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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Article marketing IS a good idea...

Those of you who've been reading the Content Done Better blog for awhile might remember a series of posts and comments on the always controversial topic of pay rates. I provided my perspective on the issue after reading an article about so-called "cheeseball bottom feeders" by a freelance writer named Star Lawrence. Let's just say we didn't agree on things...

I read another Star Lawrence article this afternoon. "Want Tens of Thousands of Content-Hungry Publishers Feeding on You?" argues that sites like EzineArticles.com fail to compensate authors for their work and that she doesn't "think giving my content away to the type of people who would take free content from writers is going to help me."

Lawrence perceives non-paying article repositories as a form of writer exploitation and just doesn't believe that she should be handing over her work for "free."

The concept of article marketing is so ingrained within my noggin that I was completely amazed by her stance. After a few seconds of head scratching, I came to grips with the whole thing. Lawrence sees it as writing for free. Marketers understand it as getting value in trade for the content.

You don't get cash for your article, but you do get a nice collection of perks. It's a great viral method for backlink development and can boost SERPs. Those backlinks are extra tasty because they don't require any reciprocation on the part of the submitter. There's also some branding value and (usually) some nice pre-qualified traffic flow from the bio box link. There's a long discussion of the value of article marketing and associated article sites at the EzineArticles Blog. Folks there go after Lawrence the way she might take on a "cheeseball."

If you consider the value "free" article distribution produces, it generally swamps the going rate for the article in the first place. That's why clients hire me to ghostwrite articles for distribution. Not only are they not getting paid cash for the article, they are paying me to write it!

I didn't bring this whole issue up just to renew the mini-feud with Star Lawrence. I thought it was a good opportunity to inform people about hiring a freelance content writer for article marketing purposes.

I also think the article is a good reminder to freelancers. You never want to forget to explain the value of the service along with the quality and nature of your work to prospective clients as part of promotion and marketing. Lawrence is a veteran writer who undoubtedly has a wealth of experience and knowledge of her craft, yet she doesn't seem to be "plugged in" with respect to article marketing. How many potential clients are in the same boat? Probably quite a few.