Thursday, March 01, 2007

Article Marketing made easy

I got into Article Marketing as a way of getting book sales. I've got several books published on Lulu, but they only do publishing - you have to do the rest. I stumbled on Article Marketing over and over, but finally decided to take the plunge.

The reasons for this are simple: any author knows how to write and can knock off 500-1000 words with little problem. You write an article and submit it to several Article Directories. What this does is it sets yourself up as an expert, tells people to find your books on this subject, and as well pre-selling your product before readers get to your site. Also, if someone is going to search for your site, it shows up in search engines better by getting a lot of people to link to you. Articles you post all have your link at the bottom, where it lists your qualifications and/or gives a short teaser to prompt people to click on that link.

Article Marketing depends on you submitting your article to numerous Article Directories. The more you submit, the more links come back to you. As ezines and webmasters look for new articles, they will post your excellent article on their site - giving you a viral sort of increase in linkage. Posting to articles has to be done by hand and is time-consuming , so there are several article submission programs on the market. I found several free ones over at CNET's Download.com - just pick out some and try them.

Best so far (of three) is Article Submitter 1.3.1. It submits to over 200 sites and sets up easily on Windows machines. First off, it submits to a widespread Linux/Unix-based Article Directory called Article Dashboard. This means it is able to script in a given set of data into their program. Dashboard requires you confirm your application via email. So you are going to have some 200 emails coming at you which all have to be clicked on the e-mail's confirm link.

I've already spent a good deal of yesterday and today with a program called Free Article Submitter, which isn't bad, but I've been doing nothing but laboriously going through every single site to verify the sites are good and fixing them when they aren't. This program at least allows you to add more sites as you feel like it. It comes with around 150 or so and is pretty easy to use. It's semi-automatic, meaning you have to tell it to move on when it's done (as well as check it's data, as different sites have different scripts - other than Dashboard.) But I like speed. As I've gone over before, I want to cut this down to only needing to spend a single day of my week on writing and submitting articles - preferably only a few hours total. So this last program is much better than the one I've been slaving over all day.

Like I said, in both cases, you have to register at these sites first, then submitting is pretty simply. I'm leaving this Article Submitter to run at getting me set on all these sites, then I'll pile through the emails tomorrow to get myself all confirmed with them. After that, I'll pull up a new article and set it going.

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Well Article Submitter stopped cold about a third of the way through. I needed to tell it to skip that URL and pick the next one. After several more hesitations, it finally got me registered with almost all of the sites on the list. A couple didn't exist any more and one wouldn't accept my Yahoo address. (I have two main addresses as well as a couple others. Reason being is to send the spammers to Yahoo, where they are filtered out. I only give out the other if I can trust the person to not post it somewhere spammers can get at it. I have spam filters on all my emails, but a few still get through from time to time. You may want to try this, particularly with submitting all these sites to your email.)

While that submitter was going, I was busy catching up on all the emails I mentioned above. This takes a bit of time, but you are waiting anyway - so you might as well multi-task.

I'm also checking into some other submitters. I found one which has the Directories list as an XML file - meaning you could edit it directly - but the executable wouldn't work. Another I got from a P2P server had a Trojan in it, so it got deleted after my virus scanner dealt with it.

Now what I don't like about Article Submitter, and Free Article Software is that they are both built on top of Internet Explorer as a shell. So the pop-ups and so forth just sally forth. This means that viruses and so on would have a hey-day if given a toe-hold. I'd prefer someone extract the script and plug it into the Mozilla Gecko engine, making it run faster and would then be configurable through add-ons. But alas, nothing on SourceForge right now...

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As I wrote this, Article Submitter has been active, but hung up on some site which sent it into loops. Additionally, it had somehow opened a separate window that closed both if you closed one. (sigh) I was about 91% through on the registrations.

So I restarted it and then got another article out to submit. After I cut and pasted the article into the form boxes, I then started submitting - and promptly ran into the point of not having confirmed all my subscriptions. So it was back to my email again to catch this all up.

Ok, that particular Article Submitter program just won't post articles. Great. Meanwhile, I investigated another program called My Article Submitter which works semi-automatically like Free Article Software. In fact, it has the same functions and icon, just a leaner interface and doesn't have so many ads hardwired in. It also comes with a nice text file which has 450 sties to add in. Now this doesn't run just on the Article Dashboard sites, so you can get onto almost any site. The one drawback is speed. You have to tell it to go to the next site. But this allows debugging of sites and editing the worse ones off. (Funny thing is, as I've already put so much time into straightening out so many of the sites on Free Article Software, I'm going to continue using this - rather than start over, although they start off with the same basic list.) I also checked out a program called Article Distributor - don't bother. Needs upgrade to its interface; wait for version 2.

This is only a review of free article submission programs. You can get one of these for nearly $400, another for almost $80. Your choice.

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Strategy when using these programs are simple. Submit to as many as you feel like or have time for. There are five sites which should be posted to first:
http://www.buzzle.com/
http://ezinearticles.com/
http://www.goarticles.com/
http://www.articlesfactory.com/
http://www.webpronews.com/

After that, work with the ones you have found on the top 20 ranked with Google - obviously people are going to these sites first if they need articles. If you get industrious, you can find many, many lists of article directories. As I get time, I'll work to compile the lists I've accumulated this week into a workable PDF/text file so it can be entered simply when you update your sites.

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While I've spent a great deal of this post in the technical, let's get back to the reason you are doing all this - provide great service and information to like-minded people. And if you have written a book on the subject, of course you deserve to have people buy it - particularly if you write great articles.

I could go into some work on how to write, but this is perhaps the subject of a later post. Simply, it boils down to writing what you know about and like to discuss. You write like you talk. And always spell-check what you submit (don't use a grammar checker - they never agree with you). Those are the main points. If you want to learn to write, read a lot and then write a lot. That's the bulk of it.

Best of luck with your writing and submitting.
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