When considering the many different strategies for online marketing of a website and business, one of those that is often mentioned is article marketing. As a cost-effective strategy for internet marketing, it is valuable in link building, as well as helping to establish the author as a credible expert in a particular field. This last can help with brand building and awareness raising, as well as leading to opportunities for networking and sharing expertise in a consultancy role.

In general, articles should be informative rather than advertorial or hard sell, although they may well include mention of specific products, brand names, as well as links to the company website.

There are many different types of articles which can easily be published and promoted elsewhere – on article sites, as syndicated content on third party websites, or as guest blog posts. The type of article that you write is dependent on the area of expertise you have and the knowledge that you wish to share. The content should be unique, answer questions that others are likely to have or stimulate debate. So, How To articles are always popular, as are niche or specialised subject areas, as well as opinion and commentary on newsworthy or topical issues.

All articles should include a resource box, which includes biographical information about the author, and can also include a link back to the website. It is unwise to include an email address for contact as these are often scraped by spam bots, so use a ‘disposal’ email address if you do include one. Any link to your website should go to a related article or resource area, or a specific product or product set related to the article, rather than to the home page.

Once written, it is then important to seek maximum readership, as well as to establish links back to your own site, which is one of the prime reasons for writing and sharing articles of this kind. There are multiple article directories and websites which specialise in publishing articles, and these can be subject as well as region specific, so you need to track down those which will reach your target audience.

The best way to find sites for article marketing is to search the search engines, ask on forums dedicated to your topic and article marketing, as well as looking at your competitors’ blogs and links back into their site to see where they are publishing their articles.

Make sure you keep a list of all the places you find for promoting your articles, and track whether or not they are successful in sending you website visitors. Don’t forget that a site which sends you one or two visitors each month who do not bounce straight out of your site, investigate your resources and website, and make a purchase will be more valuable than a site which sends you 25 visitors per month who bounce out of your website and forget you almost instantly. It is thus important to track your referrals from your website analytics over time to qualify which sites are of most use to you and your business marketing strategy and budget.

Syndicating your content to third party sites as a guest author or blogger can also be an effective strategy. Choose blogs with a good following or websites that are considered to be an authority on the subject you are writing about. If you have a link page on your site to all the places where your articles have been published in this way, you are also offering a reciprocal link, which can benefit both parties.

Article marketing is a long-term strategy, that can pay dividends in driving interested parties to your website far into the future. Keep a record of all the articles you write and where they are published, and what links refer back to your website from these articles, so that if anything changes, you can update your site with the latest information and it will be easy for the reader to find.

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.