Chris Knight‘s session at Affiliate Summit, Scaling Article Marketing for Affiliates, was one at which I took more notes than any other in the five Affiliate Summit’s I’ve been to (Miami ’07, Boston ’08, Vegas ’09, NY ’09, Vegas ’10). I was on fire, with 3-1/2 pages of typed notes, which I’m going to try to summarize for you.

First, let me start with the flaw… there was no “10,000 foot view” of what article marketing is. From what I understand, and I hope I have this right, is that as a publisher, I submit articles, which get syndicated, and the resource box at the bottom of the article drives traffic to my site, which then I’m responsible for converting into leads, sales, newsletter subscribers, etc.

Also, while I know speakers cannot pitch their own products / services while speaking, I wish Chris was able to show how a publisher who has an article submits it to ezinearticles.com and how website owners (looking for content) get the article and the final relationship of syndicated article to publishers website.

The biggest misconception I had was that article marketing was an SEO tactic, not a means of generating traffic. You’re not using articles for backlinks with the anchor text of your chosing, but rather, you’re generating content which drives qualified leads to your site.

You need to think big – not a few articles, not dozens of articles, but hundreds or thousands of articles to really see what impact article marketing can have.

Whether you have more time than money, or money than time, you need to get these articles written. You can do so by writing the articles yourself (excess of time) or by hiring someone to write them for you (excess of money). Chris talked about Ghostwriters, the average length an article should be (400-800 words) and how much you should expect to pay per article ($4 – $40).

When you write your article, or when you hire someone to write for you, the longtail keyphrase which you are targeting should have a 1-2% keyword density. Even if you hire someone else to write the article for you, it should be your responsibility to write the headline.

Chris then went on to talk about longtail keyword research, which could be a whole other blog post in itself, using Google search suggestions, AdWords keyword tool, Wordtracker, and spacky.com (audience shout-out).

If you’re still looking for ideas for your articles, take a look at:

  • Old Ezine Articles
  • Got a blog? Makes great articles
  • Forum posts
  • Support emails (minus private data)
  • Out of date books / ebooks
  • News & current events

The optimum traffic generating strategy outlined by Knight, included 25% unique content that’s not syndicated (only on your site), 15-50% unique content which is syndicated (to mass-appeal sites or niche sites), user-generated content (get as much as possible), and reprint rights articles (no more than 30-45%).

As an affiliate, the last part is what I don’t understand. Why would I want to take an article (including the resource box, which links to another website) and post it to my site? Maybe Chris can answer that in the comments below 🙂

There are 6 tips to maximizing article traffic

  1. Article Title determines traffic level
  2. Don’t sell hard in body
  3. Be original
  4. Volume required to make impact
  5. 400-800 word count
  6. Resource box seals the deal

Continuing on the idea of word count, an important point is that 2, 500-word articles will give more traffic than 1, 1,000-word article. So if you find yourself writing too much on a topic, break it down into two articles and submit each individually.

When you’re writing your article, you must write with syndication in mind.

  • Don’t write for traffic!
  • Hard sells in body will not be syndicated
  • 2 links will give most traffic
  • 1 link will give most syndication
  • TEST! (hrm… have we heard that before in this industry?)
  • Include one full URL (http://www….)

Finally, we get down to the resource box. That’s the final paragraph or so at the end of the article, where a little bit is said about the author, and you get your link back to your website 🙂

You must include your name, website URL, unique selling point, and a call to action. If you include your photo, you’ll get more clicks (and if you don’t think you photo will encourage people to click, create a brand with a person who’s attractive enough to do so!). This is not a spot for your entire resume, but simply why you are an authority on the topic you just wrote about.

Other, optional elements, to include in the resource box include a link to your ezine subscription (I don’t understand this one), a free report, an anchored text link, and your contact information.

Including the word free greatly increases CTR! However, “Click here” outpulls everything else.

Remember your goal: traffic.

There are 7 pitfalls to avoid with article marketing:

  1. Quality over quantity
  2. Too much hype / bragging
  3. Making your content too broad (avoid the head of the long tail)
  4. Failure to deliver article title within article body
  5. Trusting ghostwriters
  6. Submission infrequency
  7. Failure to create scalable systems

With this blog post now over 900 words, I guess I should have broken it into two posts, to get more traffic 🙂

What’s been your experiences with article writing? I know Vinny O’Hare has something to say on the topic – who else uses article marketing to drive traffic to their affiliate sites? This is new to me, so I’d love some advice.


25 Comments » for Write Mo’ Articles, Get Mo’ Traffic
  1. Tricia Meyer says:

    Thanks for the great summary! This was one of the sessions that I wanted to get to but didn’t have the chance. I write for ezinearticles.com a bit but clearly need to do more!

