‘Build it and they will come’ is not a phrase that applies here. If you’ve spent ages working on your content and creating something you’re really proud of, then you need to get out there and market it in order to ensure that it gets seen. Remember, your visitors need to encounter your posts several times before they’re likely to consider themselves fans. It’s your job to ensure that that happens!
In this chapter, you’ll discover how to market a blog post just like aproduct.
Your Articles As Products – How You Should Really be Selling Your Site Content
Using SEO is a fantastic way to bring people to your site, and by writing great content, building lots of links and designing your site in a spider-friendly way you can get a lot more traffic from visitors who are looking for the information or the service you provide. On its own though SEO can only do so much, and is only one form of promotion.
When marketing anything you need to have something to sell, and you need to make sure that your offering stands out among the crowd and piques attention. This is the way you need to be thinking when you’re trying to promote your site, and it’s what can really make the difference between a site people can find, and one that people can get excited about.
In short, you need to start viewing your articles as products and that means that you should be doing everything you can to ‘sell’ each one in the same way a business tries to sell any item or service. This simple cognitive shift will make a huge difference to the way you approach your content and ultimately to the success of your brand as a whole. Your blog is something you created, it has value and now it’s time that you share that with your audience.
Here we will look at how you can go about selling your site products and how this can help you set your site apart.
When you try and sell an e-book through a website or a course, usually you will use a landing page that will utilize a sales script to try and make people buy what you have to offer. This might read something like ‘Finally, a simple guide to making money online – here’s my story of how I made thousands over-night’.
This is a great way to sell a product because it grabs attention, it promises results and it has a personal interest element to it. And that’s how you should be writing each of your article titles – by creating it the same way you’d create sales pitch and using all the same tropes. Don’t be afraid of long bombastic titles – they sell.
For a little inspiration, we can look to the world of ‘click bait’. These are articles that have titles that encourage curiosity and that sound amazing and thereby ‘bait’ people to click them. Unfortunately, most clickbait articles don’t offer the value to match the promise. This is where you’re going to be different: your posts really will be good but you’re going to be a little more aggressive in demonstrating this in your titles. Focus on the emotional aspect, the unique aspect, the shocking aspect and make it apparent from your title that this is something very unique.
The way you present your content is just as important as the packaging on a new line of toys for Hasbro. If you want people to choose to read your content over another site’s content then you need to use the best images and the best the layout to make it a joy to read and so that it really catches the eye.
Give it a layout more closely resembling a magazine article than your typical blog post and people will notice the difference. Use high quality images, use different fonts and break your content up into paragraphs and sections.
You might even choose to get inventive. For example, you could experiment with ‘ergodic’ text, to make the text wrap and move around in different ways.
Presentation is powerful not only for helping to sell the content and make people want to keep reading but also to help you create even more authority and make your brand more attractive and interesting than the competition.
USP in business means ‘Unique Selling Point’ and this describes the factor that makes a product different from others on the market. If your product is exactly the same as everyone else’s then you don’t give your potential customers any incentive to choose you over the competition.
The same goes for your articles – so don’t just rewrite the news as you read it, or regurgitate same lists of tips. Instead, think about how you can take a different angle on the story, bring your own experience to the mix, or relate the topic to something different. That way you give people a reason to read what you’ve written even when they’ve heard the news already elsewhere.
SEO will help people find your articles, but you should also try and promote your content and generate hype for it in the same way that Apple might generate buzz for its next iPhone. You can do this in a number of ways, but generally this means talking about your article on forums, discussing it through social media channels and showing it on YouTube. That’s right, not just posting links, but actually talking about the article and demonstrating why people should care about it. It’s a subtle but potent difference.
Some great places to share your content include;
- Facebook groups
Another big tip? Be active in these communities and make sure that you aren’t only posting when you want something!
The iteration cycle in business is a process of subtly tweaking a product over time in order to perfect it in response to market feedback. The point I’m making here though broadly is that you don’t have to just release your article then leave it at that – by tweaking it and improving it you can ensure it’s the best it can possibly be, always up-to-date (which Google appreciates) and well suited to the audience reading it and what they tell you they want from their articles.
