Sunday, October 12, 2014

Some Smart Ways to Use Article Marketing Today

Article marketing is dead.

At least, that is what I keep reading and hearing.

While it is true the article marketing methods that worked in 2010 do not work very well today, does that mean there is NO use for article marketing?

I think article marketing still has value…IF you use it intelligently.

How can you use article marketing to help you or your business today?

Article marketing is different today than it was in its earlier internet “hey day.”

How was article marketing used in the early days of online marketing?

Often, article marketing was used as part of an affiliate marketing strategy.

In earlier days of article marketing, it was common to look for long-tail keywords and surround the entire online marketing campaign around that one keyword phrase.

Maybe we were trying to sell—either directly or as an affiliate for another company—green emerald cabochon jewelry.

We would buy a domain name that matched those words EXACTLY,, and we would do things to create backlinks to that site.  Writing articles about…you guessed it…green emerald cabochon jewelry was one of the most common marketing approaches, and in the early days, that worked much more often than not.  Since we used mostly articles to “market” our website that sold the goods, we called this “article marketing.”

Today, article marketing this way is mostly ineffective.

So if article marketing that other way is largely ineffective today, does article marketing have any purpose today?

How can article marketing be effective within today’s version of the Internet?

Articles still can provide great value for you or your company, but how?

1. Branding Yourself (or Your Company)
2. Answering Questions

It is true that articles do not always rank well within Google, unless you use them in places where they make sense.

1. Branding Yourself (or Your Company)

Branding yourself online takes on many forms, but one of the most important—yet often overlooked—forms is making sure that when people search for you online, they find a lot of stuff about you—GOOD stuff.
Articles help show that you contribute to the community, especially if those articles are really good quality.  If you address things that people looking for the type of product or service you offer want, people will eventually put together that you are an expert…if they keep seeing your name everywhere they go.

There are a few ways to do this.

A. Create a list of articles on your website: This is easy enough to do.  Just write several articles, gather the URLs for each, and list them on a dedicated “Our Articles” section on your website.  Even if people do not read them, the fact you wrote articles helps deliver the message that you offer something to your industry’s community.  This is what leaders do; they share, and you are positioning yourself as someone who shares good stuff…YOUR stuff.

BONUS TIP: It is not required, but it looks better if you list articles from SEVERAL DIFFERENT online locations, even if they are different article directory sites.

B. Point to articles via social media: Many people do this, but they do not do it correctly…at least not effectively.  Posting links to your articles on social media is (usually) only effective IF you also share articles, videos, and other great links from other people.  If you only post YOUR articles, most people will simply see you as an annoying self-promoter who is not really interested in helping others (or them).  However, when you combine YOUR article links with other great material, people get in the habit of looking for your posts—because they know that you offer value, even if that value occasionally comes from your own posts.

C. Include as backlinks within other media: Once you have people reading your articles, you might be able to lead them to read more of them by referencing them within your article.  These backlinks to your other articles might be as naked URLs or as anchor text backlinks.  No matter, just try to find ways to take advantage of the attention you are getting for one link and channel that into attention to another one of your links.  This works really well when you are leading people to other things that want to know.

D. Send your articles to people on your email list: Another way to capture people’s attention is to see whether they are interested in getting more (of—hopefully—the same quality level) material sent DIRECTLY to them via email.  It is true that many of us sign up for things and never get around to reading them later, but even in those cases, they are seeing our names in their email inbox, which increases the size of the footprint of our brand in their minds.

When using articles to brand, we want to deliver things that make people WANT to remember us.

2. Answering Questions

Another way that articles can help you is when you use them to answer questions that people have about your topic, even if they do not know who you are.

It is true that the Internet can be flooded with people answering the basic questions; however, if you answer enough questions, people will run into articles you write and submit online.

A. Identify the most common or pertinent questions: People always want answers, and we use the Internet a lot to try answering our questions.  We might know that what we read only MIGHT be accurate, but it is so convenient, that most of us are willing to take that chance.  (Think of the 80/20 Rule.)  To take advantage of this for yourself, first identify the most COMMON questions people tend to ask. Then ask yourself the other questions that they SHOULD be asking.  Provide answers to these questions, either as a single article or within a list of common or important questions surrounding the topic.  If you write articles that address these, it will not be long afterward before people start to find you online.

B. If available, include links to URLs answering other related questions: If possible, try to include links to the answers to other questions that relate to the article’s topic.  These links can be those naked URLs or tied together within applicable anchor text (making sure the “click-able” text matches the link where you are sending them).  Not only will people find you the first time, but they will continue to see more things from you, helping entrench you as “the expert.”

C. Lead to Call to Action: Besides branding ourselves, ultimately the most important reason we should market ourselves is to drive customers to respond a certain way.  Maybe we need them to buy from us online, give us a call, or do something as simple as leaving their contact information.  In the “About Us” or otherwise known as the Resource Box, we have an opportunity to make that request, especially if our request fits the article they just read.

Because article marketing does not work the same way for search engine optimization (SEO) as it did a few years ago, many people think that article marketing is a waste of time.  However, if they only considered these other benefits, they would realize that articles are still an important part of your online marketing campaign.

Many people think that article marketing is dead.  Do you really want to be one of these people?

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