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Best Practices for Article Marketing, Part 2

In part 1 we…   

…showed why submitting articles to article submission sites is of little value unless they are high quality, useful articles that the publishers who search these article submission sites to find articles will want to republish them on their sites.   

…suggested not just submitting articles to submission sites as you can get much more value by using them on your site too or by “selling” article ideas to industry online magazine and news sites etc.  

…began outlining our Best Practices & Goals for Article Marketing including developing high quality useful articles, “selling” article ideas to your media contacts, adding articles to your main site and/or your blog, submitting “teasers” of your articles in the social sites you participate in, and submitting articles to some article submission sites.  

Read Part 1    

   

Part 2

In this article we’ll cover…   

How to build & use an online media list   

How to find quality article submission sites   

    

How to Build an Online Media List

We build a media list, a list of online industry magazines and blogs, for our clients.  As we are discovering theses sites we are often able to see how our client’s competitors marketed their best articles.   
Here are some steps we take to build a media list:   

Check the top links and top ranking pages on competitor sites
We look at the sites that link to our clients’ top known competitors and those sites ranking high in searches on important keyword phrases. Yes, standard link building 101, but we do it manually and thoroughly examine the competitors’ sites and most of the sites that link to them (at least the strong links) for marketing opportunities and ideas.   

As we examine these sites we discover industry magazine sites, blogs, etc. Often we discover some of the article submission sites they submitted their articles too as well as some of the sites where they submitted “teasers” (summaries of the articles that link to the article).    

 

Some of the tools we use to examine incoming links to a site

Alexa.com. We use Alexa because it pulls quality sites from a competitor’s incoming links out of Google’s index in much the same way we believe Google does when determining PageRank.   

In Alexa, Select the “Site Info” tab, then click on “sites linking in”   

   

Yahoo Site Explorer Yahoo site explorer will show you many of the incoming links to a site, often too many to examine, but it’s worth trying. Search on the site’s domain name which will return both the pages from the site that are indexed in Yahoo and the incoming links to the site (Click the “inlinks” tab)   

   

Strong Link Tools   

Often there are too many incoming links to a site and we need to look only at what appear to be the “Strong Links” to a site, those links that are probably passing LinkJuice (or PageRank or whatever the name of the day is).  Here are some tools that try to identify strong links (I’ll point out some of the fee based tools you can check out too, but we’ve been getting most of what we need from free tools) –   

Majestic-SEO. This is a fee based tool that will identify strong links.  

SEOmoz’s LinkScape. LinkScape is another fee based tool that identifies strong links.   

LinkDiagnosis. This is the tool we use at the moment because it’s free (and apparently I’m cheap!). It’s a Firefox only tool that parses the Yahoo Site Explorer Inlinks (as many of these tools do) and identifies Strong links (based on PageRank etc). It also displays the page that is linked to.   

 

Examine the Strong Incoming Links

Run some of these tools on competitor sites and competitors’ blogs if they are not part of the site (including blogs that are sub webs like blog.domain.com).   

Then examine the sites with strong incoming links to the competitor’s site. Some of these sites may be industry magazines and blogs (in some cases the blogs may be ones where the competitor merely commented in a post. See below for more on this). Add these to your media list and gather information about them now or later (see the section on How to Use a Media List for what to look for).   

As you do this you may also find some of the article submission sites and sites where the competitor submitted teasers (summaries of articles that link to the article, like Stumbleupon etc ). If you find some of these among the strong links they are Gold!   

Examine the Pages the Strong Links Point To

Also examine the pages on the competitor sites that the strong links point too. Some of those pages on the main site may be articles and of course most of the pages on a blog will be articles (In any case we check all the pages of a site with strong links pointing to them for ideas).   

Examine any articles for:

Ideas for your own articles. Just for ideas! Never copy articles from others’ websites.  Never scrape full sentences or complete paragraphs from others’ websites or articles.  Regardless of the misinformation you see roaming around the Internet that you can legally change a word or two and avoid problems, this practice is copyright infringement and it is illegal.  You can, however, look over the ideas covered in these articles then write your own, original piece that you can submit and/or use on your own site.   

Discover some of the article submission sites and sites used to submit teasers
Search on a unique part of the title or text from the article and you will likely find many of the sites where they submitted teasers as well as the article submission sites they used (see below for how to determine which article submission sites to use for your articles) and sites where these articles were reprinted or mentioned online (check these sites out too).   

 

How to Find Even More Online Magazines, Articles and Submission Sites

Using the above techniques you should find some top magazines, article submission sites, and some high quality articles. Try these tips to find more.   

Search in search engines and directories like the Yahoo and Google Directories. Visit search.yahoo.com/dir and http://www.google.com/dirhp?hl=en (If that link doesn’t work for you search for “Google directory”).   

Trying searching on some of topical phrases in the directories and/or the general search engines. For example if you are in the travel business, search for;   

“travel magazines”
“travel articles”
“travel article submission sites”   

For more related searches, in Google’s main search window click “Show Options” in the Google toolbar just above the results. This will display a column with many options. Try “Related Searches” or Google’s “Wonder Wheel”.   

Note that the results in the Google’s directory, which is based on the Open Directory Project, are usually displayed in order by PageRank. The ones at the top should be magazines with the highest PageRank.   

    

How to Find More Industry Blogs and Top Articles

Using the above techniques you should find some top industry blogs and high quality articles. Here are more tips to find top blogs and articles:   

PostRank Blog Directory, You can scan the listings or do a search on a topic.   

