How to Make Your Writing (a Little Bit) Better

The Director of Columbia University’s writing program and author of the new book To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction reveals a few ways to write a fresh and engaging story.

I came across this post on Oprah’s website and thought it was worth re-posting for my readers. There are some great tidbits, guidance and instructions for making your writing better. Now that online content is so huge, it’s always a good idea to tweak and work on your writing or hire a ghostwriter to assist you.

1) Be Bold (Even if You’re Not) Regardless of how timid you may feel inside, you need to project an assertive tone in your sentences, conveying that you have a right to speak and that know what you’re talking about. This may mean bluffing—both at the beginning and maybe throughout one’s writing life. One of the boldest openings is a confession of ignorance. You might tell people that you don’t know everything or that you’ve forgotten some of the story. Surprisingly, instead of alienating your readers, this tactic usually makes them believe you more, because it lets them know you’re a human being—imperfect, like all of us, but honest.

2) Make Yourself into a Real-Life Elizabeth Bennet Whatever you write, particularly if it’s an autobiography or any kind of nonfiction, you would do well to turn yourself into a character. The reader needs to sense very quickly the real individual behind the prose—in order to like or trust the narrator of the piece. To start, you may need to take inventory of yourself, so the reader will have some idea of who is talking. For instance, what are your geographical roots, family background, ethnicity, social class, religious training, sexual preferences, and political affiliations? Not that your entire identity can ever be explained by membership in this or that one category, but at least the sum of them helps define you—if nothing else, then in your opposition or refusal to identify with any of these assigned labels. What are your pet likes and dislikes? What are some of the crucial experiences in your life? Certainly, this is the heart of memoir or personal writing.

Now comes the “characterization” part of your character. You need to dramatize yourself. Paradoxically, this may mean putting on a mask, emphasizing just those aspects of your personality that throw you into sharper light, that make you seem a little more odd or idiosyncratic—in any case, not completely typical. The easiest way to do that is to single out those parts of your personality that are most vibrant, or even disparaging. Self-mockery is a perfect example. If you can laugh at yourself, you will find it easier to see yourself as a character.

3) Take the Contrarian Position It’s sometimes a good idea to go against the grain of accepted thought, simply because it takes the reader by surprise and engages him or her in a stimulating, feisty relationship. (It also helps to build the author quickly into a character—see number 2.) To advocate for Mom, apple pie, world peace or universal brotherhood can be pretty bland. Try airing a more antisocial or counterintuitive position, just for the fun of it. Some models to consult in this technique are Laura Kipnis’ “Against Love,” Witold Gombrowicz’s “Against Poetry,” Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” Joyce Carol Oates’ “Against Nature” or my own “Against Joie de Vivre.”

The other way to be contrarian is to praise something that usually inspires distaste. William Hazlitt’s “On the Pleasure of Hating” is one such topsy-turvy example. Think of something ostensibly negative—disappointment, envy, chagrin, obesity, air pollution—and make a case for it. Of course, this defense of the indefensible can be done ironically, as in Jonathan Swift’s classic “A Modest Proposal,” which purports to argue in favor of eating babies as a solution to overpopulation.

4) Don’t Forget Your Inner Adult When writing about your past, don’t be afraid to reflect on the way you were, from the standpoint of the way you are now. You don’t have to pretend that you’re still 9 years old or stay within the child mind: You can avail yourself of the perspective of acquired wisdom over the years and move back and forth in the narrative between the younger person you were and the older person you’ve become. This means you don’t have to tell every story entirely through scene and dialogue. You can forget about that “show, don’t tell” business. Do tell. But do it frankly, thoughtfully and, wherever possible without self-pity and with good-humored detachment.

5) Bring in the World Even if you are writing a memoir, and telling what you feel is just your own private story, there are ways of bringing greater relevance and resonance to the tale by hitching it to a broader perspective: historical, psychological, sociological, theological, whatever. You begin to see yourself as part of a larger pattern, and this will take you to the library, where you can gain new insights.

