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Writing Quality Content is a Key Skill for any Internet Marketer

This is by no means a complete guide, but rather some starting tips or techniques for how to write for the web.

Research – Know your topic!

This sounds obvious, but the number of people who attempt to write about stuff they don’t understand astounds me! Good writers are informed writers. We’re not talking about becoming experts here, just a solid grounding in the topic. Sites like Wikipedia are great for getting a subject overview (remember this information isn’t always 100%!). A few good hours of Google searching is a must. Use their new “Wonder Wheel” (click on the “show options” tab above your search results) to generate mind-map like structures of related search terms to help you explore the different facets of a topic.

When I need to write about a completely new subject, I set aside at least 3 or 4 hours of solid reading (doesn’t have to be all at once!) to learn about the topic. You don’t have to do this every time you write something. You’ll find the knowledge you gain from one good stint of reading can be used to write multiple articles. Take particular note of the style of writing and the kinds of pages that show up in your search results. This will be the kind of content you want to emulate when you start writing. Note I said emulate not copy! Be very careful to avoid plagiarism. Not only is there potential for legal consequences, but Google will slap you silly if they notice you have plagiarized content on your site.

Start with the title

Forget about trying to outline your entire piece of writing first; when writing for the web I like to start with a title . What this does is ensure you are crystal clear about the direction of the article from the beginning, making it much easier to write fluently and stick to the point.

Bear in mind that people surfing the web spend mere seconds on any given page, so don’t try to accomplish too much in a single article. It’s better to explore one or two core ideas rather than branch into multiple sub topics. Five hundred to eight hundred words is typically considered the optimum for web articles, and while that sounds like a lot, you’ll be surprised at how hard it is to say anything good in such a small amount of space!

If you find yourself going off on a tangent in your writing, don’t ever delete it! Copy and paste it into a new document and leave it for another time. Good words and ideas are precious, and having a collection of small snippets of writing can be very useful for future articles.

Don’t think, just write

Easy to say, hard to do – but “just writing” is possibly one of the best writing techniques I’ve ever known. Little is more intimidating than a blank sheet of paper or a blank document on your computer, so it’s important to get something down rather than critique every sentence as you write it. Once you have a grounding in your topic and a good title as a starting point, stop thinking and start writing. Don’t worry whether you’re writing is good or not. At this stage you’re just focusing on getting out a first draft. (Just Google what the noted writer Ernest Hemingway said about first drafts for a rather un-inspirational quote on the subject.) Even if your writing is really bad to start with, you’ll find it easier to tidy up a bad draft than spend hour upon hour painstakingly perfecting each sentence. More often than not you’ll discover that 10% to 20% of what you’ve written isn’t actually too bad anyway. By taking these good parts and expanding them, you can turn that 20% good content into 50% good content, and then that 50% into 90%!

Another technique that I have had a lot of success with is writing two separate drafts from scratch. I write a complete first draft, print it out and then delete it off my computer. I put the first draft in a draw and write a second draft without looking at the first. By deleting the first draft, you force yourself to approach the piece from the start, except this time you’re brain’s already warmed up and your thoughts are more organized! Once I’ve done a second draft I’ll take my first out and mine it for any particularly good sentences that I want to keep – but I typically find that my second piece of writing is significantly better than my first.

It gets easier!

Some of these techniques may seem really time consuming, but the good news is you don’t need to use them all for every article you write. If you’re writing 20 or 30 articles for a site you’ll likely find that after the first two articles or so you get into a kind of ‘flow’ and the words just start coming.

Writing’s like anything – practice makes perfect. While there are some naturally gifted writers, anyone can teach themselves to write good basic content that people (and search engines) will enjoy.

… if all you can think off is “But I’m not a writer!” You can pay someone to write your articles for you.

There are a number of websites that connect publishers (like you) with freelance writers. One popular site is Elance! Just post a project and writers (“Elancers”) will “bid” for the job, offering to write X number of articles for Y dollars per article. At the bottom end of the scale you can spend around $5 per article. Typically, the more you spend, the higher the quality of the writing…

Enjoy your writing!

