Three Steps to Improving Your Article Marketing Efforts

When you are using article marketing for your business, it is easy to become frustrated quickly. You may not be reaching goals you had set and that can leave you feeling disappointed with your plan. That doesn’t mean you should wave the white flag and give in! In order to cross the line from failure to success in article marketing, you need to have a plan.

To improve your marketing strategy, there are three important steps you need to take:

Step 1: Figure out Your Message

What are you trying to tell customers? They are looking for solutions to their problems. They have a need and want to know if you are going to fulfill it. Review each of your products or services and write out why the customer needs it. When you have a clear understanding of why someone needs to buy your product, then you will have an easier time explaining it to them. Customers want you to answer their questions so they can be confident you are the person to go to when they need something.

Step 2: Know How to Get Your Point Across- Quickly!

A lot of studies show that the average Internet user will only stay on a website between thirty seconds and one minute. That doesn’t give you very much time to grab their attention and convince them to buy your product. There is likely a lot of competition out there for the products or services you offer so you need to make yourself stand out right away. It will help by having headlines that will get the attention of readers while using your keywords.

Don’t be afraid to be entertaining! Your content doesn’t have to sound stuffy and dull. Make your content enjoyable to read and the customers will keep coming back. Be snarky, add a little humor or put a unique spin on it. Content should be engaging.

Step 3: Be Customer-Friendly

The Internet can be a very impersonal marketplace. That doesn’t mean you can’t treat your customers as you would if they were there in person. How would you talk to your customers if you had a brick-and-mortar store? Be personable. Chat them up. Form a bond, which will create a loyalty that isn’t often seen in too many businesses today.

Think about how you would want to be treated as a customer. What would you want to hear from a seller? What would make you trust them enough to hand over your money? You don’t have to throw a bunch of razzle-dazzle at them, but customers want to be handled in a friendly, thoughtful manner. And putting a smile on their face goes a long way in getting repeat customers.

Article marketing is just like any other form of marketing strategy. You need to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and figure out what they want to hear and how. Listen to your inner consumer and you will soon know exactly what you need to do to improve your article marketing efforts.

Tell us what you have done to create better online content for your business. Where do you get your inspiration? Let us know!

The BIG SEO Secret for Bloggers

What blogger doesn’t want to see his or her blog listed right there on the coveted first page of Google’s search results? Is there a secret trick, some magic spell that can get you there? Many of us have spent hours in endless searching, scouring other blogs and forums for tips on getting our blog to the top of the search results page.

Here, pro blogger Dr. Adam Stetzer will reveal the key to getting your blog noticed. It’s not a magic spell, it’s just good old-fashioned work!

The BIG SEO Secret for Bloggers

I talk to bloggers just about every day. For a while last year my blogging blog was on page 1 for the Google search “blogging”, though we are now on page 3. With this type of exposure comes some crazy organic traffic. In fact, over 39,000 bloggers have registered with my blog since I opened it in 2007. With each passing year I am continually amazed by just how many bloggers are convinced that there is a BIG SEO secret out there. The conversations seem to follow a familiar pattern. It goes something like this.

Blogger: “Hi Adam, how can I get to page 1 in Google?”

Adam: “It’s a TON of hard work, very incremental, takes a long time and requires some really good content and some awesome backlinks.”

Blogger: “Thanks, I’ve heard all that before, so tell me REALLY how to get to page 1 now.”

They are convinced there is an SEO secret that I won’t tell them. These bloggers feel that if they could just discover the piece of knowledge they don’t have, they will be richly rewarded with huge rankings, traffic and money. They just know it. Since this sentiment is so prevalent, I’ve made it my mission to try to set the record straight with the truth about SEO. And the truth is: The big SEO secret is that there is no SEO secret.

The BIG SEO blogging secret: There is no secret

This is the point in the blog post where I lose most readers. Due to the very phenomena described above, most readers will leave this blog post and continue their frantic search for the secret blogging SEO secret that will instantly solve their problems.

For the 5% of readers who are still with me; Congratulations! You have finally graduated from the masses of mediocrity and are ready to start your journey to success with SEO and blogging. And this was a big step. If you jump over this hurdle, you are mentally ready for the challenge ahead. And most importantly you’ve figured out that you are wasting valuable time searching for an answer that you probably already know.

The second big SEO secret for bloggers: The time you waste searching for SEO tips could have you on page 1 already.

