Our Position on FTC’s New Guidelines

Last Fall, the FTC published an updated 81 page guideline governing endorsements and testimonials that became effective December 1st, 2009.

Since then, we’ve seen a slow adoption of affiliate marketers who have been including various forms of compensation disclosure in their resource boxes (located below the article body). Honest affiliate marketers are not scared by increasing transparency whereas many fear that an increase in disclosure will result in a decrease in conversion results.

One area of the new guidelines that didn’t impact the EzineArticles system is that marketers are now required to clearly state the substantiated generally expected results along with the spectacular results when used in testimonials. Because the greater majority of articles do not include testimonials, we don’t feel the need to make any ruling here. It’s our hope that most expert authors will keep their testimonials on their website and not in their submitted articles.

For consistency sake, we’ve decided that the material relationship disclosure should be uniform throughout EzineArticles.com and on a per-article basis located directly below the resource box. We need your help to determine what that disclosure should be. Here are two examples to get your feedback on:

Example A:
"Affiliate Disclosure: $AUTHORNAME may receive compensation for products and services promoted in this article."

Example B:
"Affiliate Disclosure: Assume that any mention of a product or service in this article is made because there exists a material connection between the product or service and this author. Should you make a purchase of a product or service described here the author of this article may be compensated."

Which do you like best? Do you have an alternative disclosure statement you’d like us to consider?

Members will be asked to check a box on each article submission to disclose to us that they are including affiliate link(s) in their article and/or resource box. When that box is checked, the default disclosure will be included. If a member fails to check the box and we determine they pitched an affiliate link, we’ll add the disclosure.

Your thoughts?

HTML Basics for the Expert Author

Discover just how easy it is to give your articles a professional, easy-to-read appearance and enhanced functionality using HTML tags.

In an ideal world, our articles would be appreciated on the merits of their content alone. Readers would be so anxious to read what we have to say, and so enthralled by how we say it, that we’d never have to “dress up” our work simply to ensure it gets read in the first place. Every word of every sentence would transfer to the reader with crystal clarity and there would never be a need to click away blindly in search of pertinent information.

Unfortunately, article writing and marketing is not an ideal world. In this less-than-ideal world, the harsh reality is that you have only seconds to make a good initial impression and a few minutes (at best) to maintain the reader’s interest. At the same time, you need to avoid any hint of confusion or ambiguity that might cause them to scamper off to the next URL.

Fortunately for us, and our readers, there’s a way to make this harsh reality a little less … um, harsh. The key is HTML tags.

In the following video, I’m going to help you understand not only how to add HTML tags to improve the appearance, clarity and functionality of your article, but also why things like bold, italics, lists and links are so vitally important to the overall success of your articles.

Downloadable Versions:
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Predictions Article Template

We predict this article template will help you quickly write and submit another great set of high-quality, original articles.

It’s generally believed that authors who make informed, reliable predictions gain credibility in their field. Good predictions are based on knowledge, experience and an ability to recognize and explain trends, developments and signals. They provide a glimpse of what lies ahead and are highly sought after by those not yet in-the-know.

Using this article template, you can quickly tap into your particular knowledge and expertise to generate articles that are both enticing and provide a high-value insider perspective for your readers. The key is to create relatively safe and peer-accepted predictions that contain relevant, useful information that may not be readily apparent to your non-expert audience.

7 Steps to Writing a Great “Predictions” Article:

  1. Narrow Your Topic Area – The most meaningful predictions are those your readers can use in their daily lives or careers. Predicting how money markets will perform will probably attract more interest than a list of general economic predictions.
  2. Write a Revealing Title – Expert Author Susan Kohlback put an irresistible title on her travel-trends article: “Travel Predictions For 2010 – Unexpectedly Good News!” Although the article follows a different format than this template, the title is a great example in that it states the topic (travel), sets the time period (2010) and hints at the article content without giving it away (e.g. “Unexpectedly Good News!”).
  3. Add a One-Paragraph Introduction – Provide a general outlook for your industry or area of expertise, or review past predictions and how close they came. If you’re listing predictions for the banking industry, for example, you could sum up the previous year of economic activity and whether the general outlook is positive or negative.
  4. List Each Prediction Separately in a Bulleted List – Your readers are probably pressed for time. So, make each prediction easy to scan. Your readers will get much more out of your article and be more likely to read it completely.
  5. Include Information to Back Up Each Prediction – Readers need to understand why you believe gasoline prices will go up or down. You don’t need excruciating detail, but you should provide enough background to give your predictions more credibility.
  6. Be as Specific as You Can – No one expects you to predict exactly how many games the New York Yankees will win this season. However, your readers will want to know whether you believe the team has the potential to make the World Series. So don’t hesitate to take a stand and back up your claim with evidence.
  7. Conclude with a Caveat – Here you can remind readers that your predictions are just that: educated guesses based on your experience and knowledge of the subject. Suggest ways they can use your predictions, but don’t guarantee that they will come true.

