By Ken McGaffin , CMO of the leading keyword research company Wordtracker.com.
Many marketers recognise that content is king and publish online guides or books for their customers – anything from road safety for children to deciding on personal pensions.
But many don’t get the results they expect and the return on investment can often been poor. Usually, that’s because they haven’t done their preparation and haven’t maximised the search engine benefits such publications can easily bring.
Here are the steps to follow.
1. Do keyword research to discover how people search
People will already be doing searches around the subject you intend to write about. Find out the keywords they are using, organise them into themes and incorporate them into your writing. You will be surprised by the breadth of words that people search with and if you incorporate them into your writing you’ll be increasing the potential traffic your publication will attract.
2. Pick out the most popular keywords and use them to find the most popular news sites
Take the most popular keywords from your lists and search for important news sites and blogs. The easiest way to do this is to search Google News and Google blog search. Sift through the results and find the most interesting sites.
Find out who’s behind these sites and the type of stories they like to publish. Start compiling a list of experts, writers and commentators. This will give you important targets for the launch of your publication.
3. Set up alerts on Google news
Set up a Google news alert for your major keywords so that you can keep abreast of the latest stories in your market. Tailor the content of your publication so that you address the major issues in your industry. Add more people to your list of experts.
4. Choose between publishing on your own domain or on a micro-site
A micro-site is often the preferred choice of the marketing department. They like the speed and the neatness of concentrating their efforts on a single idea. However, this misses out on the long term links and search engine traffic that the publication could create. Lots of links to your publication page can bring great ‘link power’ to other important pages on your main site. This will bring your main site long term benefit, usually superior to the short term impact of a micro-site
5. Map out your publication and web page structure using keywords
Before you write a word of copy, choose the title of your publication and each chapter or section heading with keywords in mind. Create a menu of keyword rich internal links that will be both meaningful to the people who read your publication and to the search engines that index it.
6. Create a ‘pre-publication’ article
At an early stage in the project, write and publish an article that is optimised for the most important keywords and make sure it is indexed by Google before you launch your publication. This creates a footprint on Google so that when you do come to launch, your potential for ranking well will be increased.
7. Write the publication
Now that all the preparation is done, actually writing the publication should be a cinch. Set a target number of words and a deadline, and stick to it.
8. Involve industry experts
The support of recognised experts in your industry can be a real boost and there are many ways to get their support (you will have course identified many experts in step 2 and 3). Ask for their opinion and get quotes that will add weight to your content.
9. Launch on multiple fronts
The launch of your publication should be carefully launched on multiple fronts. You’ll want to create a real impact so that few people in your industry will miss hearing about your publication. Here are the important steps:
· Send emails to all your internal lists
· Send announcements or press releases to the top 20-30 experts you have identified
· Send customised press releases to important publications in your industry
· Send your press release through online distribution services such as PRWeb.com in order to sweep up the journalists and media sites that your initial research may have missed.
10. Wait for the peak and then renew
Launch your publication effectively and you will see an immediate surge in web traffic. As word spreads and more web sites write about and link to your publication, your web traffic will continue to grow. However, eventually you will reach a peak and the traffic to your publication will start to fall: that’s the time to revitalise your publication. You can do this in a number of ways:
· Publish summaries of the coverage you have received concentrating on any debate that your publication stimulated. Link directly to favourable coverage.
· ‘Chop’ your publication into shorter feature articles and aim to get them published on external sites.
· Refresh your publication by adding new and useful content.
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