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Article-Marketing Automation: Pros and Cons

March 11th, 2011

article marketing automationOver at my journalism group-blog, “Considerations,” I often receive e-mails from article marketers and freelance writers who want to publish guest-posts. Since I advertise the opportunity, I welcome the inquiries — but within reason. There are good and bad sides to the digital coin.

First, most SEO marketers and content writers understand the basic principle: that “content is king.” In general, the websites that provide frequent, quality content will be those that tend to rank highly in organic search-results and social-media marketing — especially though keyword targeting. Google rewards those website that update themselves regularly with new content (as opposed to so-called “business card” websites that have static pages).

As Cristian Lungu notes at Search-Engine Journal:

Yet, there are other benefits that article marketing offers and many of these benefits are of the psychological variety. In other words, an impression is left with the reader upon reading the material. Whether the reader is informed, entertained, or both, reading the article can provide a positive impression that leads him/her to patronize the website the article is supporting. Those hoping to maximize the potential of their search engine optimization campaign need to venture beyond just looking to boost rankings. They will need to employ a campaign that promotes the ability to generate sales and revenues. Really, without enhanced sales and revenues, a marketing campaign falters. This will be the case no matter how a particular website is ranked in the search engines.

The aforementioned “psychological variety” of benefits refers mainly to branding and being a “knowledge leader.” If your website manufactures, produces, or sells “widgets,” then you want your website to become the ultimate resource for “widgets” — as in, anyone who wants to know the latest news and information on “widgets” will visit and follow your website for that purpose. After all, people interested in the topic will see your advertisements and/or calls-to-action and become more likely to become paying customers over time.

Is Article-Marketing Automation for You?

Of course, this SEO and SEM principle is obvious in the Internet Age. However, the principle extends to other marketing practices — some good, some bad. If a company spends the time and money to develop quality content, then it will naturally want to promote that content as much as possible to maximize the return on its investment. The best method is through social-media marketing (SMM) — the placement of social-sharing buttons on each page of a website, article, or blog post along with the active promotion on Facebook and Twitter accounts.

However, other methods are more “gray,” for lack of a better term. As Lungu notes:

One of the best strategies to employ would be to write a high quality article and then remake four versions of the article. Not the word used here was remake and not rewrite or spin. You do not want to write one high quality article and then produce four inferior copies. You will want the writer to painstakingly rewrite the article so that the original intent and quality remains. Think in terms of remaking a motion picture. You always want the remake to stand on its own as a quality product.

However, many SEO writers and online marketers take this principle and incorporate it in less-than-successful ways. (See “Top 10 Blogs, More General Keywords, and a Content Farm.”) If a company owns, say, five websites, then the standard practice is to create an original, insightful article and then rewrite it in different words in five different versions — one of which will be published on each of the sites. But the problem is that each of the four rewrites will inherently be of less quality than the original — particularly since the so-called “best practice” is to employ cheap Indians or other low-cost labor to rewrite the article. After all, Google only recognizes and rewards original content. This practice of article-marketing automation does not always provide the best results.

In today’s Internet Age, the best results will occur for companies that produce as much original content as possible rather than copies of copies of copies. Of course, this requires additional investment — and not every website owner will be able to pay the extra cost. After all, when marketers submit guest-posts to my “Considerations” blog, I will reject it unless it is an original, lengthy, insightful piece whose content has not been published elsewhere. The key is to develop good content using the best information from SEO-software reviews.

Samuel J. Scott, a former journalist in Boston turned Internet marketer in Israel, is the founder and publisher of My SEO Software and Director of Digital Marketing and Communications and SEO Team Leader at The Cline Group. You can follow him at Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. His views here and elsewhere do not necessarily reflect those of his company and clients.