Publicity-Producing Posts Pull People
Search engines change all the time, and many of them now
charge for the privilege of including your website. So,
people often ask me HOW TO GAIN TRAFFIC, beyond search
engines and with little to no cost. There are two methods
that I've used consistently to ATTRACT THOUSANDS OF HITS
to my website at virtually no cost.
Granted, everyone's different. And these techniques may not
be appropriate or appreciated by all people. But let me share
with you what works for me and what I do. My two favorite
methods are: 1) posting on message boards, forums and
discussion lists, and 2) writing, syndicating and submitting
articles to ezine publishers.
Posts As Conversation (and Conversion) Pieces
Discussion groups are either threaded web-based forums or
email discussion lists in which you participate in
conversation. One technique I use is to publish (or better
said, post) full-length articles on discussion boards or in
discussion lists. It is an effective technique -- but it is
also a tricky one.
You have to monitor the board to see what kind of posts there
are to ensure that your article is acceptable. Better yet,
review the guidelines before you submit. Usually, there is a
charter or a set of rules that the board will have published
somewhere on the website (or even in the forum itself). Read
them first before you do anything. (If not, email the
moderator just to be sure.)
Often, discussion boards are conversational in tone and, as
such, are not good places for posting whole articles. But it
is safe to say that, while many of them do accept articles, a
better way is to use them as a means of SUPPORTING YOUR
IDEAS and arguments.
You can do this BY ADDING LINKS BACK to your articles within
your posts. If you maintain an online archive of articles
that you've written, your posts can certainly include links
to specific ones as a way to back up some of your posts. In
fact, most moderators I know prefer this since you KEEP POSTS
BRIEF and to the point.
The obvious benefit is the fact that you don't appear as
overtly promotional, and you also get people to visit your
website in the same breath. (At times, I've had more traffic
from links within my posts than with SIGNATURE FILES.) It is
also important to note that signature files (the brief byline
at the end of your posts) is also a great way to get board
participants to visit your site.
Here's what I wrote as an answer to a question about
signature files in the I-Copywriting Discussion List, Issue
45, "Nobody Reads My Signature File" (by the way, I-
Copywriting is part of a larger family of discussion lists
published by Adventive, which I highly recommend you join
by visiting http://adventive.com/ ):
"As far as signature files go, I have to agree that a lot
of these taglines are a bunch of platitudes or 'bigger
than thou' statements. Who cares if you're 'better than,'
'expert in' or 'known for.' It's just a bunch B.S., if
you ask me."
A caveat, though: keep in mind that most discussion boards
and list moderators will not accept blatant advertisements --
your post should therefore avoid being too engrossed in your
company or product, or being copiously filled with links to
"A tagline that really hits home is one that doesn't just
'brand' the poster but one that also supports her USP (or
unique selling proposition) -- i.e., not just *how* she
is better, different, of quality or whatever, but also
*why*). Another is one that offers something of value --
one that the reader can really take advantage of and get
"What I mean is, the bestselling word in the English
language is the word 'FREE.' If you offer something for
free in your signature file or tagline, your chances of
increasing traffic are significantly higher. For example,
in my case I offer a freely downloadable ebook on my
website. Without question, it's one of the best viral
marketing tools I've used."
"When I incorporate this freebie into my tagline, or even
an invitation to subscribe to my free newsletter or to
obtain a free quote for my copywriting services, my
traffic goes up. Sure, a 'tire-kicking' freebie-seeker is
not going to give me immediate business. But many of them
have bought my services after reading my book or being
subscribed to my ezine for a while. It's all about
building trust and credibility, right?"
"Essentially, the tagline is not meant to get people to
visit but meant to get people to do something: subscribe,
download, join, read, reprint, you name it. I call this
'DIRECTIONAL MARKETING', since it directs people to do
something, and not just 'here's my link, read it.' (I
mean, if that's all there is, then why should I click it?
Who cares, in other words?)"
