Lately, it seems as if you can’t stop by an internet marketing website or forum without hearing the phrase, “Article marketing is dead!” And while we thoroughly debunked this bogus claim back in August, it seems that there’s still some confusion out there about how to best use article marketing in order to generate quality backlinks for your site.
So today, let’s look at the “2011” version of what works in article marketing, as well as how you can implement this awesome technique into your website’s marketing plan, in greater depth.
In light of the changes made by the Google Panda update that focus on providing more substantive, quality results in the SERPs, the best way to succeed with article marketing isn’t to spam your content out to thousands of sites. Instead, it’s to focus on building both traffic and backlinks back to your site by posting high quality articles on other peoples’ sites as a guest author.
The process of guest blogging is simple, although it can take some time to put the various steps into practice. To get started, you identify sites that would be good guest posting candidates and then contact the site’s owner to get the ball rolling. Once you and the owner have agreed on a topic for your post, you draft your content – including a link back to your own site, of course – and submit it for publication on the owner’s site.
Now, let’s break each of these elements down into action items…
Finding Good Guest Posting Sites
The first step in succeeding with guest posting is to invest some time in finding the best sites on which to post your content. Think about it – what kind of benefit are you really going to see from a new site with no PageRank in a niche that’s unrelated to your own site? Instead, contrast that with the link juice and influx of traffic you’ll receive when you take the time to seek out the best guest blogging candidates in your industry.
Finding these sites isn’t difficult, as you’re simply looking for the largest, most authoritative websites in your chosen niche. Often, this can be accomplished by conducting a Google search for broad industry keywords and analyzing the results that come up to see what their relative PageRank, SEOMoz and/or Alexa scores are. Ideally, it’s best to find sites that rank highly in the SERPs for broad, competitive keywords and that have at least a PR2 score.
Once you’ve identified a few potential sites for your guest articles, do a quick search of the site to see if you can find any information for contributing authors. Frequently, sites that accept guest articles will post their quality guidelines and criteria, which can be extremely useful as you put together your guest post proposal. You’ll also need to find out whom to contact to submit your article, so keep an eye out for this information as well.
By searching each of your potential submission sites for this type of information, you should have a good feel for which sites are open to guest bloggers and which ones don’t accept this type of content.
Contacting Site Owners
Unless the site you plan to submit your content to explicitly states that only finished articles should be submitted, your next step will be to contact each site’s owner with your guest article proposal. This is the most crucial step in getting your guest articles posted on major industry websites, so consider the following elements of a good proposal carefully:
- Propose a specific topic – Don’t simply contact a site owner and say that you’d like to write a guest article. Instead, take the time to study the kinds of articles that perform best on the site and uncover topics that haven’t yet been addressed. Use this information to come up with a specific guest article topic for your proposal.
- Share work samples – If you’ve submitted guest posts to other websites, include a link to these articles in your email proposal. The site owner’s first concern when considering guest post proposals will be the quality of your writing, so make it easy for him or her to see that you’ve written good quality work elsewhere.
- Be specific about your expectations – State up front that you are offering to write a guest article in exchange for a backlink so that there will be no confusion later on once your article is finished. If you have any expectations about revisions, HTML markup or publishing deadlines, share these as well, but keep in mind that the site owner is doing a favor by considering your request. Don’t make too many demands up-front!
Drafting Your Content
If your proposal is submitted and accepted by the site owner, the next step in the process is to draft your article. It should go without saying that only your highest quality work should be submitted for consideration as a guest post. Proofread your work several times and ask friends or business contacts for their input to be sure you’re putting out content that you can be proud of.
Once you’re comfortable with your first draft, submit it to the site owner for consideration. He or she might accept your work as-is, or you might be asked to make revisions. If changes are requested, be prompt about returning the next draft of your work. If you’re able to provide good quality work and a pleasant working experience, you’ll increase your odds of being invited back to submit additional guest posts in the future.
Expanding This Practice
Keep in mind that while blog owners are a great first stop when implementing this strategy, given their constant need for fresh, updated content, they aren’t the only place you can submit guest articles to.
If you’ve exhausted the authority blogs in your niche as guest posting opportunities, why not try to repeat your success with ezine or email newsletter owners? Just like standard website owners, these publishers are always in need of content and will often be happy to accept your submissions for the price of a single backlink. To find these opportunities, simply Google “your niche” + “ezine” or “your niche” + “email newsletter”.
Other potential guest posting sources to consider include industry white pages, blogs on major forums, news websites and more. In fact, a quick brainstorming of all the different sites in your industry that have a regular need for content should turn up dozens of opportunities to increase your site’s exposure with guest posting.
If you’re diligent about pursuing these opportunities, you’ll find that your site will grow dramatically faster than sites that rely on traditional article marketing – and not just from the link juice flowing back to your site from these high-ranking pages! Having a guest article posted on an industry website is like receiving a tacit approval of your website’s content from a leader in your niche, will result in an influx of traffic from the established site’s readership.