Friday, May 22, 2009
Recently I met Mike Long via Twitter. I was impressed by his Profile and a description of his new book "Article Bully".
Mike's description of his book struck me as totally honest since I had many reservations in the past with the claims touting Article Marketing as a wonderful way to earn money. My experiences do not generally support this claim. So, I figured an interview with someone who had success could shed some light on my research and doubts.
Here is the interview:
Q: "Article Marketing" means different things to different people. What does effective article marketing mean to you?
Mike Long: To me, effective Article Marketing simply involves using the power of stories and information to get the word out about yourself and your level of expertise to a group of people who are desperately seeking the material you are providing.
In other words, Article Marketing gives you the power and ability to be heard, by leveraging the power, popularity, and visibility of sites like EzineArticles.com. I believe that a focused, targeted, long-term Article Marketing campaign can be more effective than putting those same articles on your own blog - especially during the critical first 12 months of launching your business.
Q: You said that article marketing is becoming a "huckster's arena". Please elaborate.
Mike Long: Despite the fact that no one knows my name, (or confuses me with the other Mike Long who has worked with John Reese in the past) I've been at this for a very long time. I pre-date many of the best known guru's on the net.
I've mostly stayed away from the Internet Marketing niche over the years because it has a dynamic that is very uncomfortable to me. The market can be roughly broken down into two groups: 1) people who recognize an opportunity when they see it, and take advantage of it - even if it means taking advantage of some people too, along the way, and 2) people who want to be taught, but are easily confused and overwhelmed by the endless options on the market. Which means they endless buy products without ever actually taking any action.
As IM has matured, the first group in particular has changed - and not in a positive way. That group is getting larger, and seems to be attracting folks who know how to sell, but don't necessarily know how to deliver. I've seen an increase in major customer service problems among marketers, and the products as a whole are often short-sighted and stop working once the winds of change blow across the internet (which happens often as Internet Marketing is still in its infancy in the big picture.)
In my view, the Internet Marketing niche is beginning to resemble its Network Marketing counterpart - a place where only a handful have any *real* opportunity, with the rest being more or less shut out from the process, or are only there to make that small group at the top richer. Too many people are focused solely on the sale, and aren't asking themselves the most basic of questions - "How can I help people?". Hence my use of the term, "Huckster's Arena".
Q: Over the years I've worked many niches hoping to make money with Google Adsense. Some were successful, but most were not. What do you think I was doing wrong?
Mike Long: From my perspective, the only thing you did wrong was the you completed Phase 1 in your Internet Marketing approach, but you never moved on to Phase 2. :)
In The Article Bully Domination System, I teach a very narrow approach. It won't be for everyone, but I can just about guarantee that no one will be lost or confused about what to do next after reading it. My approach is to have people initially work anywhere from 5-12 niches while solely focus on Article Marketing. They can create any type of landing pages they want, as long as they don't spend too much time on them during this initial phase.
For people who have never earned a penny online, I highly recommend setting up Adsense landing pages. I still remember the very first $1.60 I earned. It ignited the fire that kept me going, and can do the same for others just starting out.
From there, I have several questions that I want you to ask as you look at your niches and measure the results of your work. The answers to these questions will help you choose one - and only one - niche to work in.
That is the start of Phase 2, and Phase 2 is the basis around which the book is built - becoming a dominant authority (an Article Bully) in the ONE single niche of your choosing.
Q: There really is only one search engine these days, right? The age factor of a site is a big factor in getting Google to trust you. Backlinks from good sites are getting harder to obtain, especially one way backlinks. If these are true, how is it realistically possible to break through and make sales?
You won't like my answer - hard work, consistency, focus and volume. :)
Google has become sort of like a Zen riddle to me - the less I focus on and worry about Google, the better my rankings seem to get.
This comes back to trying to break the short-sightedness habit that so many Internet Marketers (myself included) have fallen into over the years. While I know that buying an aged domain is popular, the best way to have an aged domain is to have a plan, buy a domain, and age it yourself - without giving up on it and moving on to the next domain before its had a chance to mature. :)
And of course, one of the best ways to obtain high quality backlinks to your site is by writing articles and posting them to Ezine Articles. But most people won't stick with it because it's hard work. You can't simply take a "scattershot" approach by writing 5-10 articles in a niche and wondering where all your traffic is.
Life on the net no longer works that way, and the sooner you get that out of your head, the sooner you will see the paths to success are still clear and wide open. It just takes more work now. And since it takes more work, doesn't it make sense to ensure that all of that effort is focused on one single niche?
Start out with a skeleton site. Get it live, get some basic info and monetization on it, and get it aging. Then start writing articles. Lots of lots of articles. This is easier then it sounds. The method I show in my book should allow you to write a unique, helpful article every 10-15 minutes. Best of all, even if you know nothing about your chosen niche when you start, you will become and expert within weeks to a few months if put in a consistent, daily effort.
The traffic, backlinks, and rankings will all come if you are willing to put in the time, and have the patience. One of my closest friends in this business has become an article authority in a very low-paying niche. Most of his money is made in Adsense. He averages about 7 cents a click.
He also makes 6 figures a year with his one site.
Do you know how much traffic you have to generate to make $100,000 a year 7 cents at a time? Of course, I would highly recommend finding a little higher paying niche if you can. That's why I added Phase 1 into my process. But his case shows that it is possible to earn a nice living even in a poor paying niche, if you are willing to put in the daily effort to build it.
Q: Can you build a successful niche site only with social networking?
Mike Long: I guess it depends on your definition of 'social networking'. My initial answer today is "no". I also reserve the right to change my mind at a later date if the trends I study start moving in a different direction. :)
I do believe that Article Marketing could realistically be termed "Business Social Marketing". Article databases exist for the purpose of other business owners to locate and distribute the work of others. The authors are almost always reachable via email and website if desired. We all come together as a group under a single site with a single purpose. Those are some of the definitions of a social networking site. Yes, the direct interaction is missing, but it has some similarities.
All that being said, I do have a Twitter account (www.Twitter.com/ArticleBully) and I'm experimenting with it right now. But at this point, I haven't seen enough promise from the marketing aspect of social networking to warrant putting a tremendous amount of time and effort into it. Especially when I have found more effective uses of my time. :)
Q: Which social networks that you visit every day?
After spending way too much of the past 15 years sitting in front of my computer, I've actually gone in the opposite direction and I've tried to get out into my local community more, to see what good I can do there. I do have a Facebook account, and its been great for finding people I'd lost track of over the years, and I have the Twitter account that I mentioned above which I'm currently testing.
Otherwise, I've come to view social networking sites as a bit of a "time sucker" for lack of a better term. Don't get me wrong, I believe that relationship building is possibly the most important part of the sales process, and it's the piece that is increasingly going missing in the approach of many new marketers. But in my niche, I just feel that I can reach more people who are interested in what I have to say, and provide better service to them, by using other methods.
Thank you, Mike!
Mike Long's new book "Article Bully" will be available around May 26, 2009 through Clickbank.
Click here to read more about and order your own copy of Article Bully.
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