Article Writing: All You Need to Generate Great Traffic?

    article writing

    Article writing – the only weapon you’ll ever need in the search for traffic?

    Imagine you were to start up an Internet-based business.
    And told that to promote your business, you would not be allowed to do any affiliate marketing. Or joint ventures. Or any external publicity. No Twitter, no Facebook, no social media. No pay-per-click advertising. No goo gaa search engine optimisation. All you had was one weapon: The ability to promote your business through article writing—and article writing alone. Would that be possible? Is it actually possible to create not just a profitable, but an extreeeeeemely profitable business with article-writing alone?

    You guessed the answer, didn’t you?
    You instantly knew that it is indeed possible to drop all of the possible strategies you see online, and still generate enormous traffic—and revenues—through article writing alone. And you get that weird feeling of “this makes sense, but makes no sense at all”. Everyone will give you the idea that you need ten or twenty methods to get traffic to your website, and you don’t. You can use just one method—article writing—and have more than enough customers to keep you very comfortable.

    But it’s not going to happen tomorrow…
    Blogging or writing articles for a year probably isn’t enough to begin with. It’s like having a baby for a year, and saying “Why can’t this baby walk, talk and dance?” It usually takes more than two-three years for a business to really be walking, talking and dancing. And then the walking, talking and dancing depends on how good you get at your writing. If you continue to write crummy headlines and just run of the mill articles, then you can’t expect any one to pay attention. But once you start to write well, your ideas come alive.

    And so do strategic alliances…
    When we began our business way back in 2001, we had no customers. No subscribers. Nothing. Besides I was a cartoonist, not even a writer. But I sharpened my writing to the point where others started to take notice. And if they didn’t take notice, I’d, um, write to them and make them take notice. So who were these “others”? They were other websites (blogs didn’t exist in such a big way then) that were publishing good content. They’d publish my articles. I’d open my inbox and there would be 50, 60 even 200 subscribers. Can you imagine going to bed and waking up to find 200 emails in your inbox that are not spam? Smiley

    But that was 2002, what about today?
    Back then there wasn’t so much distraction as you have today, but even so, if your article is outstanding, and it gets published elsewhere you can get 20, 30 or even 50 subscribers from a single article. These aren’t visitors. They’re subscribers. People who come to your site or blog. People who investigate it before parting with their email address. We’re talking about skeptical folk here. And these subscribers, eventually turn to clients if you get them through a sequence—but you already know that.

    What you may not know is the power of a single article.
    A great article has amazing endurance. An article is not an article is not an article. It’s the starting point to an incredible journey. If you write a series of articles on a topic, it’s even more incredible. If done right, you can leverage an article almost infinitely. But infinite is a big word. So let’s look at a finite universe of why articles (and the ability to write articles) is so darned important. First let’s take the leverage tour, shall we?
    How far can one article go?

    Let’s take where I can possibly put a single article that I write.
    • In the newsletter at Psychotactics.
    • In someone else’s newsletter.
    • On the Psychotactics website and/or on your blog.
    • On someone else’s website and/or blog.
    • In our membership site at 5000bc.
    • In someone else’s membership site.
    • As material at your event, or as part of training.
    • As material at someone else’s event (even if you’re not showing up).
    • I use it for my newspaper column.
    • I can make it a report (e.g. The Headline Report is a single article).
    • If I add more articles to it, it can be sold (as this report will be).
    • I can use the report as a bonus to sell something else.
    • I can use it as an award or prize (when packaged correctly).
    • I could then make an audio out of the article.
    • And a presentation.
    • And a video.

    A single article has enormous potential
    When combined with several articles, it becomes a report. But don’t underestimate the power of a single article. Our article on headlines was made into a report. It has been downloaded several tens of thousand times and that one article has been the root cause of easily well over tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    But there are no shortcuts
    You can’t just submit to some article or ezine site and hope to get these kind of results. If you look around you, you’ll find that those who succeed aren’t lazy bums. They’re hard working, and work smart too. And they don’t take shortcuts. They find a medium that works, and they work it like crazy. Which brings us full circle to the question: Can you build a business on article-writing alone?

    The answer is yes.
    We’ve been in business all these years with no affiliates, no joint ventures, no fancy publicity, no ga ga search engine positioning, no ad words—nothing. Yes, we’ve done the odd thing here and there, and yes we do have a so-so social media presence, but as you’ve worked out, the main strategy has been article writing.

