Do you use ezine-articles a major part of your article marketing strategies? If so, you’ll want to pay close attention to this po
Today, I’m going to reveal 11 lessons from an article marketing account that has over 2,338,985 Views. I learned these the hard way – By making LOTS of mistakes!
So read on to see how to take your ezine articles to the next level. (Also keep an eye out for the free article template hidden somewhere in this post.)
POST PANDA NOTE: Since this article was written the Google “Panda” and “Scrapper” have come and gone. 6 months have nearly come and gone since these updates. This has been enough time to prove that these article marketing strategies do, in fact, still work.
Let’s be honest. The days of writing a single ezine-article and having it rank #1 for competitive keywords are long gone. This is as much due to increased competition as the Google updates. But article marketing is far from dead.
The Article Marketing Strategies in this post have been changed (where needed) to better match the Post-Panda article marketing world.
Right now, I’m involved in a number of projects that all tie into this blog. One of them is a complete revamp of how to make money with affiliate marketing. The reason for this is many of the web traffic techniques I used back in 2006/2007 are no longer working.
Analyzing my Ezine Articles Account and Article Marketing Strategies
The foundation of my successful affiliate marketing business was built on article marketing. In fact, I used to be pretty proud that I got over 2 million readers from the articles I posted on Ezine Articles. And if you looked carefully at the image to the left you’d see the following stats (original article numbers):
- 2,338,985 Total Views
- 424 Live Articles
- 5516 Average Views Per Article
- 159,844 URL Clicks
- 6.8% Click Thru Ratio (CTR)
There are a lot of numbers here. But the one that sticks out is the 6.8% CTR. To be frank, this is a horrible number. I actually get kind of nauseous thinking about it. It’s made me realize how much money I left on the table by ignoring fundamental article marketing strategies.
The good news is I’ve learned a lot of lessons from this ezine article account. Some of them were from mistakes and others came from things I did right!
I’m currently applying what I’ve learned and I’m currently writing a series of articles designed to increase traffic to this blog and my email marketing list.
In this post, I’m going to break down eleven lessons I’m implementing. Apply these to your article marketing efforts and you’ll see a dramatic growth in both the click-thrus and the number of people who join your email list…
Lesson #1- Direct Article Traffic to an Opt-In Page
The first lesson is also the most important!
When you do article writing it’s important to send all the traffic to an opt-in page – Even if you’re a blogger. This traffic method takes both time and effort. So you want to maximize the results you get from this strategy.
I know this goes against what a lot of “blog gurus” tell you. But I feel you can build a relationship with casual article readers even when you direct them to an opt-in page. Just create a series of autoresponders that reference your quality blog content – Then you’ll have both a subscriber and a reader!
Using Article Marketing to build a list will give you customers that may last for far longer than a single transitory sale. This makes building your email list THE key strategy all of the article marketing strategies.
Lesson #2- Target Specific Keyword Phrases
Back in the day, you could write an ezine article and expect it to rank well for a particular keyword phrase.
Nowadays it’s not so easy.
The truth is it’s getting progressively harder to get traffic from an ezine article. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important to target a specific keyword in each article and also include related words.
One trick I use is to look through Market Samurai for certain keywords that have high demand/low competition. Then I’ll use this tool in conjunction with the Google Keyword Tool to find related phrases.
In less than five minutes, I’ll have a notepad document that has both the primary keyword and a few related phrases. I keep this open as I write the article then insert these phrases wherever they naturally fit.
Don’t go overboard and include the keyword too many times. This is called “keyword stuffing” and Google does not like it. All you have to do is insert it in the title, once in opener, once in the conclusion and maybe…once in the article. Write in a natural tone and you’ll be fine.
Lesson #3- Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Remember this – Article marketing is not blogging!
A person reading your ezine article probably hasn’t seen your other content. This means you don’t have to create brand new content with what you write. In fact, I recommend repurposing your content and using them as templates for future ezine articles. This is a great way to save time and speed up the writing process.
Lesson #4- Use Killer Headlines for Killer CTRs
Think of each article as a mini-advertisement. Like all ads, you want to grab people’s attention and practically force them to read it!
That’s why it’s important to spend a few minutes working on the perfect title.
A good headline comes down to quality copywriting. I’ll admit I’m not the greatest at this. However, my skill at copywriting is something I’m constantly working to improve.
I suggest looking through the Ezine Articles site to see which titles best attract your attention. Then copy them into a file that’s saved on your desktop. This is known in the copywriting biz as a “swipe file.”
A swipe file is great for those moments when you’re struggling with an article title. Obviously, you don’t want to plagiarize another person’s creative work. But you can use what they’ve written to get inspiration for a headline that gets clicks!
Lesson #5- Focus on 400 -600 words length
This is the major area where my post-Panda viewpoint has changed. Originally I advocated articles 300-400 words in length.
The idea was to give good solid content.
Prove you know what you are talking about then get them to YOUR page where you had the rest of the information.
It is STILL desirable to leave a little something out. Give the reader a reason to click the link.
BUT… post Panda many article marketing sites have minimum restrictions of 400 words. They desire more valuable content and your best bet is now to give it to them.
