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content distribution channels

How to Utilize Your Content Distribution Channels Correctly

Annie is a Content Manager at Express Writers.

Content distribution channels provide a means of connecting with your audience on a number of different levels. These channels can include (but are not limited to) blogs, web page content, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics and email newsletters. They provide a method of communicating with your audience and engaging them with your message. In order for your content distribution strategy to work properly, you need to utilize your channels at maximum efficiency.

But how exactly do you manage content distribution channels (correctly—without over-spamming anyone, or using one channel the wrong way)?

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

This old adage works well when evaluating your content distribution channels. Because of the number of available channels that you have, you should utilize at least a handful of them to get your message out to your audience. Channels such as social media networks and guest blogging opportunities are great resources since they allow you to direct your content to focus on your target audience. This ensures that you have the maximum exposure possible for your content and raises the possibility of engagement from your audience.

By delivering your content in multiple channels you allow your company to build a loyal following of customers on a number of different platforms. This gives you leverage when it comes to influencing customer decisions in the long run. Multiple channels increase the overall amount of people who are aware of your brand name and image. Once you product high-quality content consistently, you’ll be able to draw and keep an audience that agrees with your point of view and enjoys the content you create.

Too Much of a Good Thing

There is always the lurking problem of overreaching. Whilst trying to cover as many content channels as you possibly can is a good idea, you should be aware that when you cover more content channels the content quality you produce may drop. The happy balance you’re trying to seek is to produce enough good, high-quality content pieces to fit a measured amount of content channels so that you don’t sacrifice quality in the name of coverage. It’s much better to focus on a handful of channels and deliver high quality content than to try to cover the spectrum and fill all your channels with mediocre or low-quality content.

How Can I Utilize Content Channels to Boost Blog Traffic? 5 Methods

The crux of the matter is that you want to leverage your content production in order to drive traffic to your blog. Content distribution channels provide the most ideal method of directing customers to your blog through measured content that is designed to do this. When you create compelling content that makes a user want to know more, including a handy link to your blog in a call-to-action can encourage the user to visit your blog. But how does it work? Here are a handful of ways you can utilize your content channels in order to distribute content to drive your blog traffic.

  1. Guest Blogging: Guest blogging opportunities may come to you in the form of invitations to write on a topic or you can simply address the owner of the blog and ask them for a chance to guest blog for them. Guest blogging gives you a powerful method to drive traffic to your blog. It gives you ready access to an audience that is already within your niche. With the right type of compelling content and well-placed links you can direct users to read some of your own blog entries, possibly gaining new followers in the process.As a content distribution channel, guest blogging should never be discounted. It gets your message out to the people who would benefit from it the most: people within your target audience. By giving you a focused group that is already interested in your niche, it creates a simple way to distribute content efficiently and effectively to the people who would appreciate and benefit from it the most.
  1. Email Marketing: A number of marketing professionals consider email marketing to be on its last legs as a content distribution channel. I tend to disagree. Email marketing is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for someone who isn’t skilled in the area or dedicated to becoming so. Email marketing contacts your audience directly and gives them the feeling of having a direct connection to you.Email marketing is based around sharing your content through personal email addresses, inclusive of clickable links back to your blog. For many users, emails are the best way for them to keep connected to a blog that they are interested in. Many people don’t have the time to go check a blog every single day to see when updates come around. Strategic email updates to your subscribers gives them the ability to see when you’ve updated and to judge whether the content interests them enough to go read it. It’s a very efficient methodology, but requires compelling copy and high-quality content to succeed.
  1. Utilize Influencers: In any social media setting, there will obviously be a handful of individuals that are more influential than other people in the same niche. What you should be aiming to do is to get in contact with these influencers. But how do you find out which people are the ones worth contacting? Simple tools such as Followerwonk allow you to see the extent of a person’s social media outreach and allows you to target the influencers within your demographic of interest for the highest return.Utilizing influencers can be direct (emailing them or messaging them and asking them to share your content) or indirect (sharing content with them and asking their and their followers’ opinions). Both of these methods are useful in their own ways, but instead of simply leveraging the influencers, you should try to engage them. It’s much easier to get an influencer to share your content if you actually pique their interest. It’s unlikely that they’ll share content of mediocre or a low standard.
  1. Syndication: The best way to think about syndication is like guest blogging but with more added benefits. Bloggers that are adamantly against guest blogging (yes, they do exist) tend to see syndication as the solution to their major problem: The fact that your created content is generating traffic for someone else and you’re not benefiting from it as much as if it were on your own blog. What syndication does is give other sites the ability to post your blog entries as they are released. This increases your coverage whilst at the same time, gives you the initial credit for your post and the SEO/traffic statistics that you’d miss out on a guest post.There is a downside to Syndication, however. In some cases, Google may see the copy that another site has posted as the original and your copy as an imposter. This can be easily rectified by using the “Fetch as Google” feature in your Webmaster Tools. You just have to submit your URL to Google to ensure that it tags you as the original poster. Syndication gives you all the benefits of guest blogging but without the drawbacks of not owning your own content.
  1. Create a Resource Site: There are many niches that require a site that exists as a reference. In order to guarantee traffic for your blog, you can simply seek to become a reference site that everyone in your industry uses. This guarantees you traffic since your site is a valid reference that everyone in the community accepts as a citation. You might find your blog being cited in a number of posts from different blogs and articles, each of them driving content.The downside of this is that becoming an authority site takes time and no small amount of effort. To be a valid resource, your site will have to exist for quite some time and will have to be easily accessible to a number of people who would need to use it. Resource sites need to be constantly updated as new information or statistics come out. Keeping a resource site updated is no small task and can quickly swamp a small company blog. If it’s done right, however, it can be a very useful resource that is guaranteed to drive a lot of traffic to your company’s blog page.