How many forums do you read? How many blog posts do you follow? Make a mental calculation of all the time you spend on “TIP searching” activities and let’s do a little exercise. For the next month, every time you feel the urge to search for blogging or SEO tips you instead actually sit down and work. If you did this, how much extra time will you have? My guess is a fair amount. If you take that time and split it 40% toward creating awesome content and 60% promoting your blog, you will be very pleased with the results.

Again, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. And feel free to argue with my percentages. Perhaps you feel it’s 30% / 70% or 50% / 50% – whatever. The point is that you have moved from the unproductive place of self-doubt and answer-searching to the very productive activity of DOING. And DOING is where the success lies.

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration

Thomas Edison said these great words more than 100 years ago. And I think they apply as much to SEO, blogging and the Internet as they did to his endeavor to invent the light bulb.

While great ideas are required once in a while to jump-start a project (such as a new blog or to find new SEO keywords to go after), the idea-generation needs to be outweighed by a ratio of 99:1 with work. Plain, simple, non-sexy, work. It’s hard. It’s monotonous. It doesn’t sell tabloids. But hard work is still at the heart of why your website or blog is not on page 1 in Google.

And at the risk of becoming a marginalized motivational blogger, I urge you to stop reading, reflect on what you already know about SEO, and think about how you can get more done with the time you already apply to your blog. You already know about keyword selection.

You already know about title tags and keyword density. You already know about Google Adwords search volume estimates. You certainly know about backlinks, guest blog posts and building relationships. And you’ve had the importance of high-quality content pounded into your brain. So there you have it. The leading SEO tips for bloggers were already in your head. So get to it.

About the Author: Dr. Adam Stetzer has a Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology, which includes the study of motivation, job satisfaction and performance at work. He has published in many nationally-recognized, peer-reviewed, journals and maintains his own personal blogging blog. He is also the president of HubShout, an SEO reseller company with industry-leading SEO software. He has been active in the technology field for over 15 years working with large companies such as General Electric, Verizon, Ford, ChevronTexaco, and PepsiCola. Blogging blog link: http://blogskinny.com/ SEO reseller link: http://hubshout.com/

Article Marketing Services: A Great Way to Relieve Stress and Harness Some Free Time

Article marketing for online business owners can be quite intimidating. Business owners need to market their products and services, but the thought of spending hours upon hours researching and churning out original content and then having to spend additional time distributing those articles can be extremely overwhelming.

While content marketing can be one of the most effective marketing strategies, it is also extremely time consuming. In order to free up time and eliminate frustration, many businesses will turn to article marketing services for help.

There are plenty of content marketing services available, each offering to assist you with your specific needs. Many only deal with the writing aspect, using ghostwriters to produce content in your name. Others also do the research needed in order to make sure your articles are keyword-rich and optimized for search engines (SEO). Some article marketing services only handle distribution, taking content that you have created and submitting it to numerous article directories such as EzineArticles.

The real lifesavers in the article marketing business are those services that provide a combination of all the things you need for content marketing. They will do the research, write the content, ensure that it is keyword-rich (without crossing the line of being keyword-stuffed), and then distribute it to a variety of directories.

These companies will also keep you up-to-date on the stats for your articles so that you can keep track of how each one is performing on each site. If you notice that your content is not performing as well in some directories as others, you can make any necessary changes to help streamline your marketing.

When you decide to embark on an aggressive article marketing strategy, it will be helpful to determine what tasks will best be handled through outsourcing. Hiring a ghostwriter can relieve your stress and give you back some of your much-needed and desired time. An article marketing service can make the entire process of submitting to a large number of directories a breeze.

Having the time you need to spend on important tasks for your business is priceless. Hiring an article marketing service will help you become a recognized expert within your industry and build credibility with your readers.

With that information in mind, you will be able to make the right decision when it comes to hiring an article marketing service. The right company will give you the peace of mind you need and the extra time you seek.

Simple Tips for Building the Best Article Marketing Strategy

Online business owners need to have a solid marketing strategy in place. Every aspect of marketing involves careful planning in order to ensure success, so take the time to lay out your own strategy before setting off on a costly campaign.

When you get started on an article marketing campaign for your business, you need to remember quality and quantity. A combination of both is the key to being a successful article marketing specialist. You can’t expect to crank out tons of mediocre articles and see positive results. The same goes for only producing one or two articles a month. It takes a wealth of strongly written articles to do well in your article marketing campaign.

