The following sections delve more deeply into different types of content marketing campaigns. Each has many complex nuances to it, and each can represent a substantial investment. For each strategy you contemplate, plan on investing some time to learn how to do it well. Chances are pretty good that you will make many mistakes along the way.
We refer to an article as a guest post when it is published on a third-party site’s blog or news feed. Guest posts are also referred to as bylined articles. There is a way to implement guest posting properly, but be aware that many SEO practitioners have abused the practice.
Success depends on creating great content, finding authoritative third-party sites and developing a trusted relationship with them, and then asking them if they would be interested in publishing your content.
Many authoritative sites accept bylined articles. But, as with all things SEO, there is a way to implement this strategy improperly. This led Google’s Matt Cutts to write a post on his site declaring that guest blogging for SEO is dead, “so stick a fork in it”:
Create high-quality, differentiated content
There is already a lot of content on the Web, and you can find some content on almost any conceivable topic. As an example, consider for the search query intitle:“mortgage tips”.
This query requires the exact phrase “mortgage tips” to appear within the
Creating high-quality, differentiated content can present quite a challenge, and one key aspect of success is that you either need to be an expert yourself, or employ/retain an expert to help you. Hiring a writer who knows nothing about your topic and asking him to write an article for you in two hours will not produce content that draws highquality links. Only an expert can truly recognize what aspects of a topic are unique, and what type of content would bring special value to your target audience.
You want to get published on authoritative sites. As shown earlier, many sites accept bylined submissions, including some of the most well-known sites on the Web. While PageRank as it was originally defined is not what the search engines use to determine the value of the link, it still teaches us an important lesson: a link from a high-quality site can be worth 1,000, 10,000, or even 100,000 times more than a poor-quality site.
In addition, links from poor-quality sites can even be harmful to you. We will discuss this more in Chapter 9. When you first start out, you may not be able to convince the higher-authority sites in your niche to accept bylined articles from you, but getting on those sites should still be your objective—you may just need to do it in stages. You can think of this as climbing a ladder.
The concept is to start at the highest level you can. Based on your current visibility and reputation, you may need to start with Tier 3 sites, post there for a while, establish some credibility, and then start trying to get published on Tier 2 sites, as you can now point to the Tier 3 sites where you have already been published. This process may take many months.
Continue publishing on Tier 2 sites for some time, perhaps six months, and then consider trying to reach out to the Tier 1 sites. Be patient throughout this entire process: it takes time. When you first try to move up to the next tier, you may not be accepted. All of this requires that you are publishing high-quality articles throughout the entire process and are measuring your engagement to make sure you are performing well with the content you are publishing. Developing that track record is a key part of success.