This article is cross-posted from The Savvy Book Marketer, where it originally appeared on 10/7/09.
Posting articles on your own blog and submitting articles to article directories, newsletters and other blogs are very effective ways of promoting books. Articles posted on other sites can drive direct traffic to your website and improve your site’s search engine optimization.
Good keyword optimization will increase the chances of people who are interested in your topic finding your articles in article directories and through search engines. Here’s my formula for promoting books by writing keyword rich articles:
- Determine the goals of the article: how will this article help you in promoting your books and what action do you want readers to take?
- Define the target audience: who are you writing to?
- Select the topic of the article: what do you want readers to learn?
- Determine the approximate length. I usually shoot for around 500 words, but anywhere from 400 to 700 is a good length.
- Outline the points you will cover.
- Select a primary and perhaps a secondary keyword phrase for the article. I use Google’s keyword tool for keyword research.
- Write the headline, using the primary keyword at the beginning.
- Write the article.
- Go back and find ways to work the keywords into the text of the article, while keeping it sounding natural. I highlight keywords in yellow as I insert them, so I can easily see how many times the keywords are used.
- Write a good resource box at the end of the article, giving readers a reason to click through to your website.
- Proofread carefully. I find it more effective to print my articles for proofreading.
You may hear various experts talk about keyword density – the ratio of keywords to total word count on a Web page. I don’t count the words, I just try to make it look natural and don’t overdo it. If you stuff in too many keywords or write awkward sentences, it will be obvious and will tend to turn readers off.
In this article, Promoting Books is my main keyword. I didn’t try to optimize for Article Marketing because that term is too broad and not focused enough on my target audience, authors. I used the keyword phrase Promoting Books seven times in this 434-word article.
Keep in mind that the most popular keywords are not necessarily the best ones, because you will face much more competition. According to Google’s keyword tool, Book Marketing gets 60,500 queries a month, while Promoting Books gets only 1,600. But there are far more web pages using the term Book Marketing. I use a mixture of highly popular and more specific "long tail" keywords when promoting my books through article marketing.
Dana Lynn Smith, the Book Marketing Maven, specializes in developing book marketing plans for nonfiction books. She is the author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. Dana has a degree in marketing and 15 years of publishing experience. Read her complete bio here.