  2. Shannon says:

    Thanks for filling in the blanks for what I missed. My notes from the session are here: http://marketingelf.com/events/scaling-article-marketing-for-affiliates/

  3. I have already seen some of the benefits of article marketing on an minute level, but I know and will be upping my output and articles spread over the net starting very soon. Thanks for the timely reminders.

  4. Vinny O'Hare says:

    Great recap of the session, I agree it could have been more focused but it was good.

    I use Ezinearticles as well as a few others for submitting my articles. In a nutshell when I hire a writer for my sites I pull one or two articles for article submission sites. Most of my articles are 550 words and usually around 3% in keyword density.

    I use articles from article submission sites when I am starting a new site, I would not really use them on an established site. As for you saying you don’t know why as an affiliate you would put an article on your site I have a few theories on that. Lets say you are searching Google for the term “Blue Widgets” and you run smack into an article on ezine articles for the term. You can post that article on your site and either use it to attract another search engine or you may even end up ranking in the top 10 for that term even though it was posted somewhere else.

    You may also like the article and feel that the content is good enough to share it with your readers. Some articles are very good and provide value.

  5. Great blog post and useful tips. I also write for ezinearticles. Retweeted your post as soon as I saw it. Thanks a lot for describing the pitfalls etc etc.
    @slavarybalka

  6. Andrew Peel says:

    Great write up. On your point 1 of 7 pitfalls my experience with Ezine is that quality does count I have had articles reject because of quality and Ezine is the main site that does this because they take quality very seriously. I have articles submitted to many other directories and they were accepted no problem.

    Consistency is important and the title is very important. The messages you get back from Ezines for rejecting an article lack user-friendliness. They refer you to their copious user guidelines and you have to dig through. I have an article spell and grammar checked five times by word and they still rejected it on grounds of spelling.

    My main problem is that I am inconsistent in my output. Essentially if you re-spin all your Blog posts you are extending your ability to get found.

    Now here is an oddity with Ezine to watch out for. If you say you are going a book review including a book title in your article is fine. However if you mention even classic books like How To Win Friend And Influence People by Dale Carnegie it will get rejected for promoting a product even though clearly you are simply referring to it.

    Amazine and many high traffic directories have less traffic than Ezine however getting your content published is quicker and easier. I now split my content and sent my best to Ezine and others to the many other directories.

  7. Zana Hart says:

    You say Chris Knight said that “You’re not using articles for backlinks with the anchor text of your chosing, but rather, you’re generating content which drives qualified leads to your site.” (your words)and that this cleared up a misconception you had.

    I think a lot of writers do it for both.

    Thanks for your notes!

    I also agree with Vinny O”Hare that people use articles from ezinearticles on their sites because they feel the content is good enough to share. I recently went through and found a couple dozen articles I liked on simple living or green living and popped them into my wordpress to come out every couple of weeks or so… there’s a limit of 25 articles to be used per site in a year. This will be in addition to, not instead of, my usual blogging on my site about those topics.

  8. Thanks for the review. I’m new to article writing and this is very helpful.

  9. Nick says:

    Great Review! I missed the session at the Summit. The lady “guarding” the door told me it was for gold and platinum only 🙁 So I missed it all. I am very happy to find your review.

    Thanks,
    🙂

  10. Man I love this stuff and am in the process of submitting more articles. Need more teaching on article marketing because it does drive traffic to your site. Thanks for all the great tips and also sharing your notes.

  11. One problem I have with ezinearticles.com and some other free articles websites I publish on is that their categories are limited. I need categories such as paranormal, metaphysical, or spiritual. Those are the topics I most often write on, but not always. I think ezinearticles does need to expand their categories.
    Also, ezinearticles rejects any article if you refer to someone else’s book, even a classic. They need to loosen up a bit on this point.
    Otherwise, I like ezinearticles a lot, and have noticed that some of my articles were picked up by other websites. It’s very satisfying to see that. Also, that helps in spreading my name and the name of my website across the search engines, which is the a huge advantage.
    Thank you for taking such good notes at the meeting. I couldn’t be there.
    Sandra L. Lerner

  12. JohnTheJock says:

    Thanks for the review, it was very good.

    I should do more article marketing, but there is one problem I’ve had with ezine articles, which puts me off a bit ….

    After spending some time doing keyword research, I have come up with good, low competition keywords for article titles.

    Some were rejected for not being grammatically proper, so I had to change the titles to high competition search phrases, so it really defeated the purpose of keyword research.

