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Article Marketing: Long or Short Articles - Which Is Better?

Most online professionals know that article marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote a product/service. However, when marketing with articles, which is better, long or short articles?

Most experts say that articles should be between 400-600 words, give or take 50 on either side. However, in general, I disagree. Why? For the following three reasons:

NOTE: There are times when shorter pieces -- eg, Tip of the Day, Just an FYI, an editorial/opinion piece -- are justified.

1. Not Enough Detail: Many articles are written to sell something. So, a business owner may pay someone to write a general article on their topic to drive traffic to their site. This is fine, but as a reader, when Im searching for information, I usually want details that go beyond what a general article will dispense.

It's frustrating to just get the tip of the iceberg ie, information I may already know and not get the meat of a subject.

This is a big turn-off for me. And when I visit a site, if its filled with a lot of these what Ive deemed common sense pieces, with no meat information, I conclude that the site owner is more interested in selling me a product/service than educating me on a particular subject.

Education leads to knowledge which leads to trust, which THEN leads to SALES. If more online sellers would realize this, theyd do better.

2. No Expertise: Many articles are obviously written (or commissioned) by those with little or no experience on/in/with the subject written about. Most of the information found in the majority of articles can be Googled and found via official sources.

I dont know about most surfers, but when I look for information, I want the personal experience how you did it, what worked for you, what didnt work and why? This is the real benefit of the Internet. It allows a true exchange of first-hand information.

When youve used a product, built a business, found an effective technique and can back it up with a personal story (eg, this is what happened when I did x), it gives sooooo much more validity than just spouting off what can easily be found via official sources.

And again, this leads to knowledge, which leads to trust, which THEN leads to SALES. Why? Because people get the feeling that you know what the heck youre talking about.

INSIGHT: I particularly like personal stories that detail what didnt work so well? Why? Two reasons: a) It saves me from making the same mistake; and 2) allows me to brainstorm about how to do it better. It also lends an air of truth (hence, validity) to whatever sales pitch youre making.

This leads to my final point failure.

3. Dont Tell Me What To Do, Tell Me What NOT to Do: Many articles begin with How To. And, this is fine most of the time. But, also take the time (eg, expand the word count) to tell me what NOT to do.

To digress a minute, I dont know how/when we became a nation of people afraid to admit failure, but thats almost the first lesson of success. It takes failure to get to success.

Ive failed at so many things (especially businesses) that I just have to laugh as I look over the list (yes, I keep one). But you know what, I wouldnt know half of what I know now if I hadnt failed so often.

When you gain knowledge via failure youve earned it thats like money in the bank. You can move forward confidently because you know what, for sure, DOESNT work.

Why "Failure" Increases Sales

When a writer drones on and on about this, that and the other, Im searching for the grain of truth, for the human element of failure. Admitting to failure does three things:

a) It tells me that youre passionate about your product/service: When youre persistent enough to keep trying something after failing at it youre either just plain crazy, or passionate about it. This passion will always be translated to your end user -- you just have to trust me on that.

b) It tells me that youre human: Part of connecting with a customer is making them feel like you understand their situation.

If you excel at everything you try well, I just cant relate to a person like that. If I cant relate to you, youre going to have a harder time selling to me. It doesnt mean its impossible, it just means youll have to work that much harder.

c) It tells me that you care: When you fail and put it out there for the world to dissect it tells me you care enough about me, the consumer, to want me to avoid the same mistakes. And you know what, Ill like you for that, trust you for that and BUY FROM YOU because of that.

Sincerity can be sensed and if you have page after page of obviously canned material on your site, re-evaluate why you are really in business.

Remember, article marketing is not about dispensing information its about dispensing helpful information -- and that usually calls for more than 500 or 600 words.


About the Author: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of www.InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to www.InkwellEditorial.com to learn how.




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