You also don’t want to be spending too much of your valuable time toiling away on your articles. That won’t be beneficial in building up your web traffic, and a steady flow of visitors is what brings you profits. So what steps can you take in order to form an article marketing strategy that’s right for your business?

It would make sense and be very cost efficient to do everything yourself: research, keyword searches, writing the articles, proofreading and editing, signing up with article directories and submitting them, linking those articles back to your website, etc. When you already have a very busy schedule, it may seem next to impossible for you to actually get through your list of article marketing tasks.

But don’t fret…let’s break it down into bite-size chunks.

Go slowly in the beginning. Set a goal of completing one 400-word article a week. This should take only about an hour of your time. If you start to see it taking you three or more hours to do, you should consider putting your article writing campaign on hold and look into a course that teaches you how to write articles for an online audience. You might even consider outsourcing your article marketing and writing campaign.

Ease your way into writing three articles each week, then try to work on completing one a day. Before long, you’ll be churning out 365 articles a year, each working hard to draw more prospects to your website.

Alternate what type of articles you write. In one, write up a question-and-answer article. Next time, write a “top 10” article or a “how-to” article and so on. Always look at the stats for each article and you’ll see which ones are converting best.

Sign up for a wide variety of article submission directories and rotate between them every other month. For example, use EzineArticles your first month, ArticleRich the next one, GoArticles for the next, etc. You may notice a higher response from one directory in comparison to others.

After your first year, take a look at all of your articles and see which directory and article type have been ranking highest for you in search engines like Google. You also want to see which “About the Author” section is getting you the most click-through traffic.

To form the best article marketing strategy, it’s important to maintain a balance between writing the right kind of content for the audience you’re targeting and generating enough of that content. The things that work best for one marketer may not be the right path for you. It takes time, practice and patience to obtain the results you need for your specific online business.

What steps are you taking to form your own article marketing strategy? What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced in your campaigns and what have you done to overcome them? I’d love for you to share your thoughts and helpful insights!

10 Guidelines for Writing Numerals & Numbers

As a writer, you should know how to properly write out or display actual numbers and when it is the right time to do so. Often times, people can easily get these confused. In this article, I will demonstrate the proper placement of both, numerals and numbers. Are you ready to learn? Here we go!

1. The Difference Between a Numeral and a Number:

A numeral is the symbol used to express the number, while the number of something is an abstract concept. For instance, the number 4 can be expressed as the numerals “4,” “IV” or “four.” Similarly, the difference between a number and a numeral is like the difference between a person and what you write down their name as.

2. Small numbers = spelling:

Whole numbers that is smaller than ten should always be spelled out, i.e. seven, eight, nine, ten, and 11. This rule is one that you can always count on to be true, while other number rules can vary person to person. The reason for spelling out small numbers is that is looks more professional. It is as simple as that.

3. There are NO standards:

Yikes, right? Experts all over have a hard time coming to one conclusion about how to write out numbers and which ones are writer worthy. Some agree that all one-word numbers should be written out, while two-word numbers should be expressed with numerals. This implies that you should write “eleven” and “thirty” but not 44.

4. The Comma:

Commas are really essential to breaking up numbers in content, i.e. “Alaska consumer 571,951 square miles” instead of “Alaska is 571951.” Also, where decimals are concerned, periods are used to break up those numbers. However, in other countries, the comma and period are opposite when using them in numeral expressions. According to International Systems of Units, (SI) they suggest adding a space between large numbers, i.e. $14 300,89. This part is left up to you to decide.

5. Never begin with a Numeral:

Your sentences should never start with a numeral. Instead, if you were using “1,000 copies were sold today,” you would write, “Consumers bought 1,000 copies today.”

6. Decades, Centuries, etc. should be spelled out:

Just as the tip suggests, eighteenth century and the nineties, should be spelled out!

7. Recipes and Percentages:

With recipes and everyday writing, you should use digits. For example, “Add 2 cups of milk” or “5% of adults.” However, when it comes to formal writing structures, you need to spell out the percentage, i.e. “11 percent of adults,” (or “eleven percent of adults,” according to your preference as explained in tip three.)

8. If you’re using an estimated or rounded number, spell it:

Numbers that are over a million and that are rounded up should be spelled out, like this: “Over 50 million people like bananas” instead of “Over 50,000,000 people like bananas.” Of course, if you’re using an exact number, you must spell it out.

