The internet is the perfect platform for a business, no matter how big or small it might be.
Alas, there also lies the problem because if you find yourself in a large group where everybody is trying to get everybody else’s attention, you must rise above the rest to be seen and heard.
Article marketing is one way that allows you to do that.
In case you are not familiar with this form of marketing, when you practice article marketing, you write high-quality content for other websites or print media that are useful or interesting to your niche.
What you write links back to your own business, of course, which means customers do not have to stumble to your doors, they are mainly led through.
Effective article marketing comes with some advantages.
- You get to share your expertise and others might notice your business as a result.
- Especially if you have a small business, you instantly appear more legitimate if somebody else allows you to publish content on their platform
. Unlikeother types of advertisements, it is free (and you could even get paid).
Of course, article marketing also has its drawbacks. Not only does it take time writing original content, but you also cannot force other websites to display it indefinitely or at all.
Then there are the readers: they might love the article you have written…but that doesn’t mean they will then choose your business.
And, as above, the content you write must be both high quality and useful; otherwise, search engines might not promote your website, and the benefit of article marketing is lost. But how do you go about that?
Even if you feel that you aren’t good at writing, there is hope. Writing is a skill – like all skills few people are good at it from the outset, but everybody improves with practice.
If you feel that article marketing has the potential to give your business a boost, but you have never written then write for your own website to start with.
Ask your friends to give their opinion about what they think about the content before you publish and look at your customer’s reactions to your writing as well.
Keep going and build up a catalog of written work. It is a lot easier convincing somebody else to publish your work when they see that you write for yourself.
The Secrets of Strong Writing
You will know from your own reading that not all texts are created equal. There are plenty of other people out there who are already doing what you are thinking of doing.
At times you read a text online, and it screams advert at you from the introduction, sometimes it is only at the end that you recognize an article as marketing.
Here’s what to bear in mind when writing:
- Provide a solution
- Your customers go online because they are trying to answer a question (“I didn’t like that my last vacuum cleaner did X, how do I find one that doesn’t do that but does Y instead?”).
- Your article will start off asking the same question (“Have you ever noticed how some vacuum cleaners do X?”).
- Answer the question (“If you want to move away from that annoying X, I can recommend the following models to you.”)
- Keep it short and easy to read
- Writing long texts, cramming in as much detail as possible, is a common mistake amongst inexperienced writers. They think an expert must put every aspect down on paper to be recognized as one, but in fact, the opposite is true. Readers don’t want to acquire detail that isn’t necessary for them. Putting down fewer words but making sure all of them are relevant will improve the quality of your writing.
- Similarly, putting jargon or complex words in your text doesn’t appeal to readers. Simple language is easier to follow.
- Also, bear in mind that you are not writing a novel. Your readers have a question, and therefore they want you to get to the point.
- Keep it personal
- In school, we were taught to write generically, but this is not what you are going for here. Address the reader as “you” so that they feel you are talking to them.
- A conversational style is engaging and makes you appear approachable.
Now that you know how to write the articles, it seems straightforward just adding them into your blog. Some businesses keep their blogs completely separate from their main website, but this is not recommended.
But even if your main website has a blog section, make sure it ties in with the rest. It is a lot easier on the eye if your blog follows the same layout and style as the rest of the website.
Depending on what your business is selling, confining your articles to your blog might not be the most ideal way of displaying the content.
Sticking with the examples of the vacuum cleaners from above, for example, if I come to your website, your article headline and a quick summary could be displayed on your product page.
This way, if I needed to get the article up as a reference while browsing the vacuum cleaners, I could without having to go to your blog section.
Also, make sure that you include links to the products and services you are selling as well as other sections (like product categories) in the actual text.
This way customers can easily navigate away from the text to the product or the category without having to search your shop first.
An article will not be picked up by many people if you don’t announce its arrival to the world! Effective article marketing will always go hand in hand with your social media strategy.
You can share links to your article on the likes of Twitter or Facebook but also in email newsletters so that customers who are already interested in your shop are aware there is something new to read.
Be sure to put up social media buttons on your website so that your readers can share them as well.
A Note on SEO
When you advertise online, the term search engine optimization (or SEO) probably rings a bell. Your articles are going to get picked up by search engines when they include the keywords your customers are searching for.
Somebody typing in “vacuum cleaner does X,” for example, will come across the article you have written starting with the sentence “Have you ever noticed how some vacuum cleaners do X?”.
While it indeed is a good idea to research what keywords customers are entering into Google, littering your text with keywords is not a great idea.
Effective article marketing will bear search engines in mind and make sure that a few keywords and key phrases are included in your content, but these will not stand out like a sore thumb.
Instead, they will be integrated naturally into the text so that the reader won’t pick up on them being keywords.
You should also prioritize the reader over Google – one keyword after another is useless if it drops the quality of the article down so much that nobody finished it.
Article marketing has, as you will have seen, it’s pros and cons. It certainly isn’t the fastest way of advertisement, and it requires you to put some serious effort into.
However, it is a form of advertising that customers appreciate more than others.