How to Avoid Sounding Like a Salesperson

7 Tips to Avoid Being Overly Promotional in Your Articles

Readers visit your articles because they’re seeking out expert insights into your niche. And let’s face it, they’re not prepared for an all-out sales blitz right when they open an article. If that’s what they get, they’re going to be instantly turned off and click away because there are plenty of other expert sources they can seek out.

Now, there’s a right time and place for promotional copy – down in the Resource Box of your article and on the landing page of your website – once you’ve built up your trust and credibility as an expert. But, if your articles themselves start sounding like an infomercial for yourself or your company, you run the risk of alienating potential readers and even having your articles rejected for publication.

The EzineArticles Editorial Guidelines state: “To be qualified for our site, your article MUST NOT be a press release, advertisement, sales letter, promotional copy, or blatant and excessive self-promotion or hype.”

Watch this video to discover how to uphold this standard by delivering great content without sounding like a salesperson.

Downloadable Versions:
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Avoiding Promotional Content in Articles

  • “For only $9.99, you can get …” – This is clearly salesmanship and it doesn’t provide any unique and insightful value to your reader. It’s just sales copy; the type of writing you’d expect to see in a newspaper or magazine ad. Please, don’t use straight sales copy in your articles.
  • Name Dropping – Your company, your product, and your name belong in the Resource Box, not the body of the article. Use the article body to provide tips, tricks and analysis. Remember, if the information is helpful, they’ll go looking for more.
  • “In another article I wrote, titled …” – Promoting or linking to self-serving locations should also be avoided. Instead of focusing on what will benefit you the most, like including a self-serving link early in the article body, focus on sharing information right in the article that will benefit your reader most. The reader shouldn’t have to go to your website to get the main points of the article.
  • Recommendations and Unbiased Reviews – 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 as long as you don’t link directly to the product’s website.
  • Using An Outline – Once you pick a topic, consider writing an outline that you can follow. If you stick to the outline, you’ll avoid going off-topic and risk sounding “salesy.”
  • Sticky Intro – Create titles and introductions that grab the reader’s attention. Also, make sure your hook matches your article topic. Let your reader know exactly what you’re writing about. This will create stickiness (the effect where a reader stays to read your article, rather than clicking someplace else).
  • Reserve 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.

Real Trouble of Sounding Like a Salesperson

The trouble with promotional content in your articles is that it tries to convert your readers into customers before establishing any credibility.

Focus on building credibility through content that’s packed with useful information and gets right to the point. If you don’t, those readers may look elsewhere for that information.

Now, use these tips to help load your next set of articles with value instead of salesmanship. More value will build your credibility and ultimately increase traffic to your website or blog.


Bernard Smalls writes:

Excellent work!

Comment provided April 29, 2011 at 3:58 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I concur and would add that folks shoud consider the difference between:

An informational Article
A Marketing Piece
A Press Release
Ad Copy

There are places for all these things, but really only one-and-a-half of them truly belongs here.

Comment provided April 29, 2011 at 4:09 PM



Thank you, Marc, you are a living example of “building credibility.”

Seriously, without ever mentioning it, you could sell me the Brooklyn Bridge.

Kindest regards,

Comment provided April 29, 2011 at 6:38 PM


Mary Jane – Thanks for the kind words. I must admit that I don’t have legal title to the Brooklyn bridge, however I do have some land in Florida I’d like to sell you! ;-)


Mike Storey writes:

Some excellent tips for quality writing.

Now… where can I get one of those capes? 8-)

Keep up the great work Marc!

Comment provided April 29, 2011 at 7:54 PM


Mike – Sadly, there is only one “Article Writing Cape” … and I own it. It’s our secret weapon in the never-ending war on poor quality articles.

Shhhh … keep that our little secret, okay? ;-)


Karen writes:

Very good tips which I can keep referring back to whenever I want to write articles. It is good to have reminders every now and then. Thanks.

Comment provided April 29, 2011 at 10:40 PM


Douglas Medley writes:

Great advice Marc, I believe.

In the next 10 years almost all of the people that visit Orlando will have done so (maybe more than once). When they arrive they will have seen plenty of sales pitches. Some will have bought something that they really do not want!
Example: Google search (or any search engine) “timeshare resales” and see how many there are.

The more accurate value of a time share is at these sites, not the Sales sites (I believe).

Comment provided April 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM


Denise Clermont writes:

Great ideas,
This spamming about business drives me nuts. We need to show others that we are as professional as the writers or businesses that have a storefront. Learn how to market your service or product through education and your success will follow.

Comment provided April 30, 2011 at 3:00 PM



The information you provide on article writing have been very helpful. One of the good things about them, they are in my E-mail, so I get to refer to them as often as I like.
Great tips on do’s and don’t s for a resource box. I will go now and review my box to ensure that I am on target.


Comment provided April 30, 2011 at 4:05 PM


M Francis writes:

Great article. I honestly HATE when I get an obviously “all hype and promotion” article, email, phone call, facebook post, or anything. People only want the information that they are LOOKING for!

Comment provided May 1, 2011 at 11:45 AM


Sandy Clendenen writes:

This is great information. There is a lot of spaming going on out there. Readers are interested in helpful content. Thanks.

Comment provided May 1, 2011 at 7:47 PM



The best way to put it, I think, is to get in the shoes of the reader for a minute. When reading an article, we really do not want the commercial stuff all over and it can seriously damage the credibility of the author.

Comment provided May 3, 2011 at 3:19 AM


Kari Halstead writes:

Hi Marc,

Do those capes come in different colors? 2 for the price of 1? You definitely drove home that point.

Have you ever thought of getting into the infomercial game? Nicely done!

Comment provided May 5, 2011 at 12:45 PM


Hi Kari,

Nope, those capes only come in EzineArticles Red. And no price concessions, either. After all, we think they’re priceless. ;-)

Thanks for the compliment!



Elisabeth Kuhn writes:

Hi Marc,

that was funny — and very helpful. I agree with Mary Jane who said you might have a future in the infomercial business.

And I loved the idea of an article writing cape – EzineArticles red is fine by me.

Why not make it a prize in the next contest, whatever that may be ;-)

Thanks for the great advice too. That’s very helpful.

Comment provided May 9, 2011 at 9:23 AM


Geoff writes:

Nothing puts me off more than an obvious attempt in an article body to sell me something. Not the time and place, as you rightly point out.

Comment provided May 10, 2011 at 5:59 AM


Trimbakeshwar writes:

Thanks for the Advice, some of my articles are having problem and i will correct them for review again.

Thanks and Regards,

Comment provided April 11, 2012 at 1:16 AM


Aqif Azizan writes:

Seriously, I really love the video introduction. Look so ‘salesman’. Great information on how to write useful content for readers.

Will implement it on my next article with EzineArticles. :D

Comment provided May 11, 2012 at 9:00 AM


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