9. Number that are beside each other:

If you saw “9 14-year-olds,” that would look confusing, right? Instead, to avoid confusion, write “nine 14-year-olds.” A rule for this is to pick the number that has the smallest amount of letters.

10. Consistency and Ordinal Numbers:

When writing, you should avoid expressing, “He was my 1st Pet” and instead use, “He was my first pet.”  You should also keep it consistent throughout your writing.

Things You May Not Know About Ghostwriters

For many Ghostwriters and writers in general, there are many methods of getting published in existence today. However, some writers feel they lack certain traits or components to consistently produce engaging, solid and fresh content.

So, what happens when writers struggle with publishing or content creation? They hire a Ghostwriter! It happens a lot more than you would ever imagine.

Generally, Ghostwriters handle a number of assignments and a heavy work-load. They are well-versed and experienced in handling many tasks such as single article writing, web content creation, proofing, editing, and blogging, just to mention a few, all the way up to helping with a full-length novel. The term “Ghostwriter” simply means they do not receive any credit for the writing they do for their clients, and their clients can publish the work as if it were their own, with no repercussions.

Ghostwriters specialize in many areas and can write a number of different things.

Due to the vast subjects across the web, Ghostwriters are very flexible and can fit in just about anywhere in a wide variety of genre’s and niches.  They may be summoned to create content for websites, online businesses, brick and mortar businesses and even other writers.  Some Ghostwriters may choose to specialize in certain areas, where others may be more versatile in their knowledge and experience and prefer to create content on any topic, genre or niche.

Generally they are hired to help create articles for article marketing, blog posts, newsletters, email campaigns, web pages, BIOs, press releases, white papers and eBooks, to name a few. Some Ghostwriters are experienced in helping authors get their books into print publication, proof reading and editing.  Some might even write speeches, eulogies, business plans, and other areas where technical or formatted writing is needed.

How can you find or get connected to a Ghostwriter?

Ghostwriters can be found all across the internet. Many Ghostwriters or Ghostwriting companies have websites with examples or portfolios, contact information and rates. They are also marketing savvy and create marketing campaigns through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like.  Ghostwriters also network with other writers by joining different forums and writing communities, which may lead to referrals and recommendations.  If you’re in need of hiring a Ghostwriter, finding one that suits your business needs won’t be very difficult.  However, finding a great Ghostwriter will take in-depth research or possibly even a referral from a trusted source.

With the way technology is soaring and the marketing needed for online business owners, Ghostwriters are in high demand.

What Skills is Necessary for Great Ghostwriting?

If you are interested in writing for companies within the United States, you must have a solid understanding of the English language.  In addition, you’ll need to have detailed research skills, excellent typing, spelling, grammar, ability to meet all deadlines, work in a fast-paced and stressful environment, marketing, constant contact with your clients, and knowledge of the different writing styles.

How can you be a Ghostwriter?

Becoming a Ghostwriter takes persistence, dedication, discipline, motivation and organizational skills.  It certainly helps to have a true passion for writing. I can’t imagine anyone doing this that doesn’t truly LOVE it and feel it is their “calling.” If you write without passion, then others will certainly be able to recognize it, and that could damage your reputation.

You’ll need to learn how to market yourself, your services, set your rates, set up a website, create marketing plans, perform article marketing, set limits, figure out your niche, stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technology, and most important…practice, read and write a lot.

10 Content Marketing Ideas to Enhance Your Business

When having a business that is based solely online, providing excellent creative content is usually a general rule in your marketing plan.

Content marketing is the creation of something that intrigues your end users, and can give them something to benefit from, or the mere joy of reading. More importantly, content marketing can drive traffic to your website, provide prospects, and engage clients, new and old.

Below are 10 tips that can help you in your content marketing:

1.       Provide an e-newsletter.  Structure a newsletter that will benefit your customers. Include tips, news, events, and special offers that relate to your industry. Also, you might want to include things that pertain to your own company. However, send e-newsletters on a schedule, possibly once a month basis so that you don’t get labeled as spam and lose subscribers.

2.       Develop a white paper.  Research a problem that occurs in your industry and address those issues in your white paper.

3.       Publish a “how-to” guide. Research ways to do things better pertaining to your industry or niche and make a “how-to” guide.