    All we’ve ever done is write good stuff and make sure that our customers pass it on.
    We write good stuff and attract other blogs and websites who value good stuff, to publish our material. We write good stuff and that good stuff then gets leveraged, making us not just a very sizeable income, but also allows us to take a “three-month vacation” every year since the year 2004.

    Can you build a business on article-writing alone? I guess you know the answer, don’t you? Smiley

    About the author

      Sean D'Souza

      Sean D'Souza is a writer, marketing guru and expert on sales psychology. Read more by Sean on Psychotactics.com

    • I’m a big fan of Sean’s ever since I stumbled across one of his articles a year back or so. His writing is rock solid and his attitude towards the web is balanced.

      I think the key here is quality. If we use article writing, or any writing service, and write at a very proficient level (whether quantity or quality) we can be successful. I think quality is best but both areas have there strengths.

    • Toshie says:

      Wow, this is really an eye opener for me. I had learn how internet marketers leverage the power of article writing to draw visitors but have yet learn the real uses of articles. You provide me with deep understanding on how articles are used. Or in fact, the real uses of article marketing~

      Thank you so much~

    • You have covered almost the entire thought of the power of article writing alone. I agree to the idea of article writing will generate enormous traffic but it won’t happen tomorrow. We all know that all traffic generation techniques will not work overnight, but has to pass many approvals especially from the search engines.

      This article is based on real-life experience and I thought it’s a great idea sharing ones experience to let others know what are they capable of. It just shows how persistent you are, and rewarded with good results in the end.

      Adding to this, you all may want to visit http://www.FrankJVIP.com for additional information about online business. It has free ebooks to download and you also might want to subscribe to learn few other things that books can’t teach, experience.

    • Hi Sean! I’m thankful for that day when your site was introduced to me for it’s a mecca of awesome tips to help people write something that makes sense – for real. I’d say the best things in life are free so thanks gazillion for sharing your expertise to us who need them most.

    • Your article is calm, encouraging and reassuring; exactly what I need as, with tiny, tentative, terrified steps I entering the arena of web-based article writing. Thank you for being there!

    • Koby Ackie says:

      It’s true! At the end of the day, you have to have a good product. If you get enough people who know, love, and enjoy your work to view it, I imagine you hit a “tipping point” at which you see a rapid increase in overall readership.

    • Sean, on a slightly different slant, you can also write articles to sell to magazines and websites! I’ve earned as much as $3,500 for an article (and up to $2.50 per word) from magazines like Women’s Health, Writer’s Digest, WebMD, as well as trade magazines and custom pubs. And you CAN build a business on doing this alone, though I also mix in copywriting and e-course teaching to diversify my income, which I think is a good idea no matter what you do.

      Just another perspective to add to your great post. 🙂 There are lots of options out there for someone with writing and business skills.

      • Yes, that’s true. Though newspapers and magazines are getting increasingly “better” at wanting free stuff instead of paid articles.


        • Most of my earlier career was fully paid for by newspapers and magazines, so I can attest to living well off writing.

        • Tell me about it! Many magazines now run special content online and don’t pay for it or pay less than they do for print articles. I stick to the stuff that pays. You need to know who to pitch.

    • Sean,
      Thanks for reminding us how our hard work pays off. Thanks for your encouragement and inspiration. I appreciate it.

    • Mary, you asked Sean the exact same question I was thinking of. Thanks!

      I think you and I, Mary, should ask for clones for Christmas. It’s a slow blogging journey when you wear many hats. Some weeks it’s hard enough to write for my own blog. Still, some of that is because of lack of clarity. Sean’s materials on headlines at bootcamp this week have been really helpful to me – playing around has allowed me to come up with headlines which are more focused. I’m sure it’s going to make me more productive. And I think I’ll be serving my readers better. And I think it will lead to more readers.

      It’s all good!

      • The truth is that if you write every day, you’ll almost never have a problem writing. If you do it every week, it’s much, much, much harder. I’m saying this from sheer experience. Commit to writing every day. When you get an email or question from a client, don’t answer the email—write a whole article back.

