Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing

Marketing Ideas Article Marketing

Today, article marketing is probably one of the most powerful and inexpensive forms of online marketing available to small business owners and non-profits. For those not savvy with the term “article marketing”, here is a quick definition:

In exchange for a little sweat and focus, an article author (you) shares their wisdom and experience with the world by posting their short article of advice or insight to blogs, social media and article publication sites. Within those articles are one-way links leading back into the author’s own website, raising their website’s “authority” karma with the search engines and increasing their qualified web traffic.

You Are the Expert

Here is a little mental preparation for you. I want to make sure you are looking at article marketing—and yourself—through the proper lens.

When you produce articles, it is your goal to encapsulate gems of experience-hardened wisdom and share them with the online community. In doing so, you:

  1. Help to advise those who are seeking that knowledge, and you
  2. Position yourself as an expert on the topic. (Important!)

Warning: Don’t get caught on the term “expert.” Many humble folks who are vastly knowledgeable about their industry wouldn’t refer to themselves as experts because they are also aware there is much they don’t know. You don’t have to know it all. You just need to know more than your customers and then know where to find the answers when you are stumped.

Your Mission: Inspire, Inform, Entertain

Your primary goal in business is to help, right? Businesses and non-profit organizations provide products and services with the intent of helping people. (Naïve? Maybe. Choosing to see the best? Definitely.) That might mean helping to:

  1. Provide a solution to a problem,
  2. Offer inspiration, motivation or elevation,
  3. Foster greater awareness to a social concern, or even to
  4. Entertain and enthrall.

The best place to start? Begin with what you know. Offer advice. Offer your life experience. Offer sagacious words of wisdom. Expound and elucidate. Maybe even do a little research. Article marketing is your vehicle for taking your wisdom to your audience, answering their questions before their questions have bubbled up.

Step 1: Target Your Topic

What do you specialize in? What do you know a lot about? What is the point to your website? After all, the goal of any article marketing campaign is to place articles of value out into the world and grow your number of back links (links that point back to your website from another website.) Google and other popular search engines/directories see these links leading into your website as proof you must be something of an authority.

Translation: On the Internet, you are somebody important if other people say you are. It’s like high school all over again! Yeah!

Step 2: Write the Article

To begin marketing with articles, you must write the articles. No kidding. Sure, there is some work involved here, but the rewards can be great as qualified traffic to your website increases. Yes, I’m aware there are certain sources for pre-written articles on a myriad of topics, however I would recommend against putting your name on other people’s work. Call me paranoid, but here are some possible dangers with this:

  1. Loss of credibility and damage to your reputation when it’s discovered you’re not writing your own material,
  2. Being called upon to discuss a topic you barely considered to begin with, and
  3. Being accountable for someone else’s errors if they pop up.

Remember: One of the greatest things about writing is the fact you’re building an asset when you write. You are building a body of reproducible and shareable knowledge. This is what “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author, Rob Kiyosaki, refers to as “doing it once and replicating it over and over.”

To write an article, you don’t have to be a Harvard literature graduate, but you should know how to complete a thought, hold a one-way conversation with a friend, and use spellcheck.

  • First, know what your goal is for your article. What is your point? Being clear on this will help keep you on track as craft your introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Next, pretend you are relaying this information to a friend. What would you say? How would you counsel this friend if they came to you seeking this advice?
  • Finally, use spellcheck. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Read the article aloud to test for smooth flow and phrasing. Ferret out all typos, grammatical errors and punctuation gaffs. If missed, these mistakes can detract from your writing and credibility.

The Resource Box

The last detail you’ll consider for your article will be your resource box. Your resource box is the little paragraph at the end of your article that tells the reader a little about you and how to contact you. It should always include a link to your website. Always. You want your readers to be able to find you if they desire more information and you want the search engines to see you as an authority through that back link, remember?

Key point: In your resource box, you don’t always have to use the same link back to your website’s homepage. In fact, you will likely have greater success by linking to the page on your site most closely related to your article’s topic. This moves visitors from the article directly to their topic of interest. (For example, if a web design company also offers web hosting, their article “How to pick the best web host” should link back to the page on their website that describes their web hosting services.)

Step 3: Launch!

There! You have produced a shiny little gem of literary brilliance. Now it is time to set it free.

