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Guest blog or promotional article?

Recently I was asked if there is any difference between a promotional article and a guest blog post.

The short answer is definitely 🙂

Here’s the longer answer! A promotional article is 500 – 600 words of information that you make available for people to use on websites and in newsletters. At the end of the article is your bio which is how you get promotion by letting people use your article.

A guest blog post is a blog post you write for someone else’s blog. The length will vary depending on the blog and topic involved but is probably 300 – 500 words long. You may have a bio at the end of the post, a bio elsewhere on the blog or simply a link from the author line. Generally, the blog post is not duplicated anywhere else.

So the promotional article will potentially be used in many places while a guest blog post is generally used once. Guest blog posts give you exposure almost exclusively though blogs (ie attracts people who read blogs to read your blog) whereas promotional articles get broader exposure and don’t require you to have a website, blog or newsletter.

Which do you prefer to write and use?

promotional articles worth the effort?

Business success is not guaranteed and there is no magic button to push that will get your  business moving the way you want it to. Repetition of information and tasks is necessary, regardless of how boring it may seem. I have often heard that if you aren’t doing something then you don’t actually know and understand it  – for example, if you drive fast you really don’t understand speed limits and why they exist.

If you have read a lot of my blog and heard me speak then you know I believe in the power of promotional articles. Well, the potential power as many have no idea how to use them properly and therefore fail with them.

What’s so good about promotional articles? In other words, why I do keep writing and talking about them, and giving tips on improving them?

Well here are some of the reasons:

  • you only have to write them once and you can get long term traffic to your website – for example, I wrote about chickenpox in 2003 and it is still one of the most popular articles on my site
  • you can build your credibility by showing you truly know your topic and are willing to share some of your knowledge – higher credibility means more trust from potential clients
  • you can get exposure to new opportunities – I have been approached to do media interviews because reporters have googled a topic and found one of my articles
  • using them on your site may mean fewer questions from people – this can save a lot of time from people just after information without ever planning to pay you
  • people will share your article (either giving a copy to a friend, linking to it or including it in a newsletter for instance) in a way that an ad would never be shared
  • it only costs you to produce it – having it on websites and in newsletters is free. Compare that to paying for an ad to be designed and then to place it anywhere…
  • it provides you with website content that search engines will reward you for – again, this equals more traffic

So do you see any value in using promotional articles for your business?

Recharge your business with promotional articles

I will be presenting the above topic at the Business Mums Conference on 20/21 June in Melbourne. I will be covering ways to help people get the most value out of the promotional articles they write (or pay to get written) as I believe it is a valuable, low cost way to promote any business.

What is a promotional article?

Any useful article can be used as a promotional article, although they tend to be around 300-600 words long. At the end of the article, you include an information section (called a bio box or resource box) about yourself and/or your business.

To be a good promotion for your business, it is best to use topics that build your credibility in your industry. For example, if you are a hairdresser you could use articles about choosing shampoos, the best types of hair accessories and hair care tips, but if you sell children’s party accessories, you would be better using articles about how to plan a birthday party, dealing with invitation lists and party game suggestions.

Note that a promotional article is not an ad. An article about the services you offer or how you are better than a competitor is not a promotional article – it is an ad. The aim of your article is to provide information, and/or entertainment, to readers.

** If you are going to the conference, please come and chat to me – I’ll be there all weekend as I know from experience that is a positive, information pack weekend that will benefit my business.

If you havent bought tickets yet, Save Time Online is offering an advertising bonus if you mention them when booking.

Promotional Articles

Think about why you use the internet for business. Sure you look at the graphics and pictures, but the main activity is collecting information, right?

So, does it make sense that one of the best ways to pull people into your site is to give them information? Selling your product or service is your main business aim, of course, but if you give people information they will trust you – and they’ll stay on your site long enough to learn your name.

How can you use information to get people to visit your website?

Informative articles from Word ConstructionsBy far the easiest way is to submit informative articles to various web sites and ezines. That doesn’t mean you submit an article about you or your business as that will bore and annoy your readers. What you have to give them is good information about something relevant to your business, something they can use and appreciate you for.

If you are a mechanic, you could submit articles explaining what fuel injected means or how to jump start an engine; a wedding planner can write about how to decide on a guest list; an accountant can explain negative gearing or claiming GST inputs; and a butcher could write about the different cuts of meat.

You also need to make sure the article is interesting and basic enough for your potential clients to understand and finish. It must be accurate and presented professionally as well,  if it is to promote your business positively.

At the end of the article, you include a short bio about yourself and your business. You can see the bios I use at the end of business and health articles.

If you have a web site or email address, make sure the bio includes this information so it can be hyperlinked back to you. Thus anyone reading your article and wanting to know more or use your service can contact you instantly.

I mentioned the value of promotional articles a few weeks ago, and I will cover ways to make use of them in coming posts.

Promotional articles

I admit that with my blog and a lot of client work, I haven’t written as many promotional articles recently as I used to, but I still think they are a valuable way to promote your business very cheaply.

I have done little to market my website online, yet it ranks quite well because I have so much content on there and many sites link to or use my promotional articles on their site.

Melissa has also had positive experiences with article marketing – she got radio coverage from an article she wrote 5 years ago! I also was approached by a major TV show about one of my articles, so it is amazing what can happen from a simple article!

What specific results have you gained through article marketing?

P.S. As part of my promotional articles presentation this weekend, I prepared some notes for the conference handbook. I believe that copies of the handbook will be available afterwards from the workshop notes section of the Business Mums Guides site if you would like my tips on writing and using articles, plus notes from many other speakers.