Monday, March 10, 2008

Inside An Article Marketing Campaign: Progress Report

Way back when I started this blog, I also started an article marketing campaign. I promised to chronicle the results in a post that outlined my plan. A few months and a few dozen articles later--I've been doing this thing pretty slowly--I'm finally ready to talk about my experiences working with each of the article marketing sites I targeted originally.

In my initial plan, I decided to send ten articles to seven article directories. I wound up sending about fifty to four article marketing directories. Here are the three I used, and my thoughts about them.

EzineArticles.com. I have to admit I like EzineArticles. They're easy to use and I like the clear statistics they give you. You can track which articles are generating clicks, which URLs in your Resource Box are attracting more clicks, and which articles are popular with publishers. They syndicate your articles automatically, so you don't have to do anything special to attract attention from publishers. I also like the way my articles show up on the search results for my targeted keywords.

EzineArticles has editors who check your articles before publishing them, so there can be some lag time before you see your articles online. When I started with them, it took about a week--but now I've been seeing my articles up on the site the same day I submitted them. I wouldn't say my exposure through them has been "massive" like the website promises--but I have received a decent amount of traffic through them and it's helped my SEO rankings considerably.

IdeaMarketers. Like EzineArticles, IdeaMarketers lets you look at statistics for your articles. They're not as in-depth, though; you only get to see the amount of views each article has attracted and the number of "syndicated hits" (presumably, the number of people who have seen your articles on their RSS feed). I haven't attracted as many clicks for my articles on IdeaMarketers as I have for EzineArticles, and according to my Google Analytics, I've received next to no traffic from them. That might be because they aren't showing up in search engine results. When I do a quick search for articles on similar topics, the articles I have on this site aren't as easy to find.

Another thing I'm not too crazy about with IdeaMarketers is that they ask you to bid for prime placement on their home page. There's also a funny sort of bidding process to get your articles widely promoted via syndication by bidding for placement there, too--here's the explanation. To be honest, I'm not seeing great results with this service when it's free--so I'm not persuaded it will be better when I pay.

ArticleOnRamp.com. Maybe it's just me, but I found Article Onramp to be a waste of time. I signed up for an account and submitted two articles. For a while, I couldn't log in when I visitd the site--it timed out whenever I clicked on "Author Login." Now, I can log in--but they seem to have lost my username and account. As for the articles I submitted, I can only assume they've been lost in the ether. Oh well.

GoArticles. GoArticles has statistics, but they give you different information. Instead of tracking the amount of traffic and clicks on your URL links, they tell you how many "requests" and "plugs" your articles have received.

Somewhat confusingly, the site tells you that "requests" means the amount of times your email has been either viewed online or requested via email. I can't figure out if an "email request" means that someone requested to publish your article on their site or something else; and GoArticles doesn't distinguish between website views and email requests.

People can vote for your article by clicking a "plug" button that appears next to it on the screen. The website says that the more "plugs" an article has, the higher its "reader rating"; I'm not sure if that means it shows up in a more favorable position when people do on-site searches for your topics, or what. Overall, I haven't received any traffic from GoArticles; and I feel their method of stat reporting is pretty useless.

So far, my favorite has been EzineArticles--hands down. It tells me things I want to know in its statistics--how many people have viewed the articles, published the articles, clicked on the links, and which links they've clicked. I can tell not only which articles are attracting more traffic and appealing to readers, but also which author resource boxes have been the most effective.

When looking at stats, I really don't care how many people put in a "vote" for my article or how high the "reader rating" is; dozens could have liked the article but forgotten to click on the "plug" button, so I don't really think that's an accurate reflection of how well an article is doing. I do care about how much traffic it's drawing, how many people have published it; and how many clicks it's attracting. I also care that it shows up in search engine results, and so far only my EzineArticles pieces have. I'm not sure how much use it is to have articles in different directories only to collect links from different sites--which I'm sure is better than having a bunch of links from only one site. Still, I've focused my efforts on EzineArticles for now--only because I'm getting the best results from it.

8 comments:

John Lockwood said...

Jennifer,

Once again you've put together a really great resource for the rest of us. Thanks. I'll have to check out EzineArticles some time. In my own SEO work, knowing where the good article submission sites are has definitely been a missing piece.

Speaking of resources, I'm starting a "Resources" series on my blog and guess who's the first blogger I added? (I'll give you a hint -- she was the first one to comment a few days ago, and her initials are JW). That article should show up in a day or two.

Graham Strong said...

Great post Jennifer! I'll have to check that one out.

I'm curious though why you didn't try About.com. That was the one I was looking at when I start my own article campaign, mostly because it is the site that comes up most when I'm doing research myself.

~Graham

Jennifer Williamson said...

John: Thanks so much for the support! I've been checking out your blog and like what I see there--and I've added you to my blogroll. Keep up the good work!

Graham: I don't think About.com works like a typical article directory. They hire "guides" to write exclusively on a single topic, like Angora rabbits or tarot cards or something like that. You don't use the site to build links to your own site, but you can get paid for your articles based on the amount of traffic/revenue you generate, which in this case isn't a bad deal because they have a decent monthly minimum payment.

I've looked into becoming a Guide before, but so far they haven't had any categories open that I've wanted to tackle. They also have pretty high standards; they look for people with education, qualifications, and work experience in the field (good research skills don't cut it there). If you're interested, here's more info on being a guide there.

Yuwanda Black said...

Jennifer:

Insightful post. I actually conducted a month-long article marketing experiment back in October-November 2006 covering 25 tip article marketing directories.

I wrote an ebook on it which I give away free to my newsletter subscribers (and will be happy to pass along to you and your readers at no charge).

I concluded the following from my month-long experiment:

I don’t think that article marketing is a way to make a lot of money – directly. However, it is an effective marketing method to bring in long-term sales. How?

Quite simply, by creating name/brand recognition. The more you see someone’s name/message/ article/product, etc., the more comfortable you will feel purchasing from them when you are READY to buy their type of product/service.

Marketing experts estimate that potential customers have to see your name/message/product/service 7 to 28 times before they will contact and/or buy from you. Article marketing is a great way to build this type of visibility.

If you or any of your blog's readers are interested in the ebook, just shoot me an email referencing your blog and I'll be glad to pass it along for free.

I discuss ways to make article directories work for you (eg, submit to the head of the directory instead of subcategories).

Again, insightful post -- and you're dead on.

Yuwanda

John Lockwood said...

Jennifer, thanks so much for the kind words and the blogroll link. You're the cat's pajamas! Speaking of which, here's more slang from the 20s:

http://local.aaca.org/bntc/slang/slang.htm

Jennifer Williamson said...

@Yuwanda: Those are some great points--and I've experienced the same thing. So far I've found an increase in business and traffic, but no direct income from article marketing. I think it's definitely effective for that purpose, but you have to know what you're going to get out of it.

Thank you so much for your ebook offer for my readers! I've announced it on my blog, and I'd love to take a look too if you could send one my way. I'll send over an email shortly.

Sridhar said...

As someone who is new to article marketing I find the information in your blog extremely useful.

Sridhar

Article Marketing said...

Article marketing is a highly effective and usually free way of advertising your website. This is because article marketing gives you back links and the more backlinks you have to your website, the higher your PR will rise in the search engines.