When it comes to content marketing, you will likely want to do more than just place quality content on your own website. There are many ways you can drive traffic and build links to your website by placing content offsite. The following are different types of content you can create for offsite placement, how to evaluate your content placement opportunities for the best results (beyond just checking the PageRank), and some pointers to make sure you get the most from your content.
Photo Credit: Saad Faruque on Flickr
You have several ways to go when it comes to placing text-based articles offsite: article directories / networks, guest posting, and syndicating it to multiple networks. Let’s look at these different options and which are best for your content marketing goals.
Article Directories / Networks
Article directories are best for link building. There was a time when they also drove a lot of traffic back to your website, but thanks to Google Panda knocking many of them out of search results, that time has passed. If you still are interested in placing content on article directories, here are some questions to ask to evaluate them for quality.
- Was the article directory affected by Panda and has it recovered? If an article directory was hit by Panda and they have not yet improved their search rankings, then chances are Google doesn’t really care about them. This means that they probably won’t care about your links on that network either. To check, just lookup the domain on SEMrush and look at the SE Traffic graph. For starters, you can compare EzineArticles, HubPages, and Squidoo. Ezine and HubPages took a dip when the first Panda algorithm was released, but HubPages actually bounced back. Squidoo, on the other hand, was never affected and continues to gain in search rankings.
- Does the article directory have a community? Google is looking for sites whose content attracts not only search bots but actual readers. Hence, article directories with built in communities like Squidoo and HubPages that are not solely dependent on keyword optimization and search traffic are going to look better than their counterparts.
- Does the article directory moderate submissions? Chances are, if you’ve had an article turned down by a specific directory, then that is a good one to keep striving to publish upon. If, on the other hand, you have no trouble getting an article live immediately without any later moderation and you see others on the site that are about questionable topics, then you might want to steer clear of them.
There are two ways to do guest posting. You can do guest posting like you place articles on directories – with the only goal being a link. Or you can do guest posting with the goal of actually driving traffic and potentially converting visitors back to your website. If you’re doing it just for link building (which isn’t the point), you can probably use the same criteria as article directories to evaluate your blog targets along with judging them by PageRank. If you’re doing it to achieve more valuable business goals, then ask the following about the blogs you’re targeting.
- Is the blog’s audience the same as your targeted customer base? If you’ve developed buyer personas, then you should be able to easily tell if a blog’s target audience will match your intended customer base simply by looking at what topics the blog covers and who is most interactive in the comments.
- Do guest posts include an author bio on the post page? This isn’t just important for link building. If your author bio is on a separate page from your posts, then people are going to be less likely to click through to find your link and visit your website, leading to less traffic and conversions.
- Can you become a regular contributor? This also goes against guest posting as a link building strategy, but if you can become a regular contributor, you’ll increase your chances of receiving traffic back from the blog and conversions. Why? As a one-time guest poster, your topic may not be of interest to the majority of the blog’s audience. As a regular contributor, you’ll become a familiar face on the blog’s community and as a result, more people will be interested in learning more about you.
Syndication / Republishing
Syndication is defined many ways, but in this particular case, I wanted to look at syndication where other sites publish your content. We’ve discussed how content republishing is different from content theft and whether they hurt your brand. In this case, here is what to ask to evaluate opportunities where other sites republish your content with permission.
- Does the site have a strong community with your target customer base? Be sure that the site who wants to republish your content is more than just a content farm in the disguise of a blog. For those writing about social media, sites like Social Media Today are a great example of good places to have your content republished. They are even a part of a network of sites that allow you to submit your content for republishing to a larger audience on a variety of topics such as sustainability, venture funding, business intelligence, health, and more.
- Is the site using your content to promote their business services? It’s not often that a competitor will want to use your content, but there are some that will take SEO content that you have created to promote their SEO business. While you might be getting a backlink from a competitor, you have to make sure that you’ll actually be getting the chance to get some traffic from them vs. boosting their authority with your content.
