Having written over 100 articles for digital marketing and having managed a team of online marketers for about a decade, I have learned the 10 best factors that, when combined, will drastically increase your chance of success with your marketing articles. Here, I will explain each factor to help you understand its importance, so you can prepare for efficient production and an effective marketing campaign. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents:
When you have an idea (or not yet) for a topic you want to write about, you should do research to find out which articles on that topic are most interesting to your target audience. You’ll want to find out which article(s) on that topic have performed well over the last 12-24 months with Likes and Shares from thousands of people online.
From there you can write your article from a different angle on that topic (never copying it). That way, you build your article beyond a topic that has already been proven relevant and interesting. This approach significantly increases your chances of success right from the start.
To make your research easy and fast, you can use a Search Engine Marketing paid tool like Buzzsumo.com. If you are a HOMEiA-certified member, HOMEiA’s marketing team will help you with this research to save you time and money.
The days of sales-pitch injections into every other paragraph of an article are gone forever. In fact, that tactic can prompt search engines like Google.com to flag your article as spammy. Today, people will decide whether they can trust you (through your content) before contacting you.
Therefore, the smart approach is to produce your content with your target audience in mind. What are they looking for? What are their needs? What kind of online articles interest them? Then, try to come up with helpful, insightful content (from different angles) to attract that group of readers.
When you do that well, and continuously produce helpful content, over time your content will push you higher to the top of online searches. Your company will eventually be known as one of the leaders that has answers to common questions in your industry and field of expertise. This process requires an on-going commitment. The best part is that, as your content, value and visibility keep growing, you will continue to gain more traffic year over year, exponentially.
Writing for people who read on the web is different than writing on paper. People read differently when they are on their computers or mobile devices. A 400-word paragraph in a book might seem okay, but that will intimidate most readers on the web, especially when they are reading on their smartphones. You want to write shorter paragraphs, typically 150 words or less per paragraph.
You can see how I cut to a new paragraph often to make my article less intimidating for online readers. If you have never written like this, it might take time to adjust, but soon it will come naturally. Just think of it as if you are writing (or feeding) your content to kittens, which need to be fed in small bite sizes.
This might seem to contradict the suggestion above regarding shorter paragraphs, but the fact is when people are consuming content in bite-size portions, they tend to consume lots of it. Just look at this real-life example: how many times have you tried to eat just a few potato chips from the bag, but soon realize the whole bag almost empty? In fact, a research shown that the longer the article, the better it will perform online. Those articles that are 2000 words or more are often performing much better online than the 1000-word articles.
So, let me clarify it a little more here so we are not confused with the factor recommended in #3 above. A longer article with short, bite-size paragraphs is the best way to get readers to read your article to the end.
An article full of text looks boring, even when it has interesting content. With a small number of graphics and images, you can make your article much more attractive to the readers. You can select the graphics or images that will enhance the points you want to make. One thing to keep in mind is to optimize your image to be lightweight for the web. Don’t upload five images of 3Mb onto your article. They will take too long to fully load onto the web page. No one likes to wait.
To get the most credit from your article from the search engines’ point of view, you should post your article on a website that is known for the topic your article is written about. You don’t want to post your article about “How to Sell Your House Fast” on the website about auto services.
Most of the readers on the auto services website would not be your target audience. Instead, you would post your article on HOMEiA.com under the sub-category of Selling Home. That way, you can get in front of a more attentive audience while gaining the most credit from search engines’ organic rankings. This point seems obvious, but some people get distracted and post articles that are essentially irrelevant to the audience.
One rule of thumb is to place your target keyword(s) two or three times in the body of your article to get indexed better with search engines. For best results with readers and search engines, vary the composition of your target words. For example, if your target keyword is Minnesota Real Estate Agents, the other variations you can use are Real Estate Agents MN, Real Estate Agents in Minnesota, MN Real Estate Agents, or Real Estate MN Agents.
This strategy helps search engines better understand what your article is about while taking other related keywords into consideration. One thing to keep in mind, don’t overdo it! Using too many keywords by sprinkling them all over your article is the fastest way to get your article flagged as spammy content.
If you don’t know what the heck these are, don’t worry. If you use WordPress as the platform for your website or any content management system (CMS) website, these features are already built in and easy to locate (see images below). However, if you intend to post your article on HOMEiA.com, our marketing team will assist you (for free) to make sure your article is intelligently optimized.
By strategically placing your target keywords into the Title Tag and Description Tag of your article, it will help search engines index and place your article in the right category for searchers. This is a critical step in any article marketing process, so make sure you optimize your articles well from the beginning.
Research has shown that an eye-catching title will determine 30% success of an article’s performance online. I don’t list this factor at the top of this article because I think article title should be focused near the end, so you can write freely to get your thoughts onto the page. I find it often constrains my thinking when I focus too much on the title at the beginning. Often, I just write a quick title reflecting the scope of what I will write about, then plan the key points and get on with the writing.
As I get near the end of the article where I’m about to write the conclusion, I revisit the title to adjust it. I modify the title with a strategic spin for a catchy title. If you haven’t tried this approach before, you should. I find it freeing to lay my thoughts out quickly before I lose my train of thought for the first draft. On my final draft, I pay more attention to the details.
Bonus: Here is the pdf list of “52 Headline Hacks” for writing blog posts that go viral by Jon Morrow.
Now is the time to slip in your “sales pitch” as a call to action button because you have earned it—but make it short! Don’t go on and on which will kill the goodwill you have built up thus far with your readers. Your call to action can be either to contact you for more information or to share your article on social media. Yes, this is the anatomy of an effective content marketing approach. On the web, you give first—and give lots—before you ask for something in return.
Why? Because there are millions of authors already asking too early which annoys the heck out of the readers. You don’t want to be another one of them. You want to be different in a more helpful way. I hope you find this article helpful. If you do, please share it with others on Facebook or Twitter so many more people can benefit from it. Thank you in advance!