Article Marketing: The Basics (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of a blog post on the basics of article marketing. You can read Part 1 on “Getting Started” here.

The Article

Patience may be a virtue but generally not when it comes to internet users. In the age of instant access, reams and reams of text can be off-putting. Although longer pages of content are suited to websites for search engine optimization purposes, for article marketing shorter chunks of text are often the most successful. Unless the piece you are penning is a detailed review or white paper, keep the article body short – around 300-400 words.

Keep in mind that there are thousands upon thousands of new articles added each day to the web’s article marketing directories, so the first thing you’ll need to do is create a title that sells the article without being too witty. Plays on words are not suited to article marketing as they can make the article difficult to find by users searching on specific keywords.

As with any text, the first paragraph must grab the attention of the reader. With a short attention span and competition from so many other articles, a ‘hook’ can grip the reader and ensure they read to the end of the piece. A hook can be something as simple as a question that gets the reader thinking, a statement that makes them curious to know more, an outlandish claim that you can prove to be true / false in the body of the text or a shocking statistic. Tricks such as these are used by the most successful writers to engage the interest of the reader right at the start and will ensure that your audience sticks with you rather than hitting the back button and returning to the article directory to find something more interesting to read.

Putting the most salient points at the start of the article will ensure that interest levels are retained and convey the essence of the piece to those who are pushed for time and can’t read the whole thing in one go.

The formatting of your article is also important as you want to encourage an enjoyable and useful experience. That way, your article is more likely to get picked up and republished on other sites, helping to build more links and giving further exposure to your business and services. Correct formatting can give the popularity of an article a push by presenting a professional image and allowing readers to scan through the page quickly. Not all article marketing directories have advanced content formatting systems available to posters, so stick to basic formatting rather than trying to incorporate lots of images, colors and fonts. Simple techniques such as using bold or italic formatting for mini headers or picking out key phrases in bold will be sufficient.

Most article directory sites will also limit the number of hyperlinks allowed in the text, so include one on your most important keyword and then a second to your web address in the ‘About the Author’ section. Anyone wanting to read more or find out more can then do so directly.

The Bio

When you first register with an article marketing directory you’ll often be asked to fill in a profile including an ‘About the Author’ section. Don’t be tempted to skip over this as your author profile helps to establish credibility. Keep it short and sweet – number of years experience in the field, job role, industry accreditations and a link to your web site for more information will suffice.

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Now that you have learned a little about the basics of article marketing, stay tuned tomorrow for Rebecca’s post on “11 Article Marketing Sites for 2011″ that will help you decide which sites are the best targets for your efforts.

About the Author

Rebecca is the managing director of search engine optimization agency Dakota Digital a full-service agency offering SEO, online PR, web copywriting, media relationship management, and social media strategy. Rebecca works directly with each client to increase online visibility, brand profile, and search engine rankings. She has headed a number of international campaigns for large brands.

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