We know content is king. But when putting together a successful content marketing strategy, there are so many types of content to consider—from infographics, to whitepapers, to tweets—and each piece of content has a specific purpose in the content big picture. So, how do you choose which type of content to create?
It all starts by knowing what you want to accomplish. Defining your goals will help you determine what type of content to invest your time and energy in.
For our purposes today, let's look at the benefits of writing articles—one of the fundamental tools in your content marketing toolbox.
Writing articles is a great thought-leadership tactic. Through contributed articles, you can demonstrate your expertise, share an opinion, or engage in industry conversations. Articles give you ample space to present information on a subject compared with, say, a tweet that allots you only 140 characters.
Among the various places to consider as a home for your article are industry and business publications, your company blog, and LinkedIn Pulse. All three serve different purposes, and they have unique benefits to offer.
1. Contributing to an Industry/Business Publication
One option is to submit your article to an industry or business publication. Trade publications generally require articles to be vendor-neutral, and the publishing date will be at the outlet's discretion. There are some valuable, strategic benefits to contributing to these outlets:
- Reach a wider audience. Contributing to an industry or business publication offers you access to a wider audience. People who may have never found your company—let alone its blog—may come across your article in an industry or business publication. These outlets often have significant subscribership, and securing a contributed article with one of them gives you access to these readers.
- Increase your credibility. Industry or business publications have their own clout, having worked hard to establish their reputation as a credible resource to the industry. By contributing an article, you not only gain access to their readership but also benefit from the publication's credibility. Readers tend to trust articles from publications because they know editors are vetting the content before it's published. Therefore, if you are the author of an article published in a respected trade publication, your own credibility increases.
To summarize: although you may not have opportunity to talk directly about your company's products or services, contributed articles to industry or business publications offer other incentives—like raising your credibility and bolstering your thought-leadership reputation.
2. Contributing to Your Company's Blog
These days, many companies or organizations already have their own blog, and it's definitely a destination you'll want to consider, because there are great benefits to publishing your article there:
- It drives website traffic. A blog drives more traffic to your company's website, since that's where it lives. The content can bring new prospects to your site or keep current customers coming back as they discover that your blog offers meaningful insights. If your goal is to increase your Web presence and traffic, contributing to your own company blog is a great tactic.
- You control the message and timing. A blog also offers a greater control over messaging and timing. You are free to share what you want, when you want. Your company has control over its blog publishing schedule, so it doesn't have to wait for a magazine editor to post your story. There is even room to be a little promotional, but be careful not to toot your own horn too much. A blog should provide valuable, timely information to the reader, and not just be a product or service advertisement.
So, if you are looking to drive website traffic and to have more control over your message and the timing of that message, contributing to your company's blog may be the answer.
3. Contributing to LinkedIn Pulse
If your company doesn't have a blog and you don't have the time to invest in creating one, LinkedIn Pulse is a good alternative. LinkedIn's publishing platform allows you to post articles. Along with the benefits of controlling message and timing, as you would with a company blog, there are some additional perks that come with publishing via LinkedIn:
- Influence an audience already gathered. Most professionals have already invested a lot of time connecting, sharing, and building their LinkedIn network, and LinkedIn Pulse offers an opportunity to leverage this ready-made audience. Moreover, with each well-crafted post, you'll enhance your influence, credibility, and visibility on LinkedIn.
- Extend your reach. Whether it is a blog post on your company's site or a contributed article in an industry publication, LinkedIn Pulse is a great platform to extend the reach of already-published content. For example, you can post a summary of your company's latest blog post with a link that directs people back to your website.
LinkedIn Pulse offers another outlet for publishing content that shouldn't be ignored. It gets you some of the benefits of a company blog without having to set one up, taps into an audience you've already built, and extends the reach of content you have published elsewhere.
Building Your Strategy
Now that you know more about some options for placing your content, it's time to get down to brass tacks. Should you publish your pieces on your company's blog, look to LinkedIn Pulse, or submit it to an industry publication?
The answer is... all of the above. A well-rounded content market strategy will make use of a variety of content, including those posted to your blog, shared on LinkedIn Pulse, and contributed to publications. Using all three platforms enables you to reap the benefits of all of them:
- Blogging will drive traffic to your website and allow you to control your message and timing.
- Contributed articles will increase your audience reach and improve your credibility.
- LinkedIn Pulse will let you tap into an already gathered audience and extend the reach of your already written content.
And whether they're posted to your company's blog, LinkedIn Pulse, or in a well-respected industry publication, you've devoted a lot of time and effort to your content. So leverage all this content by sharing it across one or more social media channels.
Also consider using your company's blog and LinkedIn Pulse for additional exposure. For example, write a recap post of your article that published in a business outlet and share that post on your company's blog to drive traffic to the article, or take a post you wrote for your company blog and share it on LinkedIn Pulse with a link back to your company's blog, where readers will be exposed to additional content of interest.
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