Creating compelling content, such as cartoons, tools, and professional articles, can be an effective way to garner links and new customers. While many consider content a passive method of link building that can take years to produce results, that is not always the case. In fact, if your company creates compelling content combined with proactive promotion, the results can materialize quickly.
The first objective is to create content that will attract quality links. Engaging content for link building can range from funny animations to interactive tools to insightful interviews. In order to be worthy of links it needs to be compelling or solve a user's problem. Here are some starting points for brainstorming new content ideas.
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Sharpe Partners did a viral marketing study that illustrates people are more likely to spread humor than any other type of content. In the study, 88 percent of the people spread humor, jokes, or cartoons by email. News items were the second most popular category that people shared (56 percent).
Humor can provide a wide range of content ideas, from a weekly cartoon to high-end animations. Depending on the type of content, one could even ask users to submit content such as jokes or funny stories. The advantage of getting users involved is they will help spread the content by emailing, messaging, blogging, and telling their friends about their funny piece published on your site.
Create a library of well research articles. Start by researching to find out what questions your customers might want answers to. Keyword research tools used for your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign can be effective for obtaining this data. Find search terms that indicate a problem such as "how to" or "fixing." Then create a series of articles targeting terms that will resolve customer problems with the goal of getting those articles top rankings. This will provide your site with the opportunity to gain new customers and links. The likelihood of the content attracting links is high since you know from your research that people are actively searching for answers to such problems.
As many of you know, tools are one of the most popular techniques used to gain links. Apply the same research techniques mentioned above to find out what questions people want answers to. Another approach is to examine some of the popular tools in your industry that have attracted high-quality links before. Then have a programmer create a mash-up of those tools. That way, users can find the answers to all their questions in one location.
Creating the compelling content is only part of the job. The next aspect is the promotion. This can be incorporated into your traditional media campaigns, such as print and radio. You can also take advantage of social media outlets such as Netscape and Digg. Below are three promotional methods that can help spread the word.
- Bloggers – Find the influential bloggers for your industry and get them to write about your new content. Think like a politician in how you approach the bloggers. Some might be seduced with flattery, while others expect a kickback.
- Newsletters and Ezines – Often, sponsoring newsletters is fairly inexpensive, making it easy to run ads in several ezines at a time. This can help to promote buzz by getting in front of a targeted audience.
- Pay-Per-Click – Purchase inexpensive keywords related to your new content. This can be especially beneficial for helping to increase traction for the sites that do not rank well.
In addition, the branding and exposure from the PPC campaign will be beneficial. People are more likely to link to sites they are familiar with or have seen before. It is all about trust.
There are many other ways to promote the content, particularly for those who are good at guerrilla marketing. It is also important to keep the buzz up as the campaign progresses. If things seem to be slowing down, it might be time to contact a few more bloggers or have a radio personality put in a few more plugs.
Take full advantage of all the linking possibilities with great content. It can lead to some great backlinks and new customers at the same time.