Lieurance-King Summer Article Challenge

Interesting challenge to share with you being offered by EzineArticles expert authors Suzanne Lieurance & Kristen King with assistance from Jeff Herring:

Lieurance-King Summer Article Challenge
(Starts Aug 1st, 2007)

Suzanne’s done this before… See (The 40 Article Challenge) – Not sure why they reduced it to only 30 articles instead of 40, but hey… if they are able to help a few hundred people all produce 30 top quality new original articles… cool!

For those participating in their 30 article challenge, why don’t you give your public commitment to get started by posting in this thread and then when you complete the challenge, come back to this blog entry and tell us what you learned or discovered during the process. :)

Right and Wrong Ways To Use Bolding

There is a right way and a wrong way to use the bold attribute in your articles. Lately, we’ve seen a large influx of bolding abuse where the author will bold keywords throughout the article. It makes the article look cheap, crappy and spammy. We’re cracking down by not accepting articles with keywords and key phrases that are bolded.

The right way to use bolding is on SUB-HEADS.

Beyond that, the rule on using bolding further is that “LESS IS MORE”… meaning, don’t go nuts and bold everything. It makes the article visually hard to read. Also, keep in mind that ezine publishers who reprint your content are not required to keep your font attributes…so think lowest common denominator when choosing attributes, if at all.

Email List Building Via Articles

Kev writes:

If I’m getting hundreds of views and downloads of my articles, why am I not getting lots of subscribers to me newsletter?

Easy answer = You have not hit scale yet. :-)

Recommend writing at least 200+ articles that will attract tens or hundreds of thousands of views over time (meaning using articles to grow a list is not an overnight method and builds like a snowball rather than a race car).

Also, many authors only put anchored text links (instead of a full http:// URL) and they lose active links as the article syndicates.

Lastly, be sure to offer an incentive…such as a special free report when they join your free email newsletter. Benefit oriented copy always works better than me me me me my my my newsletter. You get the point. :-)

If Everyone Knew What You Know

If everyone knew what you know, there would be no reason for you to write & submit articles to sites like EzineArticles.

Fortunately, not everyone knows what you know and that’s is today’s writing lesson reminder: Don’t take for granted what you know because most people who are not deeply involved as you are in your niche know what you know and therefore your knowledge shared in articles is NEW to them.

If you’ve never heard it before, it’s new to you. For many of your readers, they will never have heard what you’ve written and therefore it’s new to them even if it’s old to you.

Yes, you can also produce EVERGREEN content for your niche using basic fundamentals that seem so common to you – yet are basic concepts that may be foreign to your readership.

In a nutshell, the article writing lesson is to rewind your mind 4-10 years ago and think about the various lessons you learned along the way to master your craft — and write about that. I can guarantee that your unique insights may not seem very unique to you, but they will be to your readership.

This concept is difficult for most *mastery-level* experts because they have reached the level of unconscious competence — where they act without much conscious effort thanks to years of experience…and I’m asking you to become conscious of the principles that make you competent –because this is exactly where your next set of articles could come from. :-) Make sense?

URL Click Tracking Reports

When you log into your EzineArticles Membership account and click on MY ARTICLE REPORTS, you will find a new column added called “URL Clicks.”

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locater and it means essentially your website address.

This is the first time any site like ours has ever released this click through data so that you can see how many clicks your articles are generating from our traffic directly. It’s our hope that once you can see the quantity of clicks being referred your way that you will prioritize creating and submitting even more quality original articles.

URL Clicktracking is released as a beta feature and will be subject to tweaking for the next month or so. Let us know what you think of this feature?

Leadership Blog Contest Winners

EzineArticles expert author Kevin Eikenberry launched a Best of Leadership Blogs 2007contest that just ended. I have been a fan of Kevin’s since I first read his articles on Top7Business, many moons ago.

When I think of LEADERSHIP, I think of Kevin Eikenberry…and hosting a blog contest is a very smart marketing method to further solidify his leadership brand. Kevin has leveraged the article syndication model for years to build his brand. Nicely done.

I was alerted about Kevin’s contest weeks ago and voted for EzineArticles expert author Jonathan Farrington (Leadership Turn) – because Jonathan asked me to (ya gotta ask for what you want in life) and I respected his contribution to this blog. It was a tough decision considering that I’m actively a member of EzineArticles expert author & CEO of Synnex Jim Estill‘s Time Leadership Blog (even though Jim didn’t make the list for some reason).

Also, a mention to one of the other winners who is also an EzineArticles expert author, Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership Blog. I’ll be checking Wally’s blog out.

Lastly, Thanks to Kevin for selecting me as the winner of his Remarkable Leadership Vol1 CD set for being a voter in the contest.

How To Write Compelling Content

Most dictionaries say that “COMPEL” or “COMPELLING” means to be a driving force, persuasiveness, or forcefulness of an argument.

