Categories
Internet Marketing

Write 100 Articles – Waste of Time?

A programmer/marketer who’s really good at what he does sent out an email Thursday morning that I strongly disagree with. In fact, the word “strongly” doesn’t even come close to the way I feel.

EzineArticles.com is having a contest starting Jan 1 — if you write (and publish on their site) 100 articles in 100 days you’ll win a hat, mousepad, certificate, etc. Nothing huge, I’ll admit. But this marketer says to participate in that contest is a waste of time.

I understand his reasons, but I don’t think he’s looking at it with a long-term view. Following are his reasons (paraphrased) and my response.

Writing 100 articles in 100 days is too much work in too little time. With that schedule you can’t even take a day off — everybody needs a day or two when they’re not working.

There’s nothing that says you have to write only 1 a day. Sometimes you get on a roll and do several in a single sitting. What if you got on a roll once a week and did 10 articles? In 10 weeks you’d be done and you’d have had quite a few days off. Or do 2 a day every other day — that doesn’t seem so hard, does it?

Yes, 100 articles is a lot, there’s no getting around that. But we’re not talking about page after page — you have to write just 400 words per article to qualify for the contest.

But that’s not the biggest problem I have with his advice…

Why even write articles, all you’re doing is building EZA into a bigger site instead of working on your own stuff.

That’s like saying, “Why get your site spidered? All you’re doing is helping Google build a bigger search engine.”

If all you do is submit articles to the EZA site then sure, all you’re doing is help build their site — except you’re still going to benefit from the traffic.

Plus, who said that’s all you should do with the articles? You can publish the articles on YOUR site first and then submit to EzineArticles — they don’t have a problem with that at all. And now you’re building your own site PLUS getting free traffic from the people who read your articles on EZA and beyond.

But that’s still not the biggest problem I have with his advice…

If you don’t have a product sales letter, etc., you shouldn’t be taking time to write articles.

Ah-hah, here it is — the big problem I have with what this guy is saying — and why I say he’s not looking at the big picture.

Do you know what the main difference between an article and an ebook is? An ebook is longer, that’s all.

And do you know that a lot of ebooks consist of different chapters? And those chapters are typically about the size of an article or two?

See where I’m going with this? By writing articles on a specific subject you can cover many areas in depth — an article at a time. And by putting some of those articles together you can create a special report — and by putting even more together you can create an entire ebook.

Hold Your Horses Because I’m Just Getting Started!

Fire up Audacity and record each of those articles — now you have content for a podcast that can be used to promote that ebook for sale. Or, burn them to a CD and use as a bonus to get people on your list.

Now take that audio, add some slides via PowerPoint or Keynote, and you have a series of videos that can also be used to promote the ebook.

Or added to a membership site, or whatever you want to do.

Because now you have content — 100% original content that’s all yours to do with whatever you want.

To the guys at EzineArticles this contest may be all about building a bigger site, but to me it’s a way to crank out content that I’m going to use to make MY site bigger, to add new people to my list, and to turn into products that I can use for months to come.

Creating content is never a mistake.

And while you don’t need a “contest” to get it done, for some folks the structure of such a thing is helpful. If you’re that kind of person I recommend you join the 100 articles in 100 days contest and see how it can give YOUR business a big boost.

Categories
Article Marketing

Article Marketing Tricks #8: Resource Box Secrets

Here’s the 8th part of our series on making article marketing work for you, I call it, Resource Box Secrets.

Article marketing is a great way to use simple little articles to drive traffic to your web site. If you’re new to the concept, this is how it works (nutshell version):

Write an article of 300-700 words that deals with a topic your target market is interested in. For example, if your target market is new parents, an article on getting babies to sleep through the night, or an article on store-bought diaper alternatives would be things new parents might care about.

At the end of the article is a paragraph that’s known as the bio box, or resource box. Many people use that to tell about the author of the article.

That’s fine for stroking your ego, but it’s the kiss of death for making sales.

Articles used for marketing purposes are a bit of a different animal than articles you might find in a magazine. They both need to be well-written, but when someone is done reading an article you’re using for marketing, you want them to take another action

…and click through to your web site.

You know the old show business adage, “Always leave them wanting more!” — that’s how you should write your articles. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should just tease people in an article and then offer the real solution on your web page — you should give good value in your article.