  • Place it on your blog (if you have one and if it fits appropriately.)
  • Share it with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and your other social media outlets. You can post it over and over by hand or use tools like PingFM to automate this process.
  • Submit your article to free article directories! Here are the top 10 most popular article directories, according to list of the top 50, found at http://www.vretoolbar.com/articles/directories.php:
  1. seekingalpha.com
  2. ehow.com
  3. hubpages.com
  4. biggerpockets.com/articles
  5. ezinearticles.com
  6. brighthub.com
  7. buzzle.com
  8. textbroker.com
  9. selfgrowth.com
  10. knoji.com/articles/
  • Use an article submission software or service to shorten this process. One good example is isnare.com.
  • Feeling brave? Record your article as you read it into a microphone and post it to iTunes.
  • Braver still? Use your digital video camera and post your work to YouTube, Vimeo and the like.

Step 4: Track Your Results

Just because you’ve accomplished the first three steps of deciding, drafting and delivering your article, don’t think you’re done! You should be watching to see how this article affects your traffic. Did you see an increase? Did your website’s conversion rate (the number of calls, emails, sign-ups, sales, etc.) edge up? If not, did your article compel people to want to know more? Did it provide enough value? Was it placed properly?

Marketing Tip: Use the powerful and free traffic-tracking tool, Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics). Design your Analytics reports and schedule them to automatically arrive in your inbox as frequently as you like.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Now do it again. Find different-but-related categories to place your articles under so they don’t compete with each other. Discuss different aspects of products and services you offer. Determine how often you will produce and post your articles. This depends on how intensely you will run your article marketing campaign. You’ll need to weigh your priorities against your normal day-to-day workload, your goals and the competitiveness of your industry.

If you’re just starting out, aim to write weekly or bi-weekly articles using the promotional campaign in Step 3 as a model. If you are an ambitious writer or blogger, step up your efforts to daily and spread your articles across the media outlets.

Marketing Tip: Since you’re writing these articles anyways, you may as well post them to your website to keep your site’s content fresh. Then place them in your online newsletter and send them to your mailing list.

Afterglow

At this point, you have enough of a blueprint to successfully manage your own article marketing campaign. Writing articles can be a fun way to promote your website and your effort, but it can also be a great way to collect your thoughts and bring greater clarity to challenges you and your audience may be facing. Use articles to entertain, educate and inspire!

In support of your efforts,
M

How to Market a New Business


Marketing Ideas for Small Business

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, by now you’ve hopefully come to the conclusion you don’t want to compete with folks selling their services for $5. So then, how to market a new business and build a brand? Here are a few ideas:

First, I would consider your story. Why do you do what you do? Why are you personally invested in your clients’ success? Why have you chosen to make this your personal mission and what can you tell us about your personal mission? What is your ‘why’?

Further, what sets you apart from the other guy or gal? Why would people pick you? What makes you so special? Something does, so what is it? By answering these questions, you are beginning to develop your value proposition.

Testimonials are another useful tool. Go to past clients and ask them why they chose to work with you, what problem they were seeking to solve and how you provided the solution. There is a template here that helps with that:

Marketing Idea #89: Collect Testimonials

 
Don’t have any past clients yet? You may want to do some free work to build up your client porfolio. Once people can see others have trusted you in the past, it becomes easier for them to trust you. Think of this as building social proof.

Case studies are very similar to well-constructed testimonials in that they offer a description of the problem and then tell how you provided the solution and finally communicate the happy result.

Best recommendation: Share before-and-after stories. If you’re a writer, show the ad copy in its prior miserable state and then show the revised ad copy after you’ve finished with it. (“Feel the difference?  Here is how we saw conversion rates improve…” P.S. If you’re not tracking this yet, you need to start!) Another example could be for an orthodontist; here is the patient’s mouth before we fixed their snaggle-teeth, and here is the patient’s sparkling smile after the procedures were completed.

Finally, since we’re on the topic of building a brand, you may want to work through this short brand archetype quiz:

Branding 101: Discover Your Brand Archetype (Quiz)

 
The quiz results will provide you with three archetypes, listed in order of relevance. This will definitely help you determine the “flavor” you want your brand to exude. For instance, if you are a rough and tumble pioneer type, the Explorer archetype may be the archetype you identify with most. Once you know your archetype, you can ensure your ad copy, imagery and brand all align with that archetype, which strengthens your position in the mind of the consumer.

