In the last article, we talked about some of the drawbacks to article marketing and why it should play only a small role in your marketing efforts. Most of the benefits of article marketing such as exposure, links and increased traffic can be gained by more effective means of marketing and networking. This list is by no means exhaustive but should point you in the right direction.
1. Get involved in the internet via forums, social networking sites, reading and commenting on blogs
This accomplishes several things. First of all you are meeting people and making contacts. By helping out on a forum in your niche, you are increasing the perception of you as an expert and because most forums and blogs allow links to your website, you are also gaining links and traffic back to your website.
2. Guest blog on sites in your niche or even just outside your niche
The benefit of guest blogging is that the blog you are writing for will already have an audience ready and waiting to hear what you have to say. The best way to take advantage of this is to be sure to submit unique and useful content so as to both avoid the duplicate content penalty and to maintain the reader’s trust in their favorite blogger.
3. Submit directly to websites and newsletters
If you do have a stable of articles that you want to distribute, consider submitting directly to the source. This provides control over where your content shows up as well as the ability to confirm whether or not there is a reader base available to read it.
4. Participate in blog carnivals
A blog carnival is a roundup of posts from the blogosphere centered on a main theme. With a blog carnival, you submit a link to a post on your blog that fits the theme of the carnival. The host will usually review your article and, if it fits, will add the link to a list that they then post on their own blog for their readers to peruse. You gain both relevant links and targeted traffic from this.
5. Offer a freebie
People love free stuff especially if it helps them solve a problem or be more effective in the business and life. Another good marketing technique is to provide a freebie that people can only get from your site. This could be anything from a web template to a plugin that helps with the functionality of software to an e-book that provides valuable information.
6. Form a social marketing group or become a part of a network
A social marketing group is a group that promotes each other. This could be anything from highlighting each other’s posts to giving each other a boost on social networking sites.
A network is a group of websites owned by one individual that span a variety of topics. Most of the networks on the internet have been around for awhile, have quite a number of blogs and use an internal link and marketing structure to drive traffic throughout the network.
Blogging for a network accomplishes several things. You gain a good amount of credibility as an expert especially if your blog becomes popular and you gain exposure for your other projects via your bio page on the network.
7. Get interviewed by other bloggers or interview others in your niche/market
I would say that doing interviews is probably one of the most effective marketing techniques that you can use. As the interviewee, you get to not only sell your business but yourself as well by letting your potential customers get to know you better. People like to do business with those they feel they know and interviews go a long way towards making them comfortable with you.
As the interviewer, this is a great way to make contacts in the blogosphere. People like to talk about themselves otherwise I don’t think blogging would have become the phenomenon it has. So if you do an interview about someone, most likely they will send readers to your site to read it earning you both traffic and links.
8. Hold a contest
People like to win things. I think it has something to do with our natural competitiveness and the ego boost we get at having beaten out everyone else for the prize. The thing about hosting a contest, however, is that the amount of buzz and participation directly correlates to what kind of prize it is. A big screen television is likely to attract more people to your website than say a DVD movie.
However, work with what you have even if it’s free advertising on your website. Just be sure to have a clear set of rules and guidelines for the contest and a backup plan in the event that there is a tie or not enough people participate.
9. Get viral
Viral marketing is the art of using social networks to get other people to willingly pass your message around. Your natural reaction may be to think of getting your article to the front page of Digg or to get reviewed by Slashdot but having that happen is one of the benefits of viral marketing. The point of viral marketing is to have bloggers all across the webernet sharing your message with their readers and you can do this by creating flash games or funny videos, or cartoons or pictures…anything that will inspire a blogger to post about it.
10. Ping all the aggregate services
There are several websites on the internet that gather together all of the newest content posted on the internet. Syndic8, Technorati and Weblogs are a few examples of sites that do this. The main purpose is to allow users to get the latest news about a topic they are interested in.
If possible make sure your blog is set up to automatically ping the most popular aggregators. If your blog is not able to do this then use a ping service such as Pingoat or Blogflux Pinger to notify the web that you’ve just updated your blog.
11. Podcast some of your posts and submit to pod directories
The world is becoming increasingly mobile and what better way to tap into the content-on-the-go market than to record some of your posts and submit them for download to podcast directories. Not only can you pass on valuable information, you can also use podcasts in your viral marketing campaign to drum up interest in your website.
12. Submit tutorials to tutorial sites
This is particularly effective for graphic and web design websites. Write up a tutorial that teaches beginners how to use popular design tools and submit them to tutorial directories. You help the user as well as display your expertise in the subject area. Most tutorial sites will place a link back to your site so you gain valuable relevant back links as well.
13. Don’t forget offline marketing avenues
Don’t underestimate the value of offline marketing. Take out an ad in the paper, do radio spots, advertise on television, network with other business owners, sponsor fundraisers. These are just a few offline marketing venues that you can take advantage of to draw people to your website.
These are but a few alternative methods of marketing your website. Use one or use them all to drive traffic to your website and send your pr skyrocketing.