Research also helps to keep the material alive when you are starting to get sick of yourself and your story. If you start out knowing all the answers, your resulting writing will appear stale. But if you engage in an exploration, a need to get answers to questions that are still unresolved, there is a much greater chance that the writing will come alive. And research can certainly assist in any such exploration.

For more information on writing techniques, consult Phillip Lopate’s new book To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Expert-Writing-Strategies-How-to-Write-Better#ixzz2LMYAJ4yF

What do Petticoats and Writing Have in Common?

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As I was sitting in my recliner last night, trying my best to find that light-bulb moment or the next viral blog post, for some reason the petticoat came to mind.

I know you’re thinking…what!? My sentiments exactly! I had no idea where I was going with this, but something sparked inside me to simply start writing. I was hoping it would come to me as fast as my speedy typing.

Wikipedia defines the Petticoat as follows:

“In historical contexts (sixteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries), petticoat refers to any separate skirt worn with a gown, bedgown, bodice or jacket; these petticoats are not strictly speaking underwear as they were made to be seen. In both historical and modern contexts, petticoat refers to skirt-like undergarments worn for warmth or to give the skirt or dress the desired fashionable shape. In this context a petticoat may be called a waist slip or underskirt (UK) or half-slip (US), with petticoat restricted to extremely full garments. Petticoat can also refer to a full-length slip in the UK,  although this usage is somewhat old-fashioned.”

Going way back to my childhood, (and yes, that was quite some time ago), I can remember having such frilly, foo-foo dresses. They were just not quite completed until I had all those petticoats underneath my dress. Once those were on and fluffed, then I felt as though I was completely dressed.

As I reminisced about those days, I saw myself running and playing and jumping around, just to experience all the fluffiness, fullness and the sounds of crinkling petticoats. Not only did they make me feel feminine and girly, they also made me feel extremely dressed up and exquisite. Like I’m sure some of those on the red carpet feel when they are all dolled up. That is how I felt! Like a model! Simply beautiful.

There was something about the sound of all that crinkly material and the crushing, rustling-type sound they made. The way they would fly up into your face when you sat down. The manner in which you would lay your hands on top of your dress to push it down just so you could see. The gorgeous way they looked under such a beautiful and frilly dress. Of course, in most cases there were matching shoes and socks, as well as gloves and purse.

The more you had under your dress, the better you felt.

So, how does that relate to writing, you ask?

Well, think about this. How do you feel when you have completed an awesome article or blog post that gets raving reviews, or increases your followers, or is shared amongst your friends, family and social network?

Doesn’t that make you feel all frilly and foo-foo and tingly inside? The sounds of the petticoats are similar to the sounds of raving fans applauding like you’ve just finished a Tony award-winning performance.

You feel like running and jumping and twirling around exhibiting tons of glee and excitement. Well, maybe not to that extent, but you are excited and thoroughly happy with yourself. Right?

If you have created compelling content that others want to read and share, you should be proud.

Petticoats are Meant to be Seen

Remembering back to those petticoat days, I can remember how cool it was to have layers upon layers of petticoats. The colors were also something to be admired. From pinks, purples, red (yep…had to have red, it’s my favorite color) to the simple white and beige. Whatever color I wore, it was meant to be seen. Imagine that. You wanted to show them off.

Which brings me right back to writing, (you knew I was coming back to it). Whatever you write, whether it’s a blog post, article, eBook or white paper, you want it to be seen, admired and appreciated. You want to provide solutions to problems and issues people are having.

You want to be the one they search for when they are in need of answers. You want to be that “go-to” person. But exactly how do you do that? Well, you do your homework and figure out what problems your readers or clients are having. And then give them what they want.

If you can teach your readers something they don’t know you’ll have a robust following. Then those readers will share your content with their friends, and so on and so on.

What happens when you create valuable, informing, educational and even humorous content? It will be seen by many.

Desired Fashionable Shape

What does the petticoat’s fashionable shape have to do with writing? You need to make sure your articles and blogs posts are fashioned in a readable and shareable format.

