From My Desk to Yours – 15th Edition

THE TROUBLE WITH PROMOTIONAL CONTENT IN ARTICLES
By: Penny, EzineArticles Managing Editor

Your readers want expert advice, not a sales pitch. They get a feel for the value of the content you share through what you write. Their positive experiences of your content build your credibility; their negative experiences demolish it. If credibility is established and built, they may trust you enough to surf to your site.

Remember that your article body shouldn’t sound like an infomercial for your product. If your article writing and marketing campaign was launched to build awareness for a specific product, you’ll be able to start converting readers into customers through the Resource Box. The trouble with promotional content in articles is that it tries to convert readers into customers before establishing any credibility.

Here are some “DO’s” and “DON’Ts” to build a reputation on informative content:

DO:

  • Use the article body to provide original tips, techniques, analysis and opinions – Build credibility through content that is packed with information and gets right to the point. If a reader finds an article that doesn’t get right to the point, they’ll look elsewhere for that information.
     
  • Promotional content belongs in the Resource Box – Once you’ve delivered on the promise of the article with quality content, you can provide information about yourself or your company in the Resource Box. Remember that your Resource Box should only be about 15% of the length of your article body.
     
  • Have a plan before you write – If you know the information you plan on sharing before you start writing, you’ll be able to stick to your outline. If you don’t have a plan, you’ll be more prone to talking about the product you are trying to promote.
     
  • Give recommendations for products that have worked for you – Some readers look for product reviews to gauge the effectiveness of products on the market. If you’re not associated with the product, you can give an unbiased review of it as long as you don’t link directly to the product’s website.

DON’T:

  • Don’t use sales copy inside the article, like: “For $29.99, you can get [the product] and your satisfaction is guaranteed.”
     
  • Don’t use your company’s links in the article body in any context. Even using your company’s website as an example is too promotional.
     
  • Don’t promote your Resource Box in the article body. Provide valuable content first. Then, use the Resource Box for any mentions of your company or products.
     
  • Don’t name drop in the article body. Once again, remember that your company, product and name belong in the Resource Box.

Follow these “Do’s” and “Don’ts” when submitting your next set of quality, original articles to ensure they are full of value rather than salesmanship. Leave a comment below if you have any questions or thoughts to share.

If you want to see the entire “From My Desk to Yours” Blog post series, click here.

6 Comments »


1
Eric J Smith writes:

Very good advice. Thanks Penny.

Comment provided August 24, 2010 at 4:13 PM

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2
Matt writes:

I just cannot figure out why everyone from article directories to landing pages are including electronic cigarettes in their list of “No-Nos.”

This is one of the best products to come along in a long time to help people break a bad habit. Smoking.

It is improving the lives of many people including mine. It does not contain tobacco but resembles the look of a tobacco cigarette.

I feel this is really a disservice to many who could use help kicking a bad habit that has been around for decades.

Comment provided August 25, 2010 at 12:33 AM

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3
Robert Deveau writes:

I once had my article rejected because it contained the pronoun “I” on the grounds that it was considered promotional.

However, that aside, I can see why being overtly promotional in the article content would seem to cause the article to lack credibility.

Comment provided August 26, 2010 at 6:33 AM

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4
Marlene Ariss writes:

Thanks again, Penny.

I once had an article refused because of the promotional content and tended to hold my breathe when submitting others.

This post puts things into context and, I must admit,
it comes to the conclusions that I had come to myself.

Nice to see it in print though.

Thanks again.

Kind regards,
Marlene

Comment provided September 30, 2010 at 9:58 AM

[Reply]

5
jon bone writes:

I thought the electric cigarettes had to be passed and licenced before they could be sold. Probably thats why they are a no no
Jon bone

Comment provided October 20, 2010 at 4:49 AM

[Reply]

6
Erik Heyl writes:

Can someone show me where in the guidelines this is not allowed? I ask because I’m currently working on this exact topic for a client and need to know before I go and try to publish.

Comment provided February 28, 2011 at 11:25 AM

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