Sharing knowledge on the web can be a very powerful way to establish your online presence and credibility. First, you write a thoughtful and informative article on an topic in your area of expertise. Then you submit it to e-zines to be read by the general public and possibly re-published on other web sites.
Appended to the end of your article is a resource box containing a brief promotional message linking to your web site. Webmasters who wish to reprint your article on their sites are required to include your resource box along with any live links to your site.
For example, an article written by me might have the following resource box:
Article by Oudam Em. Oudam is the webmaster of Web Launch , a free resource for web site promotion and search engine optimization. Please visit his site for more free tips and tutorials on building traffic and generating income on your site.
The benefit that you get from your article is two-fold. First, your article will be read by visitors to the e-zine site. If they find it helpful and interesting, they will likely visit your web site to see what else you had to offer. Second, webmasters who find your article useful to their visitors may re-publish it on their sites, giving your article additional exposure.
Every time your article is re-published on a web site, you gain an additional one-way link to your site through the live link in your resource box. This adds to your link popularity and ultimately increases your search engine rankings. As you can see, the true potential of your article lies in its ability to propagate virally in cyberspace.
For your article to propagate virally, it should appeal to both readers and webmasters alike. Keep in mind that your goal is hold your readers' attention long enough for them to get to the resource box. If your article is boring and uninformative, few people will read it beyond the first or second paragraph.
Below are some pointers to consider when writing an article:
1. Give your article a catchy title.
Your title is the first and often the only thing that visitors see when they skim through a list of articles on an e-zine page. Put some thought into coming up with a title that grabs the reader's attention right away. Words like "Secrets", "Free", and "Successful" tend to attract more attention than others.
2. Your article should not read like an ad.
Most people read articles to find information they can use, not to see a pitch about your products or services. If they see your article as nothing more than a shameless act of self promotion, they'll get turned off and hit the "Back" button right away. Put yourself in the reader's shoes. What benefits do you want to get out of reading an article? Cater to your reader's interests rather than your own.
3. Offer lots of free, useful information.
Following on the last tip, keep in mind that your readers are looking for specific "how-to" instructions to help them achieve a certain goal. Offer lots of tangible information that is immediately useful to them. Do not lead them through hoops just to get to an order form for a $29.95 "Make $50,000 in 30 Days or Your Money Back!" e-book.
4) Avoid gimmicks.
While it may be true that a sucker is born every minute, most internet users are sophisticated enough to tell what's legitimate and what's not. Write with the intention of offering something substantial to the reader. Be honest and forthright. Your article should not cause the reader to think, "What is this guy trying to sell me?"
5) Be succinct.
Get to the point quickly, preferably in the first or second paragraph. Avoid lengthy paragraphs. Use lots of white space to separate your paragraphs to make them easier to read.
6) Your article should not be too short.
Certainly, it's possible to write a good article packed with useful information using just a few hundred words. If your article is too short, however, some webmasters may feel hesitant to reprint it on their sites. They may, instead, borrow your ideas and write their own article, gaining authorship without having to give you credit for your ideas.
How long should your article be? I suggest at least 800 words, preferably longer. Longer articles give webmasters the impression that you have put some thought and effort into your work and, thus, are deserving of publicity on their sites.
7) Use live (clickable) links in your resource box.
Many e-zines permit clickable links in resource boxes. Yet, many authors forgo this privilege by simply spelling out their URLs. Whenever permitted, you should spell out your URL as well as make it clickable (e.g. http://www.nexcomp.com/weblaunch
). The advantages of a clickable URL are (1) readers can go to your site simply by clicking on it, and (2) more importantly, search engines will be able to record it as a link your web site, adding to your link popularity and search engine rankings.
Avoid hyping in your resource box.
Your resource box, while promotional in nature, should be brief and tasteful. The purpose of your resource box is not to sell your readers something, but to lead them to your website which does the actual selling. Your resource box should contain your name, your company name, a brief description of your products or services, your web site's URL, and a clickable link to your site.
9) Put some thought and effort into your writing.
E-zines have varying standards for accepting articles, and some accept and publish all submissions without any human review at all. However, this does not mean you should write an article just for sake of having it published somewhere. If your article comes off as half-baked, readers may make a similar assumption about you and your business practices.
10) Submit your article to as many e-zines as feasible.
There are dozens of e-zines on the web that welcome submissions from independent authors. Ideally, you'd want your article to be exposed on as many of them as you can. But it takes time to register and submit to each one of them. Therefore, I recommend that you submit to only a handful of the more popular ones.
....continued (see part 2)