For example, include compelling images to your articles as well as shaping your post in an appealing manner. Make sure you have enough white space between paragraphs. Chunk your content so it’s easier to scan. Create intriguing headlines and paragraph titles. Use a font that is easy on the eyes to online readers. Always add something personal, emotional or some sort of life experiences.

Before writing your next article or blog post, think about something in your personal life you can use to relate to your product or services.

Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. People can relate to those types of experiences and it’s quite possible they are going through something you’ve already been through. Think about how helpful that could be to others.

Add flare, experiences, emotion, humor, solid advice, and you will dazzle your audience to no end.

What have you found in your articles and blog posts that have increased readers and followers? Do you find by adding life experiences to help tell your story beneficial?

Columbine Student’s Father 12 Years Later

Since the horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT, I felt this post speaks volumes and will give you something to ponder as we try to come to grips with everything that happened.

Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, Columbine High School victim, sums it up brilliantly on what he feels is happening in our schools. I totally agree with him. See if you agree. It is definitely worth reading.

Here we go:

Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal.

There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript: “Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,

Your words are empty air. You’ve stripped away our heritage, You’ve outlawed simple prayer. Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die. You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question “Why?” You regulate restrictive laws, Through legislative creed. And yet you fail to understand, That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!” –Darrell Scott

————–

My prayers continue to go out to all those affected by that tragedy in Newtown, CT. How has it impacted your life? Do you check with your kids at school more frequently? Do you simply thank God for protecting them? Has it changed the way you do things? Please let us know.

Do You Know the Benefits of Hiring a Ghostwriter for your Business?

No matter what field you’re in, the life of your small business depends on written content to maintain a strong online presence and build your brand.  But you knew that already, didn’t you?  Sure, you’d like to start a blog for your business, write an e-book, or maintain an active Facebook or Twitter feed, but you’re already wearing so many hats–now you have to be a writer, too?  No, you don’t.  Instead, consider hiring a ghostwriter.

A ghostwriter is an expert writer who can handle any written task such as articles, blog posts, press releases, essays and e-books according to your specifications and let you take credit for them.  Once the publishing industry’s best-kept secret, ghostwriters are now a trusted part of every industry from medicine to music, and have become very popular with small business owners in particular.

Let’s face it; some of the world’s smartest, charismatic and talented people are terrible writers.  Ghostwriters can help their clients look as competent and knowledgeable on the page (or screen) as they are in person.

Why do you need a ghostwriter?

Well, consider what your time is worth, and how it can best be put to use to help your business.  Do you think that being hunched over a keyboard writing a blog post is the best use of your time or your talent?  By leaving your writing needs in the hands of a capable ghostwriter, you can go back to doing what you love, and remind yourself of why you started your business in the first place.

Even if you did have the time to write (and brainstorm, and edit) it yourself, having well-written, informative and enjoyable content is not quite enough.  Experienced ghostwriters can also help you create targeted content that skillfully uses keywords that will help your website or blog rank high in search engine results while avoiding being marked as spam.  After all, what good is a blog if no one reads it?  The more people who seek out your website, blog, and social media and benefit from the valuable information you provide, the more money you will make.

It can be hard to let go of control of something as important as online marketing for your business, but your business needs YOU more than anything else.  Successful business owners know that part of their success comes from knowing how and when to delegate tasks.  Many will tell you to do what you’re best at, and hire skilled people to handle the rest.  Wouldn’t hiring a ghostwriter be a great place to start?

Have you hired a ghostwriter in the past? What have you learned from using a ghostwriter?

Get up Early and Start the Day off Right!

For many people, sunrise is not a friend. I love watching the sun come up! It’s my favorite time of day. But there are some who instead of bounding out of bed, ready to greet the day, prefer pulling the covers over your head and catching just a few more minutes of sleep.

Then, you reluctantly give in and stumble out of your cozy bed in search of coffee before you feel like a human being again.

You might be happy with this morning routine, but if not you don’t have to accept it as the start to your day. When you wake up fresh in the morning, you are ready to tackle all of your goals, and in some cases, with a smile on your face.

