Write Mo’ Articles, Get Mo’ Traffic

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.