Content is the currency fueling the Internet. Yet, article banks, repositories for authors to promote their content, are still the Internet’s best-kept secret.
I learned about article banks through a casual chat at a networking event. A few days later, I posted my first article, Five Secrets to Winning Book Proposals. What happened next made me a true believer in the marketing prowess of free content.
My website stats skyrocketed. In one day, I had 933 new visitors, 40 new newsletter subscribers and six client leads. The days and weeks that followed provided more encouraging results.
Previously, my cat Harvey was my only loyal visitor. His motivation for coming to the website was the heat generated from atop the computer’s monitor that displayed my homepage—cute—but not a business-building strategy. Articles provide a new level of expertise, consistency and ubiquitous Internet coverage for any business.
>From my experience, I found that placing an article in an article bank is like dropping a pebble in a pond. The energy expands the rings of influence. Five Secrets, now published in over 20 e-zines, still produces client leads and the occasional fan letter.
If I can do it, you can, too. Here are several tips for getting started with article banks.
With any marketing activity, you want to measure it effectiveness. Web statistics are important. Contact your host provider about receiving regular traffic reports. I suggest reviewing them on a monthly basis.
I also think it is important to track where articles appear. I suggest that your first step is to benchmark where you are today on the Internet by setting a Google Alert for your name or the name of your business. Every time your article is posted to a website by a third-party, Google will send you the link via email. This is a great way to track where you content appears on the web.
Step 1: Go to Google. On the search page, select MORE, this is located directly above the search box in the right-hand corner.
Step 2: Under Google services, the first service listed is ALERTS. It is marked by an alarm bell. Click ALERTS.
Step 3: You are now on the WELCOME TO GOOGLE ALERTS page. You can create an alert using the form given on this page. Alternatively, you can click the link MANAGE YOUR ACCOUNT that will allow you to create a free account in order to set multiple alerts.
Step 4: Set-up a Google Alert for your name. Be sure to put your name in quotation marks. (“Melissa Rosati”). Quotation marks instruct Google to only pull references where these two words appear together. Without the quotation marks, I would receive every generic MELISSA listed on the Internet.
Step 5: Select NEWS AND WEB. This command specifies that Google will search the eight billion pages on the web and will retrieve for you all of the pages where your name appears. You may choose to have Google report to you every day or once each week. Depending on your current web presence, Google will send you your first alert within one to two weeks. As your articles expand on the web, the alerts will come more frequently.
Step 6: Do a search for “article banks.” You’ll find banks that are free as well as sites that may offer promotion for a fee. Personally, I stick with the free sites and find them to be effective. Once you’ve selected an article bank, you may be able to specify that your article appears in more than one section. For example, Alumbo.com will allow you to choose up to 10 sections.
Every site will have its own submission guidelines. By accepting the submission terms, you agree that e-zines, newsletters or other content sites may reprint your article. Most article banks always state that a third-party must produce the article in its entirety and that your name and copyright notice must appear.
Each article bank expects that your submission will contain five key elements.
Headline: Help the reader solve a problem. People go to article banks to find a quick solution to a problem. Construct your headline as a question or in tip form—Five Secrets to Winning Book Proposals, for example.
Description: Make the article description one compelling sentence that addresses the problem.
Article Body: This is your core message. Remember, net readers need short paragraphs and short sentences. Reading is tough on the screen. Think—short and white space.
Subtitles: Include key words related to your topic. This gives your article more pizzazz with search engines.
Resource Box: By all means, highlight your expertise. Always say something like “To learn more, visit…..” This is how you drive traffic to your website.
Don’t let your cat be your only returning website visitor. When used consistently, article banks give you terrific exposure in short period on time and will keep working for you for months to come.