Help! I need to write a witty article about marketing

articles,witty,humor,marketing,business,blogging

Dear HTWB Agony Columns

I have been asked to write an article for the business pages of a local newspaper based in Oxford, England. Many people in the local business community still think that marketing is a press release and not much more. [Read more…]

Would you buy articles for your website or blog from this moron?

(Sorry emu, I’m sure you’re not really a moron.)

When I consider the hard work, study and experience most professional writers put into what they produce for their clients, it makes me spit fur and feathers when I see our “noble profession” trivialized and prostituted by idiots like this.

Fresh into my inbox this morning came the following email – copied verbatim except for my having deleted the name and contact details – inviting me to apply to work for this esteemed organization
which, we assume, sells articles to clients for their blogs and websites.

Hi,

We have many writing project in our hands

For that purpose we are recruiting writers for health, medical, Travel and technical niche.

who should be able to write informative article.

We pay our writer a standard price $4 for 500 words.

Payment will be done only thorugh Paypal only.

If you are looking to work independatly and want to increase your writing ability.

Please reply me on below Id

email@address.com

Put Subject Heading Article Writer

Thanks & regards

NAME
Manager
Sales and Marketing

Generous, too, isn’t s/he? Four bucks for 500 words really will buy some high quality, well researched, effectively written articles for his/her clients.

I don’t think I will be sending in my CV this time…

Now, write your own – excellent – articles:

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

 

Good article marketing? No, I’d rather shoot myself

As many of you know I turn into a flame-breathing dragon when “article marketing” is mentioned because so much of it insults the intelligence of readers by being utter bullsh*t.

Regurgitated by software that just mixes words up and presents the latest random mix as an “original article,” this travesty of simple English is cheerfully littered around the internet in the hope of boring drop-in readers so quickly that they have no option but to click on one of the sponsored links purely to escape from the sheer drivel of the original piece.

In my online years I have seen some pretty cringe-making articles of this nature hit the streets. But this one – submitted to one of my alma mater sites – not only illustrates my point but also makes me want to cry for the poor people whose livelihoods might depend on this ridiculous employer. And if this type of “article” is considered acceptable in some online circles, pardon me while I vomit.

Is this really what “article marketing” means now? Should I be writing garbage like this instead of useful, interesting articles on here and for my clients? And more to the point, would you want your business to be promoted by garbage like this? Tell me what you think of the following…

A verbatim quote: topic, hand bags

(Link) bag is not just Ms. Patents, but also the men go out essential. Messenger contracted out to people to bring the convenience, the actual. It allows you to get rid of always using hand-held with your heavy bag.

General Messenger bag, shoulder strap can adjust the length, which ultimately, rivets, so MM should pay more attention to the care of their bag. Otherwise, rivets rust will be greatly reduced to the appearance of the bag.

Then we take a look at today’s (name) shoulder Messenger Bag. The small pocket on the back to put the wallet, mobile phones and some common things. Inside the bag. More suitable for those who like a big bag of MM.

A lot of MM is like (Link), because it is fashionable, elegant styles, giving a very generous feeling. So  (link) how to choose a good bag? In fact, divided into several areas: First, from the fabric, good bags touched, not very smooth.

Second, from the lining, sometimes looks not bad, but there is first broken, there will be some brands of bags inside a brand logo. Second, from the ingredients, and some packages more easily deformed, a good package on the fabric with a layer of non-woven fabrics used for the solid prototype. Finally, from the work on the footing is more dense, which is less likely to open line. Well said and so many believe that the MM who already know how to pick a good bag.

Many (link) people still prefer the petite that bag, Messenger bag (name) the outlet of many women. Although the bag capacity is not much, but very characteristic. I believe like a little bag you will love it.

We need to get to by (name) outlet to buy it!

Lesson learned?

If you want to sell to English-language markets, learn to write in English. What an utter insult to internet users’ intelligence… do you agree? Please share your views here…

Now: let’s get your  articles written superbly:

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Articles for article marketing: write them right and save your reputation

I’m sure you have seen some of the terrible articles that get published on the internet, even now that Google has stopped hunting for meaningless keywords and instead champions “quality content.” But still the junk gets through.

HTWB inverted pyramid for article marketing

The “inverted pyramid” structure for newsworthy articles – this is used by journalists as a way of hooking readers and keeping them going through the whole story.

Here are some tips on generating articles that not only will please Google, but also will gain you respect and loyalty from your target audience and ergo, more business. [Read more…]

5 types of article that make me spit

Years ago when my Dad owned a group of local newspapers I spent my school and college vacations working in the editorial office. We used to amuse ourselves over our sandwiches at lunchtime looking through and trashing the endless press releases that would arrive in the mail each day, all beautifully produced with glossy photographs (this was in pre-internet days).