But in a few hundred words you obviously can’t go into too much detail. And that’s where your resource box comes into play.

If your article was well-written and provided value to the reader, they will already be primed to want more information. A good resource box will give them a reason to click the link.

A bio box that says, “Jane Doe has been a parent for 14 years and is the president of Moms and Kids Play Group blah blah blah…” may build some credibility for the author, but doesn’t do anything toward the ultimate goal — getting a click to your web site.

On the other hand, if an article on getting a baby to sleep through the night ended with something like this…

“Click here to get a free copy of ’21 Tips To Keep Your New Baby From Driving You Insane’ at Jane Doe’s New Baby Tips web site. Download your copy right away and put the tips to work for you immediately!”

…don’t you think the reader is very likely to click on that link? You bet!

Sure, as an author it’s nice to put something in there about how great you are, but do you want status or do you want sales? An article for marketing purposes is a “direct response” type of ad which means we want the reader to RESPOND after reading the article.

And that means making sure there’s a great reason for the reader to click that link and get to the web site where we can then go for the sale.

As Christopher Knight, CEO of EzineArticles.com puts it, the body of the article is your “give,” and the bio box is your “take.”

Make sure what you’ve given to the reader has enough value that they’re chomping at the bit to click on the link in your take.

Using a resource box that gets the click is the difference between just writing articles, and real article marketing.

Categories
Internet Marketing

Multimillionaires? Or Doofuses?

I just watched a promo video for something — I’m not sure exactly what since I closed the browser before it was done — that was simply embarrassing.

First, I do not think you have to be *perfect* in your audio and videos. If you flub a little bit, or say “um” a few times, it’s not a huge deal.

But this is what I think these two internet marketing legends did…

One of the guys typed up the slides for the video and then the other guy came over and they started the screen recorder. And then they read the slides.

And you could tell which of the two wrote the slides because the other guy was reading them cold and doing a poor job of it. In a couple cases they stopped, flipped the slides back, and started over again — in one case with the other guy doing the talking because he was more smooth!

Dude #1 and Dude #2 — you’re multimillionaires, right? So spend $20 and get someone to chop the crap out of your video!

You’re wanting me to spend $xxx on your great information, but what you’re showing me is downright SHODDY workmanship! Is your info product going to be the same kind of thing? Did you take the same pride in creating your product as you took in creating your video?

Again, I don’t think people need to be perfect. But I felt disrespected watching the video — maybe they think they’re such hot shots they can throw anything out there and people will still get it?

That’s SO disappointing.

If you’re going to put something out that reflects YOU, don’t just throw out trash. It’s not becoming for Internet Multimillionaires or the rest of us.

Categories
Miscellaneous

Reaching For Your Dreams

My friend Millard Grubb has posted a new video on YouTube that’s relevant whether you’re aspiring to be an entertainer or an internet marketer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGTiLE5XC9o

Take a couple minutes to watch it.

Categories
Article Marketing

Article Marketing Tricks #7: Targeting The Buzz

Here’s the 7th secret to making article marketing pay off for you, I call it Targeting the Buzz.

This technique requires you to make regular visits to the forums where your target market hangs out. The problem with that is it can become a real time sink — there are thousands of people who spend so much time interacting in the forums that they never actually build their internet marketing business.

Targeting the Buzz is a great technique, but be aware of that potential problem so you can avoid it.

No matter whether you’re hanging out in marketing forums, racing forums, or dog training forums, certain topics of conversation kind of take on a life of their own. Some new strategy comes along and it seems that’s all people are talking about for weeks or even month at a time.

Eventually it kind of dies down, often because some other topic is taking it’s place and becoming all everybody talks about.

Here’s the Secret

Whatever the buzz is that’s happening in a forum, that’s what you target with a new set of articles.

Then when someone asks a question that’s answered in one of your articles, mention that you’ve written an article that answers that and provide a link to the article.

At the bottom of the article you can either have a pitch for your product, or an opt-in page. I think this technique is actually better suited to build your list rather than sell a product, but either one will work.

If your article answered their question, offer 3 or 4 more articles that give more information on that topic if they opt in to your list. You’ll find the opt-in rate in a situation like this is far above what you’d normally get.

