In my previous posts, I’ve mentioned from time to time my disdain for blogs (and ‘probloggers’) relying almost exclusively on free content from article directories. (Disclosure: I own an article directory.) Two reasons why I think public domain articles do more harm than good for our blogs:
- Free articles circulate widely on the Net, which means you’re not alone in using them. The duplicate content might merit you a penalty in the search engines, especially Google.
- It speaks ill of the blog owner if he can’t produce original entries with his own tone/voice.
However, when used judiciously (and infrequently), free articles can get you out of a rut, provide you with keyword-rich content, and can be another way to showcase your expertise in your industry. Here’s what you can do with free articles on your blogs:
- Combine the strongest/most interesting points from different related articles. You’ll be relying on quoted text here, injected with your own opinions.
- React to the article. Found the author’s points misleading or downright erroneous? Correct him in your blog. Found the article to be the most info-packed content written in 400 words you’ve seen in a while? Praise and suggest it to your readers.
- Discuss the article in the context of a previous blog post. This won’t be hard, especially if you’ve been writing tons of posts on your blog and your topic is a popular article category (e.g. internet marketing, pet care, travel destinations).
- Compare and contrast the article’s points with those of a blog post from an established blogger in your industry. Not only will you attract the attention of your fellow (and quite famous) blogger, this type of blog post might turn out to be good linkbait.
- Add images. What better way to visually spice up a blog post than by inserting an image? Since you’ll be using free articles, it won’t hurt to use free image resources, as well. (See my related Perf post, Images: Another Problogging Ace Up Your Sleeve)
Finally, if you don’t know your way yet around the article directory scene, let me point you to several great sites. EzineArticles.com and GoArticles.com are good places to start, and I’ve been submitting articles to them for nearly a year already. You can also visit ArticleCrux.com, which I own and carefully maintain.
That said, the list above can’t build you a problogging career. You’ll still need to start where all good probloggers started – with highly original and helpful content.