This goes for your signature file, too -- it should be no
more than seven lines long (three to five are the norm). The
bottom-line is this: Check the board's guidelines or, better
yet, lurk for a while to get a flavor of what's being posted
before you dive in. You want to build your credibility, not
Caving In To The Content Craze
Electronic newsletters, and specifically ezine publishers and
editors, are similar to discussion boards and board
moderators -- in other words, the same rules apply when
submitting an article for publication. You must check with
the publisher or the site on which the ezine appears for
submission guidelines -- they will tell you what is
acceptable or for what they are looking.
Most often, it is best to actually subscribe to the
newsletter directly, one in which you have an interest, in
order to get a flavor of what articles are being published
before you do submit one of your own. This is also important
especially to find out if the ezine and your topic both
target your specific market as well (you want your article to
appear in front of qualified eyeballs).
By subscribing, you will also get the email address of the
editor or publisher, in many cases. Most of them are
constantly seeking fresh content, and as a result will
publish an email address in the ezine issue -- an address to
which you can send article topic ideas or actual submissions,
such as: "firstname.lastname@example.org."
Above all, an effective and safe method is to HIRE A
PUBLICIST to distribute your articles for you. That person
may not only have a large number of contacts (some in the
thousands), but also they have developed solid relationships
and credibility with editors. One I strongly recommend, and
the one I use for all of my article submissions, is Anne
Marie Baugh of http://write-promotion.com/.
Never send your article as an attachment. Beyond the fact
that it's annoying, most editors file their article
submissions in a specific folder in their email programs. And
when they conduct a search to retrieve articles of a certain
topic or theme for their next publication, attached articles
will simply be overlooked.
Most editors and publishers prefer wrapped articles,
particularly at 65 to 70 characters wide. I highly recommend
TextPad, which can be downloaded from
http://www.textpad.com/. Textpad is like notepad but on
steroids. It's loaded with functions, such as an integrated
character map, a multi-document table and more. It's also
effective for hard-breaking word wraps at 65 characters.
As far as actual ezines go, one I recommend for writers and
ezine builders is http://www.ezine-tips.com/. It's part of a
family of ezines for ezine publishers, editors and writers --
all available at http://list-universe.com/. Another is
Article Announce, which comprises of several announcement
lists providing free content to thousands of ezines,
newsletters, magazines and websites. To join or submit
content, see http://www.web-source.net/articlesub.htm.
One technique I found to be very successful is THE SOLO
MAILING, where your article is delivered alone to a targeted,
opt-in list of subscribers. (They're also called
"advertorials," which means articles or editorials that are
Of course, these types of solo mailings are not cheap. But
keep in mind that the attention level is much greater than a
typical article embedded within an ezine. Also, an
advertorial appears more as an educational piece than an
overtly commercial message.
If you choose this route, advertise only in ezines whose
readers logically fit into your TARGET MARKET -- whether or
not they are the same is not important. For example, if
people who like, say, New Age music also like topics
related to spirituality, then try to get in ezines whose
topics revolve around spirituality, too.
There are tons of ezines focusing on pretty much every
subject imaginable. Finding a topic-specific ezine is good,
but also find one whose subscribership consists of people
who enjoy, say, New Age Music -- while not targeting that
specific niche directly. In other words, fish where the fish
swim. Hang out where they do.
In addition, some ezine publishers outright offer solo,
exclusive mailings to their newsletter subscribers for a fee.
In this case, your articles are distributed by themselves to
the readers of an existing ezine, which offers several
advantages. For example, you are able to join the ezine, get
a flavor of the topics discussed and define the quality of
the readership, in advance.
A Final Note
In the final analysis, realize that getting "out and about"
by submitting content, whether it's to ezines, discussion
lists, message boards, content-driven websites and even
newsgroups, is an effective and often overlooked strategy.
If you're tired of relying on (and paying) search engines
for your traffic, and you also want targeted, qualified
traffic, too, try this tactic.
Don't just create content ... SPREAD IT AROUND!
About The Author
Michel Fortin is a copywriter, author and consultant
dedicated to turning businesses into powerful magnets. His
specialty are long copy, email and web sales letters.
Get a FREE copy of his ebook and subscribe to his FREE
monthly email newsletter, "The Profit Pill," by visiting
http://SuccessDoctor.com right now!
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