Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Using Articles to Market Books

Surely I could get more mileage out of my articles. I typically put them in the members' sections of my two sites, post them on my blogs, and use them in my newsletters. But after I've spent so much time researching and crafting an article, shouldn't I take a few more minutes to get the article out there somewhere, providing incoming links from the far corners of the Web and helping my Google rankings with key words? That's precisely what a lot of marketing experts suggest.

According to web marketing guru Ralph F. Wilson, "Those who find success with article marketing don't just write one article, they write and submit one a week -- or two or three. Done well, article marketing works very well." (From How to Support Your Site through Article Marketing.)

Here are some suggestions I've run across on submitting articles to free article sites, where people read articles and follow links back to my sites, or where blog owners and journalists find articles to put in their blogs and e-zines.

1. Submit only to about five top article directories and some niche sites. Don't use software to submit to hundreds of directories. Google will see that as spam and penalize your search engine position. Few people go to the lesser directories anyway. Look for the current top directories, as ranked by Alexa and Google. Here are five of the top article directories. I checked their Alexa ranks today (lower numbers are better): - Alexa Rank: 132 - Alexa Rank: 424 - Alexa Rank: 518 - Alexa Rank: 1609 - Alexa Rank: 2965 - Alexa Rank: 5800

2. Write short articles: typically between 400 and 750 words. (See what each article directory recommends.)

3. Hyperlink to your site and/or book (see how many links the site allows) in your signature (not the body of the article.) Hyperlink from key phrases you're targeting, not just the url. Search engines rank hyperlinked phrases higher.

4. Format it allowing plenty of white space, using devices like headings, subheadings, bullet points and bold for key words/phrases.

5. Choose your key words carefully. I like to find them here: . Use them in your title and your first sentence. But don't use them too much. Google's algorithm also accounts for synonyms. And your chances of getting ranked highly for a mega-searched term like "Money" are slim. (Everybody's trying to capture them.) So consider choosing some words that still get a lot of searches, but aren't out of your league.

6. Write quality, timely articles.

7. Write a title that intrigues, accurately sums up the article, and contains your key words. (Good luck!)

8. Additionally, send the article to e-zine editors' Websites in the field of your topic.

Lingering Questions:

1. Would it be better to target certain major publications? Even if I got only one article in the MSN Network or a major magazine, wouldn't that link likely draw more traffic than 1000 links from article databases?

I suppose that once I submit an article to one of these free sites, many magazines will no longer want it, since they may want rights to publish it for the first time. So, if I think an article might be appropriate for a magazine with a large circulation, would I do better to submit it there first and wait until later for the free sites? Or, are the odds so slim in getting into the major magazine (and the corresponding site) that I'd do just as well submitting to free sites?

Looks like I need to read several authoritative articles on submitting articles to magazines to better estimate the odds on this tactic.

2. Is it okay to submit to all these places (including top blogs and sites) at once, or do some want first rights?

3. Let's think long-term.
Let's say I concentrate on more traditional magazine/ezine publishing for my better articles. So I get some published in magazines with medium circulation and then some with larger circulations. Isn't it possible that, in a few years, my resume could include "Has written for People Magazine and AARP?" Wouldn't that be better for my long-term career, than just saying, "I put up 1000 articles on free article sites and got them put in a bunch of blogs?"

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