Let’s dissect that word further in an attempt to understand what it truly means to write COMPELLING content:

  • V2 Vocab says that the synonyms include: “convincing, forceful, driving, dominant, commanding, imposing, interesting, & exciting”
  • Bartleby says that it means to be “Urgently requiring attention” and “Driving forceful: compelling ambition and egotism”
  • AskOxford says that it’s an adjective that describes “powerful evoking attention or admiration”
  • Dictionary.com says that it means “to secure or bring about by force” or “Archaic. to drive together; unite by force; herd.”
  • Encarta World English Dictionary says that it means “holding attention: attracting strong interest and attention” or “making somebody do something: necessitating action or belief”

My top 6 quick tips to help you write compelling article content:

  1. Get to the point, be brief and be unique. Leave all sales & marketing hype language out of your articles.
  2. Be interesting, don’t ramble and do provoke thought or insight backed with reasons why your ideas work.
  3. Write your article to be visually appealing for easy eye text scanning.
  4. Include generous use of sub-titles/sub-heads, bullets, numbered lists, and an occasional block quote.
  5. Create an easy to understand article title so that your reader knows upfront what your benefit promise is… then be sure to deliver in the article body the answer to the promise you just made.
  6. Know your audience and ideal reader’s demographics, psychographics, and what they worry about or obsess over. If you don’t know, poll them.

Word Count Maximum Raised To 5000 Words

Earlier today, we raised the maximum word count accepted from 3,500 words to 5,000 words. The minimum is still 250 words. (Updated 3/1/2011 – The minimum is now 400 words.)

For the past 30 days, here are the percentages of a few word count ranges:

250-299 words: 10.2%
300-349 words: 10.7%
350-499 words: 34.2%
500-749 words: 30.9%
750-999 words: 7.6%
1000+ words: 6.4%

We’re glad to see that the majority are 350-749 words (400-750 was my previous guidance) and will be starting educational campaigns soon to encourage a 500 word count floor for several reasons…mostly relating to article quality and depth expectations from our readership. It takes an exceptional writer to craft a high quality article under 350 words.

Writing Articles in the Present

Here’s a test I’d like you to try today sometime when you’re writing your next set of articles:

Allow and demand of yourself to be fully present in the moment.

This means rejecting thinking that doesn’t support your chosen writing objective, including rejecting non-article related mental chatter (your kids soccer game, your workout tonight, your relationships with others, your toys, etc). Your goal is to zero in on the task in front of you. Enter the zone. Deny all incoming calls. Don’t check your email. Move to a place and time you can write without being disturbed.

When you become fully present on the article writing task in front of you, you are able to offer your whole self to the matter. How often have you been writing an article, got on a great run where you were in flow, and then you become distracted, surf’d eBay, check’d email and all of a sudden, your article that was once a masterpiece is now a flooded mess of words.

As a bonus, when you become invigorated and infused with the energy that comes from requiring yourself to be fully present when writing articles, you’ll find that your life and your articles have even more meaning. When you reach this state, stop briefly to observe it and how you feel so that you can summon this mental state more easily in the future.

To not become fully present when writing articles is to short-change your reader and yourself… it’s like not honoring the greatness within you that is begging to be written. :-)

This is a mental time zone. There are only three: past, PRESENT, future. It’s been said that most folks only spend 1% of their life in the present. Could you imagine what kind of article production along with the quality depth that your mind can produce when you become fully present when writing articles?

Question: How do you personally become fully present when writing articles? Any tips to share?

Delivering Content Without Flipping

Last month I talked about Delivering on Your Article Title Promise (meaning, does your article body give content that delivers on the hook or promise you put in your article title).

Today, another related topic: Articles that are mis-representative and leverage on the goodwill of others for the purposes of flipping the reader to their brand or product will be rejected. For most people, this is common sense… but there is a percentage of authors that this concept escapes them…thus:

Example of what not to do:

  • Promote the disadvantages of cable TV and in your resource box, pitch satellite TV products and services. Worse: Name a cable TV provider.
  • Discuss specific Mastercard or Visa brands and pitch an American express or Discover credit card sign up form.
  • Write about the benefits and disadvantages of Alli (the new weight loss drug) and pitch a competing brand.

Anytime you mention a brand name in your article title or article body, we’re going to slow down and really review your use of that brand. In the majority of cases, we rejected it to avoid a Cease and Desist order. You can reasonably expect that any article that mentions someone else’s brand in the article title may become trouble down the road and should be avoided.

The difficulty becomes in product reviews (which we do accept, generally) where a mention of the brand is required to review the product. If you present the brand in a positive light, most brand owners are appreciative, but there is always a percentage that will not appreciate it, regardless as to how positive you review is.

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