The first step in article marketing is to develop an article that is clearly written, provides value, and builds credibility. A clearly written article ensures that readers do more than skim your article.
To keep your reader's attention, your article must provide something of value. An example might be an SEO related article that shows readers how to write an effective "Title" tag for their webpage. A valuable article would first explain the concept then follow with examples.
A result of a clearly written article that provides valuable information is that of credibility. The concept of credibility can be subtle but is very important if you wish to drive the most traffic to your affiliate product. Some suggestions for building credibility include: injecting your experience into each article, providing references to findings from recent studies, offering facts, providing quotes from industry experts, and so on.
Once you've written a compelling article, you can weave a mention of your affiliate product into the text. However, be sure to do it in modest way. Some examples are:
"I've used a number of products that weren't any good… but I did have some success with the [insert product name here]."
"I've used [product 1], [product 2], and [product 3], but found [insert product name here] to be the cheapest and the best."
"Personally I use [insert product name here], but any [product descriptor] will do."
"I'm not an expert on [product descriptor] but know that [insert product name here] is quite popular."
Too often I see individuals using article marketing with a hard sell. This doesn't work. People don't like to be told what to do, what products they must use, or rely on the opinions of those they do not trust. So your best bet is to begin with a clearly written article, provide something of value, and use your newfound credibility to generate referrals or sales.
Now that you've written your article, what are you going to do with it? There are a number of article directories on the Internet, but which ones should you choose? I personally use Article Submission Software to distribute my articles to more than 600 article site, but you can start by submitting to some of the top article directories: About.com, EzineArticles, and GoArticles.com
A number of these directories are also favored by major search engines like Yahoo! Some allow affiliate links and others do not. Be sure to read the submission policies carefully before submitting your article. For some directories, you may have to include your affiliate link in the "About the Author" section. This is okay as many article directories allow multiple links in this section.
The added benefit of inserting an affiliate link in this section is that other webmasters, who repurpose articles from article directories, will include these links – giving you the benefit of viral marketing.
Article marketing is a great way to promote your affiliate product or affiliate program. By writing an article that delivers value and offers a subtle mention of your affiliate product, you're well on your way to getting the proper exposure for your promotion. Add the on-page optimization factors we talked about, and you're sure to get noticed. Give article marketing a try and you'll be surprised by the results!
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