You've asked a good question. I am no expert but this is what I've learnt in two months. There are 3 schools of thought -
1. You don't need to do it if your articles are original, useful, smart in SEO and have good titles. These articles attract backlinks naturally and will rise up through the rankings if you promote them on social sites and so on.
2. You need to do it but only once. Submit your url to google and bing as these two carry the rest. Never pay to submit url's when you can do it for free. Ping your url using the many ping sites.
3. Submit to as many as you can but only once.
I'm in the same boat as you, with little working knowledge of search engines. At present I follow school 2 but would prefer it if I could just write, share, promote and let nature do the rest. Not being a scientist or statistic geek I don't know if submitting has resulted in higher rankings for my hubs.
You'd have to write two similar hubs, submit one but not the other, share them,promote them, and follow their progress.
Some of my hubs are page 1, others page 2, and others have some work to do!
The best of luck, perhaps someone with definite know how will come to the rescue.