Many online marketers have crowed about the value of writing and publishing articles for branding and credibility. A few have mentioned the effects articles can have on the links to your site and therefore your search engine rankings.
None of them, however, have made a distinction between what I see as the two article marketing methods. In this article we'll look at both "the fast way" and "the thorough way" of article marketing as well as something crucial that no other article I've read includes - a complete list of the 82 article directory submission sites that pass PR.
The fast way focuses solely on link building and should get you a decent number of links to your site - I estimate at least 12 per article - in a relatively short period of time - about three and a half hours for writing and submitting to directories plus a month of waiting for the next update.
The thorough way focuses on understanding your industry's media as a whole and establishing relationships with the key players there. Getting your article published in the right place will not only give you a great link from a high PR site - it can give you a level of perceived expertise and credibility that can increase your company's sales in short order.
The thorough way is a long process though and requires a significant amount of time up front. Whether or not it's worth it really depends on the quality of the publications that cover your industry and the amount of time you have to spend.
There are also ways to add some "thorough" tactics to the fast way, which I'll cover at the end of the article.
For those who have articles written already here's a list of 12 PR passing general directories that accept any type of article and here's a list of all 82 PR passing article directories I've found so far. Disclaimer: I have not submitted to these directories yet. In a later article I'll publish more info about each one.
Article Marketing The Fast Way (Linking Oriented):
a) Write an informational and helpful 250 word article that you think will appeal to your audience.
b) Submit this article to these 11 general interest article directories.
The key of article marketing is the link you get back to your site in your author bio. If you have more useful information that relates to your article on your site then you can link back there too.
Do use the keywords you'd most like to rank for in the text links to your site, where text links are an option. (Scroll down to this guy's author bio in Jorbins for an example of link text in bio.)
Since this is a linking initiative don't worry about optimizing the article as a whole. Just write naturally and solve your audience's problems, preferably in ten easy steps.
If you service the small business or B2B industry then consider writing a business advice article as the majority of directories out there relate to this sort of content. If you sell concrete mixers though is it worth it to have links from 40 different marketing sites from your "concrete mixer's guide to better marketing" article?
If you're having trouble coming up with article ideas then check out my guide to article writing or send an email to GFrench at gmail.com.
Article Marketing The Thorough Way (Branding and Linking Oriented):
a) Research the online publishers (includes directories, email newsletters, informational websites and blogs) of your industry's media.
b) Discern how your specific industry knowledge fits with each publication's apparent editorial agenda (should you write an article or present yourself as an expert for answering reader questions?)
c) Pick the top site you'd like to write for and make sure they accept freelance and that when they do they provide PR-passing links (if their article pages show a gray bar in Google's PR tool then don't fool with them).
d) Check out the publication's existing and current articles and see what's missing. In other words, how can you make a valuable contribution to your industry's knowledge base?
c) Query your top site's editor with your suggestion for an article (PR whiz Pete Larmey suggests crafting and sending a 2 sentence summary before sending the whole article) and negotiate whether or not/how long this publication has exclusive rights. Don't go exclusive for more than a week or two unless this is a major publication and you really think it's valuable.
e) Write the article and submit. Edit as needed/directed.
f) Give your publisher the agreed upon exclusivity and then begin submitting your article to other publishers who don't care so much about first publish rights.
g) Finally, submit to the relevant article directories, as well as these general article submission directories.
Building Some Thorough Method Elements Into The Fast Way
If you're interested mostly in links but wouldn't mind trying to build a little brand then here are a few things you can do that may help your industry credibility.
a) Mention in your author bio or article that you answer questions by email... so long as you can publish the discussion in another article. This will help you begin to develop a relationship with your readers.
b) Mention in your author bio that you welcome suggestions from editors for article requests. This will help you to begin establishing editorial relationships, which can turn into further opportunities for you to help readers, build credibility and boost sales.
c) More research: spend more time looking around and seeing what's out there in regards to current articles. This will ensure that you're writing something likely to get published by ezines and websites, and linked to from blogs. I wrote this article without querying editors. I did, however, research the existing article marketing articles. I also know that the majority of those article directories out there accept marketing-related articles and so will be able to build lots of links to my article marketing site.
Want to build links to your site and enhance your brand? Send article marketing questions to GFrench@gmail.com for free article marketing brainstorm, including article topic suggestions and key industry media identification. Garrett French is a search engine marketing copy writer for Websourced and conducts branding and link building research on his article marketing blog. If you wish to publish this article, please retain all links.