Every week, I have the opportunity to speak with people about the benefits and challenges of using article marketing to promote an online business. Of course, article marketing is about getting your sales message in front of potential customers and to get links to your website, from the page where an article is posted online.
Where most people get confused with article marketing is with the idea that "it is a method to promote one's website." Many interpret this to mean that an article should directly promote the writer's website within the article, but that approach is wrong and will reduce one's success using this methodology.
Understanding The Overall Article Marketing Strategy
Consider this. Television has been a successful advertising medium for more than six decades, because TV stations understand the importance of providing content to anchor the advertising. In every television hour, there are 42 minutes of content to provide an anchor for 18 minutes of advertising. People tune into the content out of a desire to receive the content, and they accept the advertising as a necessary price to pay in order to get the content for free.
Article marketing works best when the writer emulates the television-advertising model, by anchoring a sales message to content that people want to consume.
The role of article marketing is to capture an audience for the writer's website advertisement, which should be presented in the "resource box" / "about the author" information that appears in the paragraph immediately following the actual article. But, in order to capture that audience, an article needs to tell a story that publishers and webmasters desire to share with their readers.
How To Capture An Audience
When people ask me what they should write about in their articles, I always ask them a set of three questions to help them to define a successful strategy. Those three questions are as follows:
1. What do you sell?
2. Who is most likely to buy what you are selling?
3. What types of problems are common to those people that you may be able to answer?
Publishers and webmasters have a responsibility to their visitors to provide the kind of content that people actually "want" to read. I have heard publishers and webmasters state that if you want to sell to their readers, buy advertising. But if you were willing to teach something of value to their readers, then by all means, they would be happy to give you an advertisement in the "about the author" section at the end of your article, as payment for allowing them to share your information with their readers.
So, if you want an audience for your website's sales message, you should strive to give publishers the kind of information that they would like to share with their readers. If you give readers what they want, publishers will be willing to give you what you want - a chance to share the story of your business with the publishers' readers and website visitors.
Give Readers What They Want
When people go to a search engine, a website, a newsletter or blog, people are looking for information that will help them to address a problem they face. In short, people go online to find solutions for problems.
Since I desire to reach the people most likely to buy my products or services, I want to write content that will appeal directly to those people. When I sit down to write, I try to identify a problem that many people might have, and then I strive to locate and offer a solution to the problem.
When publishers and webmasters agree that the problem addressed is real and my solution is sound, my articles find huge audiences.
When my articles answer a reader's problem, my "about the author" information gets read. When my "about the author" information appeals to the reader, my website gets a new visitor. And for every new visitor my website gets, I have one more chance to sell my products and services to another potential client.
There are certain people online, whose articles you have seen frequently on many websites and in some of your favorite newsletters. If you read those articles with an analytical eye, you will soon realize that what I tell you is true. Those people who put the focus of their articles on helping others to solve problems are the people whose articles are published most often and in the largest range of newsletters and websites.
Article marketing works well for those of us who seek to help readers solve problems.
For those who are looking to escape this tried-and-true method of article marketing, I wish you well. But I stand firm in the belief that if you put more focus on helping people solve more problems, you will benefit from article marketing in ways that other people can only dream.