Are You Missing Out on this Cheap Way to Advertise?

Where will you be this weekend?  I’ll be busy studying–and writing!  Lisbeth Tanz is presenting a weekend course about article marketing and how to use it effectively and I’m so excited to be attending.

I write – a lot – because it’s a great way to share helpful information with my readers and clients, and a wonderful way to market myself, but I know there’s room for improvement!   I’m really looking forward to learning how to write better headlines, resource boxes, and just generally improve my article marketing with a good, solid strategy (flying by the seat of my pants isn’t the ideal one!).

I managed to snag a few minutes of Lisbeth’s time to get her to answer some questions for my blog readers about articles and how they can help build our businesses.  Here’s what I asked and her responses:

What is article marketing?

Business owners are always looking for ways to marketing / advertise their business. Article marketing is probably one of the cheapest ways to do this. Basically, you (or a hired writer) writes an article that provides the reader with new knowledge about some aspect of your business. Now, I’m not talking about a “selling” article – that won’t work because readers don’t want to be sold to just yet. The most effective articles educate and inform the reader; teach them something they didn’t know before with saying “buy from me!” This way, readers learn something new and now know you’re a good resource for information. It’s the perfect way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in a non-selling environment.

Why should I write articles to promote my business?  How does it benefit my business?

As noted above, article marketing is probably the cheapest way to do marketing for your business. Articles provide readers with just enough information (but not too much), to get a sense of who you are and what your expertise is in your industry. Articles can give you credibility, especially if you’re a new business owner. They also provide exposure – especially online, because search engines will pick them up from article directories (where articles are typically placed).

Isn’t it really time consuming to write? It can be, if you’re not comfortable writing or haven’t had a lot of writing experience. However, that shouldn’t necessarily be a deterrent to writing. If you have the right tools to use (templates for article types, brainstorming ideas, headline tricks – the writing process can be substantially shortened.

How do you figure out what to write about?

When I work with clients (which I’ve been doing since 2004), we usually start off with some basic questions (beyond how long have you been in business and what do you do). For example:

–        What are the top 5 questions you receive in your business every day?

–        What’s hot in your industry right now?

–        Can you describe an aspect of your business that people don’t seem to understand?

–        What are the top products or services you offer and what problems to they solve?

Usually these start the creative thinking process and we can begin to brainstorm more deeply. Always start off with the top level and go deep. Your thinking can go wide and 2” deep or you can drill down into one specific area to brainstorm. It really depends on what you want the reader to focus on and how you want to demonstrate your expertise.

What’s the easiest way to get started?

Well, anyone could simply pull up a blank page in Word and start typing. But I don’t recommend that. Even seasoned writers have a plan of attack with an article. And if you don’t write for a living, you could spend your time spinning your wheels – writing and re-writing because you don’t have a clear direction. Plus, if you write a bad headline, no one will read your article anyway.

The best way for someone to jump in to article writing and marketing is to learn the “how-tos” first, as in my Article Marketing Success Weekend.  As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been doing this as a ghostwriter for clients since 2004. I’ve also edited hundreds of articles written by business owners who don’t really understand how to write or what the emphasis needs to be in their articles. I’ve seen it all – and I want to reduce the time it takes for you to get from a blank page to a finished product. Article writing isn’t rocket science, but there is an art and science to it. Approached correctly, virtually anyone can write an 300-500 or more word article about something in their business.

And – even if you decide you don’t want to write the articles yourself, spending the virtual weekend with me learning how to do it will make you a better judge of the next writer you hire because you’ll know what they need to know in order to craft articles that will serve your business.

In the end, the Article Marketing Success Weekend will give you the tools, resources, ideas and processes necessary to do this again-and-again. Your one investment will pay dividends for years.

(End of my interview questions with Lisbeth.)

P.S.  Yes, I’m an affiliate for this program.  But I’d recommend it even if I weren’t.  ;)

I know article marketing works because I see traffic coming to my website every single day from the articles I’ve published.  It comes from Ezine Articles as well as the dozens of other sites that have published my articles.  Just one of the sites I’ve got articles on sends traffic daily.  Writing articles has also helped me establish credibility both with my clients and with other business owners I work with.

And I know Lisbeth knows what she’s teaching thoroughly.  In her free teleseminar on article marketing I picked up fantastic ideas and tricks so I’m excited about this weekend!

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  1. I can attest to article writing being a low cost high impact way to bring traffic to your site. I’ve been writing pages over at squidoo for about 3 years now with a bit of success. I’ve also been on Ezine Articles for a while although not as much lately as I would like.

    Wish I had the time/cash to invest in this series but will mention to others who could benefit. Thanks for sharing Michelle.
    Sara recently posted… Grandma Makes Blanket From the GraveMy Profile

    1. I love your Squidoo lenses, Sara. :) You do an excellent job with them.

  2. Michelle, thank you so much for putting this on your blog! I’m so looking forward to working with the folks who’ve signed up – my hope is to make it as interactive, fun and instructional as possible. I want everyone to leave the weekend with more things written than they thought possible!

    1. You’re welcome, Lis. I’m really looking forward to it!

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Terri Zwierzynski, Michelle Shaeffer and Michelle Shaeffer, Sara – momwithahook. Sara – momwithahook said: RT @SmallBizMuse Are You Missing Out on this Cheap Way to Advertise? […]

  4. I really enjoyed this post =) It was well written and just about anybody would find this very helpful.

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