And, once they’re on your list then you can pitch a product that’s in line with the topic. If you go straight for the sale you won’t have any way to follow up with them afterward.

More Than A List Builder

There’s another benefit with this technique than just building your list — although that’s a gold mine right there. Since you’re an active participant in the forum, and you continually provide the members with good, free content in the form of articles, you’re going to gain a reputation that will serve you well in the future.

Start testing this technique right away — in the forum where you usually hang out, is there some topic of interest that’s been building? Does it seem like everyone’s talking about it? Sit down and write a few articles giving some good, detailed answers to the most frequently asked questions. Then, watch for people asking questions that — at least mostly — are answered in your article and post a link!

You may be thinking that the questions being asked have already been answered and so there’s no desire for an article. However, if you notice, new people come in and ask the same questions over and over again — someone has to answer them, so it may as well be you.

Plus, most posts written in forums aren’t as thorough as an article, so your “version” of the answer has some good value added built in.

Give it a shot — start targeting the buzz and see how that type of article marketing can really help build your list.

Categories
Internet Marketing

A Quick Tip for Teleseminars and Webinars

Everybody involved in ecommerce or internet marketing knows that reusing content is a smart thing to do, and while I pride myself on recycling my material in many different ways, one unique way to do that escaped me until just recently.

Before doing a teleseminar about link redirecting for ad tracking purposes, I solicited questions from the people who had pre-registered for the call. The day before the call I wrote out my answers — not so I could read them out loud during the teleseminar, but to make sure I covered everything needed.

As I was writing it all down, I realized I could take one or more of my answers, tweak them just slightly, and turn them into articles that could then be used by ezines or article directories to help drive traffic to my site, and/or by my affiliates as a way to promote my Sonic Sneak tracking software.

Many times I don’t write down what I’m going to say on a teleconference, I just go with a list of bullet points and wing it. But even in those cases where you don’t write out the answers, it’ll be worth the cost to hire someone to transcribe a recoding of the call later in order to have more content to use at a later time.

If you do webinars, conference calls, or teleseminars, keep that thought in the back of your mind — if your answers are good enough for people to listen to, they’re good enough for people to read. Start keeping an eye out for different ways to reuse everything you write — or speak.

Categories
Internet Marketing

Disaster Redux

This post is proof I’m not a guru. Because a guru would never make this kind of mistake.

And if he or she did, they’d never admit it.

But I need someone to share my pain, so here goes…

About a week ago I mentioned on my blog that my laptop had to go to the shop — and while I had a loaner computer, my Article Architect database was on my backup volume and I couldn’t get to it.

Well, a few hours later I figured a way to get the database, put it on my loaner computer, and all was well with the world — I had all my stuff!

Last week I wrote several articles, I submitted several, I created a series of autoresponder emails, I started tweaking a new special report/ebook, and I created the launch plan for a new product.

All inside Article Architect. It’s the single most important piece of software I own. Everything I do is in it.

You know what’s coming, don’t you?

Today the Mac store called and said my laptop was back from Apple. So I copied everything over from my laptop to an external drive — except for my Article Architect database.

All of my stuff that I worked on last week, gone.

So why can’t I run back to the Mac store and copy it off? Because I was “thorough” and deleted my account from that computer before I took it back. Which wiped out all my files and changes. I was being “good.”

When I realized what had happened this afternoon I felt physically sick. I still can’t believe I’m going to have to recreate so much stuff.

But wait a minute…in that post last week didn’t I say I was going to look at a way to do a remote backup? So what happened with that?

(This is where it gets even worse.)

I was trying to come up with a system where the articles would “sync up” with a remote server. But doing a sync isn’t a trivial task and I realized it was something I would have to spend some time figuring out. And so I didn’t do it last week.

Tonight I dropped my son Tom off for his Civil Air Patrol meeting and took my laptop to McD’s to work…

…and in less than 55 minutes had a remote backup working in Article Architect.

In probably 45 minutes from now it will be an automatic remote backup — it will do it on whatever schedule you choose.

In less than 55 minutes I had implemented something that would have saved me a TON of grief.

In my defense, I didn’t implement a syncing strategy — it’s just a backup of the database to an online server. But it’s all 99% of people will need — including me. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.