Developing Your Content Distribution Channels For Best Results

In making the most of your content channels, you should be seeking to gain the maximum advantage that any one channel can grant to you. However, these channels do not exist in a vacuum. There is a subtle interplay between the different content channels and each can feed off the traffic from another. For example: a user on social media sees an interesting post, follows it back to your blog and then decides to become an email subscriber. Linking your content distribution channels together provides you with a system where you can keep your company or product in the user’s mind as much as possible. This translates in turn to a higher volume of customer loyalty and possibly higher traffic values. At the end of the day, your content channels are one of the most reliable ways of generating blog traffic, but only if utilized correctly.

Photo credit: violetkaipa / iStock

homepage traffic

Are People Skipping Your Homepage? Study Says Traffic is Down 17% on Law Firm Homepages

Back in the day, your homepage was your most important asset. It was the first thing visitors saw and it was what drove traffic to your business. You spent time and a lot of money constructing that perfect homepage. But, now research is saying that homepages are becoming obsolete and that single piece on the web is doing less and less for your business.

Where This is Coming From

Studies have shown that homepage traffic is on a steady and dramatic decline. As an example, NYTimes.com had less than half of their visits start on their homepage. The Wall St. Journal had 40 percent. Yahoo saw a drop too, hovering at about 24 percent for 2012, according to the National Law Review.

How This Impacts Businesses and Service Professionals

The study was focused on law firms — a group that focuses on their homepage to bring in more traffic and define their business services. So what was the result?

  • Only 39 percent of the traffic law firms received was from the homepage.
  • There is a 17 percent decrease in homepage traffic from 2012.

So What is Going On?

While these law firms are seeing a heavy decline in the number of visits to their homepage, they are still getting a lot of page views. But, these views are coming in through sideways surfing. That means that people are finding their site via other pages on the web and visiting the law firm. The two things that are increasing the sideways surfing not just for law firms, but for all professional services are social media and content marketing.

So My Homepage is Useless Then?

No, never. A homepage is still important for your website and your brand. Just because the number of visitors you’re getting aren’t through the front door doesn’t mean you should throw out the homepage or ignore it all together. People who sideways surf do eventually make their way to your homepage, so you still need to put some effort into that. The homepage is also the most tracked page you’ll ever have on your website. So ignoring it means you could be missing traffic in the future.

But, with these numbers on the decline, it’s time to see where all of the traffic is coming from and how using that sideways surfing to your advantage could increase your website’s traffic.

