Write and publish articles on the Web, and the traffic to your Web site will increase...? The connection might not be obvious, but if you do it right, your editorial work can actually help you promote your business online.
Because your business will likely face fierce competition on the Internet, you need to do something extra in order to separate yourself from the mix. Obviously, you optimize your Web site content or pay for visibility through Google® AdWords®, Yahoo!® Search Marketing and other pay-per-click providers, but creating and distributing original, editorial content can help you position yourself as an expert and authority on a given field. Internet users who read and learn from your content may be compelled to visit your Web site or refer to or reply to your content. Authoring original content can help you reach audiences beyond your regular customer base. And it can help you become part of one of the many communities that increasingly influence Internet users’ behavior and preferences.
You can publish your articles in various third-party Internet directories and libraries, as well as on your Web site or your blog. (If you don’t currently have a blog, now is the time to start one). In order to allow readers to easily access your website, the articles should be accompanied by a brief paragraph about the author (i.e., you) that includes a link to your website.
In order for you to build credibility as an author of online contents, your articles should be strictly informational and/or educational (they may be entertaining, too, if applicable). Your content should not, however, in any way add up to or include a blatant (or even a subtle) sales pitch. The key is to cover topics that are somehow related to the products you are selling at your online store without in any way mentioning that you are, in fact, distributing the products/services in question.
If your content is compelling, it might be quoted or mentioned on message boards, social search Web sites and blogs, creating further traffic-generating buzz. Furthermore; by soliciting and analyzing feedback to your articles, you may obtain valuable information that can assist you in improving the marketing tactics for your online store.
Carving out a market niche for your online business is highly recommended as it allows you to focus your marketing efforts on a clearly-defined and less-competitive field than taking on the heavyweights of your business head-on. Such a niche also can serve as inspiration for your editorial content. For example: If your online business is focusing on selling products for the outdoors community (e.g., bicycling, running, hiking, or mountaineering enthusiasts and businesses), you can compose a series of articles that advise people on the proper equipment, maintenance, trails, routes, etc. If you are actively engaged in these activities yourself, you can write about your own experiences. You should not, however, mention in your copy that you just happen to be selling "the best of such equipment". In fact, the only reference to your online business should be the link to it in the biography segment accompanying your articles.
Just as important as your content is your target audience. Your writing style and presentation must clearly reflect the reader groups you wish to reach. The key, of course, is to strike the right chord in terms of what might catch your audience’s attention, and what writing style will suit that particular audience, as well as the Internet venue you are using for your publications.
* The articles should be easy to read (i.e., stick to (fairly) simple words and short sentences). This ensures that you won’t "lose" any readers while making your point.
* Keep postings at 400-1500 words. Don’t write a novel. But you can still cover your topics in much detail if needed.
* Keep your content informational/educational. Steer clear of "sales-minded" copy; your readers should be able to actually learn from reading your material.
Obviously, you can play around with your format, style and content before finding the perfect fit for you and your audience.
When you have completed writing your articles, you need to publish them. One option is to use your own Web sites: You can place the content on a page on your custom Web site or your personal site. Or you may post it on your blog. Doing so enables your readers to subscribe to present and future compositions via RSS. The blog format also facilitates feedback from your readers. As well, you can include (parts of) your articles in your online business newsletters as a means of providing your customers with useful information.
In addition to your own Web sites, you can turn to a multitude of Internet-based content directories and article-submission services as distribution channels for your content. A simple search for “article submission” via Google®, Yahoo!® or any other search engine will return a comprehensive list of free or fee-based services that allow you to publish your articles to readers across the Web.
* And many more...
Spend some time checking out these content-submission sites before settling on your distributor(s).
Having third-party Web sites distribute your material will help you gain credibility and reach a broader audience than you would by using your own sites exclusively.
In order for you to establish yourself as an expert/authority on a given subject matter, you must provide a continual flow of high-quality articles that enable you to build a solid and expanding reader base. Assuming that they like your compositions, the readers likely will spread the word or even "borrow" your content. (You can allow readers to copy your material on the condition that they include your bio, and thus the link to your website).
It is difficult to say what the ideal article-submission frequency is. But you must find the proper balance between boring your readers with too much information and losing readers because you don’t post enough. Keep in mind that some topics are better suited for frequent articles than others.
Note that some article-submission services may restrict the submission frequency.
Although writing and publishing editorial content on the Web may be fun, your ultimate objective should be to drive traffic to your Web site. In order to actually measure the impact of your efforts, you can simply keep an eye on the URLs that send visitors to your online store or website. Checking your Web logs will reveal all traffic that originates from pages that hold your articles. This is an easy way to gauge the immediate impact.
Another, less clear-cut, result of publishing original content is the effect your work has on your website’s search engine ranking. Each link that points to your website, including the ones featured in the biography snippet that accompanies your articles, counts as a back link (inbound link) to your site. The actual value of a given back links varies. For example, some of the online article bases that publish your content may have different Google® PageRanks, which will directly impact how important Google® considers the back links that originate from there. Similarly, back links from blogs can have little or no impact on your search engine ranking. But occasionally, they can really boost it. The “big four” search engines – Google® (including AOL®), Yahoo!®, Live Search (MSN®), and Ask™.com – use link analysis as a key element in their ranking algorithms, so the back links generated by your published content may improve your performance across the board.
Finally, Google® likes unique and informational Web site content (the other top search engines like it, too, but emphasize the "informational" element less). Consequently, if you write and publish content that fits this description you may be able to secure a high search engine ranking for the page/site on which you post your articles.
There are no guarantees, of course, that writing and publishing articles will actually yield the traffic boost you are hoping for. Nor is there any way to accurately predict how long it will take before the potential results will materialize. This is not supposed to be a magic bullet that instantly puts you ahead of the competition. However, if you write quality content, target the right audiences and use the most opportune channels for distributing your material, composing original content just might prove to be an effective cog in the wheel that is the Internet marketing campaign for your online business.
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