Article Submission Tips for Directories
An Article By Jeanie Marshall
Article submission to Article Directories is one of the best strategies for a Personal Development professional to get content or information onto the Internet quickly. Be certain to read some of my suggestions on Article Directories to get yourself started in a good direction.
Here are the elements that you need for nearly every Article Directory:
Article Description or Summary
Name of Author
List of Keywords
Following the information about these elements, I give you some tips on Putting it all Together; Keeping it all Straight.
It's essential that you read the TOS (Terms of Service) at each Article Directory you submit to, so you're comfortable with your own use as well understanding the responsibilities of those who will re-publish your articles.
Only submit articles you are truly willing to give away. Some careless or unethical publishers might reproduce them without your name or a proper link. Most publishers are ethical and respectful. You really need to come to peace with this possibility before embarking on an article submission campaign; if you're upset by this, you'll attract it right to you. Take normal precautions. Notice how your colleagues create their statements of protection. And relax.
Many people consider that article submission to directories is "viral marketing." When you have a good article, publishers will pick it up from other publisher who will pick it up from other publishers. Well, you get the idea.
You create the title, of course. You'll want to make it distinctive, snappy, with at least one strong keyword, and reflective of the content. As far as I know, each Article Directory allows only one article known by a particular title; in other words, no duplicate titles are allowed.
"Craft your article title to match a phrase which has some chance of being used in a search engine, but test it first to ensure there isn't stiff competition. It's fairly easy to get top ranking in the search engine in a less popular phrase, but does little good if nobody will ever types it. You have to find those small niche phrases."
Steve Moore, Owner of PositiveArticles.com
As I've created articles and other pages for this Empowering Personal Development web site, I've learned a considerable amount through Site Build It! about titles and keywords. I now can write web articles and pages with proper keyword density that serve my readers and attract new visitors through the search engines. SBI has a Keyword Analyzer that is worth twice the annual fee for the whole program. This program supports effective article submission.
While not all Article Directories require it, you'll want to create a summary or description of your article before you start your article submission process. Some authors use their first few sentences. I sometimes do that if I feel stuck, tired, or lazy. Most of my older articles have the format of one sentence beginning "This article ...." because that's how I published my list of articles on my main web site.
With my newer articles, I usually start with a question aimed at the potential reader and then make a statement or two that introduces how the article will answer the question. Most Article Directories tell you the word or character limitation for the description or suggest 2-3 sentences.
When readers are looking through Article Directories, they usually look first at the title, then to see if the name of the author is recognizable, and then at this description, if one is available. Think of it as a teaser; think of it as an executive summary; think of it as an expanded title. Think of it however you want, but do think about it and use it to your advantage. Even if your favorite Article Directory does not include a description, it's worth writing because it can synthesize your thinking and improve your whole article submission process.
Name of Author
This is you, of course. Use the name you want to be known by. A pseudonym is acceptable on the Internet. However, what I'm advocating at this web site is for you, as a Personal Development Professional, to write strong content that's associated with your name. Since the idea is to establish credibility, I presume you want your name circulating with the article, but you may have valid reasons for using a pseudonym. Some Article Directories allow for multiple names in a single account, or you can create separate accounts.
In many Article Directories, each article can have only one author. If the article is co-authored, you'll have to find some way around that for your article submission. Some people use a company name, and provide details in the resource box. Others alternate the primary credit. Since I'm not co-authoring with anyone right now, I've not researched this. Search our best friends, Google or Bing.
It's acceptable to put your academic degree in your byline. However, I don't, and I don't recommend that you do. If you think it's important to present academic credentials, I suggest using the resource box because they're stronger there. However, it's your name; it's your choice.
Your article needs to be original and owned by you. As a professional, you'll want to stay away from those software programs that are designed to churn out article after article with little difference from one to another. The people you want to attract will know the difference between a well-crafted article based on your knowledge, wisdom, and experience and one that is contrived by a formula. You need to constantly balance your article submission campaign with your professionalism.
You can, of course, hire the services of a reputable freelance writer and/or copy editor. Avoid all marketing language in your article. Make no reference to how your readers can learn more if they schedule a session or buy your book. Make the article a stand-alone value-added piece. If you've hired a freelance writer who is oriented toward marketing, be certain that he or she understands this point.
The prevailing opinion is that quality articles for Article Directories weigh in at 400-800 words. Generally, articles under 400 words don't show enough depth or quality -- dynamics that you'll surely want to convey as a professional. By all means, if you have an article with 200 words that you feel is valuable, publish it! Articles over 800 words are certainly acceptable. However, they're not as readily re-published. That being said, one of my popular articles is over 1800 words! Usually at that length, there's a way to make two strong articles; this one, though, I wasn't willing to divide.
If you prepare your articles in Microsoft Word, be certain to turn off curly quotes. They play havoc during your article submission at Directories. Also, don't use any extended characters or overly complicated formatting. Even the familiar and all-important apostrophe (') and quotation marks (") can be problematic. That's the reason that I rarely use contractions in my online writing that goes through article submission software. The dash (—) often is not read properly, which is the reason that most writers replace it with two hyphens (--). If a preview feature is available, be certain to use it so that you can check your article.
Most Article Directories use either text or very basic html. Your articles won't be as nicely formatted as, for example, they are at this web site. Keep that in mind as you find ways to format your articles so that they're not just flush left and plain text.
