It’s funny how online marketing folks try to make old promotional techniques seem new. Take article marketing for instance. You might be led to believe that this was an invention of savvy advertisers in the early days of the Internet. Oh contraire! Article marketing has a long history in the print world of producing exceptional results for those who properly use this method.
Business owners and early publicists quickly learned that having their articles (or those of their clients) published in magazines and newspapers oftentimes worked far better than paid ads. The credibility and authority article marketing lent to those who used it was well worth the (then) extensive effort it took to earn the ink. My how things change.
Fast Forward to Online Article Marketing
Today, however, substandard article marketing has flooded the Internet. So much so that Google recently cracked down on “junk” or “bulk” articles and the sites that house them. What started online as a sound and productive promotional method has, so typically, turned into a spamfest. This tends to be the fate of many once-legit online marketing strategies.
However, there is good news! First, your articles don’t have to be sacrificed on the alter of quantity. Salvation can still be found when quality is your goal. In this age of junk articles, yours can be the shining beacon in a sea of pitifully written stories.
Second, quality article marketing is still an extremely viable online promotional method that delivers multiple benefits including:
► improvements in social media visibility
► increases in sustainable link popularity
► positioning yourself as an authority in your field
► expanding your reach to new audiences through guest blogging
► garnering press coverage
► engaging and converting prospects into customers
► and many others
Let me explain what a huge difference quality makes.
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Quality vs. Quantity
You’ll hear me shout it from the rooftops: Quality trumps quantity every time when it comes to writing articles!
Today, so many people are resorting to article-generating software that illegally searches millions of websites and harvests bits of text from them so it can patch together a “new” piece. These programs sell themselves under the pretense of fair use under U.S. copyright laws (which simply isn’t true). And why? All so the over-zealous author can crank out 100 articles a week in order to flood the Internet with yet more content on the history of toasters or some other lame topic.
Article spinners (that slightly change an original article into several different versions) are also popular. What’s their purpose? To save the world from the dreaded Duplicate Content Penalty (which doesn’t exist as Google explained way back in 2008).
If you’re not going to write quality articles – if your only goal is to garner links by any means possible – I have bad news for you. It won’t work. At least not in the long term.
Article promotion works because someone reads an article you’ve written and wants to reproduce it on their website. If the articles you’re writing are junk, nobody will want to republish them on their blogs or websites. You’ll have spent the time and energy to produce pieces that are of no use to you or anyone else. What’s more, if you use automated article-writing software and get caught plagiarizing or violating the copyright of someone else’s work, there are serious legal ramifications. You could be hit with fines of up to $25,000 per instance in the U.S. plus the removal of your site from Google and the deletion of your web page (or entire site) at the hand of your web hosting company through a process of filing a simple DMCA complaint.
In order to get quality links from well-respected sites, you have to produce quality, well-respected articles that they will want to reprint. Getting back links from scrapper blogs that have no Pagerank does little if any good.
Article Marketing is Not Exempt from Testing
You hear the cry so often online: “Test, test, test!” Test your lead generation. Test your landing page. Test your shopping cart. The value of practically everything online is proven or disproven by testing. Article marketing is no exception.
Try a campaign of junk articles. Track where you’ve distributed them, how many times they were reprinted, where they were reprinted, the quality of the sites that reprinted them, how many back links you received from each one and the number of conversions that were generated.
Then do the same with well-written, top-quality articles. In the end, which made you more money? Isn’t that the bottom line? Links are merely a means to an end. If you get one solid link that produces $1,000 in revenue, that’s far better than getting 100 useless links that deliver a total of $100 in revenue.
It’s time to stop following the crowd. Here’s my advice: instead of spending $300 for two dozen crappy articles, spend that money on one fantastic article. Carefully place that piece with websites that can get you in front of people who want your product or service then watch the magic of a quality article marketing campaign do its stuff!
(c) Karon Thackston 2011