We trashed them because all but the odd one or two were ill-considered, highly subjective, barely camouflaged advertising copy that had about as much editorial news value as last week’s shopping list.

Have things improved since those days on my Dad’s newspaper? Well, they have changed, but not improved. The internet has made it even easier to publish utter garbage, but even traditional garbage articles are lingering. Let’s start with my first spit which is endearingly old-fashioned…

Spit #1: Advertorial

Advertorial has been around for years and there are still publications (mainly print) that survive on it. The deal is you buy an advertising space and fill it up with an “article” which is ad copy written in a pseudo editorial style. Regulations in some countries state that the word “advertisement” must appear at the top of such articles and usually if you look really, really hard you’ll find it in miniscule type along the top border.

Understandably in the circumstances, advertorial is especially favoured by the manufacturers of products like commode chairs, stairlifts, bunion protectors, double glazing/storm windows, gardening equipment and other things most journalists would not consider to be throat-grabbing news material. Do people read them? My Dad did, but being a newspaper man he was just looking for typos. Or so he said…

Spit #2: Ad-get articles

I make absolutely no apologies whatsoever for citing this magazine as a shining example of the ad-get genre. A development on from advertorial and also mostly found in print publications, this works in a slightly less unsubtle way – you buy an ad to get an article written about you, hence the name. Your conventional advertisement appears and conveniently nearby is a glowing article about whatever you’ve advertised, sometimes not attributed to an author but usually penned by one of the staff reporters.

Needless to say irrespective of whether your restaurant sells half-rotted goat burgers or your beauty salon scars clients for life, the article raves about how wonderful it is with cheesy adjectives and appreciative oohs and aahs. It’s enough to make you bring up your, er, goat burger.

As for their professing to be a proper editorial publication? Don’t make me laugh. Several times I’ve contacted such rags asking if I could send in a copy of one of my books for review and get told “sorry, you have to buy an advert if you want us to review your book.” Spit, spit, spit.

Spit #3: Article marketing

As you’ll have seen if you’ve been reading HowToWriteBetter for a while, this is not the first time I have ranted about article marketing, but I have no shame in ranting again. Some article marketing – the proper kind where you actually write and publish good articles which promote you as an expert in your field, etc – is perfectly OK. But perhaps because this is an online gig it is open to even more abuse than is possible in the old print media.

Because article marketing has rightly been seen as useful online marketing tool, of course it has attracted hordes of verbal snake-oil proponents who exploit it and create quick-fix products that enable you to create dozens of articles at the drop of a credit card. Unfortunately most of these panacea-like systems result in articles that make no sense whatsoever, but contain lots of cool keywords that (until recently – see below) were all that mattered and to hell with prose that made sense. Bleurgh.

Spit #4: Article spinning

Also in recent times we have seen the derivative of article marketing, “article spinning,” which is even more of a bad joke.  Here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

Article spinning is a search engine optimization technique by which blog or website owners attempt to manipulate their rank on Google and other search engines. It works by rewriting existing articles, or parts of articles, and replacing elements to avoid being penalized in the Search Engine Results pages (SERP) for using duplicate content. The original articles are often plagiarized from other websites and can often also be copyright infringements if the original article was used without the copyright owner’s permission.”

Is this laughable, or what? And not only that … wanna buy some software that spins those articles for you so you can produce utterly incomprehensible editorial trash in your sleep? Try here … or  here … and there are many more on Google. Spit, puke.

Spit #5: Content farms

Content farms, like most farms, are full of sh*t. Here, automated systems are not normally used because for some reason I fail to understand, there are people who are actually willing to write articles for them at a rate of as little as $3.50 per article. According to Wikipedia…

“In the context of the World Wide Web, the term content farm is used to describe a company that employs large numbers of often freelance writers to generate large amounts of textual content which is specifically designed to satisfy algorithms for maximal retrieval by automated search engines. Their main goal is to generate advertising revenue through attracting reader page views[1] as first exposed in the context of social spam.[2]

So who are these freelance writers? Not me. I’d rather pick up $3.50 from a crowd watching me stick myself in the eye with a red hot poker. Wikipedia again…

“It has been reported that content writers are often educated women with children seeking supplemental income while working at home.”

Girls, girls, what are you doing? You could knit socks for soldiers and make more money than that and at least you’d know it was honest work rather than you churning out garbage by the yard while your kids are out playing street hockey.

