The best way to convince someone we know what we’re talking about is not to shout harder and longer to drown out other viewpoints but to offer up our expertise freely and willingly, accepting that others may have a different take on the subject. Whatever your product, your industry or your particular field of expertise, a strategic article marketing campaign will not only establish your brand advocate as a thought leader in their field but will also significantly contribute to greater search visibility.
Article marketing is one of the original cornerstones of organic optimization but recent additions to distribution outlets and the arrival of a more savvy consumer validate a fresh take on this tried and tested formula. Whereas previously article marketing would be a bolt on to link building, it should now play an intrinsic part of reputation management and stand alone as a valuable SEO activity. When done correctly, article marketing enhances an organic search presence, providing more topics and pages to be returned in the search results as well as existing as a powerfully persuasive sales tool. Rather then using content created for a website or doctoring a pre-written PR or offline article, unique content created specifically for article marketing purposes is the best possible way to deliver a diffused message loaded with SEO friendly techniques.
Popular thought suggests you shouldn’t use the same article in exactly the same way on more than a handful of websites (at best). I’m of the opinion that you should tweak the article with a new intro and headline or re-worded title, first paragraph and conclusion each time the piece is added to a new article marketing site.
Choose Your Topic
Before embarking on a lengthy article marketing campaign, decide on a list of topics. This stage is crucial as it will prompt you to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. You can ensure a favorable reception by listening to you clients and asking them what they would like to read more about and research your competitors. This is particularly useful if you are operating in an ultra competitive arena as the last thing you want is to be outmaneuvered by rivals putting lots of accessible information online before you’ve even thought of putting pen to paper. Ask yourself how you can differentiate your information. Is there a common question relating to your product or service that you have the answer to? Do you hold a strong opinion about a piece of relevant legislation? Did you lead the design team creating the product and so have a unique insight into its capabilities?
Know Your Audience
As with any copywriting for the web, it’s a given that anyone could happen across the piece you’ve carefully prepared. However, thinking carefully about your audience is just as important when article marketing as it is when building a paid search campaign or sending out an offline PR. Being aware of your audience will determine the format the article takes, the choice of keywords and the style of language used. Ask yourself whether you want to educate newcomers to your brand or product, provide more advanced or technical information for existing brand advocates or open up your service to an entirely new target demographic. Answering these questions will help you determine the voice of the piece and the style of the article. Don’t think you have to stick with a traditional article format – if suitable for your readership the article could shape up into a case study, a question and answer session or a sparring for and against column with a co-worker arguing the opposite end of the spectrum.
As with any search marketing activity, monitoring results achieved is critical to identifying opportunities for future success (or as an indicator of future failures). Unlike some other forms of SEO such as link building which exhibit very clear results, article marketing can be tricky to deconstruct into success or failure. Results achieved will vary on the reasons why you’ve embarked on an article marketing campaign but could include the tone of the feedback recorded for each piece, the number of social media digs, links, votes or blog mentions or the volume of traffic forwarded to the target web site.