How to generate web traffic and sales leads from blog and article writing

Setting up your new blog seemed like a pretty good start.

You knew that writing consistent content was going to be a challenge, but you were willing to make a commitment to publishing new posts on a regular basis.

You started your blog by writing to your customers, prospects and some friends and family.  You hoped that if your content were good enough, your audience would grow steadily.

But new readers just trickled in.

You learned that developing posts around selected keyword phrases would improve your position in the search engine rankings. You discovered that you could spread the word about your blog and recent posts using social media and links back to your blog.

But still, your readership wasn’t getting any traction.

You heard stories about how some bloggers and other internet marketers were able to add hundreds or even thousands to their lists almost overnight.

So how did they do that?

What was their secret?

It’s not much a secret actually.  It’s just common sense.  They took their content to other people’s websites, blogs, newsletters and print publications.

When you write articles or posts for other organizations, you are spreading your content out to a much larger community. And if you structure it right, you should be able to bring some of those readers back to your site to become part of your community too.

This is not a new concept. Consultants and business executives have been writing articles in industry print publications for decades primarily as a way of building their reputation as leaders in their fields. This reputation-building effort would eventually produce prospects for new business.

The web has simply expanded our publishing opportunities and made the lead capture process much more efficient.

Here’s a five-step process to get your content ready by a larger audience:

1-Identify your target publications

Every industry has at least one (probably several) industry trade journals – and many are open to guest article writing. These same publications often have online websites, blogs and newsletters that also offer opportunities to contribute articles. Most likely, there are also a number of blogs that cover the industry.   Many of these will be small, struggling blogs with low readership but you may find one or two that have a significant following that make it worth your effort.

2-Reach out to the editors

Once you identify the publication, introduce yourself to the editor.  You can start with an email, but a phone call is much more personal.  Don’t feel bad if you’re told they are not accepting guest writers.  Some don’t accept them and others may already have a full stable of writers.

When you call, find out about their editorial guidelines which will give you some direction on topics, writing style and copy length.   You may be asked to write about a certain topic, but more likely, the editor will ask you to submit a list of story ideas.

(Some editors may only be interested in seeing your finished articles. In this case, you should write your article, offer it to the editor with a a deadline for a decision.  If the first editor doesn’t accept the article, shop it around to another publication.  With this approach, you will probably need to edit the finished article to meet the publisher’s editorial guidelines.)

Most editors will insist or expect that the article you are submitting is an exclusive – and that you are not offering it to others at the same time.

3-Write your article

If you get an assignment, start early and pay close attention to the guidelines. Remember to watch your grammar and spelling – the most basic elements of article writing. And make sure you meet the editor’s deadline. Above all else, make sure your article offers useful information that your readers can use. Resist the temptation to promote yourself or your company.

Although many editors prefer to write the headlines, it can’t hurt to suggest a headline or title for your article. The headline is critical to getting read because most people will glance at your headline to decide whether to read any further.

4-Create a bio box

Here you can do a little bit of self-promotion. At the end of the article, write a short bio of yourself and your company – and include a link or two back to your website. To improve response, offer a free report or some other content that will motivate people to come to your site.

Don’t be surprised if the editor already has some very specific instructions about your bio including how many links you can have.

5-Prepare your website for lead capture

Make sure every page you are linking to includes a promotion of your free report and a lead capture form. Set up your report as “gated” content meaning visitors can only access it if they give you their contact information. This means completing a sign-up form to get the report.

In developing your lead capture form, understand that the more information you require, the fewer leads you will capture. If you want to capture the most number of leads, just ask for an email address. You can ask for additional information during the follow-up process.

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This article may be republished at any time as long as it includes the full bio and associated links below.

Bob McCarthy is a marketing consultant specializing in helping companies with lead generation and lead nurturing.  He has two reports you can download:  Step by Step Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing and Making Snail Mail Work – 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy.

About Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and copywriter with a focus on direct mail, email and digital marketing. Bob works with B2B, B2C and Non-Profit clients. You can download his free ebook, "Making Snail Mail Work: 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy."

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