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Expert Author Case Study: Titus Hoskins

Today’s Expert Author Case Study focuses on the time-tested and proven online marketing wisdom of veteran Canadian author and marketer Titus Hoskins.

When we recently reached out to our more prolific Platinum level authors requesting information for our case studies, the introductory sentence of one member’s reply caught our eye. It read, “Since EzineArticles has been essential to me for getting those all-important top rankings in [the search engines], I felt obligated to respond to your request.” That member was Titus Hoskins.

After an opening line like that, we were the ones who now felt obligated to find out more about this particular author. What we discovered is a member who is living the dream of many part-time Internet marketing professionals by making it his full-time occupation and passion. His 268 articles have garnered him well over a half-million views and have been driving traffic to his various sites for almost 6 years.

Having fulfilled our obligations, maybe you are the one who now feels a sense of obligation to read Titus’ in-depth case study. In it is a wealth of hard-won knowledge about article marketing with the added bonus of some pretty sage wisdom regarding where EzineArticles fits into the overall scheme of things.

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Submit Your Articles Directly from WordPress

With the introduction of our new EzineArticles WordPress Plugin, experienced WordPress users will be able to submit their WordPress posts and blog entries right to EzineArticles.com!

Over the years, we’ve recommended that one of the best ways to increase your article count was to repurpose your existing content, like blog posts and other materials, into articles. Trouble is, there’s never been an easy way to do that … until now.

The EzineArticles WordPress Plugin* will provide the ability to simultaneously publish new posts to the web and submit them as articles to EzineArticles.com. Not only that, it allows any existing posts to be selectively submitted as articles without ever leaving WordPress.

Another great feature of this plugin is the useful ability to monitor the review status of newly submitted articles right from the WordPress administrative interface.

We’re looking for intermediate and advanced WordPress webmasters to give this plugin a try and tell us how we can improve it.

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Get Into YOUR Article Writing Zone

7 tips for changing your mindset and becoming an article writing machine.

In a recent video, I talked about how to write more articles in less time using article sets. One key component of the article set strategy is to leverage the power of “The Zone” – that hyper-productive state of mind we all occasionally experience – to write multiple articles in a single writing session.

The downside of this strategy, however, is that you have to be in “The Zone” to take advantage of it. Wouldn’t it be great if you could put yourself into that state of mind more often … ideally every time you sit down to write? Just think of the incredible boost you’d get in productivity!

That’s what this video is all about – putting yourself in “The Zone” more often. In the video, I’ll share 7 sure-fire tips to help you get into your personal writing zone.

Downloadable Versions:
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Quick Case Study: Bill White

The first in a series of posts that highlight one Expert Author who has achieved success by doing just one thing exceptionally well.

Bill White (AKA: The Synchronicity Expert) has spent the bulk of his life focusing on just one thing: the synthesis of the world’s philosophical, theological and metaphysical traditions. He brings this laser-sharp focus to his article marketing practice as well.

Bill says, “I think the main thing that sets me apart is that I’m fairly narrowly concentrated on particular areas of expertise and I write articles with quality of communication in mind rather than trying to write thousands of articles in a short period. Articles should be focused, and provide an actual benefit to the reader. ”

His efforts have paid off for him in a way that Bill finds both motivational and emotionally satisfying. “I find what motivates me are the occasional letters I receive from someone my writing has touched. It’s knowing that I’ve made a real contribution to our world that satisfies me most.”

Surprisingly, Bill even manages to bring focus to variety. He says, “The reality of life is that as you develop an area of expertise, the natural reaction is an organic spread into other areas. Being a compulsive reader and studying a broad range of subjects then integrating what you know about one discipline into how it might apply to another.”

