Small business publicity: Writing '300 retweets' articles
If "retweet" sounds like something Elmer Fudd would say while hunting wabbit, then it's probably a good idea you fix your eyeballs on this article.
Garnering online publicity for small businesses can be a laborious task, and, one that often seems to provide a poor ROI (Return on Investment) - at least initially.
There are a number of important points to keep in mind for any startup looking to increase its traffic and reach by using inbound marketing techniques - i.e. not paying for disruptive advertising.
Incidentally, Inbound marketing is highly recommended for SMEs and startups because it gives lasting benefits for little cost. This is in distinct contrast to advertising which gives short term benefits (if you're lucky) at great cost.
1. Internet marketing (with content) is cumulative
To begin with, a single article may not bring that much traffic. It may not actually be worth it to write that article by itself. It may not be worth it to write thirty articles in a month and stop.
However, at some point, the body of content you build up begins to work for you as organic search and backlinks begin to bring in first a trickle, then a stream and finally a flood of visitors.
2. Content without a target market often has little effect
Sitting down and writing whatever pops into your head is of little value, other than the organic search benefits that may accrue with time.
Content needs to speak to people. In order to do that it needs to be of some specific interest or value to them. So before you sit down and write something, make sure you know exactly "who" you are writing for and what they would want to read about.
3. SMEs and startups often don't have sufficient reach
You can sit down and write great content for your business blog or site until you are blue in the face and still not attract a decent amount of traffic or generate hype and/or buzz.
This is probably not a reflection of the quality of the article, but rather of the state of your reach.
If only ten people read your blog, it is unlikely you will get more than one or two tweets about the article (if that). You have to find ways to extend, deepen and expand your reach.
Share this great article with people you like!
4. Startups must trade SEO & PageRank for reach
Because a startup or SME is less likely to have 100 000 subscribers or followers it is important for small businesses to find outlets for their content.
Writing content for someone else is of great advantage to them (the site that publishes the original content) because they take the SEO credit for that content. In other words, Google indexes their site and says "Jeepers, these guys are writing great content".
Naturally, this is what you want Google to say about your own site.
However, in return for this sacrifice, you will get a valuable backlink to your site, and more importantly, an author credit. Don't under-estimate the importance of this.
Try this as an exercise:
- Go to a popular website
- Find out how much it costs to advertise on that site
- Work out (roughly, and in your head) how many people view each article published to that site, over its lifetime
- Work out (roughly, and in your head) how much it costs to place an ad for that much traffic on their site
- Recoil in horror
What you'll find is that for the effort of writing one article, you can obtain the same amount of exposure as possibly thousands of dollars of advertising.
What's more, the exposure you get from writing the article is far more valuable in the eyes of consumers because you have given them something of value in the form of information - as opposed to disrupting their browsing with an ad.
5. Some platforms are more effective than others
Having decided to write some high quality content to show off your knowledge and skills, you now need to find a suitable site. You might consider guest blogging, or writing expert articles, or even writing articles for journals, magazines and newspapers.
My advice is the following:
- Think about who you want to reach with the article
- Look for sites that are popular with that target market
- Write articles for the top three and measure the effects
- Repeat; always repeat
What you are aiming for is an article that becomes "really popular" and gets spread around the social networks. Wherever this article goes, your name and a link back to your site or business goes with it.
A good example is an expert business article I wrote for technorati entitled "Turn Sales Into Internet Marketing Into More Sales". Take note of how many people read the article and tweeted about - my last count was around 300. That's not a bad figure, and is more exposure than I would have obtained by publishing the article to my site alone.
Remember, it's also about what sites do with their content. For example, I make sure that all the content published to SME Pals' blog is of super high quality, and then I share it through social media.
This gives guest bloggers exposure on a range of sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, BizSugar and so on.
Article first published as Business publicity: Writing '300 retweets' articles on Technorati.
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