Some Article Directories give you a word count when you submit articles; however, you really want to know your word count before you get to the point of article submission. Eventually you'll know intuitively the approximate word count, which will be close enough.
No Article Directory I know about allows hyperlinks in the body of the article, unless they lead to universal resources, like newspapers, government agencies, etc. My own articles at this site do have links in the body of the article, but, well, this is my site and not an Article Directory.
This is where you place your contact information, credentials, and marketing language. When your articles are re-published by publishers who find them at Article Directories, the publishers are responsible for carrying forward this information and creating the same hyperlinks. Some directories limit the number of links you can include; some tell you not to include affiliate links. Be certain to check the TOC or article submission suggestions where you want to place your article.
Usually, I put a copyright sign (©) and date in my resource box; neither is required. I have also experimented with keeping those off. Even though my name is in the byline, I always include it again in the resource box (actually a few Article Directories don't use a byline, which I think is strange). And, of course, I say something about myself that I think is useful for the reader to know about me. I personally feel that a word count of about 30-50 is optimal, but there are no rules. See what your respected colleagues do.
Do not include your email address. Trust me on this one! If you decide to include your email address, please remember that I did recommend against it. Your phone number is optional and if you don't have a web site, it's better to use your phone number than your email address.
I have different web sites, so I select the one or two links that seem most relevant. I make sure that at least one of my links is spelled out with the full URL, for example, http://www.empowering-personal-development.com That way, if a careless publisher doesn't create the hyperlinks, I still have at least one URL spelled out instead of embedded in the text. I also avoid placing a period (.) at the end of a link because someone could easily pick that up when creating the link, making the link invalid.
Be certain that the information in your resource box will still be valid in six months or later. For example, if you have some "special" that expires in 30 days, this is not helpful information in an article resource box that might be circulating (you hope!) for years to come. You should be thinking long term about these articles because they can circulate for years. It's important that your article submission is planned rather than haphazard.
I definitely recommend that you review a number of resource boxes after you've prepared a rough draft of your own. As you need or want, change the information over time. You don't need to return to older articles to edit your resource box, just move forward with the more current information.
Each Article Directory provides its own selection of categories for you to choose from. In some Article Directories, you'll find no category that remotely fits your article. Move on. Some directories are very personal-development-friendly and might even have so many categories for one of your articles that you have a hard time choosing! In that case, you can include in your article submission strategy a procedure for placing and tracking different articles in different categories.
Make sure your article is in the proper category. At most directories, there is a drop-down menu with "Arts" (or something else beginning with A) as the selected category. So be certain to change that. Other directories will more properly configure their drop down menu so that the exposed item says something like "Select your category here" and give you an error message if you fail to do so.
At EzineArticles.com, anyone can subscribe to email alerts of new articles by category. This is one of the ways that Ezine publishers are able to find the fresh, new articles of the authors they like so easily. And, of course, they spot the titles of articles that appeal to them whether they know the authors or not. While you think of it, this could be a good time for you to subscribe to a few categories of interest, so that you can see what's being written in your niche. You can chang the email alerts to support you in your article submission campaign over time.
The keywords associated with your article are very important. You decide the keywords and prepare a list. Place your primary keyword first. Any keyword in your list should be in your article at least once, preferably twice, along with related words. Your primary keyword needs greater repetition, depending on the length of the article. However, don't overdo the repetition of your keywords. Most Article Directories limit you to a number of characters for your list of keywords and require that you separate the keywords by commas. Spelling is important!
There are a variety of resources for you to learn about keywords. Before I mention a few, I want to make an important point. You want to use keywords as a tool, not as a means to determine what you write. Start with writing from your heart and writing from your experiences. After you have a first or second draft, open yourself to thinking about keywords and keyword searches. Use keywords to enhance your article; use good keywords to help potential readers find you through search engines.
As an experiment at some time, you might try to start with highly-searched keywords and see what you create as an article. I suggest you not get carried away with this. As I said before, keywords are a tool. Understanding keywords is an important part of your marketing research on the Internet and your article submission campaign.
At most Article Directories, you must type your list of keywords. The keywords are used for the Article Directory's own Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies. They will, for example, use RSS feeds for your articles, and perhaps meta tags. Accurate keywords benefit you greatly. When you submit them to the Article Directory, you might think of them as the infrastructure of your article. I've not ever seen a list of keywords published with the article itself.
Since finding Site Build It! I haven't looked back at any other keyword search tool. It's simply the best. In addition, through SBI!, I've discovered more about the Internet and others who are writing. This web site is hosted at SBI!, but I use the keyword tool for all my sites.
Putting it all Together; Keeping it all Straight
Currently I'm on hiatus from adding new articles to article directories. My administrator uses a spread sheet to keep track of my article submission details because I have a lot of articles, I'm continuously writing, and I take breaks from time to time from submitting them. For me, this is a long-term strategy, but I have times when I submit very few articles because I'm focused on other projects. I need a system to keep everything straight for me and my administrative assistant, so a spread sheet does that for me.
Most of all, I think it's important to enjoy the article submission process. if it's not fun, find another way to publish on the Internet.
This Article Focuses on Article Submission Strategies
See Additional Writers Resources for Personal Development Professionals