It’s All About the Blog

Blogs are heavy hitters when it comes to traffic these days. Every blog you post is an opportunity for someone to find your site. It acts like a landing page and when visitors see it, they can be compelled to stay on your site and learn more. Look at your blogs as landing pages. They are there to attract and convert people into customers. If you have 20 blogs posted on your site, you now have 20 landing pages that give internet users another way to find your site. If you have 200 or more, you have even more opportunities for people to find you. Imagine the possibilities!

Wait, before you go out and write 200 blogs, you need to realize that a blog isn’t an automatic traffic lifter. You have to use your blog right and market it effectively to really harness the power of these potential landing pages.

Create a Style and Tone That Matches Your Business

The content you put on your blog ultimately determines the personality you portray to your readers. If you are a professional service provider, getting cheeky and cute in your blogs doesn’t really speak to your professionalism, now does it? But, that also doesn’t mean you need to be so technical and boring that you put the readers to sleep either. Strike a balance between what you do and your own personality. Search Engine Journal recommends really speaking to the reader as if they are a friend or family member. This technique makes it a little easier to write in a conversational style. So, if you are writing on law topics — say the effects of a DUI — discuss those effects as if you were telling your niece or brother.

The audience you’re writing for is the only concern here. You know your ideal client or customer — including their age, gender, income, etc. — so you have to write something that appeals to them. Before you write any blog posts, identify your style and tone. It is crucial that you keep that same style and tone throughout your content. If you’re flopping back and forth, readers will see the inconsistencies and never know what to expect from you in the future — and that’s not a good thing.

Post Consistently

Now, we have told you that 200 blogs is a great way to generate more traffic, because that is 200 ways in to your website. But, don’t you dare go and post 200 blogs today. Flogging the system won’t get your blog and website anywhere. You need to set up a content schedule first. This outlines what topics you’ll cover, how you will cover them and most importantly, when you will write them.

The jury is out on how many blog posts a person should release each week or month. While some say you should post consistently each day, others say a blog post per week is just fine. Daily posts do, however, help you get into the groove of writing and help set you up for a consistent routine. When you post daily, your readers know that they can log in or expect an email update from your website on a daily basis. That means your readers will keep coming back for more, because they know there is always a blog post there to see.

But, daily posting also has its downsides. It is easy to burn out or run out of topics when you post 7 days a week. Also, when you post daily, your readers could burnout as well. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with a constant flow of informant hitting them daily. They might take a few days off just to digest everything they have read so far, and when readers stop visiting, the chances of them not coming back in the future increase too.

Okay, So How Often Do I Post? The key isn’t how many blogs per week or month — it is just keeping it consistent. If you are going to post a blog every single day, then keep doing so. You don’t want your readers to come back only to realize you aren’t keeping up with the schedule. You need to be consistent and predictable when it comes to your blogging schedule. So, sit down and really think about how often you want to post and what you want to commit to before you start doing it. If you can’t keep up with daily posting, but want to keep offering daily tidbits, you might want to look into outsourcing to keep it moving.

Be Engaging, Playful and Keep Readers Interested

No matter how often you blog, it can be hard to keep your readers engaged. But, engagement is crucial if you want people to stick around on your blog and website long enough to see what else you have to offer. Some ways to engage your readers could include:

  • Using catchy, sometimes even controversial headlines. This makes people stop and think “did he really just go there?”
  • Use a lot of visuals. There is nothing worse than a wall of text to read — or should we say nothing more boring. You need to break up the text with visuals that correlate with the text. Use video, Infographic, anything colorful and pretty to help make it a little easier to read.
  • Add a poll or open up a debate. This is a great way to get more comments on your blog too!

Market Your Blog and Drive More Traffic

Now that you know what to do with your blog to increase your website’s traffic, now it is time to get more traffic to your blog. Yes, the more posts you have the more likely search engines will find and recommend your site, but that doesn’t mean you need to skip marketing those blogs. Mashable has some great, Google-friendly tips for increasing traffic to your website the right way.

