Ever heard of article marketing? It's a type of content marketing in which businesses write short articles related to their respective industries and make them available for distribution and publication in the marketplace. Each article contains a bio box and byline that includes references and contact information for the author’s business.

If you’re not already producing articles, you should give them some consideration. Well-written content that is released for free distribution have the potential of increasing a small business’s credibility as well as attracting new clients.

If writing is not your forte, there are hundreds of sites that offer writing services, such as TheWritersForHire.com, seo-writer.com, and writingassist.com where you can set a budget for a project and post the job for hire. Believe it or not, another great resource for writers is right in your hometown at the local university or college. Interns will often jump at the opportunity to write articles for school credit. You can post writing jobs in the college career center or call on the intern division in the marketing department.

Once an article is written and edited, make sure you read submission guidelines to ensure timely approval and posting. After that, the next step is making sure as many people read it as possible. Here are four tips on how to make an article go viral online:

1. Post on discussion boards and forums. Post snippets of your article or the article title in forums and on discussion boards that are related to your target market or topic focus. Don’t forget to include your full name and website or blog URL where the article is located.

2. Compile articles into an e-book. For example, if you own a gym and want to get more people in to work out, offer an e-book on the top 10 ways to motivate yourself to get to the gym. Distribute these e-books either through your website, to your e-mail list or via a safelist -- a membership-based e-mail list often used by marketers that allows you to send your content to anyone who has signed up. Give your readers the right to distribute them as well. If your e-book is for sale, offer to share revenue if readers distribute it to their list and sell it. This is called an affiliate marketing program.

3. Write a variety of articles. The trick to reaching a massive amount of people is to create a variety of articles. For example, if you want to promote your public relations service, you could post content on how to write an article, how to come up with attractive article titles, what’s the right format and ideal word count, how and where to distribute the articles, how to submit to hundreds of article directories within the shortest time, etc.

4. Add a disclosure statement. These should go at either the end or bottom of each article. They should say something like, “This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any e-zine, newsletter, blog or website. The author’s name, bio and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.”