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The Most Effective Way To Promote Your Site Is Free (Sort Of)

By B.L. Ochman
Posted Sunday, October 10, 2004

How much does the Number One tool for promoting your Internet business cost? Nothing. It's free. (Sort of.)

As many successful and self-proclaimed experts can attest, the Number One way to promote your site is by writing and placing articles for ezines, newsletters and other sites. The cost is your time and expertise. The payoff is enormous and substantive. And no other marketing tool - including advertising and search engine listings -- comes close for creating name recognition, establishing you as an expert and building your credibility.

Write an article for the right ezine and you can get your name and your URL seen by as many as a million readers or more. Write for ten smaller ezines and achieve the same result.

The majority of now more than 100,000 ezines and newsletters published on the Internet are looking for high level content. Master the technique of writing articles and there is a huge market ready for your material.

Instant Credibility
Most online publications carry guest articles. And at the end of the articles are a few lines about the author, giving his or her site's URL, generally with a live link.

You give a publisher permission to publish your article in exchange for the inclusion of a short bio which essentially endorses you as an expert.

Tips and how-to articles are particularly popular. The key to being successfully published in ezines is to make your content really useful, and not to write an advertisement for you and your services. If your article convinces readers you know your stuff, they'll seek you out.

What It Takes
Editors of high-circulation ezines receive many submissions each week and select only the best ones. Some guidelines for making your articles publishable are:
* Write with a sincere desire to teach, inform and share your expertise.
* Use a headline that's descriptive and intriguing, but not cute.
* Use good grammar and correct spelling. Don't rely on spell check!
* Writing is about re-writing. Write your article, let it sit for a day or two, edit and re-write. Read your article aloud. You'll be surprised at the improvements you can make when you read the article a second and third time.
* Keep your bio to 5 or 6 lines or less and don't make it sound like an ad or it will be edited.
* Unless there is a "click here to submit articles" button, send a short email to the publisher describing your article and asking whether he/she would like to see it. Address the editor by name, never send a "Dear Editor" email.
* Make your article 500 to 750 words.
* Most publishers want your article sent in text format. Some want the article in the body of an email because they won't open an unsolicited attachment. Ask what they prefer!
* Most importantly, read several issues of the ezine before you contact the editor so you know what kind of content he/she runs.
* Check out "Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age" for tips on writing colloquially in the online environment (

Where To Publish
There are two basic ways to get your articles published: General distribution and individual submissions. General distribution can be achieved through article announcement lists and through sites that provide free content to ezine publishers.

Article announcement lists include:
* (
* (
* (
* (

Web sites that provide free content to ezine publishers include:
* (
* (

Being recognized as an expert takes time. Make a commitment to writing one or two new articles every month. And don't worry about giving away your free advice. Walt Disney explained this very well. After a meeting, a young employee once asked Disney "Aren't you worried about giving away all that free information Mr. Disney?" And Disney replied "Nah! Those were last year's ideas." If you're good at what you do, you'll always have plenty more ideas.

About the Author
Internet strategist and journalist B.L. Ochman is president of ( which evaluates, develops and executes Internet and traditional marketing and business strategies. Subscribe to her bi-weekly marketing tactics newsletter, What's Next Online at ( 718.398.8600.


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