Okay, this should keep you busy for a while. If you have more ideas to share or have questions about applying any of these marketing tactics, leave a comment below!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

Great Marketing Ideas: Be a Mom for a Moment

Marketing Example Unicef Mom

Unicef Finland wanted to raise awareness for children’s rights and raise funds with a minimum cost. They also wanted to reinforce their position as an organization dedicated specifically to children’s welfare. There are over 145 million orphaned or abandoned children all around the world.

“By supporting Unicef anyone can be a mother to them, just for a moment.”

To provoke and create discussion they started by abandoning sound-equipped (crying) baby strollers in 14 cities. Inside the stroller was a note with the message:

Thank you for caring, we hope there is more people like you.
Be a mom for a moment.
Unicef

Media and public reaction was overwhelming. They flooded all the major TV, radio and web news. Estimated media reach was over 80% of Finnish population after just two days.

Advertising Agency: Taivas, Helsinki, Finland
Art Directors: Jyri Niemi, Anna-Mia Alanko
Copywriter: Adele Enersen
Account Supervisors: Heini Häyrinen, Joanna Kokonmäki
Production company: ADDlife Finland

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References

I Believe in Advertising. Unicef Finland: Mom. March 31, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.ibelieveinadv.com/2009/03/unicef-finland-mom/.

Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship

You may have noticed a trend emerging when you perform a search in Google. Every so often, you’ll notice someone’s face comes up next to their post. At first, you may think, “Wow, they must be an authority. Google is even publishing their face!” Once the star-struck awe wears off, you may then wonder, “How did they do that? Can I do that?”

For authors, bloggers, podcasters, video personalities and content producers, the answer is, “Yes, you can!”

Google—in their tireless effort to serve and encourage rich Internet content—has produced something called “rich snippets,” which offers content producers and marketers an opportunity to stand out using “Google Authorship” markup code.

The Google Authorship process, however, wasn’t terribly clear for me. I ended up needing about five different resources to successfully navigate the Google Authorship process. Therefore, I’ve taken the time to reproduce a step-by-step process for getting that pretty mug of yours into the Google SERPs.

Step 1: Set Up Your Google+ Profile

If you don’t already have a Google+ profile, go to Google.com and select You+ from the navigation bar at the top. As you move through setting up your profile, pay close attention to adding content for the following fields:

  • Introduction
    • Keep this short and sweet; one to four sentences. A little about you and where visitors and followers can find you.
  • Profile photo
    • Use a clear headshot. This will be reproduced as a small thumbnail if it’s placed into the Google search results. (Google is sure to repeat “if” and “no guarantee” numerous times on your Authorship journey. Be prepared: Your face may not show up in the SERPs for months, if ever.)[image of intro and photo]
  • Work Email
    • Preferred: Select an email address with the same domain name as the one you will be linking from (i.e. your email address is yourname@yourdomain.com and your website is yourdomain.com.) If you can’t do that, any email address you control will do.[image]
  • Contributor to
    • This is where you tell Google what sites you post to, or—in cases where you have been a guest author on someone else’s site or blog—what articles you’ve had published. If a guest post, link directly to your post on the other site; not the main homepage.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile

Step 2: Link to Your Google+ Account from Your Posts

There are a couple different ways to add Google Authorship markup code to your site, but I’m going to focus on my favorite: the rel=author parameter. Why is this my favorite method? I feel the rel=me parameter you would add to your blog’s “about me” page is too broad to be targeted, whereas the rel=author parameter you add to specific links, giving you much more control. You may say, “Matt, that seems like more work!” but I would say, “Not if you do it the way I’m about to teach you!”

Your goal now is to add the code to one place: the bottom of your posts. If you don’t already have one, begin by writing your “about the author” blurb. Here is mine:

Marketing Ideas Author Matt SchoenherrWritten by Matt Schoenherr
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com

As you can see, I’ve included links to some of the other social media channels I use, the same headshot I used for my Google+ profile (this could be any picture; I’m just being consistent) and a little about myself.

