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Getting Started With Article Marketing: Just Focus on these 3 Big Things…
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I always get excited to hear from folks who are new to the article marketing world who are enthusiastic about diving in and learning everything there is to know. Recently I received this message from a subscriber to our newsletter: 

"Article marketing is something I've been wanting to do for a very long time but didn't have the courage to try till now. Its almost become an obsession since I started searching… it sure is overwhelming… but it wont stop me. I'm determined to get what I want. Any help or advice you can offer will be appreciated."

I love that attitude! 

Yes, I know that when you're undertaking any new endeavor that it can be a bit overwhelming thinking of everything you don't know but need to learn. No matter who we are, we always start out as beginners.

Think about it:

There was a time when Mozart didn't know how to play the piano.

There was a time when Michael Phelps didn't know how to swim.

There was a time when Hemingway didn't know how to write.

There was a time when Van Gogh didn't know how to paint.

We all start as novices whenever we try something new, but that doesn't mean we will always be fumbling around awkwardly. We learn and get better, and things become easier when we get used to the new activity. 

And I promise you–doing Article Marketing is a whole lot easier than becoming a master pianist, swimmer, novelist, or painter!

You can do this! It just takes baby steps and knowing what to focus on at the beginning and what can be saved for later on.

And you don't have to try to figure out all this stuff on your own–I've been article marketing for years and years and have even turned it into a successful business (you know, ;-) ), and I'm more than happy to share advice. 

So what's my advise for those of you who are just getting started?

Rather than trying to understand a billion things all at once, all you need to do is focus on 3 main things when you're doing article marketing:

1) Figure out your keywords.

Now, don't get scared–yes, keywords are an SEO thing, and it sounds all technical, but I promise it's not. You do not need any sort of technical or coding or web master knowledge in order to figure out your keywords. It's very simple.

Let's start at the beginning: What are keywords?

Keywords help Google determine what a web page is about.

Why does Google want to know what a web page is about?

Because Google and the other search engines are in the business of providing accurate listings of results to their customers who type their queries into the search box. 

The better  the search engines are able to classify what a web page is about, the more useful results they are able to provide for their search customers.

Google's ultimate goal is that when a search customer types in a search term (from the website owner's side we would think of this search term as a 'keyword' or 'keyword phrase'), that Google would then return a list of web pages that would provide the information that the customer was looking for, ranking the web pages with the highest likelihood of satisfying the searcher at the top of the list.

So, let's say that you are in the airline business and you decide that your keywords are "inexpensive air fares". You create your website to reflect that term (writing content on that topic) and you submit articles on that topic as well.

When Google looks at your web pages with this content on "inexpensive air fares", it's like Google is making a mental note and saying, "Whenever someone types in a search for "inexpensive air fares", let's remember to put this web page in the results."

Where the web page would be ranked in the results–at the top, bottom or in the middle of the list– is determined by other factors, such as how much competition there is using that keyword phrase and how popular the web page is (how many backlinks it has).

Now, with this information you might say, "I'm all set–I have my keyword phrase of 'inexpensive air fares', and Google knows to associate my website (or articles) with that keyword phrase. Anyone who types in that phrase will see my site (or article pages) in the results listings. Bring on the traffic!"

There is only one problem with this scenario–What makes you think that your target customers are using language like "inexpensive air fares" when they're doing searches in Google?

As website owners, we know what we would type into Google to reach a site like ours, but that doesn't mean that we know what kind of language our target market is using.

The fact of the matter is that most of our fictional website owner's target market would be typing in the search terms "cheap flights" rather than "inexpensive air fares".

That means that every time a person types in "cheap flights" the website owner who has targeted the term "inexpensive air fares" is missing out!

The moral of the story is:

We must be sure that the keywords that we're using are also being used by our target market.

How do we know which keywords our target customers are using to reach websites like ours?

By doing keyword research…

Doing keyword research is fun, potentially addictive, and surprisingly not hard at all. 

There are many useful tools on the internet that were created to help you determine what your best keywords are. My favorite is WordTracker (that link leads to their free keyword suggestion tool, but they also have a paid service that provides much more info)

Please see the following resources for more detailed info on keywords:

What are keywords? 

How do I get started doing keyword research? 

So, what do I do with my keywords once I find them?

When you determine your keywords you will use them in the creation of your website and when you're doing your article submissions.

For your article submissions, you would write articles around the topic of your keywords (rather than something totally off topic).

Just do the best you can–I know that this is where the "keyword confusion" often comes in, but what I always tell folks is that instead of trying to figure out how to do everything around your keywords, just write on the topic of your website keeping in mind the type of language that your target market uses, and your keywords should naturally pop up in the body of the article.

Then, in your HTML resource box,hyperlink your keyword phrases there. Also, if you are able to work your keywords into your title in a natural way that still allows you to have a compelling title, then do that to (don’t have to do that all the time, just when you can).

For myself, I know what my keywords are, but I don’t really write articles trying to force the keywords in there. I write articles that I think would be interesting to my target market, and variations of my keywords naturally pop up in my article. I also use my keywords in my HTML resource box and in the spot in the article submission page that asks for my keywords.

Do try to figure out your keywords, and enjoy playing with them and doing experiments.