Heide Holtz

SmarterSites.net

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Your 8-Point Traffic Generation Cheatsheet For Unstoppable Traffic!

Your 8-Point Traffic Generation Cheatsheet For Unstoppable Traffic!

The importance of getting traffic and list building is talked about all the time. But just HOW do you get massive traffic and build a list of responsive subscribers on a daily basis?

I’ve created a 8-point cheat sheet that you can use to grow a list of 1000s of subscribers, mostly on autopilot. These are the exact strategies I use on a daily basis.

Here are the 8 killer traffic getting tactics:

1. High Leverage Article Marketing

With article marketing, I’m not just talking about the usual step of submitting articles to article directories. That still works very well. What I’m referring to is submitting your articles to popular authority sites in your market. For example, if you’re in the Internet marketing niche, popular sites like Entrepreneur, About, Associate Programs and even popular blogs like Site Fling are possible places to submit articles.

Submitting your articles at these places means you’ll have less competition and receive more traffic without having to compete with thousands of other articles.

2. List Builders

List builders typically work like this: you sign up for the exchange, and you’re allowed to promote to thousands of other members with an email promotion, but in exchange, you agree to receive emails from other members as well. Examples of such networks include List Joe, The List Auction, Viral URL and the new Viral Ads Unleashed system. I have personally used List Joe and The List Auction to add hundreds of new subscribers to my account every month just by sending out an email every 3 days. It is definitely worth a go. Here are some of the top list builders online:

http://www.listjoe.com
http://www.thelistauction.com
http://www.viralurl.com
http://www.viraladsunleashed.com

3. Forum Marketing

We’ve got the old workhorse of forum marketing here. The problem with many people when it comes to forums is they don’t have a system. You’ll want to create a list of authority forums in your market, and then submit to them religiously almost every day. If you have a list of 5 forums, and you submit 5 posts to each of them every day, you’ll get a steady flow of new sign-ups each day. And this is just ONE of your traffic streams that you’ll be using to build your list.

4. Blog Marketing

A blog is labor intensive but at the same time it can drive a flood of targeted visitors to your primary business. The great thing about a blog is that there are many ways you can leverage it for traffic – you can use it to tag and ping, it is easy to social bookmark, RSS is easily integrated and it is great for search engine optimization. Through my blog (which I have not been paying as much attention as I should), I have added hundreds of new subscribers.

5. Video Marketing

Video marketing is a highly scalable strategy for getting traffic. The hard part is getting the video created. Once that is done, promotion can be easy using automated tools like Tube Mogul and Hey Spread. These tools (or websites) submit your videos automatically to more than a dozen of the most popular video sharing websites online. Imagine if you create a short 3 to 5 minute video every week and submit it to more than a dozen of video sharing sites weekly. That should be enough to give you fresh inflows of subscribers.

6. Craigslist

The popularity of Craigslist.org has been growing immensely in the past year or so. In fact, in 2008, Craigslist’s popularity grew by 87%. This is probably because more people are going online to either search for bargains or to look for jobs or business opportunities. This means that Craigslist has never been a more fertile ground for marketers to tap into. I have not been taking advantage of it as much as I would like, but it is certainly something to put on your to-do list.

http://www.craigslist.com

7. Ad Brite

Ad Brite is a banner ad exchange website where publishers and advertisers work out ad deals. I have personally advertised my sites on dozens of sites in the network and have reaped hundreds of fresh leads. The competition is also far less than it is on AdWords.

http://www.adbrite.com

Here is a tip: Direct response, all-text banner ads seem to get the highest click-through rates.

8. Get Subscribers

If you’re looking to buy leads, then look no further than Get Subscribers. I have spent hundreds of dollars with them and have gotten a lot back in return. My list grows by the dozen daily and these people are highly responsive. Because the system is backed by one of the top autoresponder companies online, you can be sure of the quality of the leads, because they are real. I highly recommend checking them out…

http://www.getsubscribers.com

Remember to test and traffic the different sources of traffic so you can discover which are the most effective tactics for your business.

Fabian

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