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Using your articles as a basis for viral marketing

15th August 2001

The most overrated idea to be talked about on the web has been something called Viral Marketing. People have staked their reputations on this fabulous new craze; they have staked their livelihoods on the ability of Viral Marketing to work for them. Proponents of this promotional technique have proclaimed the richness of it to the masses, all in hopes to make a name for themselves.

While Viral Marketing has been blown out of proportion and its proponents have suggested methods for using it that cannot stand the test of close scrutiny, there is still some value in the concept that does work quite well.

Ezine publishers are in a unique position. Not only can they use viral techniques to promote their own ezines, but also, they are the source for the survival of the greatest viral technique the web has known. Ironically, most ezine publishers regularly engage in helping someone’s viral campaign, though they may not even realize it. In fact, the publisher of the ezine you are reading right now is helping to keep the greatest of viral marketing techniques alive and well.

The greatest viral technique known is that of free-reprint articles. Free reprint rights for articles is, by a wide-margin, the best viral campaign you can use for your business.

Before I continue, let me explain what exists at the heart of the Viral Marketing concept. The term was derived basically from that of a virus. A virus is known to quickly spread from person to person. As we have seen with a few computer viruses, a computer virus can literally take down thousands of computer networks around the globe in a matter of hours.

Viral marketing endeavors to spread your marketing message from person to person, moving like a wildfire driven by strong winds.

Returning to the free reprint articles. Ezine publishers understand that in order to keep their subscribers, they must provide valuable content. However, most publishers either lack the time or creativity to keep rolling out new content to supply their ezine. To compensate for this lack, ezine publisher’s turn to free reprint articles to fill in the gaps. The free reprint rights attached to these articles are important because the publishers are mostly small and not yet earning enough from their ezines to pay for professional writers to contribute to their content requirements.

For the author of the article, this method is heaven sent. Let me share the mathematics of this concept with you, and you will appreciate why it is so very valuable to the person utilizing it.

Say for example that you could deliver your free reprint article to 1000 publishers and webmasters in one fell swoop. Consider what would happen if only 5% of those publishers and webmasters decided that your article was of high enough quality and value to deliver to their readers. That would mean that 50 publishers have accepted your article for reprint. Chances are that 40 of these publishers have between 50 and 500 subscribers. Nine of the remaining ten has between 501 and 5,000 readers. And one publisher has 20,000 readers.

Since this is only a theoretical scenario, let us use the law of averages to further amplify this calculation. Our 40 original publishers have an average of 250 readers each. More in tune with reality, the nine have an average of 2000 readers. And our 50th is already known. Following this scenario, one single article that you deliver as a free reprint article has the potential to reach 48,000 readers in its initial release.

Considering you only sent your article to 1000 people, the viral marketing equation says that each of these 1000 people sent it on to another 48 people.

One thing that our example does not address is the article archive sites on the web that publishers visit looking for content, and it does not account for second run distribution of articles either. Articles that show a good first run tend to show continued results over the longer period of time. I have talked to some that say articles that were originally published two to five years ago are still being reprinted today. In effect, your initial mailing to 1000 people can yield viral results into a ratio in the thousands!

Now let us return this to the perspective of how it is important to the ezine publisher. Most publishers, though they tend to use quite a few free reprint articles in their publications, they do occasionally write articles on there own. As an ezine publisher, you should consider going through your ezine archives and pulling up articles that you have written in past issues. You should then take the time to package these articles for free reprint distribution, so that you too can take advantage of the viral technique that you help keep alive and well for others.

There are literally dozens of sites and distribution lists available to distribute your articles to other publishers and webmasters. Rather than trying to list them all here, we have made the effort to tell you about over 18 distribution lists already available. For the run-down on these distribution channels, you may visit:

By listing your ezine subscription address with a short description of your ezine, in the resource box accompanying your article, you can now utilise your own archives to build your subscription base to ever higher levels. As a publisher, you have aided in the viral campaigns of so many people in the past, it is now time for the value of this viral technique to serve you also.

Author Information:
Bill Platt, assists businesses with search engine optimization and a multitude of other business services.

If you are interested in custom, ghosted articles to promote your business, similar to the one you just finished reading, consider employing our team of professional wordsmith to weave articles developed to reach your target market.

© Copyright 2001 by Bill Platt
All Rights Reserved


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