Despite what you might think, you don’t have to remain among those who classify themselves as “not a morning person.” If you want to change, it can be done simply by changing your habits.

The first step is always to admit that the habit you have is not working in your best interest and that you want to change. Understand that the first thing you try won’t necessarily be the right method for you, so don’t become discouraged. Just move on to another way and keep going until you find what works best.

You’ve probably heard this before, especially if you are a parent: Routine is very important! It may not always be possible to stick with the exact same routine from one night to the next, but try to stay as close as possible to your original plan. Eat healthy throughout the day. Avoid foods that are full of sugars and fat close to bedtime. Eat dinner at the same time each day, several hours before bedtime. Do not ingest any stimulants, such as caffeine, before you go to bed.

One thing to try is to eat a healthy dinner each night. When you do, make notes in a journal that describe how you felt when you woke up, how easy it was to get out of bed, your mood after you begin to get ready for the day. After a few days, you will be able to see if this is working for you.

Get some exercise in the early part of your day. When you keep your body in shape, you will sleep better. It is more beneficial to exercise in the morning instead of at night. If you exercise closer to bedtime, your blood will be pumping, which makes it harder to fall asleep. That extra energy boost that you get will be more helpful at the start of your day, so it just makes more sense to get an early workout.

Do something that makes you happy and relaxed before going to bed. Read a chapter or two of your book, do some yoga or meditation. Do not do something that is likely to cause stress, such as balancing your check book or paying bills. Stressing about money is one of the leading causes of sleepless nights.

Also, switch off the television and computer before you start getting ready for bed. The light from their screens can decrease your melatonin levels, making it even more difficult to fall asleep.

Before going to bed, plan to do something that you enjoy first thing in the morning. Maybe do some sun salutations, or even just enjoy your coffee on the patio to soak up some sunshine. Don’t worry about your to-do list until after you are up and ready to take on the day.

Are you a morning glory or a night owl? What do you do to get yourself out of bed in the morning? Let us know!

Online Content: How to Beat Your Competitors with SEO Content

No matter what type of business you have, you are going to have competition. Even more so when you have an online business. You might think you have the edge, but there will always be others out there looking to take the top spot in the industry. In order to take your place at the top of the heap- and stay there- you need to know what it takes to compete.

When you start producing online content to support your business, it is important to have a strong understanding of search engine optimization. You also need to know who your competition is so that you can effectively compete. When you have the insight into the other businesses in your industry, you’ll be ready to put up a fight.

Check out the websites of your competitors and anyone else who may be selling a product or service similar to yours. See who is sitting at the top of the search engine results. In order to get yourself up at the top, you need to know what these businesses are doing to stay there. Observe the web design; take note of the prevalent keywords, and any other detail that can impact a search engine rank.

After you have done your research on your competition, take what you have learned and see what improvements can be made to your own web page. Maybe your layout can be rearranged. Play with your color scheme and tweak your design. You may be surprised by how much the look of your website can influence your customers.

The content on your website also plays a major role in how well your business will do. Take the time to research the best keywords and phrases to include in your online content. Consider adding a blog to your site, or maybe videos. Find changes that are going to set you above your competition. When you focus on search engine optimization, you will see a great improvement to your own search engine ranking. Staying on top of the results means more potential customers finding their way to you.

Quality SEO content can make all the difference in the online business competition. Every business, in any industry, can benefit from professional web content. It will enhance the value of your website in the eyes of customers.

After you have looked at what your competitors are doing to boost their business, try coming up with a few ideas that are uniquely yours. Be creative in your efforts to draw more traffic your way.

Always give different techniques a test drive. Something that works incredibly well for another company may not have the same impact on your business. Staying on top of the search engine results means making changes whenever necessary. It is a never ending process, but well-worth the efforts that you make. Beating the competition requires constant attention to SEO of your online content.

How to Get the Best Results with Article Marketing Online

Too many people are giving up on their article marketing campaigns because they aren‘t getting the results they expected. These are the people who only post a handful of articles to one or two directories and wait for the magic to happen. When they don’t see a huge return for their meager efforts, they throw in the towel and then spread the word that marketing their articles online isn’t worth the trouble. Not only are those people ruining their own chances of success, but they’re scaring off other people who are considering article marketing online.