Likewise, you can also keep selling older content. If you have evergreen posts on your site, then why not remind people they’re there? Why not post them to forums? Especially if something has happened to make your old content more timely or relevant. If you put lots of hard work into your content, there’s no reason to share it just once and then forget about it… keep on posting and reposting!
If you want to increase the visibility of your website and to help increase your position in the SERPs then there are many ways to do this and you will likely be struggling to know which method is likely to bring you the most success.
This is particularly pertinent as many of the methods that we are sold can in fact be ineffectual and end up causing us to get penalized by Google. Here though we will look at one very good strategy that you can use currently to build your reputation and increase your position in Google, which is ‘guest blogging’.
Guest blogging is particularly relevant to those using content marketing as essentially, this is just an extension of what you have already been doing. Only now, you are also sharing your content with people who aren’t coming to your site. This is an alternative way to get that ‘first exposure’ and that first opportunity to get people to start visiting your site of their own volition.
What is Guest Blogging and Why Should it Interest Me?
Guest blogging essentially means posting on other people’s blogs. Here you find a blog or a website that you like and that you think is somewhat similar to your own (but hopefully has a little more prominence) and then you offer to write them an article in response to a link back to your site.
They publish your piece, and at the bottom you will get a little author bio that will include a link back to your website.
Normally when you think about ‘link building’ this will mean submitting articles to content farms and sites like E-Zine articles, or it will mean submitting them to link directories that no one reads. On the other hand with guest blogging you have a chance to get your links onto some genuinely really good websites that can not only help increase your page rank, but also help to bring you organic visitors and massively increase your reputation.
How to Find Sites
The first challenge is how you actually find the sites that are willing to publish your posts in exchange for a link. This is actually often easier than you might think however and if your content is genuinely good, and your site will offer value to the readers of the blog you are targeting, then you might be surprised to find that these blog owners are guys just like you who are willing and able to help you out.
To find the right sites to approach you should simply message a few of the sites you currently read yourself. At the same time you can try searching your niche (e.g. ‘bodybuilding’) and a phrase that indicates they are looking for guest posts, e.g.: ‘bodybuilding submit your article’, or ‘bodybuilding guest poster’.
Make sure that they have the same values as you however, that their site is good and that a post here will gain you exposure to the right kind of audience!
Another great strategy is to see what your competition is doing. One way you can do that is by using the technique called ‘follow that blogger’ in which you simply find a guest blogger who is posting on the same subject as you, and then just search for all the different blogs that they have already posted on. No doubt these blogs are accepting guest posts in your niche and will thus be highly likely to accept yours. You can also just search for all the inbound links on another site and just see if any of those were obtained through guest blogging.
Some Tips for Successful Guest Blogging
Being successful means not just finding the blogs, but actually getting accepted. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
- Mimic their editorial style – this is important to ensure that your content fits with the content of their blog, and that their readers will enjoy what you make for them. This means ensuring that you use the same style of punctuation, avoid 1st
person narrative if they do, and generally mimic them as closely as possible. They may have a page of editorial guidelines which it will pay you to look at.
- Research the article well – meanwhile you of course need to just make sure that your article is good. Don’t give them your leftovers, give them articles that it hurts you to part with.
- Be a more complete partner – don’t just offer them an article, but state that you’d like to work with them, and make sure you at least mention their site on your site as an inspiration.
- Make your site good – when someone includes a guest post of yours with a link they are putting that link on their front page in most cases. It’s important then to make sure that your site is one that they are willing to recommend, so ensure that it’s professional and that you offer value to their visitors.
- Meet them – struggling to get a response? Try arranging an in-person meeting. There are many ways to do this. You can meet partners at networking events for example, or if you’ve targeted someone in particular, you can even consider ‘hiring them’ for advice or consultation. Once they’ve talked to you about something else, they’ll be much more likely to respond if only out of politeness.