But these doesn’t mean that you should write 2,000 word master thesis level articles. After all you could write (4) 500 word articles in the time it takes to write a 2000 word epic. And let’s be honest, most people do not have the patience to read the long articles.
So the best bet these days is in the 400-600 word articles. Make the content solid but succinct. You want to get their attention and then give them a place to GO when they’re done…Your website.
This article marketing strategy should seriously help to raise your CTR.
Lesson #6- Make the Author Bio Part of the Content
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with article content is to have an author bio that talks about your background and/or qualifications.
Nobody cares about who you are.
What people really want to know is how YOU can help them. That’s why I recommend making the author bio area part of the content. Don’t talk about your background. Instead use this area to blend extra content and then recommend a solution that’s directly tied into what’s being taught.
If you’re paying attention then you know this solution is the free report available on your opt-in page.
Lesson #7- Use the Right Format
After a bit of testing, I’ve come across a great format for a quality ezine article:
- The first paragraph introduces the topic
- Then the main keyword comes after the intro as a bold/underlined “how to”
- Then list 3 to 4 main points that provides short, but quality, information
- Each main point is bolded as a way to draw the reader through the content
- Then the final point blends the content with a hyperlink that enhances the point
Okay, I’ll admit this might be a little confusing. That’s why I wrote a sample ezine article you can use as a template. I’ve listed it below, but I want you to complete this post before looking at it.
Lesson #8- Put the “Strategy” in your Article Marketing Strategy
It’s important to showcase your expertise in an article. But don’t answer every question the reader might have about the topic. In fact, you’d be better served if you left them with the feeling like the information is incomplete. Let me put it another way:
Incomplete information = Increased clicks
If you want to get really sneaky, write the article in a way where you talk about their problems, but never give a solution. This creates a lot of conflict in the reader. Ultimately this makes your website seem like THE place to go to get a solution to their problems.
It is a delicate balance and certainly is a “strategy” and an “art”. I am not advocating complete “junk” articles that say nothing, but if you answer every single question someone has about a topic there is absolutely zero reason for them to click your link.
Lesson #9- Add a Bio and Photo
Ezine Articles encourages you to add a photo to your bio. What’s interesting is they insert it right next to your author bio. This attracts eyeballs to your website link – Especially if you’re an attractive woman. (You can get mad at me for saying that, but I’ve tested this and found it to be true.)
Anyway, I recommend adding a photo to your article marketing account. And while you’re at it – Fill out the author information because many readers look at this page.
Lesson #10- Don’t Worry about Summary Paragraphs
I used to hate writing a summary paragraph for each article. In my opinion, this was a few minutes wasted on something that didn’t produce results.
Recently I’ve done a lot of research into what works with ezine articles and I’ve learned you don’t need new information for the summary article. All you do is copy the first few lines and paste it to this area.
Lesson #10- Learn from “Bad Articles”
Sometimes an article will flop. It might get a low number of views. Or the CTR is horrendous. The good news is this happens to everyone who submits an article. So don’t be discouraged when this happens to you.
What I recommend is to regularly analyze the “stinkers.” Look at the article structure. Study the keywords used. Count the total number of words in the article. And look at the number of words contained in each paragraph.
All of these little steps will help you detect in a pattern. Over a long enough timeline, you’ll discover that the bad articles share common characteristics. The trick is to proactively look for these patterns and take steps to fix them!
Lesson #11- Use Ezine Article Automation
When I mean article automation, I’m not talking about software that blasts your content to hundreds of different sites. I mean you should create a step-by-step blueprint and outsource the entire process once your articles start producing results!
I honestly feel that writing an article is pretty boring. Personally, I’ve had more fun watching paint dry.
By the time you’ve written 20+ articles in a niche you’ll know what content works and what doesn’t. Furthermore, you’ll discover a perfect template for an ezine article.
What I suggest next is to take all this and turn it into a tiny little system that’s passed on to a qualified article writer. Obviously you’ll need money to do this. But if you followed the advice I give on this blog, then you’ll find it’s not too hard to make money from an email list.
Use this Free Ezine Article Template
Okay, like I promised before, here is the free ezine article template. (Right click to save it to your desktop.)
I know some of what I discussed in this post might be a little confusing. Hopefully this template gives a real-live example of what an article should look like.
One point though…I literally wrote this in 10 minutes.
It’s not perfect and some of the grammar is a bit jacked. I ask you to pay attention to the format of the ezine article template and ignore some of my grammatical mistakes.
Taking Article Marketing into the future
I have dedicated a fair amount of time in 2011 to article marketing. I still think it’s a viable online marketing strategy, but I’m still searching for the perfect system. Google Panda did decrease the value of some sites. But it also decreased the amount of people using this strategy. Less people doing article marketing means lower competition.
Does that mean it is a wash? Hard to say.
All I can say is that article marketing is still a viable strategy. It will not be the ONLY thing you want to do for promotion, but it should be a tool in everyone’s toolbox.
I urge you to take these eleven article marketing strategies and apply these lessons to your own online business. It is another technique that will put money into my pocket. So I urge you to start cranking out articles that will drive traffic to your website.
Good luck!Take Action. Get Results.