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From My Desk to Yours – 10th Edition

By: Penny, EzineArticles Managing Editor

Today, I’d like to share with you a brief guide to avoiding False Designation of Origin – a.k.a. Earning the respect of your readers, building your brand identity and taking pride in your product.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You’ve created a certain product or service that you’re now trying to market to the world and you’re determined to see it through to a successful end. Unfortunately, you face the daunting challenge of having an unknown brand, a task that can seem insurmountable in today’s crowded, cut-throat market. With only a fraction of the money and manpower as your more established competitors, you find it can be very disheartening trying to make a name for yourself and your product.

Unfortunately this challenge leads to some authors “piggybacking” on the success of other brands in order to bring awareness to their product or service. There is a term that exists within the article marketing industry that describes this unethical tactic and it’s referred to as False Designation of Origin, or more simply “bait and switch.” False Designation of Origin occurs when an author willfully infringes on someone else’s branding and name recognition to promote their own equivalent product or service.

In other words, the author will discuss a well-known product or brand within their article to capture the attention of readers only to inevitably “switch” and lead them to the lesser-known product in which they are promoting or benefit from.

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5 Tactics to Extend Your Articles’ Reach

Your approved articles are a gold mine of content that you can repurpose to build traffic and sales.

You probably know that you can get a fast start in article marketing just by revising your existing content into articles you can submit to EzineArticles. This is one of the guiding principles we emphasize for our new Expert Authors. (Want to know more about this strategy? Check out our Sept. 10, 2009 Blog post.)

Don’t stop there, though! Once your articles are approved and generating readers and website traffic, you can repurpose your original content again into value-added packages for your prospects and customers or traffic-drivers to your articles.

5 ways you can take your great original content and build even greater reach:

  1. Package 5 or 10 articles together as an ebook or PDF download and offer it as an incentive to new customers. These can be people who subscribe to your email newsletter or register as a new user on your site, for example.
  2. Print out a selection of relevant articles you’re most proud of to hand out at trade shows (or wherever you market yourself) and to include in a new-client welcome package. Everyone likes insights, tips and advice for free. Your articles will help you stand out from other vendors whose promotional material just say “buy, buy, buy!”
  3. Add a link to relevant articles when you write blog posts or comment on other people’s blogs or in online forums or discussion groups. These can help you build credibility in places where you’re not well known yet. Caution: Be sure to copy the link exactly and test it before you post. One missed “.” or “/” in the URL could break the link.
  4. Use your articles to write scripts for podcasts, webinars or teleclasses. Conversely, many successful Expert Authors use their scripts as springboards to create useful articles. If you haven’t previously produced a broadcast program, your articles can give you a good starting point … and vice-versa.
  5. Create an auto-responder series. Select five or seven articles that work well in a series (how-to articles are great for this) and format a mini-class that delivers one article a day for a week (five business days or a calendar seven-day week) to subscribers. A series like this can show new customers how to get the most from your products or service or help persuade prospects to do business with you.

Tip: Be sure your new content packages always include a link to your Expert Author bio (example: “https://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Christopher_Knight”) and an invitation to your fans to sign up for your article RSS feed.

Make it your goal to integrate 1 of these 5 techniques into your marketing efforts each month – starting TODAY. And leave a comment if you have any questions or additions to our list.

Expert Author Case Study: Lisa Angelettie

Today’s Expert Author Case Study takes a look at the intelligent practices and positive results of Pennsylvania author Lisa Angelettie.

Lisa founded GirlShrink.com when she made the decision to stay home with her first born daughter instead of returning to a private practice setting in New York City. Struggling at first to be seen and heard online, Lisa accidentally fell into article marketing and has used it since to increase traffic, establish credibility and authority in her niches, build her contact list and create a source of passive income.

Lisa is the author of several books including “Relationship 911! Seven Steps For Saving Your Relationship” and is also a contributing author for “101 Great Ways To Improve Your Life”.

She writes and coaches clients full-time from her home office in Elkins Park, PA, while raising her three daughters, petting her dog Pepperz, and watching football with her husband Deric.

Lisa recently responded to our call for Expert Author case studies and has landed the honor of being the first chosen from over 250 respondents! Read her responses and I’m sure you’ll understand why she stood out from the crowd. When it comes to doing right things right, Lisa definitely appears to have the right idea about article writing and marketing.

Here’s what she had to share about the role article marketing has taken in her success.

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