Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Inside an Article Marketing Campaign

Since starting my freelance writing business, I’ve written hundreds of articles for clients’ article marketing campaigns. But I’ve never run a campaign for my own business.

Why? For me, time has been an issue. To be successful, you have to write hundreds of articles—for no or very little initial pay. From a working writer’s perspective, it’s tough to choose a deferred-pay marketing project over paying projects for others.

But I’m ready to take my online marketing efforts to the next level, and article marketing is part of my plan. Not only will running my own campaign bring me added exposure and traffic, it will also make me a better resource for my clients. Hopefully, it will prove to be worth the time.

I believe in setting doable goals. There are marketers who write hundreds of articles for their chosen directory. I’m starting with something more manageable: ten articles for each of seven article directories. These include:

EzineArticles.com. When I do research for client work, content from EzineArticles nearly always comes up. This tells me they are fairly trusted by search engines, and that means links from them will be valuable. Plus, they’ve been around a while, and that tells me my links on their site may be around for a while, too.

ArticleOnRamp.com. They don’t come up for me as often as EzineArticles does, but when I look at marketers’ lists of favorite article sites to submit to, this one is always included. Worth a shot, right?

Constant Content. The upside to Constant Content is that it pays. The downside is that it has small potential as a traffic generator. It’s a website that allows users to buy content from writers. Writers choose the price to sell for, plus the rights they’re willing to offer. But it doesn’t index your articles with search engines, and it won’t allow you to include links to your business. Will it generate any new business or let me sell my articles for a decent price? We’ll see.

Associated Content. This site theoretically provides the best of both worlds: pay and traffic. They pay an up-front fee, plus bonuses based on the amount of traffic your articles attract. According to some initial research I’ve done, the up-front pay is meager: something like $3 to $10, depending on how many views they think you’ll get. But the added bonus might make it worthwhile—and it might attract some traffic my way, too. However, their guidelines warn against “excessive self-promotion” and ask writers not to include a resource box. They aren’t specific about how many self-serving links you can include, so this site may not be as useful for traffic as it could be.

IdeaMarketers. They seem to be a bit more business-focused, which is why I'm giving them a try. It's a free site, but it looks like you have to pay to get on their home page—which makes me wonder if good exposure here has to be bought. I’ll let you know how this one goes.

GoArticles. This site has been around a while, and they also come up frequently for me when I do searches on client topics—all good signs. They let people lift your articles from their site, but they require that the resource box and links be included—which would be great for traffic, but I’m not sure how they police this.

ArticleAlley. They’ve been around since 2004. One of the things I like about Article Alley is that it’s part of a network of article sites, including A1 Articles, Women’s Articles, and Article Heaven. If the editors feel your content is appropriate for one of these partner sites, they’ll post it there, too—complete with links.

I’ll be submitting in the next few months between client work, and I’ll keep updates on my user experience for each site. Hopefully I’ll have good news to report!

Have you had experience with any of these article directories—or have new ones to recommend? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

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