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The most effective technique for small business visibility

By Mike Banks Valentine
Posted Friday, August 13, 2004

It is extremely effective to write articles for distribution. This is the method that has brought more traffic and more sales for WebSite101 than any other technique. It always leads to ezine subscriptions, which then lead to more sales, more and better advertising in the my own Reading List and more exposure. It is a self-feeding loop that grows your business non-stop.

If I were to stop writing articles and Submiting them to other publishers, my advertising costs would skyrocket in order to maintain the same exposure and visibility for WebSite101. Having articles accepted by large circulation ezines and published on high traffic web sites is of far more value than having an ad appear below the article. Subscribers of ezines may look at those ads, but they are reading the articles far more often than the ads!

There is another method rarely used by website owners that is very effective as well -- Participation in discussion lists targeted to your peers! It is inevitable that each web business owner will have their own ezine because it is such a well recognized method of establishing a relationship with web site visitors and *maintaining* a relationship with customers and clients.

Your peers are always looking for content for their ezine, sometimes they will include an article on their website permanently if it deals directly with an issue of interest to their visitors! I have done the same with topics of interest to my own visitors, I have reproduced articles Submited by my peers on my own site just because a particualr piece so clearly deals with matters of importance to my site visitors. I have established article swapping with some groups of publishers where we all agree to run articles by each of the others in
a discussion list or professional organization.

Recently each of the members of Paul Seigel's "Learning Fountain Network" contributed both articles and ads to each other over several weeks to be run in the ezines of each of the members of that organization. It leads to a great sort of cross-pollenation of ideas and the growth of each of our lists. Of course the main benefit included several new members for the Learning Fountain Network when readers of those lists dicovered the viewpoints of the members of LFN.

Instead of placing ads meant to distract and sell, I am writing articles meant to instruct and entertain! They are both means to an end, but the latter establishes rapport and respect from the readers (ideally) while the former interrupts and often annoys us with hyperbole and sales pitch. Obviously those who purchase products and services based on informative articles will be far more willing customers than those that were cajoled and convinced by crafty headlines in advertisements.

I'll go so far as to argue that good writing is far more important to small web businesses than good advertising is! Would you rather read 500 words of reason or one paragraph of exagerated claims when both serve the same end but produce
vastly differing results?

These 500 words have more to say than the 50 in a carefully crafted classified advertisement. Want to verify that claim?Take a look at this Google Ego Search for Mike Banks Valentine.Try doing the same with advertising copy!

About the Author
WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet Ezine emphasizing small business online ( e-tutorial online at: ( By week's end you're ready expand your business to the web!


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