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by Stephen Logan on 3rd January 2012
If you’re producing content to develop your profile, share knowledge and build links, then it’s important to have some kind of strategy. Badgering every blogger for a guest spot on their site isn’t going to help your reputation (or time management), especially if you’re continually rejected. Equally, just scattering a few rank average articles on a few sites isn’t going to cut it anymore.
You need a content marketing strategy; so here are a few resolutions for the year ahead.
Create a Hit List
If there is a big industry blog that gets a huge amount of attention and you really want to write for, make it your goal to do so. It’s important to have a few sites in mind, some of which may be more realistic than others, to give yourself a clear focus. You should look to build some form of rapport with the owner, either through social media, event networking or email contact before attempting to get something published though. By getting your foot in the door first, you stand a much better chance of being accepted further down the line.
You might also take the opportunity to ask what kind of content they are looking for and perhaps suggesting a few possible working titles before committing to actually writing something. After all, if you can deliver something that the blog owner is keen to cover, but hasn’t been able to do so previously, again, you stand a much better chance of getting featured.
2011 was really a year in which content marketing really had its day in the sun. Whilst the Google Panda update destroyed many of the low value article directories, this didn’t stop people getting a little carried away about the possibilities of creating off-site copy for marketing purposes. However, even if you put everything you had into writing and distributing content last year, there is always room for growth this year.
Whether you are more focussed in your target sites, as mentioned above, or can somehow increase capacity/resources to accommodate more content marketing, it’s going to be an investment worth making. But as well as developing your existing profile on sites that you have written for previously, 2012 is an opportunity to diversify; finding yourself new audiences, visitors and links. Try different techniques. Find out whether hubs are still effective and if you can still benefit from article distribution. To see what works best for you (or your clients) you have to test. No content will go to waste. Even if the benefit is negligible, it is still a lesson learnt and something you can improve upon later.
Horses for Courses
If you’ve wasted time in the past creating content that didn’t get the traffic or attention that it deserved, learn from this. By creating a tiered approach to writing and distributing, you can get a better idea of what to produce for particular purposes.
For instance, if you’ve spent days creating a well thought out and highly researched article that people within your industry could really engage with and draw significant benefit from, why then publish it on a weak article site? The link might be okay and it should receive a little traffic, but the likelihood is that the piece could perform much better if it were featured on an authoritative blog related to the subject matter.
Equally, you might be able to churn out a few quick articles that are perfectly suited for lower grade blogs or hubs. Alternatively, they could just be fired out to a number of article distribution sites. It’s important to vary your work and target sites, but you have to first know exactly what the publisher expects and work towards meeting this demand. Doing too much or too little will only ever result in wasted time and effort.
Whilst I have talked about the need to do more, you also have to uphold the balance of quality and quantity. If your content is poorly written, doesn’t have a clear message or purpose and covers the web like a plague of locusts, there could be certain negative repercussions. For instance, if you were to constantly harass certain blog owners with requests to write for them, your name and brand could be sullied; particularly if they choose to share their annoyance with a large network of followers on social media sites.
So don’t run before you can walk. If you make mistakes, learn from them.