At the end of each Article Marketing submission is a bit of author information and marketing copy known as the resource box or bio box. This is the key to turning the potential energy of interest you've created in your article into the kinetic energy of sales, name recognition or website traffic - whatever you're engaging in article marketing to achieve. There are three main components of a resource box:
- Author name and brief professional information.
- USP (unique selling proposition), laser marketing statement or some other form of short and snappy sales copy.
- A call to action with links.
In addition to being finely tuned individually, each component of your resource box needs to be an integral part of the overall finished product, pull it's own weight and move the reader steadily toward taking whatever action you want him or her to take. In total, your resource box should be no more than 2 or 3 sentences long. Less than that and you risk leaving out important information. More than that and it becomes a solid mass of text that will be skimmed over by the reader.
Here are 5 tips to help you create an effective resource box:
1. Know what you want from your readers. What do you want your readers to do once they've read your article There is no right answer to this question, but there are wrong ones. And the worst possible wrong answer is "I don't know." The whole point of Article Marketing is to generate content that results in a specific action. Have a clear purpose in mind when you write and make sure that purpose is reflected in your bio box copy. And don't forget to update your box as your offers and information change. An out-of-date bio box is better than nothing, but not by much.
2. Know why your readers should care. Your readers are busy. They have jobs, families, hobbies, friends, a 3-month TIVO backlog and the attention gravity well that is the Internet, all vying for their time at once. If you want them to initiate any action on your behalf, whether that is clicking through to your site or downloading a resource, you have to give them a reason to bother.
3. Ask for the action. Don't just put a naked link out there by itself. And don't use boring, "Click here for blah blah blah" link text. Yawn. Instead, create descriptive link text that clearly indicates what's at the other end of the click and that compels the reader to click through. One marketing truism is that pain has a stronger effect than reward on the human psyche. So a pain-point call to action like, "Are you flushing money down the drain by overlooking these 12 commonly missed deductions? Find out in this special free report!" will always outdraw the reward-based version, "Drop by my site and download my free report on 12 commonly-missed tax deductions." (PS - don't put a period/full stop after a link. It can mess up auto formatting of the link on the user end. Just double space and start the next sentence normally.)
4. Be specific. Unless you only write in one exceedingly narrow topic targeting the same, equally narrow market, don't create a one-size-fits-all bio and slap it on every article you write. Have several resource boxes that target specific niches within your Article Marketing strategy. For example, if you specialize in tax advice for small businesses and solopreneurs, then create a bio box for both markets plus one for general interest pieces, and use them according to which market the topic of your article is targeting. Doing this means that you can prescreen readers and direct each prospect to precisely the right web page, resource or product for them.
5. Less is more. Mark Twain once wrote, "I'm sorry this letter is so long, but I didn't have time to make it shorter." It takes time, skill and lots of practice to turn 200 words of rambling information into 3 sentences of tightly coiled laser-marketing copy. Nonetheless, it is a skill you should work hard to perfect. Don't make your reader sift through a ton of chaff to find a cup of wheat. Present them with an already prepared, warm-from-the-oven marketing cookie in a perfect bite-sized portion.
All of the quality writing and insightful content in the world won't do you a bit of good if you don't follow through with a dynamic and compelling resource box that leads to a specific call to action. Without it, your article is just so much dead-end copy. Interesting, sure, and probably quite informative. But not much more than that.
Take the time to craft your resource box with care and intent. Remember to go back and update it regularly with new offers and fresh information (see if your directory will do a "find and replace" to exchange the old resource box for the new one on existing articles). Make your call-to-action clear, compelling and specific. Then finesse and trim and tighten it all up until all you have left is a pure, concentrated shot of Article Marketing rocket fuel, ready to boost your business into the stratosphere.
Soni Pitts is a professional freelance writer and editor, with experience that ranges from short web articles to full-length ebooks and beyond.
"Need professional quality writing, but hate to write - or just don't have the time to do it all yourself? Don't let less-than-perfect writing skills or a tight schedule leave you at a loss for words. Query writer (at) sonipitts.com for a free consultation, samples and a quote."