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Market Websites via Content, Social Media & Authority
A great way to market your small business website or blog is through creating relevant, effective, useful content that other people want to engage with and share. Content marketing, together with a good social media presence can promote your business and drive customers to your website.
This will enhance the expertise of your business and build up your reputation and authority. We explore several ways that you can do that through content marketing, social media and various other techniques designed to build trust in your business. We'll cover:
- Content Marketing, Article Marketing and Guest Blogging
- Blogging to create an audience and traffic for your small business website
- Marketing via Social Media
- Building your expertise, reputation and interaction
Content Marketing, Article Marketing and Guest Blogging
This technique for getting traffic to your website is all about creating useful, valuable articles or blog posts and sharing them via an article directory or another popular blog or content site. In return you'll get a backlink to your site, get exposure for yourself and your business and build your expertise in front of a new audience.
You will need to:
- Find a suitable blog or article directory that is accepting submissions
- Carefully read their quality guidelines so you know what sort of articles they accept and what they expect from you
- Research the audience of the site and other posts on the site carefully to see the kind of content they like to publish
- Write a high quality, original post that's linked both to your website's and their website's subject - aim for a unique approach and perspective
- Submit it to the article directory or blog for publication
It's vital that the articles you write are not shallow or thin on content - they need to provide value to the audience of the site you're writing for or they are likely not to get published or won't receive much traffic.
Advantages of content and article marketing: easy to get started; builds trust and credibility in you and your business; gets you a new audience; provides backlinks to your site; lots of article directories out there.
Disadvantages of content and article marketing: you need to be a good writer, or hire someone who is, you must adhere to quality guidelines, can take a while to get started can be time consuming, the value of article directories is heavily influenced by Google
Blogging to create an audience and traffic for your small business website
A relevant, focused, content rich blog can be an extremely good way to get an audience, so long as you have the right foundation for it; this means:
- Understanding the niche you are writing for
- Regularly creating relevant, high-quality content
Understand your audience
You already have an advantage over many bloggers because hopefully you have a product or service that you can sell alongside your blog. You'll still need the discipline and time to write on an ongoing basis, so if you're busy running your business, you might need to hire someone else to do it for you.
Blogging is a great way to build up a regular readership though, and as long as you get the foundations right, it can be a great way to grow your website audience.
Advantages of blogging: easy to get started provides regular, ongoing engagement with your audience gets you repeat views.
Disadvantages of blogging: you need to be a good writer, or hire someone who is, can be difficult to get noticed, can be time consuming.
Marketing via Social Media
Social media marketing is a phrase that you hear a lot of and is the fastest growing way to provide online content promotion. Although the return on investment is yet to be completely proven, it's certain that social networks can be a powerful promotional tool. The main points you need to remember are:
- Establish a healthy presence on one or more social media networks, depending on how much time you're prepared to devote to social media marketing
- Get followers - Find people with similar interests to you or that might be interested in your business offerings and follow them or get in touch with them - with any luck, they will follow you back
- Interact with people and build up a reputation for sharing great information. This means not just talking about your own products and services but also other content that they might find useful, helpful or interesting
Establish the needs of your followers over time and adapt your business products to meet those needs; feedback from your followers can help you tweak your products and services.
The main social media networks in descending order of popularity are:
- Facebook - Still the biggest of them all, but getting harder to engage with people unless you pay to promote your posts; best suited for businesses with large social media budgets
- Google+ - A relatively new social media network that's seen huge growth; the launch of the communities feature has cemented Google+ as a great place to find like-minded people
- YouTube - Although not considered a 'classic' social network, if you have entertaining or informative video content, it can be well worth developing a presence there, especially as it has a huge number of users
- Twitter - Good for people that like to express themselves in 140 characters or fewer, Twitter is still a very popular way to market yourself and your business
- LinkedIn - Although focused mainly on professional networking, and beset by lots of spam content, there are still some gems among the rough for LinkedIn
- Pinterest - Pinterest is exclusively focused on sharing great visual content and can be an inspirational place to visit if that's the type of content that's popular for you
- Reddit - Rightly has a reputation for being somewhat anarchic, there's a great deal of value on Reddit, especially if you find the right 'subreddit' to join and don't spam links
There are many people online claiming to be social media marketing experts. If you're so inclined, talk to a few, see what they suggest together with the metrics they will use to measure the strength of their campaigns. Don't part with any money until you are confident that they can deliver strong results.
Advantages of social media marketing: people trust content recommended by friends and colleagues, you can become an influencer in your field.
Disadvantages of social media marketing: it can be difficult to track ROI and you'll need to be very clear on your message, can take a while to build up a reputation.
Building your expertise, reputation and interaction
If you have the time, this can be one of the most effective ways to build trust in yourself, your expertise, reputation, products and business. You can build your expertise and authority in several ways:
- Answering questions in your areas of interest on sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers
- Participate in communities and forums on Google+ and other specialist message boards in your field
- Leaving insightful comments on blogs and other sites
- Creating genuinely useful resources, guidance and information
You'll need to ensure that you provide expert and relevant advice and that the information you share is easy to act upon and insightful. This will all help to boost your credibility and that of your business, gain you an audience and, hopefully, sales.
Advantages of building your expertise: builds trust with people, helps to create authority, leading to better placement in search results
Disadvantages of building your expertise: very time consuming.
An internet marketing strategy
How do you like to promote your website?
A solid, comprehensive strategy of creating great content, social media marketing and building your authority can pay dividends for your business.
You will want to make sure that any strategy that you use fits in with the aims of your business overall, and that you're able to be an influencer in the right fields.