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Article Marketing's Worth

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Regular readers of my blogs know I’ve been testing article marketing using the article distribution and repository service from Ezine Articles. Ezine Articles allows writers to publish articles that include a special area at the end called a resource box. In the resource box the author leaves a link or two along with a couple of sentences. Other webmasters and publishers are allowed to reprint the article on their own websites, newsletters or blogs, as long as they keep the resource box intact.

You can see an example of one of my articles with the resource box here - - note the photo isn’t usually part of the resource box, you only see it when you view the article at Ezine Articles.

The idea from the writer’s point of view is that you can increase your exposure by having your content reproduced around the Internet. Your are rewarded with one-way incoming links from the resource box, you don’t have to reciprocate as you would with link exchanges, which in theory should reward you with better search engine rankings.

From a publisher’s point of view it’s free content. If you are struggling to keep a regular email newsletter going reprinting articles can be a fantastic way to reduce your workload. You can also use the content to populate a blog, website or any publication as long as you follow the reproduction rules.

My Article Marketing Test

I started article marketing by reprinting a small selection of the articles I published to Entrepreneur’s Journey from about July 2005 onwards. I didn’t put too much energy into it, spending a few minutes before I went to bed submitting an article every few weeks or so. I usually had to modify the articles slightly to make sure they follow the guidelines (for example you can’t include too many outgoing links) and it would take about 10-15 minutes to submit each article.

I devoted the majority of my energy to submitting at because it’s the market leader. Applying an 80/20 approach I figured if I was going to submit articles manually, as opposed to using automated software, then I should work with the service with the most traffic. I briefly tested with two other article directories, both of which had an inferior interface and less traffic than Ezine Articles. After receiving next to no results from the other sites I decided to stick to only Ezine Articles.

Last month I submitted my 20th article to Ezine Articles and feel that I am now in a good position to assess my results. By submitting more than ten articles to the site I was given “Platinum Status” which grants me unlimited article submissions, (before that you are limited to ten). While this sounds great it’s not really that big a deal, as long as you contribute reasonably coherent articles you will be promoted to platinum once you clear the threshold (it does make you feel cool though when it happens).

Incidentally the number of authors at Ezine Articles that have platinum status follows an 80/20 ratio as well. The greater majority of authors never make it beyond single figure article counts, with the prolific writers enjoying the most significant traffic rewards because they publish many articles, but only a handful of authors are like this. I am part of the minority in this case, having reached 20 article submissions, which I hear from “word on the street” is around the mark when you start to get good results (it’s not a “hard” rule).

Looking At The Numbers

To assess the success of my campaign I looked for two specific results -

1. Incoming links from websites

2. The number of times the article was reprinted in non-website publications.

The first was easier to track - incoming links from websites - because I could use services like technorati backlink lookups and my blog statistics so see whether any backlinks where coming from my republished articles. The other statistic was harder to track but thanks to a recently introduced feature at Ezine Articles you can get a fairly good idea how many people are republishing your articles in newsletters or other non-website sources.

On each article at Ezine Articles there is a quick publish button that spits out a html-formatted version of the article allowing publishers to copy and paste the content into a website or email. As an author I’m provided with statistics on how many times that button is clicked as well as how many times my article has been viewed, forwarded by email and a few other neat statistics.

Besides republication it’s important to note that Ezine Articles itself is becoming quite a good repository of knowledge. While not every article is written by an expert, and no doubt there are a good chunk of pretty “light” articles published, there is a broad range of quite useful articles on many topics. Because of this Ezine Articles gets a lot of traffic and your articles can be pulled up in internal search many times.

Total views (pageviews) is included in statistics and I can report at the time of writing this article my 20 submitted articles are about to reach 5000 views total. Top authors report figures in the hundreds of thousands, however they are publishing over 100 articles. You get back multiples of what you put in and depending on keywords, titles and subject matter you can expect varying results (more on this below).

Lessons Learnt

Testing Article Titles

Besides the direct traffic results there are some other important benefits from using article marketing. The one thing I’m really noticing is how important the article title is. Those of you who are copywriters or regular bloggers will be well aware that the title of your articles has the most impact on how often your article is read. The same of course applies in article marketing but it also impacts whether your article is republished. Given that most publishers first search article directories for content, your article title has to have the right keywords and has to be interesting enough to be clicked and finally, if you are lucky, republished. That’s a lot of steps to go through and a lot riding on how good your title is.

Thankfully you can go back and change the title of any article (in fact you can change any element of your articles at any time but it has to be re-approved each time), however you should aim to get it right straight out the door. This is because your article



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