Many companies these days have focused their marketing efforts online, for pretty obvious reasons. The Internet has a dominant role in most markets from a marketing perspective. It is now the main source of information in most industries. In many, it has also become the actual center of revenue, via e-commerce activities on company websites and other online retail sites. There are many different Internet marketing methods, of course. In this article, I will focus on hardware and software article marketing.
ONLINE MARKETING METHODS ARE VERY COMPETITIVE
Like most marketing methods, competition quickly clogs up the available channels for reaching customers. This is especially true for the fast-moving software and high-tech markets that are the focus of my consulting practice. Time to market and access the customer’s wallet is at a premium when every company is attempting to establish itself as the leader of often embryonic markets.
As a result, it’s getting harder all the time to reach the top of organic search engine listings, and the cost of an effective Ad in advertising platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook continues to climb. Downloadable white papers can work in B2B markets if they are well-targeted and well-written. But there is plenty of competition in this area as well. And most of you are aware of the long-term declining response rates of direct email, with the issues of SPAM and the resulting blocking. So folks are constantly looking for a new channel to break through to their online prospect base.
As you may have guessed by now, one of my favorite areas of online marketing is “Content Marketing” or “Article Marketing”. It’s a new twist on a very old marketing strategy: Write articles as an expert on your industry. So why should you consider an online article marketing campaign?
ARTICLE MARKETING BUILDS CREDIBILITY
As an expert, there are obvious benefits to building your own, or your company’s, credibility in the marketplace. If you are considered an industry expert, there is a definite halo effect for your company’s products or services. These products or services will take on a “premium” feel to potential users in the industry. You and your company will become better known, and more highly respected, and will be likely to be considered first when potential customers are looking for the type of things that your company offers. Publishing these types of articles helps you stand out when prospects are “separating the wheat from the Chaff”.
CONTENT FOR YOUR OWN WEBSITE
After credibility, this is the second most important reason to consider writing articles. Search engines love information. Articles discussing solutions to problems, or providing expert information are valued by search engines such as Google and Bing. Expert articles will be indexed quickly and ranked highly as a result. As a matter of fact, “commercial” sites risk losing appeal as search engines seek out this expert content.
As for publishing, search engines love Blogs, which really are just a platform to write and publish articles. A Blog can be an excellent addition to your company website and will make your site much more attractive to search engines as an information source. If you do use Blog software to publish your articles, make sure the Blog is hosted on your company domain. This will ensure that the full benefits of this expert content accrues to your site, driving its position higher in the search engine results.
TRAFFIC BUILDING FOR YOUR WEBSITE
In addition to creating content for your own site, it can be a good idea in some cases to publish articles elsewhere on the web. Not everyone is using a search engine to find what they are looking for on the web, and even if they are, your own site will not rise to the top in every search (unfortunately!). So I recommend that you consider publishing your articles on other sites, with a link back to your own website included in your author bio at the end of the article. People clicking on these links will build additional traffic to your site. But carefully consider this before you proceed.
I have published and republished articles “natively’ on many other sites, including well-known sites such as Linkedin and Medium. I’m not sure that the benefits outweigh the negatives of this type of external publishing. In my case, to be honest, it’s probably a wash. I obtained some exposure and traffic that I may not have otherwise. But I’m not sure that outweighed the benefit of having my expert content exclusively available on my own website. So again, consider this potential strategy in the context of your own specific situation before proceeding.
The one external publishing exception that would definitely be worth the tradeoff is if you can get your article accepted for publishing in a well-known and highly thought-of publication. For example, maybe you could be published in Forbes.com for a general business article, or a well-thought-of publication or website specific to your vertical market. In this case, the benefits of added exposure added traffic, and high-value links to your website make this a very worthwhile endeavor.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION THROUGH BACKLINKS
My fourth reason for writing and publishing articles also revolves around the links established on other websites where your articles are published, as I alluded to in the section above. We call these links “Back Links” because they link back to your site. In addition to providing traffic back to your website directly by people who click on them, they provide another very important function.
Search engine optimization for a website is very complex and is constantly changing. But you can boil it down to two significant areas—Content and Back Links. If you have great content on your site and lots of other sites are linking to yours, you will rank high in the search results. This will provide a ton of traffic to your website as a result. Links back to your website that appears on third-party websites as part of publishing your article external to your own website will increase this “links score” that is so important to search engine ranking.
ARTICLE MARKETING TECHNIQUES
As stated in this article, Article Marketing can be an excellent technique for building traffic to your company’s website. There are many ways to proceed. Here is one step-by-step approach that I would recommend:
- Create articles of interest in your company’s industry. Write them like you are submitting them to an industry journal. Then review these articles to ensure they are keyword rich.
- Publish the articles on your own website. Blog software, available freely on the Internet, is an easy publishing tool. Most website builders these days have a Blog platform built in. I use WordPress, but there are many others.
- Also feature links to these articles in your company newsletter as well as any other relevant marketing methods.
- Publish most articles solely on your company’s website as exclusive content.
- Submit select articles to popular publications relevant to your business.
- Be patient. Writing one article may not do much unless you are very lucky. As your base of articles builds over time, you should see a definite positive effect on your website traffic.
That’s a short primer on Article Marketing on the Internet—did you find it useful? Feel free to send me a note or leave a comment if you would like to discuss this.
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