PosRanks Blog Articles Ranked. If you are examining a blog that is listed in PostRank, you can choose to see only the Great Posts or Best Posts ranked by PostRank’s engagement ranking system which evaluates how popular a post is by checking the number of comments, tweets, bookmarks, etc about the article, Then try some of the techniques in previous sections to find many of the sites that reprinted or mentioned these Best or Great articles. Many of these should be added to your media list.   

    

     

Technorati Blog Directory. You can scan the directory or do a search on a topic   

Search on “xxx blogs” in Google, such as “Travel Blogs” (If needed, Click on “blogs” in the left column of the Google search results page)   

   

How to Determine the Best Quality Article Submission Sites

All article directories are not the same.  Just because a website accepts article submissions doesn’t mean you want your article on their site.  The whole point is to carefully place your articles on sites that have a good reputation and attract lots of traffic from publishers who need quality reprints (not just traffic from other people who are also submitting articles).    

See the sections above for ways to find article submission sites then try these tips for choosing quality article directories to submit your articles.   

Check the Site’s Page Rank.  While toolbar Page Rank (PR) isn’t the most accurate of measures, it’s the best we have available.  If your browser’s toolbar doesn’t automatically display the PR of a site, use one of the free PR checkers available online.   

Look for Updates.  When was the site last updated?  Many article directories continue to accept submissions even though they haven’t added any new articles in months (or even years!).  Check for recent submission dates.   

Check for Control Panels.  If an article site offers a control panel (where you apply for an account then submit articles for approval) it means they are conscious about quality.  Having your articles housed in an account also gives you the means to go back later and edit the piece if need be.   

    

How Use a Media List

Prioritize the list if needed

If you’ve performed some of the steps outlined above you’ve probably found a number of industry online magazines and way too many blogs. You’ll likely need to prioritize the list of blogs and possibly the magazines as well.   

If you found them in the strong links to a top competitor that should be one major deciding factor. Examine all of them for quality (is it a high quality. useful site for your market with limited advertising?), and use some of the other tips above to decide which ones are worthy of your time such as checking blogs in PostRank, examining the toolbar PageRank of the blog’s home page as well as the PageRank of some of the older posts, check the number of Yahoo Inlinks to the blog, etc   

Note: Seomoz has added “blog strength” to its Trifecta tool set. You can use it to check the strength of a web site or blog (just one or two sites a day for the free version).
    

For Online Magazines –

  • Get to know one or more contacts personally such as associate editors or look for sources of articles and reach out to these journalists.
  • Send press releases and exclusive pr ideas directly to them.
  • Let them know you are available for expert industry quotes for their articles.
  • Ask if they are interested in specific article ideas, Note, online magazines usually have an editorial calendar available listing the types of articles they plan for each publication for a year in advance so look around for it or better yet ask them for it. Some magazines accept freelance articles while others may write about your idea (See the For More Info section below for an article with more on this).
  • It always helps to ask about advertising opportunities, newsletter sponsorship etc and it could be worth testing some of these opportunities.

 

Top Bloggers –

  • Look on the site/blog for ways to build relationship e.g. subscribing to a feed etc.
  • Look at their posts for article ideas (again, just ideas for your own original articles, don’t copy).
  • Add them to your blogroll if the blog is helpful to your readers.
  • Submit their very useful articles to some of the same sites you market yours, they’ll likely see this.
  • Follow them on twitter, Facebook etc and they mayy do the same in response and then may see your article teasers.
  • Mention their helpful articles in your blog, this is both helpful to your readers and helps build a relationship with the blogger.
  • Submit useful comments, suggestions, answer questions, etc. Include your signature with a link if allowed (be transparent. Don’t spam, it will probably get deleted anyway)
  • Consider testing advertising on their blog.
  • After you’ve built up some level of a relationship:
    • Ask if they are interested in specific article ideas or help with research, surveys, industry expert quotes etc
    • See if they accept “Guest Bloggers” articles, buyers guides etc
    • Contact them about writing about or testing your exclusive products or services.
    • Ask if they will be a guest writer for you.
  • The “Grey Area”:
    • Send them freebies or offer freebies or coupons to their readers etc.

Remember that article marketing has been an effective method of promotion for decades. Before the Internet was ever even dreamed of, public relations pros used to contact print magazines and newspapers in an attempt to get their clients published.  Why?  The same reasons as today: because it’s excellent exposure that drives qualified traffic to your business (online or off).  As we said in the beginning – and have repeated throughout this two-part series – quality is key.  If you write and publish junk, you’ll get junky results. If you write and publish quality, informational articles, however, you’ll begin to see significant improvements in traffic and search engine positioning that sustains itself year after year.   

Special thanks to Karon Thackston for her help on this article.  Karon Thackston is President of Marketing Words, a web & SEO copywriting agency, and author of the Step-by-Step Copywriting Course.  Subscribe to Karon’s Copywriting Blog today at http://www.MarketingWords.com/blog and receive your free target customer discovery questionnaire and Copywriting Makeovers ebook.     

  

For More Info           


   

Social Media & Online Marketing Implementation

Today, Social Media (such as Facebook, twitter, blogs etc) should be an integral part of a businesses’ marketing plan.   

However the implementation of Social Media can be very time consuming, so eVision has a service to help our client’s with this…   

Learn more about our Social Media & Online Marketing Service   


 
   
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