(For those wanting that feature, it will be available in v2.8 and it will be a few days before I release that so I can bang on it first.)

That’s my sad story.

I think the moral is, don’t put off today what will save your butt tomorrow. Or something like that.

In any case, I believe this will end up being Jay’s Boneheaded Move of 2009.

And that’s why I’m not a guru.

Categories
Internet Marketing

Why Audio Beats The Pants Off Video

Everybody and their brother is putting video on their sites — one reason is that it’s proven to increase sales.

Okay, so there’s obviously a place for video online, but don’t for a MINUTE think you need to shoot video in order to increase your sales, because audio has also been proven to increase sales.

But isn’t audio tired and old-school?

Nope! Besides the obvious reason that not everybody online has the bandwidth available to make watching streaming video a decent proposition, here are the top 5 reasons why audio is better than video:

1. Nobody cares if you’re having a “bad hair day.” With audio nobody can see that you just woke up and have chicken hair. As far as they’re concerned, you look mahvelous and are sitting in a palatial recording studio.

2. You don’t need 5,000 watts of lights. One of the easiest ways to do bad video is to shoot using room light. To get a crisp look you need extra lights that cook you and make you squint.

3. Great Aunt Mildred doesn’t have to die before you get audio online. With video you’re going to need to buy those lights we talked about, plus you’re going to need some kind of backdrop to shoot in front of, plus the webcam built into your laptop ain’t gonna cut it so you need to fork over a few more bucks for a camcorder. Don’t get me wrong, you can do video on the cheap, but doing quality audio is MUCH cheaper.

4. Your studio can be a closet. With audio you need enough room for a microphone, and that’s going to be sitting right next to your face. Shooting video requires you to have room between yourself and the camera, room for the lights, and a space that isn’t going to look cramped and ugly in the background.

5. One entire piece of the pie is removed from consideration. When you shoot video you have the video to worry about, and the audio as well. But with audio, well, you’re down to just one thing to worry about. And the easier something is to do, the more likely you are to actually do it. It doesn’t matter how beneficial something is for your business if you never implement it.

If you want to play around with video on your site, go for it. I’m a big believer in testing different things to find out what works best for your product and market.

But don’t fall into the trap of jumping on the latest bandwagon “just because.” Audio has a proven track record and as you’ve seen in this article, it’s just faster, easier, and cheaper to get it on your web site than video.

And getting something on your web site TODAY that can increase your sales is far better than waiting until you get everything just right so you can create a quality video. Give audio on your web site a shot and see what it can do for you and your business.

See Sonic Memo for more on web site audio.

Categories
Article Marketing

Cranking Your Credibility – Audio/Video

I’ve released the audio and video versions of my article, “Article Marketing Tricks #6: Cranking Your Credibility” which are available here:

Audio:
Cranking Your Credibility Audio
http://articlemarketingexplained.com/podcast/

Video:
Cranking Your Credibility Video

And if you missed the written version and would prefer that, it’s still available online at this link:
Cranking Your Credibility Article
http://ezinearticles.com/?id=3286659

Most people think article marketing means submitting articles to directories and then waiting around for traffic, but as this series shows, there are many more techniques that can be used to great effect.

Categories
Internet Marketing

Disaster!?

Today my laptop died. That’s my primary computer — my development machine.

I do make very frequent backups so I should be able to recover everything when it’s fixed, but I will be almost computerless for the next 6-10 days. The Machaus in Wasilla was kind enough to give me a “loaner” machine so I can check my email and such, but I don’t have any of my development tools installed.

I was getting ready to do a new “launch” of Article Architect v2.7 but I’ll probably have to hold off on that — I can put a Mac build out but until I get my laptop back I don’t have a good way to put out the Windows version.

And here’s what I’ve found is *really* a bummer — all of my content in Article Architect is safe in the backup — but I don’t have access to it!

For some time I’ve been thinking of doing a “remote database” that would allow you to sync your articles and content to a server online. If I had already done that I’d be able to download a new version of AA and then “link it” to the remote database to get all my stuff.

I think, for the next week or so while I’m kind of dead in the water, I’ll spec up something that would give us AA people some kind of remote access to our content.

And that’s how most of my development goes — I crash into something that’s tedious or frustrating and code a tool to fix it. =:)

We shall see what happens…