Website Marketing Strategies (Part 1): Third Party Guest Articles
A recent debate started me thinking about how some marketing strategies can be right for one Website, but wrong for another depending upon the site’s purpose and the underlying reasoning behind the action. If an action doesn’t directly and logically plug into site goals then there are likely more profitable ways to spend that time and effort.
Publishing third party articles on a Website is one of those marketing strategies that can be right for one site yet wrong for another.
Publishing Guest Articles As A Website Marketing Strategy
Publishing guest articles as one of your Website marketing strategies can help broaden the amount and quality of content on a site, which in turn can lead to a more solid, stronger reputation. James Edwards of Umbrella-Consultancy explains:
“IMO having quality articles on your site will show that you are…someone who embraces the industry and respects the work of others. Most research scientists post links to other respected scientists’ work…I think it can only be good to have quality material, by other people in your field posted on your site.”
Helping Website Visitors
Another situation where adding others’ articles to your site can make strategic sense is when a lot of visitors arrive looking for a solution other than the one you provide on the Website. Rather than have them wander off no closer to an answer to their problem, you can build goodwill and credibility by having articles on the Website that give them more information.
As an example, several types of people arrive at Website Marketing Plan .com through the search engines:
- Some are people researching marketing consulting services,
- some are students looking to write a paper or finish an assigned project for school,
- some are looking for marketing software, and
- others are looking to buy printed material (ebooks, templates, workbooks, etc.) in order to proceed step-by-step on their own.
The only ones that are going to be interested in what I have to sell are those in the last group. Instead of letting the majority of visitors go “without a fight.” I have articles from hand-picked individuals or companies on the site. These are chosen according to quality, how well the subject matter fits, and if I think the information will help site visitors.
If a site (or section of a site) is informational in nature, guest articles can be a viable Website marketing strategy for several reasons:
Repeat, purchase-related visits. A good information library can help potential customers through the decision making process. If they find the information on your site especially helpful they will be predisposed to coming back later when they are ready to purchase.
Increased Website revenue. Publishing others’ work can generate more revenue for your own site. For example, when I publish a third party guest article, elsewhere on the page I include one or more of: AdSense; advertisement for my own products; newsletter sign-up box; or relevant affiliate link(s). That way, every path off the page satisfies one of my own goals (direct ad revenue, new newsletter subscriber, or product sales lead).
[Sidenote: I also always include the guest author's resource box at the bottom of the article, with a clickable link to her/his site.]
Increased targeted traffic. Each new page of quality content has the potential to bring in a happy chunk of incremental traffic from the search engines.
Future collaborations or other projects. An indirect benefit from publishing others’ articles is future contact with that author. For example, after one author received several new sign-ups to her newsletter through an article published on my site, she contacted me about collaborating on an audio product.
Poor Fit With Website Marketing Strategies
For some business models, including guest articles in a list of Website marketing strategies does not make sense. As an example, it can be counterproductive to include guest articles on Websites where the primary goal is to sell.
If the goal is to generate direct sales and leads for your own services, it doesn’t make sense to dilute the message and call-to-action with diversions. Karon Thackston explains: “The purpose of my site is to get those in need of copywriting services and SEO copywriting services to contact me in order to do business. People who come to my Marketing Words site are looking for information about copywriting. They are also looking to hire a copywriter.” Therefore, you will find only material written by Karon on her site.
Product Sales Sites
Some sites have a single goal: to sell product. Every page on the site is devoted to product descriptions or copy designed to move a visitor toward purchasing. In these cases, where the predominant call-to-action is “buy the product,” articles could hurt sales by diverting visitor attention away from the products.
This poor fit as a Website marketing strategy is indirectly illustrated by the absence of outside articles on many ecommerce sites. Visit your favorite online retail sites and you are likely to find product descriptions, reviews, photos, and other product-driven content, but little or no third party guest articles.
Understanding how different techniques support or sabotage Website marketing strategies can be critical to a site’s success or failure. Here in part 1 of Website Marketing Strategies you saw how guest articles can either help or hurt. In part 2, I will take a look at the pros and cons of linking strategies.