Thursday, August 09, 2007

Creating your own article directory

Rolling your own article directory has some advantages. I've covered this elsewhere as means to getting a list going - of authors themselves, which can be a neglected market.

If you work this route, and then expect Article Marketer to fill it with articles for you, there are some steps to do first.

Now, right out of the box is changing some templates by logging into your admin area - like terms of service, privacy policy and a few others. (I eliminated links to both Forum and Blog, as I don't intend to host these services right now - they hog harddrive space, and I'd be better served pointing them to an established forum.

I didn't spend a lot of time at customizing. (My contact page is paltry - comment on one of my blogs...) I don't expect to make money at articles, I'll make money selling good products to authors. This might seem backward, but I don't buy all the hype about advertising and adsense, etc. My use of articles is as above and also to collect their combined knowledge to research this Online Millionaire Plan for you and me.

So, get your basic templates fixed.

Next, before you invite Article Marketer to shove articles at you, get your categories to mirror those they have. In that way, whatever they send you just falls right into place. I signed up for their service and recieved a grand total of 8 authors over the next 24 hours. Now they said it might take 48 hours to process the submission, and I was happy - but not ecstatic.

At least, adding categories so that my site mirrors Article Marketer would seem to be the way to do it.

Adding categories is time consuming, since I know of no script which will automatically bring you up to speed. You just have to sit down with two tabs (you are using Firefox, aren't you?) and ctrl-tab between them, making the changes so they are in sync.

Spent several hours getting this right - or as right as I can.

Funny enough, I've found that the Article Friendly folks have a $40 package which includes a fully loaded database with the Article Marketing categories ready for you. And it has some other great (sounding) scripts as well. But I'm already nearly done, so I'll just keep my money, thank you.

Now checking the forums saw this same problem - corrected through making these categories line up. Article Marketer also may be having their own problem, due to having expansion pains. Don't know if this is the current scene...

I'll check this out in a couple of days. Right now, (beginning of week) I have 10 articles to get up and posted on the key (high PageRank and Alexa) sites and then will get back to other work later.

That's the key to this whole scene - keeping your production time-compartmented so you can budget what and when you produce. Obviously the articles are gotten out first, then improving the sales funnel, etc.

What's coming up this week might be press releases. These are similar to articles , but don't go out as frequently - however if they are great, they'll get picked up and spread all over the place. So it's another viral outlet.

More later...

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update: 070813

Just found I now have 503 articles with 650 authors. (Huh?) All I did was that three-day (in all my spare hours) marathon of manually adding in their categories. I wasn't able to relogin to Article Marketer's website and tell them I wanted all their articles, so this is an interesting experiment.

Means I've just been given a mailing list. Now, the next point is to use it responsibly - to build actual relationships with these people. And also, to extract these email addresses and pile them into my autoresponder, in order to manage this list more easily.

But this seems a working system to get article-writer names - albeit with faults.

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There is a lot of work in this area to narrow down what works and what is dross. For instance, I submit each of my articles now to around 100 directories (nothing less than PageRank 3), but the majority haven't approved my articles. Yet they are getting around the Internet. So all I have to do is now figure which ones are nearly auto-approving my articles.

One line I've heard is that article directories have been getting their articles via RSS feeds.

Another line of research is to find these RSS feeds and find which ones are successfully feeding articles to directories - if this is the case. I've seen some write-ups of how this has been done. Now to prove or disprove it as a viable form of marketing.

Initial problem is creating your own RSS feed. But really, this isn't an issue - just post your own articles to your blog (which has a feed) and then submit that feed to all those RSS locations. You could host your own blog, but that again brings bandwidth problems. Just create a Blogger blog just for your articles, replete with your resource box, and then make sure to post your article to your own blog - you could even add it to your article submitter program under Manual Add section (and if you don't have this on your favorite submitter, get one which does allow you to add in sites).

What I don't know is how often you should be submitting that feed - so there is more to learn here... Blogger does it on every submission - so probably that is the way to go, here.

Remember that article directory we set up? Well, it has an RSS feed for each author. So submitting to your own site will give you a complete set of articles which you can then submit to everywhere. Don't submit other authors - just your own. That's enough.

