The constant evolution of the online world provides almost limitless opportunities for SMEs to grow their business – I discuss some of them here in my blog posts. Here, however, I’d like to talk about online article writing.
Often neglected by SMEs, online article writing is a powerful tool that can drive customers straight to your business. It’s simple to do (you don’t have to be a writer), it’s an effective marketing strategy and, best of all, all it’ll cost you is an hour or two of your time.
By sharing your industry/skill-specific knowledge online you create presence and authority and engage the very people who are likely to buy your products or use your services. When that happens, casual browsers become customers!
One of the easiest ways to cash in on this growing area of online marketing is to write “How To” guides on subjects you know something about.
You can do this by writing blogs on your own site (something I’ll cover in another post) but many SMEs still don’t have a website – something Soup Digital is trying to change. The alternative is to post your How To guides on content aggregation sites. These sties love posting your content – after all, that’s why they exist – and they have the advantage of greater levels of traffic, viral elements, search engine optimisation and advertising budget than you might have access to via your own site.
Articles and How to Use Them
An article is an informative piece of writing specific to your expertise (building, cooking, marketing etc.) which you submit to a content aggregation site such as www.howto.yellow.co.nz (you can check out Soup’s submission here).
Sites such as New Zealand’s Yellow How To have been set up to provide useful, straightforward advice or information to the public. And they’re great for SMEs because they allow you to contribute content and catch the attention of potential customers. This model is something that has taken off big time in the US with the advice content king eHow. Typically, such sites hold thousands of helpful articles – from making your car more fuel efficient, to finding the best travel deal, to how to break up with a spouse.
Don’t Go for the Hard Sell
When writing your article you’ll have a better chance of convincing your readers you genuinely want to help them if you don’t go for the hard sell. The quickest way of losing a potential customer is to blatantly mention your business over and over again.
Make your article informative. Help your reader with a problem he or she has. These are the ways you’ll generate goodwill and market presence. By positioning yourself as an authority in your field you’ll already have hooked your customer. All you need to reel them in is to mention your company once or twice (definitely no more) in the article and provide a link to your website.
If you don’t have a website try linking to your Google Maps page, Yellow listing page, Finda listing page etc. at the end of your How To article.
Video – a Powerful Accompaniment
If you have the ability to create a video you can submit it to the content site along with your article. If the site only allows for You Tube or Vimeo embedding, rather than direct upload, the easiest thing to do is to set up your own channel on You Tube, then just upload the video and use their HTML embed code to embed it in your article (as shown in the video below).
Creating a You Tube channel for your How To videos is also a great way of syndicating your content/advice virally. Just remember to use the video editing software to include your business contact details.
Give a Little, Get a Lot
Some businesses worry that by providing How To information they might, in fact, lose customers. Stop worrying! In the long run this won’t happen. While you may save someone from calling your business to fix a very basic plumbing problem, say, when it comes to something only a qualified tradesman can deal with you’ll be front of mind – after all, weren’t you those great guys who provided that money-saving article last time?
Don’t be afraid to share your information, but be strategic about it. Think of your How To articles as teasers that will entice future customers and build trust – investments that will pay off handsomely a little further down the road.
Brought to you by: Soup Digital www.soupdigital.co.nz
Growing small to medium businesses online.
Learn about embedding video code in your articles with this video.