  1. Use Realistic, Long Tail Keywords – While keywords aren’t as important, long tail keywords are the things people are searching for. Mashabe recommends using a tool called HitTail, which helps you create long tail keywords.
  2. Stick With It – Your blog and your website isn’t going to get instant traffic overnight, even if you have 200 or more blog posts out there. The longer you stick with it and continue to deliver excellent content, the more traffic you will get to your website. Keep it going for a few months — some experts even say it could take up to a year to get significant traffic numbers.
  3. Optimize – Use keywords and optimize the headers and body of your blogs.
  4. Use Links – Ethical link building is still a great way to increase traffic to your website. Link to high-quality vendors and other blogs in your niche. Just try to not link to the competition — if they have a better site you might have just handed them your next customer.
  5. Offer Value – Your blog is a place people are going free advice, so give it to them. Don’t be cryptic or give them a little bit and then follow up with requiring them to hire you to hear more – that won’t get you anywhere. Offer real value and information in every single post you put out.
  6. Don’t Ignore Social Media –Promote every single blog post that you have on social media like LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. These are great ways to increase your traffic and boost your brand recognition.
  7. Quality, Quality, Quality – If your content is riddle with typos, grammatical errors or spelling issues, people aren’t going to take you seriously. Can you blame them? Quality is key when creating blog content. And, when you have high-quality posts, Google will reward you.
  8. Encourage Experts to Post on Your Blog – Yes, you are an expert in your field, but there are other experts out there too. For example, if you have a law blog, why not have a featured guest post from a former attorney, judge or someone in the same industry that can offer insight and give your readers something else to take away?

So What Have We Learned Today?

You’ve learned a lot today about how your blog can complement your website. But, let’s do a quick summary to make sure you take it all home.

  • Homepages aren’t as important. Yes, but remember they still matter. While the traffic on your homepage might be decreasing, that doesn’t mean people won’t see your homepage. You still need quality content on your homepage for those that find it.
  • Blogs are driving more traffic to your website. Your blogs are individual landing pages and the more you have, the more likely people are to find your site.
  • Spend time writing the blogs you publish. Don’t just throw up 100 blog posts and hope for the best. Put some time and effort into your blogs. You want high quality, relevant posts that really speak to your target audience and keep them engaged.
  • Market your blog the right way. There’s no point in using blogs to increase your website traffic if people take one look at your blogs and run. Take your time making something people want to come back and read again.

Having a great blog is a start for increasing your site’s traffic. It can help make your website viral, promote brand awareness, and most importantly, help your organization grow. Harness the power of your blog and get posting — you might be surprised at how much more traffic you receive just by posting a blog a week.

 

 

website traffic

5 Ways to Get More Success in Web Traffic Without Building Paid Links

Who’s honestly not afraid of the Penguin? In 2012, Google decided to release one of the most terrifying algorithm updates that makes us watch our backs every single time we post or update content on our website. The Penguin, Google’s radical algorithm change targeted websites that featured overly optimized anchor texts stuffed with keywords, dubious link profiles and shady link building strategies. All in all, the not so cute Penguin made us change our perception of endorsement.

Penguin – The Algorithm Update That Makes Us Look at Endorsement from a Different Perspective

In online environments, we are actually permitted and sometimes even encouraged to pay a popular celeb to promote our products on his/her social media channels, but we aren’t allowed to beg, pray or pay for links coming from other sources. Now does this make any sense? It does, actually. Google has always been striving to ensure a flawless web experience for all Internet users.

According to Search Engine Watch, this is the main reason why it does everything in its power to sniff, signal and ban any kind of black hat strategy rolled out by webmasters whose sole purpose is to manipulate search engine results to their best advantage.

