Article Submissions in 10 Minutes a Day – Part 3

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

In the last two Tips In Ten articles, I’ve started a small “series” on articles. I believe articles offer businesses the best value in online marketing today. I feel that there are few other marketing opportunities that are as effective at positioning your business, creating backlinks, promoting search engine optimization, and driving more traffic to your website, than online articles.

And, you also read that every article comes with a resource box and I showed you how to write a high quality, compelling resource box that gives you the positioning and optimization you need.

But what about writing the articles themselves? How do you go about doing that? And, how do you do it successfully? And, how do you do it successfully… in only ten minutes a day?

It is possible. I’m going to show you how.

Your two options:

You have two options when it comes to writing articles: You can write them yourself or you can get someone else to write them. Even if you get someone else to write your articles for you, it’s worth reading these Tips In Ten issues so that you know about article marketing and can effectively direct the person you contract to write your articles.

So, should write the articles yourself or get someone else to do it? It depends on a couple of factors, like whether you write well and how long it takes you to write.

If you write well, it still might not be worth it for you to write your articles because your time is valuable and limited and it might make sense for you to hire someone to write articles while you do billable work for clients. Now, if you are just starting out, you might have plenty of time for marketing and no billable clients yet. If that’s the case, and you’re a good writer, you might want to do the work yourself. But be aware that writing can take time (and that’s time that could be applied to billable work if it’s coming in). So you’ll always need to weigh those factors.

I’m going to talk about hiring contractors in an upcoming Tips In Ten, so if you’ve decided to outsource your article writing, watch for that issue.

Writing articles: Overview of my ten minute method

It is possible to write articles in ten minutes. Well, let me clarify: It is possible to write articles in small ten-minute bursts over a few days. If you only have ten minutes to spend each day then you can follow these steps and you’ll end up with one article a week. That’s not bad; it’s 52 articles a year, which is still prolific by many standards. (Of course, if you have more time to spend than ten minutes a day, you can always write more, but I’m going to show you how to write a single article in a week of ten minute daily activity).

Monday: Brainstorm your topic

On Monday, spend time brainstorming your topic. Consider what keywords you want to embed in the article and what you want people to know when they finish the article. You might want to set up a chart in Excel that has the topic in one column, a potential title in the next column, the keywords you want to use in the third column, and the audience “takeaway” in the fourth column. So, for example, I might write an article based on this information (although I’ve presented the information in rows just to make it easier to read in an email format):

Topic: Starting a small business
Article title: How to Start a Small Business in Your Spare Time
Keywords: small business, entrepreneur
Takeaway: Reader to feel empowered to start business

Then, open a Word document (or whatever program you like to write with) and paste this information in there. (You’ll want to keep it in your Excel spreadsheet, too, as a record of your work and maybe because you might later want to reuse some of that information for different articles.

Now, in your article document, list 2-4 sub-topics within this idea. These will be the points you will cover in detail in your article. Based on the article idea above, I might write something like:

1. How to find a business idea
2. How to monetize your business idea
3. How to make it successful

This sounds like an ambitious article, and it might change as I write it, but at least I have a start. (I’ve often started this way and ended up with three or four article ideas that come out of it, which I record in my Excel spreadsheet).

And that’s all you need to do on Monday. That should only take ten minutes, perhaps less.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Write

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are writing days. Spend ten minutes each day writing the article. There are a couple ways to go about it, depending on how you like to work:

  • Topical: You might write one sub-point each day. So, in the example above, you might write “How to find an idea” on Tuesday and “How to monetize an idea” on Wednesday, and “How to make it successful” on Thursday. Just plan to write 2 paragraphs for each      sub-point, although you might end up with 3 or more paragraphs sometimes.
  • Multiple passes: You might write a rough draft on the first day and refine it each following day. If that’s the case, and you only have ten minutes to spend,  just write rough notes and bullet points for each sub-point on Tuesday, and then flesh them out a bit on Wednesday by turning bullet points into sentences, and then continue building and polishing your work on Thursday.

You can skip the intro and conclusion until Thursday or even Friday because those are easy to write once you’ve written the main body of the work..

There are a few notes you should be aware of when writing your article:

  • You’ll want to write between 250 and 1000 words. I like to aim for 500 words and some article distribution sites have more specific word limits (i.e., 350 to 750). 450 to 500 words is always a good rule of thumb – it’s short enough for people to read and long enough for you to get your ideas across. It really is the standard for web articles.
  • Don’t link to your website in your article. That’s bad form and some article distribution sites will reject your article because of it. Link to your site from the resource box instead.
  • Avoid any hint of self-promotion in the article – just write about something you know (instead of about your business). Use the article to demonstrate your knowledge and the resource box to promote yourself.

Friday: Proof and submit

There are three or four things you will want to do on Friday:

First, if you haven’t written your introduction and conclusion, write those. That shouldn’t take too long because you’re not writing anything new. As the saying goes, use the introduction to “tell them what you’re about to tell them” and the conclusion to “tell them what you just told them”. Very easy.

Second, review your keywords. If you know what your target keywords are ahead of time, you can work to incorporate them in. But sometimes you can find additional places to add them in. Making sure that you put keywords in the title and any subtitles is a good idea. Aim to put a keyword at least once in every paragraph. There are more specific keyword densities that you might want to consider: 2% to 5% is often the target. For example, a 5% keyword density means that, in a 100 words, the keyword shows up 5 times. As you can imagine, in your 500 word article, 25 mentions of the same keyword is a little excessive. So the 4% to 5% range, although preferred by some, doesn’t lend itself to readable articles. You might get search engine optimization but you WON’T get good traffic or positioning from it. Instead, aim for 2% to 3%, which is 10 to 15 mentions in a 500 word article. That is far more realistic and you’ll easily reach that by using the keyword once in ever y paragraph plus in the title and subtitles.

Third, proof read. Remember, these articles are meant to position you as an expert. So an article that doesn’t read well can work against you! Either proofread the articles yourself or get someone else to proofread them for you.

Fourth, submit the article. In the next issue of Tips In Ten I’ll show you how to do it in ten minutes.

So, in this issue of Tips In Ten, you’ve learned to write one article a week using just 10 minutes a day. In the next issue of Tips In Ten, I’ll show you how to submit the article with excellence… in just 10 minutes.

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I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.

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