In order to get the best results with article marketing, it’s important to know what your plan of action needs to be from the start. With this information at the ready, you’ll be better equipped in your online content marketing campaign. To make your articles work best for you, here are some things you need to know:

Do thorough keyword research and make a list. You want to have a stockpile of keywords and keyword phrases that are appropriate for your industry. You can use a tool like Google’s free keyword tool or invest in a professional tool like Market Samurai. You want to focus on keywords that are going to help you rank highly in search results.

Write an article for all of your keywords. Try to set a daily goal of writing one article. If your talent for writing isn’t too strong, consider hiring a ghostwriter. Many ghostwriters are knowledgeable in SEO practices.

Submit to a wide variety of directories. Every directory offers different options. Different niches perform better on one site than another. When you distribute your articles to a lot of directories, you can determine which ones are giving you better results in your article marketing campaign.

Track each article’s performance. Knowing which articles are performing best and each directory gives you an idea of what your search rankings will be. Then you can focus your efforts on the better performing keywords.

Fine-tune to your articles. When you track the performance of your articles, you’ll begin to notice which titles are capturing more hits and which ones are only doing okay. Then you can tweak a little here and there. For example, maybe titles written as a question get more readers than those that are straightforward.

Use what you’ve learned to boost your traffic. Once you’ve observed what is working best in your article marketing campaign, you can start duplicating what you learned in your future articles.

Remember, article marketing isn’t supposed to be easy. Nothing worth doing ever is. If you want to see fantastic results, you have to put your best efforts into what you write and how you distribute.

Have you been discouraged in your article marketing efforts? What have you done to overcome those obstacles? Let us know!

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.

Save Money and Earn Subscribers with Article Marketing

One of the most well-known methods of online promotion used by business owners is pay-per-click advertising. Unfortunately, PPC is also one of the most costly tools when it comes to marketing your business and products.

Pay-per-click is geared towards bringing visitors to your website. You place a bid on your chosen keywords and when someone enters those keywords into a search engine, your advertisements will pop up. If the user clicks on your ad, you pay for the click. But even if someone clicks on your ad, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a conversion.

Basically, you’ll be emptying your wallet with each click and seeing little return on your investment. The goal of marketing is to bring in more business which will then lead to more money. To start getting the most bang for your buck, you need to find a way to get your links out there in the most inexpensive- yet effective- way possible.

Article marketing has become one of the most successful tools when it comes to saving money and boosting conversion rates. Writing articles about your business and products will give you the opportunity to submit to various article directories at no cost. You can link back to your website or squeeze page for readers to click on, which still costs you nothing!

Another bonus that comes with writing articles that center around your industry is that readers will recognize you as an expert in your field. This will do more for your reputation than a short advertising blurb.

You know, too, that it may take more than one visit to your web page for someone to decide to buy your product or sign up for your service. It’s important to gather information from visitors in order to reconnect with them at a later point. By linking your articles to a squeeze page, you can get their email address and name right away so that you can contact them in the future.

With the help of your informative articles, you’ll also be able to build your subscriber list. Anyone who has seen success in their business ventures will tell you that a list is a powerful force. A list will get you repeat customers and a steady income.

The key to successfully building a subscriber list is to write articles that are helpful and give readers just a sample of what you can do for them. You don’t want to give away the whole secret. You want them to have a reason to keep coming back.

If writing isn’t your strong point, or if you just don’t have the time to commit to article writing, there are ghostwriting services which will be able to generate fantastic content on your behalf. Some services will even do the work of submitting your articles to directories and know which of those article directories will get the most hits on search engines.

Article marketing is the smart way to promote your business. It can benefit any industry and help create more buzz around your company. The price is just right since it can cost you nothing more than the time it takes to write an article. When you get on a roll with your article marketing, you’ll become a recognized name in your industry which will lead to more traffic to your site, more conversions, and more sales.

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!