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Publishing: Changing realities (I)

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When you frequently post articles on ezines, you might be aware that you are an active participant in the art of publishing at grass roots level. From experience, you will know that after planting your seeds, it takes time before your efforts will actually bear fruit. What happens on the trajectory from planting the seed to seeing traffic numbers jump and your site's visibility increase? And is this in line with what's happening in the wider publishing world? Are there alternatives?

Wouldn't it be nice if you could find out just how much of a market there is for articles that somehow cover what your site is all about, before you set out to the laborious task of writing? Guess what, from a publishing point of view, you are not going to get this information without paying through the nose, but then you are not writing your articles for readership audience, but rather a consumer base, aren't you?

So there is no point in researching your audience this way. It is simply best to stick to the market research for your product and align the number of your articles somewhat with this outcome and take a comfort buffer zone from estimates of your traffic. But you have to get a sense of whether you are doing enough to make a difference.

A few years ago, you could get away with writing a handful of articles about a product or website and expect to see some immediate traffic on the back of this effort. Today, things are less simple. Life has become a lot more multi layered and to reach critical mass your need to seriously increase the numbers on all fronts. Not only on the articles written, but it also makes a difference to increase the number of ezines and forums on which you publish.

This increase in capacity to take in information is visible throughout society. It dominates the publicity game. Society's capacity to take in information has increased dramatically and in order to get through to your end market, you need to use heavier artillery than ever.

People who fail to understand the numbers game lose out. But there is more to the 'increased capacity' phenomenon. Aside from bombarding the market with quantity, quality is also important. To garner an interest you need to make sure that you write better articles than your competition. Wittier, more in depth information, friendlier. If you manage to write enough and good quality articles that show you know your market, you have a chance to create natural hubs around your products that make them stand out from the crowd.

Attracting visitors this way will generate traffic, which, through further nurturing will become a mechanism that starts to snowball. How do you know whether you have done at least the minimum in terms of writing to make sure you have a chance to create these desirable hubs?

Check your traffic figures. There are millions of ezines to which you can upload articles on any topic for free. The only obligation the ezine owners have to the writers is that they need to include your short bio and a live link to your website if you include this. There are around 80 ezines in all those millions that actually will stick to their obligation and ascertain through human intervention that this also happens.

The articles when published by webmasters create a long term effect in that you generate free backlinks from sources you might not have thought of to include in your marketing campaign.

More immediately, direct traffic won't show a dramatic rise unless you are able to submit a serious amount of articles. Around 200 will start to make a difference. Can you see yourself writing this many articles without tearing your hear out at what angle to describe your service from after number 15?

If you wonder what writing articles is actually going to effect aside from instant work creation without a guaranteed hype around your product, you might want to consider what other means you have to get through to your target market. Today's multi-layered reality simply demands a heavy input if you want to see some results. Growing a business takes time and a lot of effort.

The internet as a whole is thriving on free content which professional aggregators are offering to anyone interested. Free content dominates the entire internet, but it's whether the topics cover anything of interest and are well written that makes all the difference.

If you are inclined to publish frequently about interesting topics, there might be sense in grouping with a few other people and making up your own RSS feed and offer it to publishers. In doing this, you will be evolving into a new brand of publishing venture and start to join the publishing revolution from within.

Angelique van Engelen is a freelance editor at, a copywriting agency based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which specialises in tailormade content as well as specialized RSS feeds on culture and arts.

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