Content marketing – an editor’s view
I’ve had the great fortune to be editor of three popular websites over the last seven years. The websites have all been aimed at women in the main, but as we all know – women don’t just want to read about one thing. We read about every topic under the sun, from politics to parenting and hedgerows to hair loss.
It’s always been clear to me that commissioning regular guest posts and features is the best way to get the best content for our users. Sadly budgets are not what they were, so much of that commissioning was done on either a shoestring budget – or with no payment whatsoever. The later of which is what many web owners would class as content marketing. Which is a win-win when it’s done the right way.
Content marketing is the use of rich, quality content to attract customers to your product/site.
From an author’s point of view – this might translate to any of the following actions:
Tweeting or posting via any social media channel valuable links to great articles/products or images
Writing guest posts for community and/or bigger/relevant blog-sites
Inviting other writers to write guest posts on your blog
In my day job, I get a steady stream of offers of ‘quality free articles for your site’. On the face of it that sounds like a no-brainer – what could be better than free brilliant content to drive ever more traffic to your site? But, in fact many of the offers come with caveats, most of which involve hidden or visible links to commercial organizations. Often the email requests state that they have in-house writers who will write about any subject of our choice. Desperate for links, many companies are hiring poverty-stricken writers to churn out anything they can hide a link in. Well, they can keep emailing because the last thing we would do to our valuable user-base is inflict this kind of pernicious marketing on them. My view, and that of many editors is – if you want to do the hard-sell on your product to our users – pay for it like everyone else.
But, if you are an author – you have a big advantage. Your ‘product’ is a book. And, hopefully one that at least some of our users would naturally be interested in (do check first though that the topic would appeal). If you do feel it’s a relevant book then have a good think about an angle we might be interested in publishing for you.
In my next post I’ll give some tips on how to pitch your guest post. Until then it’s a good idea to spend some time searching the web for sites that would appeal to your potential readers. But do be realistic – it’s a big world (wide web) out there and you won’t have time to create bespoke pitches for everyone. Better to start with two or three perfect fits than waste hours pitching wrongly to all and sundry.