4.       Provide educational postings on your blog. If you come across a topic related to your field that is lengthy in information, develop several blog postings on the topic as an educational series. This can drive people back to your blog over and over. Everyone enjoys learning, don’t they?

5.       Use Squidoo to create lenses. You can showcase your know-how and expertise by making lens on a topic of your choice. This will certainly send abundant traffic to your site.

6.       Make an eBook. Take an interesting topic, or several, and turn it into a short eBook. If you have done an educational blog posting in a series format, you can put these together and make an eBook as well.

7.       Make a video. You don’t have to be a professional to make a short video. For example, Windows movie maker would work great. Get several photographs together and insert into a movie maker program, add some voice-overs with a Sound Recorder Tool and Bam! You have a video to post.

8.       Podcast anyone? If you have the know-how or the tools to do this, they can be quite interesting and fun.  These can include updates from the work office, interesting things about your hometown, or anything related to your industry. Providing interesting content is number one.

9.       Public speaking.  Get involved in local marketing conventions or seminars that are in your area. Volunteer to speak about your business and strategies. Make sure you have a business card to hand out and in-turn, get email addresses from others attending the conference.

10.   Creative headlines. When composing articles or content for your website or blog, make sure each article has a well-developed, short and creative headline to go with it. Creative headlines grab people’s attention and make them want to read the article. Think of all the headlines you see passing through your local grocery store check-out aisle. Use some of those for inspiration.

These tips are surely a great help for ideas to incorporate into your marketing plan and they definitely help to drive traffic to your business website. There are also many other things you can do, but this is a great start. Good luck!

What are some your techniques for driving traffic?

5 Elements Every Ghostwriter Should Possess and What You Need to Know When Hiring One

Ghostwriters can be your life saver for your online business.  They are there when you need them and never miss the recognition or the accolades of their work being blasted all over the internet.  We all know it takes a certain type of writer to give up those rights and continue to perform in the highest professional manner.

I believe that is one reason it is a highly sought after profession.  Tons of people use Ghostwriters on a daily basis and if you are in fact thinking of hiring one of these dazzling writers, I’ve got a few things to consider that will help you make a great decision.

Below are 5 elements that I believe that every Ghostwriter should live by consistently:

1. Fresh and Creative Content

A Ghostwriter who is a professional will come up with their own original and creative content. They will not plagiarize or copy other people’s information. This act is very unethical and illegal. A ghostwriter may use other people’s information to gain insight into what they are writing about, but that’s it.  Ultimately they should construct their own creative material.

2. Content Should Contain Information

By this I mean, when a Ghostwriter is responsible for writing articles published to your site, they need to know that a visitor is only coming there to gain insight on a product or feature you have. Thus, a professional ghostwriter should make the readable content interesting and informative. They will do this by researching and providing information that is fresh or new and relatable to your product. They should however, avoid just cramming an article full of keywords and repetitive information.

3. Speak to me Style

Most people hire Ghostwriters to promote or inform visitors of their products and need their information written as such. It should not be just a “who, what, when, where, and how article,” but rather it should engage the reader as if we were all sitting together sharing an idea. Journalists and fictions writers can give you the run down, but a Ghostwriter needs to have a sales approach, while at the same time not making it into an infomercial type content or too “salesy.”

4. SEO

A Ghostwriter should be well knowledgeable in the area of search engine optimization. Today, with the increase in technology and business on the web, SEO is important, and an article without it is pretty much senseless. The practice of SEO is to place keywords into an article in a strategic manner. If you add too much, your search engine visibility will not increase, and if you add too little, well, you get the point. A ghostwriter, who has experience, will know exactly how to help you in this area.

5. Efficiency with Deadlines

Any writer out there should know the obligation and significance of deadlines. If a Ghostwriter is a professional, they will meet all deadlines in a timely and respectable manner. Acknowledging and efficiently meeting a deadline from a client should be their top priority and they should always follow through and respect that.

Now that you know the five elements a Ghostwriter should possess, the next time you are in need of hiring a Ghostwriter you will know what to expect.  Make a list of questions such as, “How do you feel about copying other people’s work?” and “What is your turn around time on an article or blog post?” Or, “How do you go about performing research on a specific topic?”  Knowing what to ask and these key elements will make your search for a Ghostwriter less stressful and more efficient.

Have you hired a Ghostwriter before? What are some of your questions or key elements?