Marketing through articles

Articles are relatively easy to produce and can have a huge positive impact on your visibility within your marketplace.  An article will typically be around 700-800 words in length, although some people will write longer articles, some up to 1200 words.  There is not a right or a wrong article length, the key factor is that the article must provide information of value to the reader.

To deliver this value, you must know exactly who your target readers are, what their interest is in the subject of your article and what action you want them to take after reading your article.

Knowing your audience and their interests is basic marketing fundamentals.  Your articles will need to be somewhat generic but your target readers must be able to relate to the content and learn something from them.

The action you want readers to take after reading each article will depend on the nature of your business.  In most instances, you will want to reader to visit your website and review the other material you have available.  You will want them to browse your range of products / services and gain sufficient confidence that they might consider buying something from you in the future.

You must design your website to give opportunities for visitors to sign up to receive more information, perhaps a regular eZine or an eBook.  Whatever the offer, your aim is to capture their email address and their permission to send you further emails / information.  Your aim here is to keep your brand in their mind, by sending regular messages.  These should never be a blatant sales pitch but contain useful information that readers can benefit from.

Articles can be incorporated into your eZines so you can deliver useful information in each issue of the eZine.  Once you have written several articles on a given topic, you might be able to combine 10-12 of them into a simple eBook which requires only a little additional effort to complete.

At the bottom of each article should be a “bio-box” which gives some basic information about you, the author, your contact details and a call to action (to visit the website).  Keep the bio-box simple and the amount of information down to a minimum.  Ensure readers know that full information on the topic being covered can be found via your website.

Every article you write should be posted on your own website.  Over time you will build a significant archive of useful information that your prospects will find of value.  It keeps them browsing, it enhances your reputation and improves the chances of them making a trial purchase.  They will want to experience the benefits of your products/services as they learn how you have helped your other clients and begin to perceive you as an industry expert.

If you haven’t yet got a regular eZine, ensure you send your new articles to your clients as they are produced.  Send it via email and use it to reinforce your client relationships.  If they can gain something of value from each article you send, they will begin to look forward to receiving your next email.  As a direct consequence, you will stand out from your competitors in a positive way and this will make it much harder for them to persuade your clients to switch supplier (i.e. from you to them).

Broaden your visibility by submitting your articles to sharing portals such as www.ezinearticles.com where others can read and use your articles in their own marketing materials.  Your articles might appear on other websites and in other eZines, visible to a wider audience.  By allowing others to use your articles in these ways, you maximise your visibility across the internet.  The bio-box at the bottom of each article gives your contact details (and website address) so interested people can get in touch with you if they wish or visit your website to learn more.

Another powerful way to expand awareness of you and your business is to persuade other eZine producers to publish one (or more) of your articles in their eZine.  As a guest contributor, there is absolutely no work for you to do in return for getting visibility to a new group of people.  Some of these might prove to be interested in your products/services.

When you explore this path, it is important to try to find other eZine producers who are communicating with people who are likely to be interested in your products/services.  There is no point gaining visibility with an audience who are never likely to buy your products/services.  This is just a waste of time.  A bit of research initially will pay dividends later.

Sometimes, you will be visible to some “non-buyers” without you even being aware.  For example, when another eZine owner picks up one of your articles from an article sharing portal and uses it in their eZine.  Provided you don’t invest any time in the process, you have lost nothing.

ACTION IDEAS

  1. If you plan to produce many articles (and you should), it is important to produce them with a consistent look & feel.  Make sure if people print 2 or 3 of your articles they will look similar.  Develop a bio-box with your credentials and contact details and use it at the bottom of every article.
  2. Post articles on your website as well as on other article sharing sites to get maximum visibility for you and your small business.
  3. Find and engage with other eZine producers who are trying to reach the same audience as you.  Consider joint marketing initiatives so you can share the costs.
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