Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Your template for success

Free article marketing is a great way to build attention to your business. You write free articles for distribution on any number of internet directories. People choose your articles from those directories as free content on their websites. You and your business gain from exposure over the world-wide-web. So, how do you do it?

Writing free articles is relatively easy, if you follow some simple rules. Here is a template to help get you started.

1. Carefully read your free content directories guidelines before and after you write your article to ensure you are following the rules.

2. Consider what keywords internet users will use to find articles like yours. This is very important as you will be using them a lot in your article.

3. In writing your headline, follow this formula: “Keyword: Why reader should read this”. This text to the right of the colon could be written in various ways: a list (Seven reasons to hire a financial planner); dos and don’ts (Do’s and Don’ts to planning your vacation); or ask a question (Do you know this secret to financial freedom?). These are all great ways to tease the reader into your article. Try to use the words “you or your” in the headline also.

4. Always start your article with your keyword or a close variation of it. This will increase your article’s ranking in the various search engines. Also, be sure the opening paragraph (or the lead) reflects what you wrote in your headline. Like the headline, the lead should follow this formula: Keyword. What the reader will the reader learn about the keyword from reading your article and why it’s important to them.

5. The rest of the article should flesh out the opening paragraph. By following your headline, the body of the article could take a variety of forms: The numbered list and dos and don’ts are probably the easiest, both for you the writer and for the reader. Remember the reader is busy and just wants to get your information quickly and easily

6. In the text, be sure to use your opening keyword several times, along with several related keywords, if they flow naturally into the article. Not only is this useful to keep your writing focused. The use of many keywords is also essential for search term optimization, which is how web content is ranked on various search engines.

A search engine uses a web crawler to determine how much quality content is used. Using many keywords alerts the crawler that your article has a lot of useful information. However, don’t just load the article with keywords and not say anything. Your article must be useful to be effective in your article marketing campaign.

7. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. As a general rule, readers are lazy. Believe it or not, a long paragraph can be daunting and your reader may just skip past it, missing valuable information.

8. Be sure to include at least one link to your website within the article and perhaps links to other useful websites. Again, it assists in search engine optimization: An article is ranked more highly if it links to one or more other sites with useful information. When linking to your own site, it is better if your article links to a page with more information about the subject (such as another article), rather than just your business’ home page, but either is helpful.

9. Finally, be sure there is another link to your website in your bio box. It is the whole reason you wrote this article in the first place: to drive people to your website. Your bio box should also contain your name, your area of expertise and contact information. It should also list a reason for readers to click the link to your website: For example, “Bob Smith is a business owner and expert in the field of kumquat research. Visit bobsmithsite.com for a special report on how kumquats benefit your health.”

By following these simple rules, your free article will get and keep your reader’s interest and entice them to visit your website. They are simple ways to get article marketing to work for you and your business.

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