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18 Apr 2014

Blogger Outreach Program

As social media guru Mark Schaefer noted, the concept of “content shock” is rooted in basic economic theory; in particular, supply and demand. When supply exceeds demand, prices drop. In the world of blogging, there are no prices: the information is transmitted for free. Therein lies the problem: to get consumers to demand the product, the suppliers have to pay.

Naturally, the demand for content (supply) is directly affected by the amount of it, and its availability. Humans have only so much time to browse the Internet, and because of that, the race to compete for some of that time becomes more heated.

The activity of promoting a website in 2014 requires much more than simply advertising and being active on social media.  You can’t just write great content and wait for people to find you.  For newer sites without established audiences, it’s now fundamental to incorporate alternative methods of content promotions to get their content noticed.

Great Content

Readers judge a site in the first few seconds of opening the page. While many sites stick to the format of 500-700 word posts, it’s the longer ones that consistently generate more interest.

Kevin Espiritu of serpIQ noted that 1,500 words is a solid target as far as length goes, but that shooting for that number “…isn’t a steadfast rule–you’ll need to adjust this target to fit the niche you’re in.” Additionally, Espiritu noted that, “…not all content is equal,” a fact justified by the numerous sites that exist on posting frequent, mediocre articles. The focus, therefore, should remain on creating content that people want to read, first and foremost.

Forums and Q&A Sites

When searching for interesting content to explicate on, a writer need not look any further than at their audience. Forums and question and answer sites like Yahoo Answers, Answers, or Quora are fantastic ways for keeping current, using that information to create pertinent articles that people want to read.

Take a social media site like Reddit, for example. The site makes it easy for bloggers to zero-in on what potential readers are interested in reading by looking at what they are discussing. Reddit’s “subreddits” make this process even easier. If a blogger specializing in barbecue wants to know what barbecue aficionados are saying about different types of charcoals, new equipment, or particular sauces, it’s more than likely that Redditors on /r/bbq are using the forum to discuss these very matters.

Similarly, Q&A sites are websites designed for users to ask questions, and for the established community of users to provide answers. For our barbeque blogger to correctly utilize such q&a sites, they would search for questions akin to “How do you make barbecue sause?

The blogger would write an article about making the perfect barbeque sause [sauce], and paste it in their reply to the original question. Since it’s the Internet, and there is no shortage of spammers out there, use these Q&A sites honestly. Type well-thought responses, and use the article you wrote as a point of reference.   

High-Quality Guest Blogging

For the sake of blog promotion, lending your knowledge to a well-established site’s audience is a way to show them–both the audience and the experts in the niche–that you are a credible source of information. We all know that low quality guest blogging is on its way out, but contributing to authoritative sites will always be a powerful marketing initiative.  

The first step is to establish who the authorities are for the niche in question. Sites like Technorati rank websites’ respective authority by category, allowing for an intuitive, centralized list of the most popular sites in said niche.

Once the authority sites are declared, reaching out to them is the next step. There are a lot of writers advertising their services as guest bloggers, and in many cases, their messages are simply spam. The more authoritative sites get dozens of messages like this a day, and are justifiably vigilant on their lookout for spammers.

The best–and most time consuming–way to do so, is to actually interact with these sites beforehand, showing them that you a real human being who knows what they are talking about.

Take two or three of the sites on your list of authoritative websites to target. Utilizing Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn, search for different editors and writers from these sites. Pay attention to what they post, and interact with them. Ask for additional insights into a story they wrote, discuss particular insights, or just tell them that you thought it was a good piece! The object is to create a relationship with these people.

Once a rapport is established, submitting a pitch letter to the editor in question is markedly easier, and more likely to be accepted. Reintroduce yourself, and describe to them your experience. Provide a liblogger outreach programst of links that you have written, and be polite. Above all: personalize the email to include information about the target site so it doesn’t look like a generic template is being used.

Amplifying your content with Paid Social

Why not take your fantastic content and take it to the audience you are trying to reach using paid social?  Using Facebook ads, you can promote your content using Page Post engagement ads targeting people who have relevant interests.  

Did you know that you can create an ad targeting people who work at publications like the LA Times, NY Times, and Mashable?  Research and test social segments using Facebook’s ad tools, and use Facebook advertising to generate affordable visibility for your content, which will in turn generate engagement and social signals.

Promote your content on Groups

Many people have migrated away from forums and towards groups on Facebook, Google Plus, and Linkedin.  Create a list of social groups and forums that have a lot of activity and where your content isn’t likely to get drowned in massive volumes of posts.  

Spend some time engaging with people on these groups and forums so when they see you posting they’ll want share your content to their own audiences.  Using +mentions on Plus and @mentions on Twitter and Facebook you can generate notifications to individuals which will help get your content in front of them.

In Conclusion…

The importance of consistently creating quality content cannot be overstated; this content is as much an indicator of the site’s authority as its page rank is. By sticking to this truth, a website can create relationships with authorities in the field, and establish itself as one.

In the end, it’s not a formula that defines how successful a website is. Those who have something to say will be heard, it’s just a matter of how many people hear it.

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Search engine marketing expert with 15 years of experience in the industry, working with small mom and pop shops as well as large corporate websites. I have experience with all aspects of inbound marketing, including SEO, Link Building, Social Shares, Usability, Conversions, PPC, Email Marketing, and more.