        Make the time to do that and you’ll write better and faster than ever before. We’ve had students who’ve written 135 articles in 135 days. That’s like brushing teeth—and brushing it well. Believe me, try it. It’s hard at first, but 100 days from now you’ll find it a lot easier than writing every week.

    • I like the idea of re-purposing. I’ve got some early posts from the personal blog that would make great newsletter content with a few tweaks.

      Always good to see your stuff, Sean. 🙂

      • Yes, I agree, Sonia – we don’t re-purpose enough. What I need is quite simple: I need one or more parallel lives! I’ve got so many ideas on how to re-purpose material on WTD on Goodlife ZEN – and on A-list Blogging. Just give me those parallel lives and I’ll do it all 😉

      • One of the tricks is to become really good at doing two things.

        1) Get insanely good at putting together stuff in Indesign. I may have a course next year that touches on how to put together a document in Indesign (instead of learning the whole program). I’ll let you know.

        2) Get a Mac. No seriously. It’s a better product to work with. And if you have a Mac, get Scrivener. When you combine Scrivener with Dropbox, you have a tool that’s always got stuff handy. I’m totally disorganised in many ways, but with Scrivener I have access to stuff in a way no other program gives me. Even if you have a ton in the archives, it’s a good habit to start archiving in Scrivener 🙂

        • I’ve got Indesign CS5. It would take me a few months to really learn how to drive that particular car. The great thing about Indesign is that you can end up both with PDF and with EPUB formats.

          Scrivener? I had a look but can’t quite see the attraction. Maybe you could write something about Scrivener here some time 😉

      • Oops, I posted below about Scrivener. Take a look 🙂

    • @Mary: It could be an exclusive, a time-bound exclusive. If it’s an exclusive, then it means that I’ve been commissioned to write something for a magazine or newspaper. A time-bound exclusive is something like for this blog, where I give the blog first rights (not even publishing it on my own website for at least three-four weeks). I will publish after two-four weeks, but by then the blog will have got “first ranking” in the search engines.

      And I will re-purpose the content in several places over time. I know that clients may read something as a free article and they may understand it, but when reading it as part of a course, the meaning becomes deeper. When listening to it in audio or seeing a video it goes even deeper. So I will definitely re-purpose it in different formats and different ways. I won’t do it for “all” articles, but I will do it wherever needed.

      I would not publish the article in several places at once. It’s just bad form to do something like that. Anyone who does that does not really understand the value of a relationship. If you give it to one person to publish then it must stay with that one person for at least a while. It’s only ever ok to then re-distribute it after a while. However there’s an exception to this rule if it’s a syndicated article (much like the syndicated cartoons). In that case, the same article would appear across different media like Associated Press or Reuters does. However these terms should be clear right at the start.

      I was fortunate to work with newspapers for many years as a cartoonist, so I got conversant with different types of “re-purposing” and how to go about things.

      • Thanks, Sean. That’s nice and clear.

      • Marci says:

        I too found your list useful. I can see how I can use one article in multiple ways, while remembering the relationships I am starting. I have turned an article into an interview, which was then turned into a You Tube clip, which I then posted on my website.

        I will keep writing and watching it grow and dream of a 3 month vacation 🙂

    • Sean, what a wonderfully refreshing article!

      The fella who is hell-bent on beguiling and cajoling subscribers, and consumed with SEO gimmickry , is rarely the same person who produces compelling, original, and thought provoking work.

      The blogosphere seems saturated with a mind-numbing number of marketing experts and SEO guru’s pitching the latest strategies and thingamajigs designed to build your flock.

      For me, I just want to write killer stuff that provides real meaningful value to those who read it – and have little interest in all the “tribe-building” noise.

      So Sean, thank you for validating my hope and belief that if you build something worthwhile people will eventually find you.

      • @contrainism.net.

        Sometimes they find you. Sometimes you have to nudge 🙂

    • Carol Tice says:

      Enjoying your insights, Sean! Was on your site downloading free stuff yesterday. Immediately started changing my headlines, so thanks!

    • Thanks for this excellent article, Sean! When I look at your list of where you could put a single article that you write, is this an ‘either-or’ list? Or would you publish a single article in multiple places?

      By the way, it was great to have you as a Guest Expert in our current A-List Blogging Bootcamp!

      • I posted below. Didn’t know I could reply on the post itself 😉

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