Online Article Placement – A Critical Component of Integrated Marketing

Just as in traditional print media, articles placed online beat ads for building credibility and sales by nearly two-thirds, and help to get (and keep) your website at the top of search engines’ results. Online, this means that natural or organic placements beat pay-per-click advertisements or sponsored links listed on the right side of a search engine results page.

Why is this important to know? It shows evidence that online articles are a critical component to your integrated marketing plan.

You can use articles to help you raise your site’s profile in several ways:

Content is King. Make sure your articles – and your website – are filled with keyword-rich content that people searching for would enter into the search engines. While you may sell colorful widgets, you may want to use content that features the words someone might type into Google, for instance.

Update Articles Frequently. Add new articles or blog posts as frequently as you can. Experts suggest updating some aspect of your website weekly, and the easiest way to do that is to add an article. I post additional articles regarding client news and other tidbits. You might use white papers, short articles, or lists/tips as ways to convey helpful information about your area of expertise. It’s more a matter of providing information rather than pitching a sale, so go heavy on the benefits to your potential and existing clients.

Get traditional ink. Your article should appear in a magazine or journal relevant to your industry. Most likely, that magazine has an online version, and your article will appear online. Submit a query letter (a letter of introduction with a pitch on the article topic) or the article itself to the editor listed on the publication’s website. Shoot for magazines that rank high among search engines (the ones that appear on the first page of your search) for maximum exposure, and be sure your article is laced with keywords.

Key in on “About the Author.” In many instances, you will have an opportunity to put a little blurb about yourself and your company at the bottom of your magazine article, plus a link back to your website. Take full advantage of this valuable free promotional space and write a strong blurb that shows you as the expert in your field.

Publish Ink, Then Web. Once the article is published in the magazine, put it on your website to give search engines something to find of current interest. I say “after” because must print publications want First North American Rights, meaning they want it to be exclusively theirs first. After it runs, you can pitch the reprint to other publications. Be sure to get well-produced reprints from the publisher and a PDF for your promotional efforts, too.

Many Online Outlets. There are thousands of e-zines looking for content, and your article may be just what they are looking for to inform their readers. It takes a little digging, but every e-zine has a publisher with an e-mail address and article guidelines. All you have to do is come up with a match. Here is an example of one of many directories of e-zines accepting articles. While in most cases there’s no direct compensation, the free publicity is priceless.

Use Media Releases. If your article doesn’t get picked up by a major magazine, don’t despair. Send out a general media release about the article with a link to the article on your website.

Make it a Product. As many of you know, I believe that creating an income stream from information products is a valid use of time and effort. If you have an article, white paper, or a collection, consider making a product that website visitors can buy for a nominal price. We’ll talk more about this in a future issue.

Integrated Marketing. If you’re in to pay-per-click ads, integrate a pitch in an ad, and test it.

Cross-pollinating online and traditional “off-line” marketing tools will eventually have greater impact than using one method exclusively. That’s why it’s called integrated marketing.