When I first got started in Internet Marketing, I ran across a lot of discussion about “article marketing.” Article Marketing is often confused with “bum marketing,” but they are not really the same thing. It all seems so obvious to me now, but I remember having a hard time getting a clear description of article marketing. So, I'd like to offer you what I consider the key ideas behind article marketing. If you want to know more about article marketing, I am going to point you to my five favorite resources at the end (which are great, but not required to become an article marketing guru).
So, what is Article Marketing?
Article marketing refers to a traffic generation method that depends on submitting informative “articles” to sites called “article directories.” These articles generally consist of an article body that has generally useful information, and an article resource box that contains links back to the author's site. This technique is sometimes mistakenly called “Bum Marketing.” Actually, as pointed out by Josh Spaulding, Article Marketing is one of the tools that Bum Marketers use (so named since it is so easy even a bum could do it.)
Good article directories have great traffic and strong Google page rank, so publishing your information there increases the chance that people will see and read what you have to say. Additionally, article directories allow people to copy and republish their articles, provided the article is unchanged and the resource box is preserved. This means that your article with your links could end up on multiple sites with lots of exposure.
There are literally hundreds of article directories, the most famous of which is eZineArticles. (As an example, you can see one of my articles about Viral Marketing.) The fact that there are hundreds of article directories opens up the possibility of submitting your article to many directories and multiplying your exposure. (There can be downsides to this, however, as we will discuss below).
Two Sources of Traffic
The beauty of article marketing is the possibility of two complementary sources of traffic. This is a key point that is often not understood. When you initially submit your articles, if they are well written, you should expect that they will be spread and read. If you write an effective resource box, those same readers will want more information and click the links in the box.
This simple idea generates immediate traffic to your site. Eventually, as the article ages, it may fall lower in the article directory as it gets buried by newer articles on the same topic. This usually means that click-through traffic from articles will fall off as a function of time. Sometimes articles go viral and the clicks keep coming, but this is not usually the case.
Not to worry. Now your article has spread around the net with links to your site at the bottom. Google sees these (correctly) as backlinks to your site. Done properly, these backlinks can help you rank for the pages that the links are pointing to. So, while your direct click-through traffic is falling off, your organic search engine traffic will increase. Pretty cool, eh?
A word about content and keywords
There are lots of things to think about when you are writing articles for article marketing. Most importantly, you need to have a keyword strategy for the content on your site and the content in your article. It may not make sense to directly compete with your own website, for example. Rather, you may want to choose keywords for your articles that complement the content on your site.
For example, if you have a site on “blue soap,” you may want to write an article on “green soap” knowing that people interested in green soap will also be interested in blue soap. You need to think about this carefully.
Earlier, I mentioned that you could submit the same article to multiple directories. You can, and I do. But you need a strategy for that as well to balance the effectiveness of the submission against the impact of duplicate content. Google expects syndicated content to be duplicated, but there are still tradeoffs that need to be considered (beyond the scope of this brief article).
Article Marketing Resources
As promised, here are five resources that I actually use for article marketing. I have purchased these tools myself. Don't misunderstand me: you can be successful in article marketing without any tools. These are the tools that I personally use to improve the quality and productivity of my article marketing efforts.
- Article Marketing Domination. This is an excellent eBook by article marketing guru Josh Spaulding. This eBook covers all of the details that i have glossed over above, and is a complete reference. You can do article marketing without knowing all the details, but you will get lot better results if you have all the facts. Most things in life are like this.
- Article Post Robot. A tool for submitting articles to multiple sites. It is really tedious and boring to submit the same article to 50 article directories. Article Post Robot automated this process. This is not the most elegant tool on the planet, but it works very well for me on over 50 article directories (the software supports many more).
- Instant Article Wizard Pro. IAW Pro is an amazing tool for article research. I just learned about this tool this week, and have used it a few times with incredible results. Basically it searches the web for research on your keywords and mashes the pieces together in reasonable sounding paragraphs. Cuts article writing time down by a factor of ten or more in my experience. Even if you have no intention of buying this thing, you have got to see the video.
- Micro Niche Finder. One of the most important parts of Article Marketing (not really covered well in this article) is keyword selection. I use Micro Niche Finder for all my keyword research.
- Josh Spaulding. OK — he is not a resource, actually. He is a person – a really nice one. Josh is my “go to guy” and mentor for Article Marketing, and the author of Article Marketing Domination.
The Bottom Line on Article Marketing
Article marketing is a great way to promote your website, affiliate products or affiliate program. By writing an article that delivers value and offers a subtle mention of your affiliate product or critical keywords, you're well on your way to getting the proper exposure for your promotion (whatever it is). Simply put, Article Marketing is a great way to promote your business online.