A good ezine writer can become a star in their field when widely published. Those who provide great content and who make it easy to publish can escalate their writing careers. Organizations who publish quality content in trade for publicity can achieve maximum exposure if they follow some simple guidelines.
As an ezine editor, my job is to filter and present interesting and compelling content to our visitors. I frequently visit the free article web sites and find a wide variety of article ideas. Often, I am disappointed. - Many articles have sound merits, but are either poorly written or formatted in a manner that is not compatible with our page layout." The latter is the most frustrating reason to reject articles. - "It may have been a great piece of writing, but the author chose to clutter it up with excessive self-serving ad copy and URLs."
A good article is one that takes an objective view of a subject. This approach will better engage the reader, as it possesses a higher degree of believability. Just like in verbal conversation, the listener (reader) backs away in a defensive posture when someone is being pushy. The reader is less likely to believe all that is said because they detect an ulterior motive of the author. For example, biased, one-sided reporting has less value to the reader than detailing a rational argument addressing both sides of an issue. -Even if the author is clearly biased, they can still address the subject from the reader's point of view.
The reason why most profit-based ezines will publish your article is to build traffic. Just like print magazines, readership drives the business model. - The more readers, the more advertisement exposure. Most ezines are in business to provide a service to advertisers. This is widely true with most print magazines and newspapers as well.
Ezines generally hope that your article will have a ready made answer for someone conducting a specific internet search on Google, Yahoo, MSN or other search engines. The text of your article will be indexed into these search engines so that the public can find your article. With Google, their page order ranking system is forever changing. The Google system for instance, (today fielding the majority of Internet searches) is based on "degree of relevance". Google measures relevance not only by the specific content in your article, but also by the related subject matter on the host ezine web site, as well as the number of links pointing to the page and host site. That’s why your article may rank higher on one site over another based on the specific search criteria. Just remember that the search engines are getting smarter every year. They are getting better at detecting quality over quantity.
Here Are Some Do's and Don'ts From a Ezine Content Editor's Perspective:
Write a Good Lead-in:
Make sure the first two lines of your first paragraph are very appropriate to your subject. Write catchy descriptive titles: no more than 65 characters. - (You will notice that there are about 65 characters that show up on the title line of a Google search result page). Try to write like a news writer. - Most important information up front, with the supportive data towards the end. Your whole article should be generally written with this rule in mind as well.
Have a unique perspective on your topic. Too often I see very general subjects that will never stand out from the sea of content on the Internet. - And thus never come up when searched. If you are going to spend the time to write something, try to narrow the focus and answer a specific topic for a specific reader. This approach will allow you to "work and turn" or tweak the article with a different angle and different audience with little effort. - Resulting in more exposure with less work.
Don't Write a Blatant "Advertorial".
Don't write overtly self-serving advertorials unless you just want your articles to only appear on the come-get-your-free-content web sites. Remember, your articles will have the best chance of being seen if it is associated with other similar content.
We all know the reason why most people are writing and distributing free content, but don't make it so obvious that you loose credibility with the reader. Intelligent readers will know when they are being "sold to" and will stop reading before they get to the end of your article. Most quality ezines (ones that readers respect and come back to), don't want to publish a pushy sales pitch. -It will just make their readers not want to come back. There are a lot of ways a good writer can cleverly disguise their motives. The easiest way is to be complete, truthful and objective so that you gain the trust of the reader. Put your sales pitch on the your page link in your byline. This way, readers will be more ready to accept your sales pitch since they specifically requested information about your product or service.
Don't Write About Something You Don't Know
Put some meat into your article. The reader should walk away with something useful. I see a lot of articles that are simply a regurgitation of widely known information. As a publisher, I will remember your name and avoid your work if it is sub-standard, inaccurate, or immature. Expect excellence in yourself. If you are writing about something you don't know, do the research and become an expert. Your goal should be to give the reader something they probably did not previously know about.
Don't Overstate Your Keywords.
Redundancy can be boring to read. I often review articles that make such an obvious attempt to repeat specific keywords or key phrases that the writing is almost useless in conveying the subject matter. Search engines will detect and reject this belligerent abuse of the Internet and so will most readers. It is best not to make a conscious effort to boost keyword count in your article. Your subject is what it is. It will be recognized as relevant when your keywords and phrases are found in a natural, common and organic manner.
Don't Write Over the Top of Your Readers.
Write in plain English (or French, German, Japanese, etc.) so that your target audience will quickly understand what you are saying. If you are presenting a highly technical subject, work from the lowest common denominator. If your lowest common denominator is a lawyer from Harvard, then your writing can be a bit more complex than if your audience includes high-school dropouts. However, technical people enjoy easy reading too.
Please Check Your Spelling.
If I see blatant spelling errors, I will also assume that the author is not credible and reject the article. If I get to know your name as a writer who does not check spelling and grammar, I will avoid looking at your articles. Most editors don't want to waste time and spell check your work. More importantly, some of the free article distribution sites specifically state that the articles cannot be altered. Don't let bad spelling and grammar keep you from getting your work published.
Keep you Bio Brief and to the Point.
You want your bio to be short and to the point. Your URL link should be aimed at a specific page that supports the purpose of your article. I reject a lot of articles because the bio reads like an in-your-face advertisement. This is fine if you do not want to see you work on high quality sites. It is best to keep the URL's to a minimum (no more than three). You can always make a special destination page for your article and place all the copy and URL's you want. Eliminate redundant copy such as "come visit our web site" or "click here for more information" And don't make clever formatting like "F-R-E-E N-E-W-S-L-E-T-T-E-R" or "LOWEST PRICES!!!" unless you only want your article to appear in low end ezines and spam sites.
I once had an e-mail complaint from an irate writer who wanted their article formatted with a lot of "all caps" statements and to stand out from other writers. I quickly e-mailed her back with a short note: "No problem. It's fixed!". She emailed later complaining that she could no longer find any of her articles on our web site. My point is that there are a lot of cooperative writers out there and it should be looked as a cooperative effort between the writer, publisher (and yes, sponsors) to deliver compelling and worthwhile content to the reader.
I review countless great articles with incompatible bylines; as a publisher, I want to respect the wishes of each writer by including all information they provide. Too often, I reject articles because the writer feels it necessary to include excessive information about their services or products. The worst thing is pushy sales pitches and cute call-to-action statements that were all the rage in those 1970's marketing seminars. As a reader, I find this barrage of ad spam to be confusing clutter that is a distraction and worse, a way to discredit the article information I had just read.
In the long run, you will find your efforts to have the most value if they are published on web sites offering cohesive and quality subject matter to a specific audience. When your article is published along with other articles within the same subject grouping, it stands a much better chance of being found and read. It is important for you to get good quality links from your ezine articles so that it builds relevance for your target web site and cause. Make it easy on us editors by making your great writing easy to publish!