Then, this year, came some breath-taking news…Wikipedia reports:

“In late February, 2011, Google announced it was adjusting search algorithms significantly to ‘provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.’[13] This was reported to be a reaction to content farms and an attempt to reduce their effectiveness in manipulating search result rankings.”

So online media will be purified and purged from the Garbage Articles?

Don’t be silly. As I write this the gnomes of the internet are busy finding more loopholes and ways around Google’s diktats and I predict that it won’t be long before Garbage Articles become good business again.

Doesn’t all this make YOU want to spit, too?

Make sure nothing you ever write could make anyone spit:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

Article marketing: yoo-hoo, Mr Search Engine! Take a spin over here!

Did you know that one “article” (about anything from plastic injection moulding to spiritualism) can be “spun” into at least umpty-dump different versions? Yes, and you don’t even have to do it yourself, although there are English speakers in some places willing to do it for peanuts. Also there are several software programs you can buy that will do it for you for even fewer peanuts. Automated article writing by the yard. Isn’t life grand?

Article spinning is where it’s at in the article marketing field these days, so it seems. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Article spinning is a search engine optimization technique by which blog or website owners attempt to manipulate their rank on Google and other search engines. It works by rewriting existing articles, or parts of articles, and replacing elements to avoid being penalized in the Search Engine Results pages (SERP) for using duplicate content. The original articles are often plagiarized from other websites and can often also be copyright infringements if the original article was used without the copyright owner’s permission.

To wriggle under the Google radar that only likes so-called original material, each incarnation of an article which is going to be picked up by Google and whatever other search engines still remain has to be different from its 67 clones being used by the article marketer concerned.

Do writers like me rack our brains hysterically and come up with 68 different, original articles that make sense and offer something useful and interesting to our readers? Is this what article spinning is all about?

Well, no. Some article marketers pay English speakers – mostly in Asian countries – the very generous fee of at least USD $1.50 per 500 word article … if you’re lucky maybe up to USD $3 for a longer one … so you need to get pretty good at spinning articles by the dozen if you want to earn a decent crust, even in a country where the cost of living is lower than in the UK or the USA.

But wait a minute. Who needs humans when a software program will do?

On my recent little tour on the internet I found such wizzo delights as Article Writer Pro, Hot Article Spinner, and Instant Article Wizard – which flaunts itself with the headline Create Top-Quality Unique Content–From Scratch, In Minutes–Even If You Know Nothing About The Topic!”

These programs allow you to plumb one article – yours, or someone else’s (who cares? Plagiarism is the least of their problems) and with a mere few clicks you’re on your way to multi-article heaven when the program generates the same garbage using hundreds if not thousands of different synonyms for the original terms and phrases.

So how can you possibly go wrong? How could you possibly contemplate using a professional, or at least qualified writer whose first language is English, when you can have articles to promote your business spun by a software package for a mere USD $77 per annum or thereabouts?

Well, it’s a business model that obviously works. So what’s the problem?

Aha, it would appear some article marketers get a bit too confident about the whole thing and produce articles which, although packed with rich keywords and links to sponsors’ sites, make about as much sense and are as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Here is an example, which particularly pains me and I’ll tell you why once you’ve read it:

Work Done At Home. How To Reach True?

Posted by Writing- Expert in Internet Marketing

In order to find additional earnings in the Internet is necessary to be able to do something. Simply so nobody will pay to you. Therefore as on the Internet as well as in real life the present person pays the money, let even through an electronic purse pas. Everyone tries to grow rich by means of the Internet. On all sites it is told about surfing, reading of letters, viewing of pictures as about an easy way of earnings. And you saw, how many pay for reading of letter? Count, how many it is necessary for your to work on thus easy work to earn, for example, hundred dollars? Let even if you have involved one thousand referrals. The total amount will not so impress.

I could fill up an entire book with similarly atrocious “articles” from the bottom-feeding end of free article sites. (There are some genuinely good, professional sites though, like EzineArticles.com.)

But why does this one pain me in particular? It’s an excerpt from my namesake site, “HowToWriteBetter.com.” I think even my dogs and cats could write better than that. I’m embarrassed for the site, but I don’t suppose they care one bit.

Am I being a precious old moo, or am I justified in feeling angry at the way these article spinners devalue and degrade the ancient craft of writing?

Suze

POSTSCRIPT … a couple of months after I wrote this article Google saw the light and outlawed at least some of the practices I described, which made me very happy. What made me even happier was that my beloved “namesake,” HowToWriteBetter.com, vanished into cyberspace, and I was able to buy the “dot com” version quite reasonably. RIP, you cheating scammers…

Now, let’s put an even more  professional, genuine spin on your  writing:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

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