Top Tips For Starting & Running Your Article Marketing Campaigns – Part 1 of 2
Article marketing is one of the single best ways to promote your business. Through article marketing you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry, build credibility, widen your online footprint (both for you and for your brand), boost your websites organic rankings in search engines, create backlinks, and therefore drive people who are looking for your expertise to your website where they can ultimately be converted into customers.
This article is dedicated to helping you get your article marketing campaigns going. This is part 1 of a 2 part series and includes:
1) Top writing and scheduling tips; and
2) Top workflow tips.
Part 2 includes:
1) Top article directory tips;
2) Top article software tips; and
3) Top article marketing bonus tips, so look for that in the next 2 weeks.
TOP ARTICLE WRITING & SCHEDULING TIPS
The subject matter of writing articles is a very broad area and deserves its own article series. For the purposes of this particular article, I’m going to focus on a few things you should keep in mind that will help you with the writing of your articles, and the amount of time you should spend on different article marketing tasks.
1. Titles should be succinct and descriptive. This isn’t a workflow tip but it will sure help get your article read.
2. Make sure your articles are a minimum of 500 words. Anything less and your articles won’t be accepted by most of the top article directories.
3. You are writing articles, not books. Don’t waste days writing an article because you think you have to say everything at once. You really don’t. After all, as much of your time as possible should be spent running your business, not article writing.
What you do want to do is focus on writing clear, insightful articles that range between 500 and 1,000 words (for beginners). As you get more comfortable with your process you’ll also get more efficient, and therefore paying attention to the length of your articles will be less of an issue. You’ll start naturally focusing on quality, and quantity (i.e. length) will take care of itself.
4. As you get more experienced with writing your articles you’ll be able to do more in less time. In the meantime, here are some timetable guidelines to follow when just getting started:
- Spend roughly 15 – 20 minutes brainstorming article topics: Pick a topic and stick with it but keep a list of other topics that come to mind in a notebook for use at a later date;
- Spend roughly 15 – 20 minutes drafting your outline: It’s good practice to create an outline to help keep your focus;
- Spend roughly 1 hour writing the first draft of your article: Don’t be afraid to spend a little more time, or to spread it out over a day or two, just don’t let it take over your life;
- Spend roughly 30 minutes re-reading and revising your article: As long as it’s clear and focused, it’s good enough;
- Lastly, spend roughly 1 hour submitting your article to directories: This depends of course on the number of directories you’re submitting to, and your first go-round will take more time because you’ll also be finishing your profiles – see ‘Top Workflow Tips’ #4 below for more on profiles;
As you tighten up your workflow you’ll find you’re spending less time on each phase and eventually completing all steps in just a few hours.
5. Write a short summary, maximum 200 words, which can be included at the top of your article. Some article directories require a summary at the top of the article so including one as a matter of workflow, or at least having one ready to cut-and-paste as required, is a good habit to get into.
TOP WORKFLOW TIPS
The process of submitting your articles is time consuming no matter how you slice it but you can build some efficiency into your workflow. Here are the top tips for creating an efficient workflow for the submission process.
1. Create a media-rich and a text-only version of your article.
Not all, but most, article directories will only accept text-only articles. This means none of the things that help boost the readability of an article such as images, links, or video are allowed, which is ironic, but that’s life. As such, create a text-only version in a program like NotePad, Microsoft Word (save-as.txt), or NoteTab, and cut-and-paste your articles into the directories from these sources during submission. Don’t cut-and-paste from a non-text MS Word document, website, or blog post because you’ll generally bring whole lot of HTML code along with it which you’ll just have to clean out before the directory accepts the submission (if you are familiar with basic HTML then in many directories you’ll have a chance to add basic tags during the submission process).
You’ll also want to create a media-rich version as well because many directories and social networks will allow this type of content, so definitely take advantage of that. Your readers will thank you for adding these interactive or visually stimulating enhancements to your articles but a note of caution, don’t add media just for the sake of media. As always, it should be appropriate and enhance your subject matter.
My suggestion is to write your text-only version first, then add media enhancements after if possible. Be sure to save both versions separately. It’s often enough to save your media-rich version as your own blog post but you should also have backup copies of your articles for quick reference on your computers hard drive.
2. Create a ‘pen name,’ ‘biography,’ or ‘resource box’ ahead of time in a text-only format so you can quickly cut-and-paste it into your profile on every article directory you submit to.
For every directory you submit to you’ll have the option to create a brief biography about yourself (in its simplest form, this is a pen name). This is also referred to as a ‘resource box’ but note that a biography and a resource box are not always one in the same. Some directories may in fact allow for both a bio and a resource box – more about that below). In any case, write yours ahead of time so you can quickly cut-and-paste into your article directory profiles.
In your resource box include a description about who you are, what you do, what your company is all about, and links to your key resources (e.g. website, blog, e-book, email, etc.). Most directories will only allow 2 active links so use them wisely.
Prepare at least 2 bios, one short-bio, 200 characters (characters, not words) or less, and one long-bio in the 500 character range. Some directories will keep your bio limited to 200 characters or less, and won’t allow you to include any links, while others are more flexible. Have both ready to go.
Also, keep in mind that some directories allow for a more in-depth resource box (unlimited characters) so take advantage of that but keep it relevant (no one cares what high-school you went to). Include additional details about your history, expertise, business focus, and how you help your customers, as well as links to any relevant destinations such as your website or blog. Save all your bios and resource boxes in a text-only format for quick reference.
One other thing, some directories call for a pen name, or in fact, only use a pen name. Use your real name, not an alias. People want to hear from other people, not a brand. Even if you use a ghost-writer, submit under your name.
3. Include (i.e. append) your short-bio as part your article itself, even if there is the option for a resource box. This is particularly important for directories that only use pen names.
4. Complete all directory profiles when you first create your account in a new article directory.
The first time you submit an article is the best time to complete your profile so you don’t have to worry about leaving profiles incomplete. Completing your profile allows people to learn more about you and contact you if they wish, all of which makes you more credible.
This will be a time consuming step but you only have to do it once for each directory plus, since you’ve already created your short and long-bios you won’t have to recreate them for each directory.