Article Submissions in 10 Minutes a Day – Part 2

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on October 13, 2010 in: Business Marketing, Tips in 10

In the previous Tips In Ten article I introduced the idea of writing articles and submitting them and I even suggested that you could do it in ten minutes a day. Then, I spent the rest of the last issue talking about six reasons that I think articles are a great way to grow your business.

In this article, and in a couple more articles still to come, I’ll give you some specific steps on how you can start your article submission campaign, which is really a marketing-your-business-as-an-expert campaign.

One thing you’ll notice that is common on nearly every single article submitted online is the resource box. The resource box is the small box at the bottom of the article in which (often) the article writer puts in a link to their site and some promotional content.

Why the resource box?

This resource box is SO important. The point of writing an article is to position yourself as an expert, which means that you should be talking about the topic and not yourself. You will promote yourself by talking knowledgeably about the topic, and you will promote yourself in the resource box. (You should not promote yourself within the body of the article).

So the article is to make the reader go “wow, this person really knows what they are talking about” and the resource box is to help the reader know where to go to find out more about you, the expert.

In this article, we’ll look at the resource box and you should spend 10 minutes today thinking about and writing your resource box and it will save you time in the future.

More about resource boxes

Resource boxes vary by the website distributing your articles, so use the information I provide here as a rule of thumb but make sure that you comply with the article distribution site’s guidelines.

In general, resource boxes follow similar formats across all distribution sites: They’ll give you a few lines of text, perhaps a few hundred characters, and they’ll often give you an html-friendly text box and a non-html text box. For example, iSnare gives a no-html text box of 300 characters and an html-enabled text box of 500 characters.

No-html text boxes mean that you have to write your website address but it does not actually link back to your site with a clickable link. These are okay (although, less preferable in my mind since I write articles to get the back link). Still, if someone likes my work they can still find information about me and a non-clickable website address of my site which they can then put into their browser.

Html-enabled text boxes are preferable. They give you the ability to add code to create clickable links and to bold or italicize your text. This gives the article writer some powerful search engine optimization capabilities, which I will talk about shortly.

Writing your resource box

Now it’s time to write your resource box. Open up your favorite word processing program and make sure it has a feature that will count characters. In Word, for example, right-click on the menu bar and select “Word Count” from the list of available menus that pop up; or, write something and select “Tools” then “Word Count”. You’ll notice that you can see how many words you’ve written, but you can also find out how many characters (with spaces) it has. This is the magic number you’re going to monitor: characters with spaces. Aim to keep it under 300 characters (with spaces) without html and under 500 with html and this should be adequate for all of your resource box needs.

But what should you write about in your resource box? Here’s a simple formula:

1. Start with your name and your business name or title. For example: “Heather Villa, Business Coach”.

2. Next, give a brief description of what your business does and make sure that you include two important things: Benefits to the customer and important keywords you want to use in search engines. So, if the benefit that I give to customers is “more time” and the keyword I want to target is “productivity”, I might write something like “Heather Villa helps entrepreneurs find more time by providing productivity coaching and project management services.”

3. Then, consider adding something that supports your claims or provides additional credibility. You might have a degree you want to highlight, or perhaps you’ve authored a book you want to mention. I might write, “She is the founder of WordPress In a Second, which helps business owners create websites quickly.”

4. Lastly, you’ll want to create a call to action. In most cases, you’ll want them to click through to your website. So I might write, “Enhance your productivity at HeatherVilla.com.” However, there are other calls to action (email, telephone call, or a twitter follow, for example) that you might prefer.

So I end up with:

Heather Villa, Business Coach. Heather Villa helps entrepreneurs find more time by providing productivity coaching and project management services. She is the founder of WordPress In a Second, which helps business owners create websites quickly. Enhance your productivity at HeatherVilla.com.

292 characters. Right on target.

Now to explain some of my reasoning: I like putting the name and title at the beginning of the resource box just to reinforce who the article is from. If a publisher copies and pastes the article from the distribution site but accidentally misses my name, I want it here. And, when I do the html-enabled text box, I want to link my name and title back to my website in order to be searchable for those terms.

The second sentence, which talks about what I do and the benefits I provide, makes it clear to readers why they should contact me for services.

The third sentence is a useful sentence if I’m trying to promote a particular product or service and I will often change up this sentence, depending on what my focus is for the article.

Lastly, a strong call to action that is keyword friendly is a nice way to finish off the resource box. But you’ll also note that I’ve been able to incorporate my website address even though the html is not enabled. If someone reads the non-html text box and wants to find me, they can see my website address easily.

Then, when it’s time to enable html, I simply copy and paste the article and add html tags:

<a href=”http://hireheathervilla.com” >Heather Villa, Business Coach</a>. Heather Villa helps entrepreneurs find more time by providing productivity coaching and project management services. She is the founder of WordPress In a Second, which helps business owners create websites quickly. <a href=”http://hireheathervilla.com” >Enhance your productivity at HeatherVilla.com</a>.

And that will display like this on websites:

Heather Villa, Business Coach. Heather Villa helps entrepreneurs find more time by providing productivity coaching and project management services. She is the founder of WordPress In a Second, which helps business owners create websites quickly. Enhance your productivity at HeatherVilla.com.

So, you see that I have an informative and keyword friendly resource box that can be easily html-enabled. I wrote it in less than 10 minutes and I can reuse it again and again with a bit of customization based on my needs.

In the next articles, we’ll talk more about article submission and how you can create compelling articles that drive more business to your website… in just ten minutes a day.

Now what?

Now, just save both the non-html and the html versions in a file. And, when you write an article (or if you hire someone to write your articles for you) just open the file and cut and paste the resource box info into the right place.

P.S.-Remember that everything I recommend, I do! Check out my articles at Ezine Articles!

Heather Recommends:

If you are a coach, freelancer, or entrepreneur who wants to succeed like a pro, I can help.

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