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Now, I've been checking on my articles, after I found that so many are sitting in the "to be reviewed" category. All these articles are percolating around the web just nicely, thank you. A lot of sites I'd never heard of have taken these up, so they are getting around regardless.

I've been working my mostly-automatic article submitter over, taking out the sites which give me problems and now can submit to over 100 sites with very little intervention.

However, it doesn't get all the big sites (and won't accept me adding sites directly). So I use my semi-automatic article submitter in that case. It's a two-step process. The semi-automatic is a lot more labor intensive - since it won't accept a full resource box, but only about 100 characters.

That last program submitter will also get my list of Press Release sites, so I can select them to submit a press release. That way, I can do this on a single day and get my weekly press release out to everyone.

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That brings up a point - don't try to do this all yourself, on your own little hosted site. The trick is to use what you know and do as leverage - using other's sites and bandwidth to promote your own product.

Some people make money from hosting articles - so you provide them with articles.

Some people make money providing affiliate services - so you send your affiliates to them.

Some people make money hosting Print On Demand and Digitial downloads - so you put your downloads there, along with books for print.

Don't host your own autoresponder - let the guys who have to deal with government issues do this (and that costs you a bit, but I'm a guy who hires an accountant to track my millions - a small percentage, like Pay Pal).

Host your blog on the biggest platform you can get (Blogger, arguably). They do the upgrades - you just work on providing material.

Your bandwidth and webpage-upkeep can be small, even miniscule - and all these other "Big" sites do the heavy lifting for you. Leverage.

This keeps you focused on what you should be doing - creating original content on a regular basis. They focus on what they do best - serving this content to the people who need it.

The trick is to get your own work so that you are supported by these services, rather than having your time wasted by them with nothing to show for it. That, again, is leverage.

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updated - 070815

Found a simple way to extract those email addresses from Article Dashboard - simply, as they say in the forum, use PhpMyAdmin. After a little experimentation (I may be a geek and took classes in databases, but jeez...) I found out that you simply export "prefix_users" and then pare down the columns you don't need. (But imagine that - you also get some sort of mailing address...)

Then you simply import/upload that file into your autoresponder program.

Now these have to be handled with care. They haven't really opted in to your system. So they should probably go into their own A/R series until they can opt-in formally. Now, if you follow the instructions above, it says you actually can email these characters because they said you could. Now, they can always filter out your emails - so at first my choice would be to thank them for their articles and then give them a free gift and a survey on how to service them better.

Next email would explain my Online Millionaire Plan project and ask for their help. I'm going to give them certain pages to look at (with bonus downloads when they do) and they comment on how it works or doesn't work. That involves them in the project.

Then you see if they are interested in buying resale rights products for their own use/reuse.

So I have my guinea's.

Now I'll wait through this next weekend to see if I now get more authors from Article Marketer. Just because I'm busy with this course from David Vallieres, who is basically using the same plan I'm outlining. And he gives far more detail than other authors I've studied. (Like having four price levels of product and staggering them to your customers.)

My scene is that I have around four dozen books or so and I want to pitch all of them. As well, I can do combo's of various sets of these. This course above can be sold as high end, along with extensive kits of assembled Resale Rights items. (Amazing what people will give away for free.)

The deal is that the customers for Online Millionaire Plan are different from Law of Attraction and Go Thunk Yourself! (the last two being close enough I can cross-sell them).

- - - -

An interesting development - didn't get through fixing up my second or third article submitter to work on those top '50' directories above. It took most of the afternoon (about two/three hours) to get just over 100 copies of each article posted. Used down through PR3. Now I've cut back to just PR4 and above. Thirty-five on this run - should go a lot faster.

And that is the argument. If you hit the best sites, you get the best results and don't have to push articles through 100 or 200 directories - which can sit on your articles and approve them (maybe) after months.

So that plan continues.

Now my next nuts-and-bolts work will be setting up one of these article submitters to do press release sites. Just have to figure that one into the mix.

Reason being that you will be submitting press releases the same week you get the fifteen articles posted.

There's more to do on this, such as daily posts you your lists - but I'll have more when I get through this course. (Only seven lessons, so this won't take long...)

Later ---
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