Pay close attention to the Google+ link here. This is the format you want to use:

<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/111111111111111111111?rel=author“>My link to Google+</a>

Change the 1’s to your Google+ profile ID. To find your profile ID, make sure you’re logged out of Google+ and

  1. do a search for your profile from the Google+ landing page (Google.com, then select You+.) You may see your profile posts come up on the left and believe you just found your profile.
  2. Don’t be fooled! This is not the right address!
  3. You still want to select your profile from the list that appears on the right.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile ID

Now you will see your actual profile and will be able to capture the URL address properly:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/posts

Strip off “posts” and now your URL should look like:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/

Once you have your “about the author” description created, you will add it to the bottom of your posts. If your website is built on a content management system, this may be easy. With Joomla, you may simply add a custom HTML module to the bottom of those pages. In WordPress, you may use a wonderful plugin called “Post Footer” and drop your “about the author” blurb in. If you need help with this, ask your web guru. Here is what my code looks like:

<img src=”https://marketingideas101.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/marketing-ideas-author-200-150×150.jpg” alt=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” title=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-1465″ /><strong>Written by Matt Schoenherr</strong><br />
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on <a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363?rel=author” title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Google+</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/#!/mattschoenherr” target=”_blank”>Twitter</a> and <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/marketingideas101″ title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Facebook</a>. Creative <a href=”https://marketingideas101.com/category/marketing-ideas/”>marketing ideas</a> and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.

Step 3: It’s Alive!

Google has provided a slick little tool that tells you whether you’re on the right path. It’s called the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and you can find it here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

To determine if things are working properly, place the URL address for one of your posts carrying the Google+ link into the top box and select the Preview button.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Testing Tool

An example of what your post will look like in the search results will appear. If you see your picture, great news! You’re done! If not, the Rich Snippets Testing Tool will tell you what errors it found. For me, I was told I hadn’t verified my email address, so once I added the work email address to my Google+ profile and verified it, my “Extracted Author/Publisher for this page” section looked like this:

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Verified

Afterglow

Per the search engine marketing agency, CatalystOnline:

“The results over a few weeks proved the quintessential SEO theory that Rich Snippets do increase CTR and as a result greater traffic. According to Google Webmaster Tools, clicks to the site dramatically increased by +150% and this improvement resulted in an increase of visits and page views (see chart below).” (Emmanuel, 2012.)

Marketing Ideas Rich Snippet Results

True, it may take a little time to get Google Authorship markup installed and functioning. Still, if your posts begin displaying your profile picture in the Google search results, you stand to gain considerable advantage over other content authors whom have not made this effort. As of today, I will begin watching to see when (if) my profile picture begins appearing alongside my posts. When (if) I see this occur, I will come back here and post an update to let you know how long it took.

In the meantime, if you work through these directions and you discover something was unclear or missing, please offer some clarification in the comments below and I’ll update this post.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

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Update, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Well, it seems Google caught my Authorship submission today!  Fairly quick turn-around at exactly a week. Nice. So, what did we learn? It’s possible and it can happen quickly. We also learned your photo won’t show up next to everything you’ve written. See below.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Results

As you can see, a search for “marketing ideas 101” shows four listings (page 1, positions 1-4) for the Marketing Ideas 101 site but only one entry in the search results shows my Google Authorship image. Still, every little bit helps. In the meantime, I see I need to address the meta keywords and description for my pages, as my resource box content is being displayed instead of the page description. Ah, good times.

If I notice any other updates, I’ll post them here!

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References

Crestodina, A. Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search results. Retrieved from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.

Emmanuel.E. January 19, 2012. CatalystOnline. How Rich Snippets Can Improve Your CTR. Retrieved from http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/2012/01/how-rich-snippets-can-improve-your-ctr/.

Google. Author information in the search results. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986&expand=option2.

Google. Rich snippets not appearing. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1093493.

Google. Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.

Jamieson, E. How Long Will It Take For My Face/Logo To Show Up In The Search Results? Retrieved from http://www.authorsure.com/514/how-long-will-it-take-for-my-facelogo-to-show-up-in-the-search-results.

Marketing Idea #44: Showcase Local Artists

Marketing Ideas Local Artists

Display artwork for sale from local artists. In doing so, you support the local artist community, gain word-of-mouth through the artists, and bring more interest to your walls. This can be done by writing up an offer and presenting it to a local art gallery. You may want to bring focus to the display either by centering on a specific artist or by having the showing coincide with a particular (and appropriate) event.