- Will the site include accreditation to the original post (including a link back to your website) at the top of the post? While having your information at the bottom of the post is more common, having it at the top will let readers know who created the content before they start reading it so they don’t just assume it is by the site that is republishing it. This is important as some people may skip the bio at the bottom altogether.
Infographics are still the hottest type of content to create and place both on and off site for a variety of benefits including backlinks and traffic. Here are different places you can post your infographics and the things you can do to maximize their effectiveness.
Infographics Directories & Blogs
The most obvious place to get your infographics placed after you create them is on sites devoted to infographics. There are a lot of infographic submission sites – over 100 and counting, although some are better than others.
For the most part, sites dedicated to infographics are best for building links back to your website. Some are good for driving traffic back to your website as well, but for the most part, the traffic isn’t the type that will lead to conversions. Here is what you have to ask when evaluating these types of sites.
- What are your goals for submitting infographics? If it’s just for backlinks, then these types of sites are generally perfect. If you’re looking for traffic, only aim for the ones with a strong fan base (RSS, Twitter, or Facebook). If you’re looking for traffic that will lead to conversions, you may want to move on to blogs specifically in your industry.
- Would this link be Penguin / Panda friendly? If the goal is just links, make sure it’s going to be a good link. Sites that do not moderate their infographics, allow a lot of spam in the comments, or are covered in ads may not be suitable for a quality backlink.
- Am I guaranteed to get a link? Again, if the goal is a link, make sure you are getting one by looking at previous submissions to ensure they offer at least a link back to the infographic on your website. If it offers one back to your homepage, that might even be better. But also keep in mind that Google has mentioned that they may start discounting infographics links.
Blogs in Your Industry
If you’re aiming for more quality traffic from your infographics, you may look at making more personalized requests with blogs in your industry, asking them to share your infographics with their audience. This way, the traffic you would receive back to your website wouldn’t just be interested in more pretty infographics – they would be interested in learning more about your business. Here is what to ask when evaluating blogs in your industry for infographic placement.
- Does the blog have the type of audience that could potentially lead to conversions? Blogs cater to different types of audiences – B2B, B2C, small businesses, large businesses, etc. Make sure that your target audience is amongst theirs.
- Does the blog feature infographics often? Do a quick search on Google for site:domain.com intitle:infographic to see if the blog you want to post your infographic on will actually be interested in posting one.
- Who generally includes infographics in their posts? If you’re aiming for a site like Mashable that has a whole topic devoted to infographics, then it might take you a while to get noticed by going through their Submit News link. Instead, look at the names of authors who regularly write about infographics and see if you can connect with them on social media about your infographics.
Video marketing is becoming more and more popular, and one of the best ways to ensure that more people see your video is by publishing it on multiple video hosting sites. YouTube and Vimeo are given quality networks, but not all are created equal for business content. Here is what you need to ask when evaluating other video hosting.
- Do similar videos to the ones you want to publish receive views and quality comments? While there are lots of great video hosting networks out there, many do not attract an audience for business-related videos. Search for videos similar to the ones you want to upload and make sure that they are receiving views and comments from people actually interested in them.
- What types of videos are being linked as “related” to similar videos? Another thing to lookout for is what the video hosting site will consider as “related” videos to yours. It’s one thing to have a competitor’s video show up next to yours on YouTube. It’ s a whole other thing if something inappropriate and offensive comes up linked to your video. Make sure this isn’t the case with videos in your industry.
- Can you include a link back to your website in the description? Last, but not least, if the whole goal of sharing videos on multiple networks is to drive traffic back to your website, make sure you can include a link within the description of the video itself like you can with YouTube or Vimeo. Most people’s attention spans are short and they are likely not to click through to your channel and then to your website.
Similarly to infographics, you can also look at sending your video (or YouTube link) to blogs within your industry. You can use the same evaluation questions from the infographics section to make sure the blog is a good fit for your video marketing content.
What other questions do you ask when evaluating great sites to distribute content upon? Please share in the comments!