One of the quickest ways to build your reputation as an SEO expert, a top web writer, or an ace social media marketer is to get published on a relevant topic.
This strategy — often called article marketing — can bring new traffic to your site, add samples to your portfolio, enhance your proposals, and build your credibility.
It can do all that and more …
But, only if you do it right!
Here are five strategies you can use to ensure that your articles help bring traffic to your site, build your reputation as an expert, and increase your client base.
Who Are You Writing To?
Targeting an audience is always stronger than casting a wide net. As a freelancer, it’s sometimes easy to slip into an “I want to please everybody” mindset. I know I fall prey to this line of thought from time to time. You absolutely can’t write articles with that mentality.
Trying to please everyone will be the death of your article marketing campaign because it makes it very difficult to offer specific information. And, that almost always makes the information you are relaying less actionable and less useful to your reader. When you write to a very specific audience, your article may appeal to fewer readers, but your readers become much more likely to visit your site and eventually become your clients.
If you’re going to write and publish articles with the goal of bringing more traffic to your site or generating leads for your services, then you have to be certain you are writing your articles for people who will benefit from your services. So, who is your target audience?
Are they small businesses or big corporations?
Are they alternative health practitioners or online stock traders?
Are they men or women or a mix of both?
What is their income level? How educated are they? What are their values, beliefs, and interests?
Do these questions sound familiar? They should!
They’re similar to the work you put in before writing a word of sales copy. And, the same rules apply to articles. Fix firmly in your mind the person you want reading your article. Whose attention do you want to get?
Then focus your articles on topics of interest to your audience and write your articles in a tone that will appeal to them.
Make Your Articles Link-Worthy
One of the main benefits of marketing with articles is that you can build the links pointing back to your website. Backlinks, as they are often called, help to improve both your search engine rankings and your direct clicks — people who come to your site directly from the link.
At its most basic, article marketing helps build your backlinks because when you publish your article on a site other than your own, you can usually include a link back to your site in your bio or byline. When you write a really good, engaging, insightful, original article, you can also get the attention of other website owners, and they may decide that your site is worth linking to as well. Which creates more backlinks for you.
To earn this kind of backlink, though, you need to write an article that’s link-worthy.
Spend some time surfing the Web and you’ll find an unending supply of poorly written, vapid, useless articles that barely scratch the surface of the topic they promise in the headline.
Inevitably, these articles have a link (or two or three or 10) within them or within the author’s bio. These articles are a transparent effort to improve search engine rankings, but that effort is usually wasted because no one wants to click on the links in an article that isn’t well-written and valuable.
This is exactly the wrong way to do article marketing.
Never, never, never write on a topic if you aren’t prepared to share real value. You need to give your readers something for the time they invest in finding your article, clicking through to it, and reading it. Make sure it’s worth their time. Make sure you answer the question or solve the problem you promise to in the headline and lead. Give them actionable, real information. Don’t just gloss over your subject.
If you’re writing about 10 ways to improve your social media presence, be ready to do the research to explain to readers the benefits of each strategy you recommend as well as the steps they need to take. You can’t just list 10 websites and call it a day. Okay, you can, but it’s a bad idea. It won’t just waste your time — it could hurt your reputation.
Think of your article marketing campaign like an up front premium for your would-be clients. You’re going to give them something valuable right away to establish your skill and knowledge so the reader trusts you and likes you. A prospect who already trusts and likes you is much more likely to become your client when they find they have a need for your service.
Never Run Out of Great Ideas
Writing that kind of article may sound like a tall order, but it really isn’t. You can use the Internet and your own experiences to create a never-ending stream of powerful article ideas. Here are just a few ways you can come up with article topics:
Write up reviews of other articles, adding in your opinion and your own take.
Watch for research and surveys and then write articles interpreting the results.
Write case studies based on your own experiences with clients.
Pay attention to the processes you use that get good results and write about those.
Interview someone in the industry.
And, for every article you read about online marketing or web copywriting, write down three original ideas that the article inspires in you.
Do these things and you will have more good, relevant topics to write about than you have hours in a day.
Apply Good SEO
The purpose of article marketing is to get articles published in different places around the Internet that will either a) help bring traffic directly to your site or b) help your search engine rankings all while building your reputation as an expert and giving you meaningful samples to include in your portfolio.
When it comes to driving traffic, you’ll greatly increase the success of your article marketing campaign if you take the time to follow SEO best practices. You can do a basic SEO treatment to an article in six easy steps:
Do regular keyword research. (This is great place for article inspiration, as well.) Use the SEO tools recommended by John Wood in 10 Free SEO-Related Tools to help you find a plethora of keywords that people are searching for that relate to your business.
Choose one main keyword phrase to focus on in your article.
Include that keyword phrase in the headline of your article — depending on where you publish, this may also be the page title for the web page where your article appears — this is the title that appears in the bar at the very top of your browser page. If your headline and title will be the same, keep it to 60 characters or less. When they’re separate, write as long a headline as you like, but write a separate page title that is less than 60 characters and also uses your main keyword phrase.
- Use your keyphrase twice in the lead, but don’t stuff it. Make sure it flows naturally within the context of your lead.
Write the rest of your article about the topic and related keyphrases will occur naturally.
Use SEO-rich anchor text for any links that you include in your article —especially links that point back to your site. That means you don’t use “click here” text to link back to a recipe page on your food-related website. Instead you link “great tasting 30-minute recipes.”
Be Timely and Consistent
A good way to increase the traction of any article you publish is to write about current events in your industry. Current events have a way of generating buzz. That means that lots of people are suddenly searching for information about something that wasn’t necessarily search-engine popular before. If you quickly get an article written on a new, popular topic, that article has a good chance of ranking very well on search engines.
In addition to covering timely topics, you want your overall article marketing campaign to be consistent. Creating new content on a regular schedule that either goes up on your own site or that is posted to other sites with links back to your site is an important part of creating traction. If search engines see that your content is steadily growing and that the links back to your site are steadily growing, they will begin to give your site more weight and that means more rankings and ultimately more traffic.
If you follow these rules, in no time you’ll be writing articles that can help market your services. Your articles will get the attention of the right people — your target audience, they’ll help draw targeted traffic to your site, and they’ll establish you as an influential and thoughtful writer within your industry.
Also check out A 5-Step Process to Writing Articles that Get Published to help you write stronger, more successful articles.