To begin with, Google scared the SEO out of us with its Penguin algorithm update designed and implemented to penalize websites that promoted low-quality content. These websites did not do any favors to readers looking for quality information; they just represented a cheap and convenient moneymaking machine for most business owners who did not plan to optimize their content strategies anytime soon. Fortunately, the mighty Penguin made them reconsider. Shortly after Penguin buried many webmasters 6 feet under the ground, Google decided to focus its entire attention of manipulative, unnatural inbound links. According to Moz, the types of inbound links that can ruin your friendship with Google can be separated into different categories:

  • Paid links
  • Links with overly optimized anchor texts
  • Links coming from low-quality webpages
  • Links coming from sources that are not relevant to your business
  • Keyword stuffed links

3 Reasons Why Paid Links Are the Forbidden Fruit That Should Be Left in the Tree

If you don’t want to upset Google, it is highly recommended to invest time, money and energy in your content strategy, rather than trying to come up with a counterproductive tactic based on paid links. You may be wondering: why are paid links bad in the first place? Google doesn’t like them much for a number of reasons:

1)      Paid Links Are a Form of Cheating. Basically, when you buy links, you pay to help your own page rank higher in search engine results. In other words, you defy Google’s rules and guidelines and put a certain amount of money on the table to see your website on page 1 in Google. Ultimately, you get bonus points from search engines that will consider you a relevant, popular, trustworthy source even if this is not the case.

2)      Your Practice Stops Search Engines from Delivering Relevant Results. If all people were to pay to see their website occupy a privileged position in search engine results, how could Google, Bing and Yahoo manage to display relevant, quality results that users are actually interested in finding?

3)      Bad Linking Strategies Don’t Help Your Readers. On the contrary, paid links that have no value whatsoever annoy and bore your readers to death, so this is one extra reason why you should avoid them.

5 Ways to Boost Your Website Traffic without Relying on Paid Links

Instead of investing your resources in deceptive optimization tactics, try to stay in Google’s good graces and increase your website traffic rapidly and risk-free. Here are 5 simple ways to attain your goal without jeopardizing your relationship with Google:

1)      Maximize the Satisfaction of Your Readers. Moz points out that Google may measure satisfaction every single time users click on a certain page. So the question is this: does your website have what it takes to keep your readers on your side for the longest period of time? If the answer is no, find out what you have been doing wrong this whole time and discover the simplest method to correct your mishap. Update you content, add calls to action, change you tone/writing style, cultivate the feedback of your readers and make sure the topics that you expand one actually address their needs, demands and concerns.

    • Also, don’t neglect social media marketing opportunities. Improve your social media presence the easy way. Create and publish premium web content enabling you to interact with your fans and followers on some of the most important social media platforms.

2)      Proper Video Optimization. A picture is worth a thousand words, but since the online environments have become increasingly competitive, you’ll need more than a great pic to convince users to click on your website. In this case, a video snippet could serve your best interest by stimulating the curiosity of your readers and proving that you are a first-class source of information that is counting on killer multimedia content to stay relevant.

3)      Google Authorship (Plus an Awesome Photo of Yourself). Many webmasters are dealing with the same problem: they don’t know that online businesses have to establish real relationships with members of their targeted audience. Since not all the info available online is 100% accurate, users must find a way to separate quality content from written trash. To simplify their process, they take a closer look at the original source. Who is the mighty content creator? You are! In this case, highlight your authority and build credibility and trust by counting on Google Authorship. This way, a short, relevant description and a great photo of yourself will be listed at the beginning of you articles. While you’re going down this road, make sure you rely on a few basic elements guaranteeing your success:

    • Opt for a picture revealing a real face, not a cartoon character
    • Go for high-contrast hues that will make your pic noticeable
    • Post a photo that is audience-targeted: a photo of someone looking like a respectable financial advisor is certainly not the best pick if you want to convince teenage girls to click on your website and buy fashion jewelry.

4)      Update Your Content. This is a good strategy that will also help you increase your website traffic. Create new, stellar content and update the old one regularly to attain your optimization goals. Google interprets freshness in different ways, based on several criteria, including your changes to important and unimportant web content, how many new pages you create over a certain period of time and how often you update your content.

5)      Industry-Specific Websites. OK, so you have finally reached the conclusion that you shouldn’t buy links. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get listed on industry-specific sites. Approach the webmasters and ask them to support your optimization efforts. They will most likely include you, especially if you are a relevant player in your industry and your content is fresh, engaging and rich in information.

These 5 simple methods can help you increase website traffic without relying on paid links. After all, why pay for something that will eventually go against you when you can redirect your resources towards a world class content strategy that will boost your profits, online visibility and your competitive edge without upsetting Google?