Each week I receive dozens of article submissions to my websites from aspiring authors, website owners, and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, I can only use a small fraction of the articles I receive because the writers are making one of the crucial mistakes listed below.
KEY POINT: When you submit articles to a newsletter/ezine publisher or a website owner, you have to remember that we aren't going to publish YOUR article for OUR customers and visitors unless it is a high quality article that gives something of value.
If you're writing articles like crazy, but getting very few of them actually published, then you might want to re-evaluate your approach. Are you making one of these crucial mistakes?
1. Poor Subject Matter:
If you're going to bother to write an article, write about something that we're interested in reading about. In other words, address a problem and provide a solution. Articles that approach an old problem in a new way or with a new twist work well too -- you don't have to necessarily discover a whole new problem that no one else has ever though of before (If you discover a whole new problem and have the solution you better be thinking of product creation not just an article!).
2. Write with personality:
No one likes to read textbooks. Put a little of your own personality into your writing and make it engaging and entertaining as well as informative. If you have a sense of humor, use it. You have a good chance of being published on one of my sites if you make me giggle... Belly laughs are nearly guaranteed to be published.
3. Write for your audience:
Don't send an article about the value of protein in the American diet to a Russian Political website or the publisher of a podiatry newsletter... They don't care.
4. Write a decent-sized article:
I would much rather an article be a little bit too long than very short. Four-hundred-word articles just don't have enough meat in them. I'm not suggesting that you ramble, but you've got to give me some details if you want me to publish your piece.
5. Break up your article:
Don't write your article in three long paragraphs. Break it up into smaller paragraphs with a few single lines, bullets, etc. to make it easier and more enjoyable to read. Again -- no one likes to read text books.
6. Spell Check and Grammar:
I don't mind correcting a couple of mixed up letters now and then, but let's be reasonable -- spell check your articles. Grammar is another thing that bugs me. I know that I don't always get it perfect myself, but your grammar has to be reasonable. Some of the people sending me articles need to take a high school English class.
One last point in this category is word usage -- don't use words in your article unless you actually know what they mean. Using big words doesn't necessarily make you look smarter. Did you know that newspapers are aimed at a sixth grade reading level?
7. Stop sending sales letters:
No one will publish an article that reads like a sales letter... period.
8. Forget about affiliate links:
Use your head... why would anyone use your article if it's full of your affiliate links? Ever hear of the "Golden Rule?" This is kind of the "Golden Rule" of writing articles -- don't expect someone else to do something that you wouldn't do. Would you publish another writer's article if it were full of his affiliate links? I doubt it.
9. Create a reasonable resource box:
A resource box should tell me who you are, what you do, and how I can get in touch with you. It's not unlimited advertising space for you to describe every website you run and each product you sell. Don't bother sending an article where the resource box is half as long as the article itself. That "Golden Rule" thing applies to resource boxes too.
10. Only write about what you know.
Even if you're writing an opinion piece, get your facts straight. Don't write an article filled with advice that you have no business giving.
If you take nothing else away from this article, remember that good copy always answers "What's in it for me?" When you're writing articles to send to newsletter and website publishers, you have to answer that question on two fronts...
What's in it for the publisher? Why should they show your article to their customers and visitors? Does it give something of value?
-- AND --
What's in it for the people who will ultimately be reading your article when it's published?
After all, the idea is to provide some worthy content that compels readers to visit your site, subscribe to your newsletter, or buy your product. So next time you send an article, what's in it for me?
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