Submitting articles to other websites have been touted as one of the easiest and best way to market your business on the Web at zero-to-low cost. By getting the articles published, the author gets his or her name and their business out there. They establish credibility and image as an expert in their field. Plus, they get points from the search engines, if the link back to their site is made by the publisher.
However, as an editor of an online publication that accepts article contributions from other writers, I find that many site owners and “authors” (I use this term loosely) do not know how to use article submissions properly. Many authors do not understand how website editors choose their content, thereby losing the opportunity to get their articles published.
Of course, the authors can always submit their articles to content-hungry publications who publish anything and everything submitted to them, but many more discriminating publishers will not publish their articles because of a misstep or two thus losing the opportunity to promote their businesses.
Here are the common mistakes that I see committed by authors that prevents them from successfully getting their articles published:
1. Author does not read the article submission guidelines. There are article directories that accept virtually every article on every topic that authors submit to them. There are also topic-specific websites that accept articles only about a specific topic. However, I find that many “authors” simply fills up the online submission form without even bothering to read the submission guidelines, or worse, to study the site to see what types of articles it runs.
At PowerHomeBiz.com, I reckon that as high as 40% of the article submissions we receive daily are off-topic or do not follow our stated guidelines. For example, our guidelines clearly states that we accept only business-related articles. Yet we receive tons of articles about topics that are not remotely related to business.
There’s this one writer who sent us 45 articles on jewelry, then sent a follow-up email a few days later inquiring why his articles are not published. Duh! If the articles are about how to make money from jewelry making, we would have published it. But the articles are about cleaning jewelries, the difference between precious and non-precious stones, and so on. The writer used our form 45 times to submit all those 45 articles — without even stopping to read our submission guidelines that are located on the same page as the form! There’s this other prolific author that submits around 5 articles to us every single day for the last, oh about 45 days, on topics from the benefits of Cialis to interpreting dreams to traveling to the Bahamas. I’ve already sent this person an email telling him to stop spamming our article submission form, to no avail. He’s still sending us totally off-topic articles.
2. Author fails to study the types of articles that get accepted. Every editor adheres to a particular style and seeks a specific type of content. Some online publications are more informal with the style of writing more relaxed; while others are more serious and formal in tone. Authors that take the time to see if their style of writing fits with the online publication are the most successful in getting their articles published.
Here in PowerHomeBiz.com, I am partial to articles that seek to educate in succinct and clear style. I love bullet points, and majority of articles I approve on the site contain bullet points. Our users find articles with bullet points to be clearer, simplier to understand and easier on the eyes. And whatever our visitors want, that is what we will provide!
3. Author submits articles with no value added to the online publication. Aside from off-topic articles, some writers submit articles on topics that have been covered ad nauseum by the online publication. Their articles have no value added, or do not have anything new to say that has not been covered by the site. Articles that have a different perspective, better coverage of the topic, more in-depth analysis, or better written stand a greater chance at being used.
4. Author violates copyrights of another author. While admittedly hard to detect, we have received article submissions that are exact copies of another article. Some are even word-for-word copies, only with a different author in the by-line. Sometimes the real author alerts us to the copyright infringement, sometimes we come across the same exact article in our web surfing, and sometimes different authors submit the same exact article to us! We take down the article immediately, or change the by-line and resource box to the real author. The copyright infringer is also put in our blacklist immediately, never to be published again.
5. Grammatical errors abound. Authors need to review and re-review their articles for grammatical and spelling errors. If I see errors in the first paragraph alone, I simply delete the article — unless its content is of exceptional quality. I just don’t have time to edit and review the article.