When you first start marketing with articles, you may have thought that your article submission just involved your title, the body, and perhaps the resource box. After inputting your content into some online submission forms, though, you saw that there are actually several additional fields to fill in that you had not thought about before.
- The article summary field (also known as the "short description" of the article) is one such field. How can you create a summary that draws readers to your content? Does what you put there even matter? That's what we'll cover in this article.
- If you look at any article directory, you'll notice that in addition to pages where the full articles are published, there are also summary pages where the titles and short descriptions of the articles appear. This is the page that a reader would see before seeing your full article.
- First, the reader sees the summary page on the article directory, and he reads over the titles and short descriptions. From that information, he decides which articles to read.
- That gives you an idea of how important the article summary can be based on the information you put in that field on the article submission form; you can sway a reader to read your article over someone else's on the same or similar topic. The article summary can influence how many people read your article, and consequently how many people find your website through your article.
- Before looking at your full article, the reader has two places where he can gather information about what your article is about. The first place is the title--if the title hooks the reader's attention, then he will look at your article summary.
- The article summary gives the reader a preview of what the article is about. Some people only use the introductory paragraph of their article as the summary. This effectiveness of your article depends on how your introductory paragraph is written. You may find it more useful to pick and choose sentences from your article that capture key points. Then you can string those sentences together in a coherent way to give a bird's eye view of your article. Another option is to write your short description from scratch.
Here are some tips for doing that:
- This short description field is usually about 450 characters long (characters, not words!). It offers more space that the title to tell what your content is about, so take advantage of that.
- Be sure to write in complete sentences. More people will be reading your article summary than your article, so you need to be as professional in that field as you were in writing your article. If your short description just says "Article about Golden Retrievers," then it won't be as effective as it could be.
- Elaborate on the information that the title provides. You may see some short descriptions that are just a restating of the title, which is not very helpful. You have more space in the short description field for a reason--you're supposed to give a more elaborate summary of what your content is about.
- Tell the reader what your content teaches. People are looking for information when they read your piece, so if you specifically detail the basic things that it teaches you'll attract more readers.
- Resist the urge to put your name or link to your website in the short description. Some publishers will automatically decline your article if you do so because it appears promotional. Your name will appear in your resource box (if you put it there), and most directories also list your name in the byline of the article. The only place that should link to your website is your resource box.
The summary of your content may not be something you've put much thought into before, but it serves a similar purpose to the resource box. While the resource box is there to lure readers to your website, the summary is there to lure readers to your article.