    Surely if people are typing in a search phrase it should be admissable as an article title?

    Anyway, that’s my whinge over, I’m off to write an article.

    Thanks again for this review, it was helpful 🙂

  13. I really like Ezinarticles because they maintain standards and I believe people use your articles they know they will be quality.I get a big percentage of my websites traffic from Ezinearticles.
    Gail J Richardson

  14. Thank you for taking notes and for the summary! Very helpful and a solid reminder to KEEP WRITING!

    And for those who are looking for Article Writing and Marketing Training, check out Jeff Herring and the EzineArticles Training by Chris Knight. I recommend them both to my clients all the time.

    To your continued success!
    Maiya Rose

  15. Damayanthi says:

    Thank you for this great post.

    This is really helpful as I only used to have one link on the resource box.

    I have only 22 articles on Ezine & my major problem is not being consistent.

    I have many great lessons here & grateful for sharing.

    Damayanthi

  16. D Houy says:

    Great information for someone like myself who is finally putting articles together to submit to the various sites. You provided some real valuable “do’s” and “don’ts”. Thanks again.

    Duane Houy

  17. Mark Stein says:

    Thanks for the great summary Eric. I have never posted an article,but am trying to learn what it takes. I think I just found that out. Thanks again,

    Mark Stein

  18. Ashley says:

    Excellent summary and well presented. I wrote 71 articles in December of which 2 made it into the top 15 most viewed articles after 4 weeks. That increased article views and click throughs to no end. Its quite exciting getting one of your aritcles on the most viewed and this is the first time its happened to me.
    EzineArticles also runs challenges and at the end of December they had a challenge to write 25 articles in the last week of 2009. I did that and yesterday I got my EZA mug, coaster and coffee beans. What a great surprise. Brilliant.

  19. Don says:

    As a fairly new ezine writer, I found these comments to be very informative. For me, I can see that consistency will be the challenge. I do appreciate spreading the word on the best approach to use, especially the pitfalls. Keep ’em coming.

  20. Jack says:

    Eric,

    What a great recap of Affiliate Summary West 2010 and the link to Shannon’s blog. I particularly liked the comments on focusing on the headline. That’s an issue I need to address.

    I really enjoyed your video and going over your notes. Now I’ll take some time to digest it.

    Thank you,

    Jack

  21. We have had great success from posting articles at EZIN. The highlight would be one that was actually republished.

  22. Jim Banks says:

    Article marketing can be very lucrative.

    You don’t need to hire Shakespeare as a ghost writer. But at the same time there are a lot of people using article spinners, madlibs and the like to churn out complete garbage.

    Over at Ezinearticles each article has got a number of views at the very bottom. That indicates a popular topic or not, but it does grow in time.

    The idea behind using someone else’s content is to build up your own content and serve up ads. Each page of “content” is a page of ads. Forget link equity, SEO value etc. You can top and tail the content to make it more unique, don’t forget it’s a grey area as to how unique your unique content needs to be.

    The top and tail is designed to be a way of introducing the writer in the opening paragraph or two – use some keyword rich descrption – e.g. Bob is one of the leading experts on “keyword” and has written a very information article which I am including in full.

    Then after the resource box, you can tail it off with some call to action encouraging people to post comments on what they thought about the article etc…

    That way instead of paying someone $40 to write content, which, let’s face it isn’t going to be truly unique if they are writing about a topic that has ever been written about before, and which Google will most likely think is duplicate content anyway.

    A good article that you write yourself on a topic you have expertise in can get a lot of traffic at article directories. But you should try to vary the content as a lot of the smaller directories syndicate from the bigger ones.

    There are some great article tools, content finders, adsense poster goodies.

    I’m thinking of writing some articles on the subject…..

  23. Mark Clayson says:

    This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the excellent work.

  24. Wayne says:

    I have only had great results with eZinearticles.com. I only submit quality articles that I can also use on my blog. Because of quality content a really good website picked up my best stories and has doubled my visitors and subscribers. I am now writing for them. Using some very popular keywords I have reached the top 10 in Google and Yahoo. Regularly I have articles in the top 3 with Google. I endorse what the others are saying about consistency. I have successfully participated in the 2nd HAHD and am well on the way for the 3rd. All of this with quality articles.

  25. I now have 55 articles at EzineArticles and I think they are great. If you write quality articles people will want to use them. A big part of my website traffic is coming from EzineArticles. People know when they go to EzineArticles that they will get quality articles. The only part I have not figured out is this ( why do they allow people to write articles and then the resource box directs people to places that has nothing to do with the article) I can’t see this being productive for anyone. Am I missing something?
    Gail J Richardson

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