own network of blogs – say so.
If you’re up for the challenge, I’m willing to give your service a try, use it for my own business, and recommend it to my community.
Until such time, let the buyer beware…