Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Smarter Marketing: TrendWatching

If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the look out for hot new trends. What are people searching for? What do they want? What do they need?

But what is a trend? And how is it different from a fad?

Unlike a trend, a fad is a short lived ‘craze’, within a relatively small group of people. Recently The BBC reported live videoblogging from a mobile phone, as a current fad.

Only a small number of phones actually support this function and many people don’t blog or vlog at all, so the chances of live videoblogging becoming mainstream are fairly remote.

However, live videoblogging may be an up and coming trend amongst tech savvy mobile bloggers with Nokia phones!

Trends tend to appear over longer periods of time and are adopted by the mainstream. More of a general tendency. The TimesOnline reports of an increasing use of virtual reality to treat medical conditions. As a general enhancement to our lives, the use of medical technology continues to grow in the mainstream.

Applied to Internet Marketing, fads and trends can be observed here too.

Take Social Media. The likes of Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Digg (and I could go on…) have truly revolutionized the way we use the internet today. Making friends and chatting as we work, swapping ideas, asking (the Twitterverse) for answers, links and solutions.

A good example of an IM fad would perhaps be pixel ad websites.

Back in 2005, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old entrepreneur from the UK, hoped to pay his way through university by selling a million pixels as advertising space on his Million Dollar Homepage. He actually went on to sell all million pixels for a dollar each (you do the math:)

Many cloned Alex's idea as these strange looking ‘mozaic’ type pages sprung up all over, – but none (to my knowledge) were ever as successful as the original and many ended up giving pixel ads away.

Can you imagine Social Networks going the same way? No, neither can I.

Now we’ve established trends from fads, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite ‘TrendWatching places’…

SiteVolume takes up to five words you want to compare and shows a graph of how many times each word appears in Digg, Myspace, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter.

SpringWise has a global network of ‘spotters’ who scan and report inspirational new business ideas.

At Epinions users submit reviews on millions of products and services. Scroll down the page until you come across the ‘Epinions Top 10’

HobbyThing has a tag cloud dedicated page. The bigger the tag, the more popular the subject.

Check out Amazon Movers and Shakers for hot software, apparel, video games, music, electronics, cameras and phones.

And not forgetting ‘popular’ categories on some of the more well known services …

Flickr Tags


Digg’s Most Recent

Technorati – What’s Popular

AOL Hot Searches

Ask Top Searches

Yahoo! Buzz

Google Hot Trends


Monday, May 12, 2008

Article Marketing: Your Questions Answered

Article Marketing is one of the most effective link building strategies in existence. You see, article directories allow you to include a resource box at the end of each article you submit. Used wisely, a resource box can drive Quality Traffic to your website. That’s a free backlink for every article you submit. Ten Articles equals ten backlink! There are thousands of article directories online – thousands of backlink! Of course, your articles have to be quality pieces to be accepted.

Many article directories have a high Google page rank – PR4 or PR5, and some are even PR7 or PR8. Backlink from a high PR website are looked on very favorably by the search engines, giving your site a significant boost in the rankings.

So why isn’t everybody achieving great success with article marketing?

As with any other traffic generating strategy, article marketing takes WORK! This is one area of Internet Marketing where Private Label Rights (PLR) products don’t get you an easy ride. Duplicate content is cursed by article directories, and many ghostwriters who sell PLR packages stipulate their articles may not be submitted to directories ‘without Significant’ rewriting.

To be successful with your article marketing campaigns, you need to be Original and consistent in your writing.

So if I submit the same article to many article directories, won’t it be classed as duplicate content by the search engines?

No. Since we’re dealing with high-ranking websites, search engines will assume that the submitted content is their original work. So directories can be quietly confident about the articles they display. However, directories don’t want to be seen as a dumping ground for junk, so PLR articles and articles highly peppered with affiliate links, just won’t make the mustard.

So that means I can display my submitted articles on my own web pages, right?

Wrong! Since the search engines will assume that the higher ranking websites are the originators of your content, you may be penalized for duplicate content, which could mean being ‘sand boxed’ or de-indexed and your pages will no longer show up in search results. Not good, not good at all.

Should I submit many articles to many article directories?

Absolutely. This is exactly how a traffic building strategy works. But remember, write great content, don’t include tons of affiliate links and be as consistent as you can – success doesn’t happen overnight.

Build your backlink slowly and steadily. Search Engines, particularly Google, are wary of websites whose backlinks suddenly explode. Make it look natural. Submit an article, and then wait a couple of weeks before submitting a new article.

But does Article Marketing really work?

Yes it really works!

If you’re not experiencing steady traffic growth, ask yourself…
  • Is the subject of my article interesting?
  • Does it cater to my target audience?
  • Is my title enticing enough to draw my readers in?
  • Does my article offer value to my readers?
  • Is my article comprehensive?
  • Is it easy to read and digest?
These are the most common factors, which may contribute to low traffic statistics. Try re-editing your article, spell-checking and improving grammatically or adding new content.

Another factor to take into consideration is the popularity of the article directories you’re submitting your articles to – some have thousands of readers, while others much fewer.

Ok, my article’s good to go. How can I be sure that my work will be kept intact by other publishers?

You can’t be sure, but you can run a check from time to time searching for unique phrases in your article. Determine if the Webmaster is honoring their publishing rights. If not, contact the Webmaster directly and politely ask for your resource box to be included – if this doesn’t work, you can file a complaint with the article directory and they can act on the matter.

I hope this post has answered some of your questions about article marketing. Please feel free to add a comment below and continue the discussion.


P.s. If you’re looking for free software to compare articles for duplicate content, or a directory submission tool, look no further! Kontent Klone Killer and Directory Submit Pro are downloads of the month for Feb and May respectively. Install The Smart Marketer’s ToolBar and download your article marketing tools today!