Monday, November 13, 2006

Freelance Writers: How to Choose a Moneymaking Article Directory

I’ve been conducting an article marketing experiment for the last three weeks. It has taught me some profound lessons about increasing my freelance income.

Following are three ways I’ve learned to assess which directories add directly to my bottom line.

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1. Choose a directory that offers article stats: And, the more the better. In order of importance, in my opinion, are:

a) Reads/Views: Eg, how many times your article has been read/accessed;

b) Downloads: This stat is particularly important to me because it shows that not only has someone accessed your article, they were so enthralled with it that they took further action, they downloaded it.

If you know anything about web marketing, you know that it is hard enough to get readers to do one thing (eg, read an article). To get them to actually take two actions (eg, read and download) means your article is a “hit!”

Many directories won’t tell you who the article was downloaded by –eg, a casual reader, an e-zine publisher, another article directory webmaster, etc. BUT, this is not important in my mind. With so much competition on the web, the fact that someone chose YOUR article and thought enough of it to be moved to action is what’s important here.

c) Comments/Votes/Rating: Many article directories provide some form of one of these. Eg, whether someone left a comment on your article, whether they voted for it and/or rated it in some manner.

Rarely will you ever get any activity on this stat. In one directory I submit to, I have over 50 articles posted with them with almost 8,300 page views and I have only 3 comments. FYI, I’ve been submitting to this directory for almost 3 years.

So, why would you want to pay attention to this stat? One reason, personal connection. Eg, if someone has taken the time to leave you a comment – the most personal form of communication you can get on the web, then you can take this opening to invite them to subscribe to your ezine, buy your product, market you/your product to their database, etc.

The ways and reasons to approach a person who has initially contacted you are limitless. The point is not to squander the opportunity once it has been presented to you.

2. Choose a directory that is well ranked. The reason is obvious, you want to reach as many readers as possible in the least amount of time – especially if your time is limited and you are manually submitting articles (as opposed to using article submission software).

Two measurements I’m using in my case study are Alexa ranking and PR ranking. I wrote about this in another article in detail entitled, Case Study: How article marketing is significantly increasing my income (Part 1 of 5). See the October 26 post on this blog.

3. Choose niche directories, where possible: To piggyback on the above point, just because a directory is well ranked does not necessarily mean that it is right for you.

You will find that many, if not most, of the directories are general in nature. Meaning, they have many different categories under which you can submit.

While you will most certainly find a category to fit your article, target niche directories that may be lower ranked and/or obscure. This follows accepted marketing wisdom, ie, it is better to reach 100 well-targeted prospects than 1,000 general prospects.

Defining Your Bottom Line

At the beginning of this article, I refer to my “bottom line.” By this I don’t necessarily mean money. Getting subscribers to your list adds to your bottom line, having a major website want to conduct an interview with you adds to your bottom line, and getting queries for future work based on your niche adds to your bottom line.

To sum up, article marketing is a process by which you gain notoriety/publicity. This form of advertising adds to your bottom line slower than say, a cold call, but it pays dividends for years to come.

And, the best part? The more you do it, the easier the business flows in. It’s like putting your marketing on autopilot.

Free E-booklet

Author Note: A free e-booklet on this article marketing case study will be published mid-December. It will lay out the experiment from beginning to end and will include all of the information I gleaned so that you can assess whether this is something you can/should invest in for your freelance business.

If you’d like a copy, send your email address to info [at] InkwellEditorial [dot] com.
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