I work with many speakers, authors, trainers and consultants who want to gain visibility on the Internet and within their market.  Without a doubt, they all realize they need to market themselves, but many just don’t know where to begin.
Marketing serves several purposes including market reach, visibility, credibility and perception of expert status.
A great way to market
There are countless ways to achieve these outcomes. One of the best ways to do so is by writing and submitting articles to various online directories and Ezines.
When done correctly article writing and distribution can be an incredible tool for marketing a site, business, product, service or person.

The upside of online submissions is that in a very short period of time you can have an article submitted to dozens, even hundreds, of online locations. In some cases you will reach thousands of readers within hours of your submission.
Instant gratification
There are some instances that within minutes of posting an article it will be visible on a site, directory or blog. Additionally, articles can remain online for indefinite periods of time, allowing for continued visibility for the author.
For those new to posting articles, finding locations can be challenging. To find directory locations simply do a Google or Yahoo! search with the words “article directories + your topic”. Replace the words “your topic” with your actual topic or market.
A great location for your articles
One of the most popular article directories is Ezinearticles.com. Christopher Knight‘s directory is by far one of the best you will find. There are others like it, so do your homework and you will find many that are a great fit for your articles.
For Ezines, do the same search but replace “article directories” with the word “Ezine.” You can also look in Ezine directories for numerous listings specific to your topics and market.
Be on target
Be sure to utilize a very targeted approach for distribution of your articles to Ezines. For example, if you specialize in articles specific to pet owners, submitting to a business Ezine is likely to be a complete waste of time. Submitting to Ezines specific to pet owners will give you greater results.
Ezines are different from article directories. Directories may take articles in hundreds of categories while Ezines are targeted to specific topics and markets.
The number of locations you can submit to it is almost unlimited. This in itself can create challenges. How do you know where the best location is? Spend time reviewing the directory or Ezine. Subscribe to the Ezine to find out how consistently it is distributed and review the quality of information included in the Ezine.
Less can be more
More is not necessarily better. It is a much better decision to submit to a few high quality Ezines than a ton of low or no quality ones. Consider all of these are factors when you submit articles:
Ø Reputation
Ø Distribution and reach
Ø Ease of submission
Ø Traffic
Ø Demographics of readership
It is essential to determine if the Ezine you are submitting to online is a credible location.
What goes up must come down
Although article distribution can be very beneficial, there are downsides to this strategy. The primary challenge is that virtually anyone can get published on the Internet, often with no restrictions. This means the quality of writing can be mediocre at best, and yet, the writer gains visibility.
Another challenge is that some people use articles as a blatant form of advertising rather than a valuable resource of information to the reader. Avoid this temptation! Although you may gain in the short term, over the long haul you will be viewed as less than professional.
A huge benefit of posting to various article directories and eZines is that your articles can and will be viewed by editors, publishers and journalists from many other publications, including trade journals, traditional publications, and radio and television producers. Many opportunities have been created by way of articles being posted on the Internet.
Case in point: Some time ago I was contacted by an editor for the largest trade journal for the specialty items industry. She asked if I would be interested in writing a review for the publication.  Since it was a great market fit, I agreed.
When I inquired as to how she had located me, she said it was from an article of mine she had read online which directed her back to my website. She found my website to substantiate my professionalism and thus the desire to interview me.
Articles create media opportunities
I have also had countless radio interview opportunities that came to me by way of an article I wrote. Hosts are in need of credible experts. Articles offer them the opportunity to find much needed articulate experts for their shows.
The point here is not only does your article need to be top notch, everything that represents you does too; like your website or blog.
Although you will likely not get paid for most of what you submit online that is not to say you won’t create paid opportunities.
Hidden revenues
Although you may not receive payment for most of the articles you submit online, they may very well create paid opportunities. I make a very high percentage of my revenues from my writing. However, I utilize the opportunity to strategically post no-fee articles throughout the Internet, drive readers back to any number of my websites and mini-sites, and create opportunities for people to download a free resource in order that I can continue to keep my name in front of them.
Over time, I am able to sell information products, books, coaching and mentoring services and private consulting because I have built name recognition, credibility, expert status and most of all, trust. Although I was not paid for the initial writing, ultimately there is money to be made because I utilized the article writing as part of my long-term marketing strategy. Do you?
Kathleen Gage aka The Street Smarts Marketer™, works with speakers, authors, coaches and consultants who are ready to turn their products and services into money-making products and services. Access FR*EE marketing resources at www.kathleengage.com