Don't overthink things and become obsessed with the keywords–remember that you are writing for a human audience, so the object is to write articles that would be useful to your target market, while keeping in mind the type of language that your target market uses (and that way your keywords and their variations will naturally pop up in your articles). 

2) Write educational articles on the topic of your website.

Here are some guidelines for you:

  • Watch your word count. The article should be between 400-1500 words, but if at all possible try to hit the word count sweet spot of 700-800 words, as that length of article is most attractive to publishers and will fit nicely in an ezine.
  • Do not write about your own products, website, business, or affiliate products. In the article marketing world, articles that mention your own products, business, website or affiliate products in the article body are called "promotional" or "self-serving", and they are off limits! Remember, the article is for the benefit of the reader, rather than for yourself. You should not toot your own horn in the article body–the appropriate spot to talk about your business and website is your author resource box, which sits below your article (more on that later).
  • Focus on teaching your readers something–that is what makes the articles educational. Think of yourself as a teacher rather than a sales person–a teacher wants to impart objective information, while we all know what a sales person wants to do–sell! Save the sales pitch for your resource box. The cool thing with article marketing is that the educational articles you create can drive traffic to your website and increase sales.
  • Try to write 'How To' articles–Those are articles that give the reader step-by-step instructions on how to do something (and this would be something associated with the topic of your website). I would say 99.9% of my articles are of the 'How To' variety–it's all about teaching, and if you can teach in a step-by-step way it makes it easier for readers to read and also for you to write. 

3) Wisely craft your resource box.

You thought you were finished when you completed your article, didn't you? Nope, you've got one more important thing to attend to–your resource box!

The author resource box is the author bio that sits below your article.

Why is this box so important?

While your articles should always be educational and never talk about your own business or website, your resource box can and should contain that sort of information.

These are the bits of info you should include in every one of your resource boxes:

  •  Your author name. Yes, you need to include your name in your resource box. True, many sites will have an area where they list your author name separately, but not all sites are like that. Each publisher is responsible for reprinting your resource box exactly as you entered it, but they are not required to add a separate place to show your author name. What if your article gets picked up by a blog or ezine or website that doesn't allow for a separate author name to be listed? If you include your author name in your resource box, everything is peachy. If you don't include your name in there, then it's likely that you'll have articles floating around the internet that are not attributed to you. You want every article to have your name associated with it since that helps build your reputation as an expert in your niche. So, always include your name in your resource box!
  • A little bio info. Why should the reader regard you as an expert in this topic? Give them some reason to have confidence in the information you've provided in your article. Tell a little of your background and why you're an expert or qualified to teach on this topic. 
  • A reason to click through to the website. Someone just read your article because he/she was looking for information on your topic–do you have any more tips or advice for them back at your website? Do you have any reason why they should click the link in your resource box? If you don't, please check out these 7 effective resource box lures to draw traffic from your article into your website.  
  • A link to your website. Duh, right? This is the key to everything–it's that link in your resource box that will drive traffic to your site in both directly and indirectly. Directly: When someone reads your article they can click the link in your resource box and be taken straight to your website. Indirectly: By building links to your website, you send Google a message that your site is becoming an authority site, which will affect your search engine rankings for your keywords. When you insert your link, be absolutely sure that you've entered it correctly. Here are 5 safeguards to be sure that your links work.
  • And also, be sure that your resource box is of an appropriate length (up to 450 characters including spaces)

So, there you have it–when you're first starting to do article marketing there are 3 main things that you need to concentrate on: 

Determining your keywords, writing educational articles on the topic of your website, and having a complete resource box.

Just focus on those 3 things, and then dive in!  

Photo Credit: Piano man Originally uploaded by Xabier.M

Related resources:

5 Things To Do Before You Start Article Marketing 

NOTE: Please be aware this content may now be outdated. For the latest quality content on how to build massive publicity for your website, please go to The vWriter Blog - Helping Businesses Grow Traffic, Build Engagement, and "Be Everywhere"

5 Responses to “Getting Started With Article Marketing: Just Focus on these 3 Big Things…”

  1. Great advice on article marketing

  2. Dave Robus says:

    Every time I receive one of your emails about ways to do article marketing I devour it with interest. Having started just 2 or 3 months ago I feel that you are teaching me a fantastic amount. It is very true that at first everything seemed daunting/ almost impossible even. Now I sometimes look forward to getting my articles finished as expertly as possible, just so I can make a start on the next topic in my mind.
    Dave Robus

  3. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Dave,

    That is great to hear–it really is fun to write the articles once you get the hang of it, and enjoying the writing process makes things so much easier. It can even get a little addictive, but that’s not a bad thing! :-)

  4. Paul Legge says:

    Article marketing is one of the top methods for drivig targeted traffic to ones sites and getting backlinks too. It does have to be done right and your information is very helpful getting people on track and pointed in the right direction. Here’s a new article directory with a twist that should be of interest to anyone who uses article marketing and submits to article directories. Check it out and let me know what you think.

    Rockford, IL

  5. Ricardo A. says:

    Another terrific article!

    I appreciate the way you make something that seems complicated (at least for me) into something that’s simple and easy to understand.

    In reading articles about article marketing, there seems to be no end to the tips that make them effective. I’m sure they’re all helpful, but more often than not, I get lost in the forest of details.

    Your article helps me get a perspective and overview of what’s essential. And for that, I’m grateful.


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