A week ago, while I was perusing some marketing forums, I found a thread about the effectiveness of article marketing today. Halfway through the thread, there was a post about which one was better – article marketing or guest blogging.
Benefits of Guest Blogging
For me, I have found guest blogging is definitely more effective in getting traffic back to my site, as well as getting links on pages that are usually guaranteed future PageRank. Why is guest blogging more successful for these two purposes?
1) Guest blog posts usually stay on the homepage longer.
Unless you are guest blogging for sites that produce several articles a day, like Mashable, your guest blog post is likely going to be on the homepage for a while. On this site, posts are usually on the homepage for at least two days, whereas sites that only post once a day will likely have your post on the homepage for a week.
Articles on article directories, on the other hand, will likely not make the first page unless it is featured, or the site posts latest articles on their homepages. But chances are, with the volume of articles that a directory receives, even those will not stay on the homepage for that long.
2) Blogs have their own subscriber base.
Most blogs have their own subscribers, meaning there are people that will get every post on that blog delivered to their email or their RSS reader. Plus, there are subscribers who follow blogs on social networks – they will see the blog’s latest posts through the blog’s Twitter stream, Facebook page, Stumble shares, and so on.
When it comes to article directories, some do offer RSS feeds for particular categories or, if you’re lucky, you might have someone who follows your articles directly through your own RSS feed. The latter is likely to have fewer followers than a blog though.
3) Blog posts are promoted by both the poster and the blog itself.
What really separates guest blog posts from articles is the promotion. Whenever a blogger places a guest post on their site, it is in their interest to promote the post to their network to drive traffic to their site. The guest blogger (9 out of 10 times) will likely be promoting their guest post to their network as well. This will drive two different follower bases to the post, leading to much more social sharing (assuming the content is good).
Article directories generally do not promote articles, with exception to featured articles, due to the high volume of articles being posted daily. Many article writers, especially if they are mass producing articles, generally do not promote their articles either.
4) Guest blog guidelines are usually stricter than those on an article directory.
Bloggers typically have higher standards (or guest blogging guidelines) when it comes to what they will allow as guest posts on their site. They want more words, photos, resourceful links, and sometimes even fully formatted posts ready to drop into WordPress. And because they do not receive a high volume of guest post submissions (in comparison to the number of articles entered daily on popular article directories), the blog owner will spend more time reviewing the submission and is likely not to accept anything that does not meet their high standards.
Article directories typically have a shorter article length requirement, and many do not allow pictures, links or other embedded content – just text. So long as your article doesn’t set off any automated checks in their computer system, lower quality articles will get approved easily. And, of course, if the article content itself is lower quality, it is less likely to get featured by the article directory or promoted by others.
5) Networking opportunities created by guest blogging.
One major benefit of guest blogging over for article writing is the networking opportunities and relationship you build. If you produce great content for a guest post on a blog, the blog owner will probably be very appreciative, especially if it does well.
How does this help you in your link building efforts? Simple – it the blog owner owns other sites, you have a prime opportunity of getting featured on those as well.
An example of this happened just recently. I was emailing different infographic gallery sites to suggest inclusion of a fun, animated SEO infographic that visually explains quality link building and PageRank value.
One of the infographic sites got back to me surprisingly fast – it turned out the owner also runs a blog that I regularly contribute articles to. They added the infographic I suggested the same day in a new post!
Making Article Marketing More Effective
Now that you know some of the benefits of guest blogging over article marketing, what can you do to make your articles just as valuable as guest blog posts?
1) Write higher quality articles to get featured.
Do a little research to see which articles get featured on the article directory you are submitting to, preferably in your category. Or look at some expert blogs on your topic – Postrank, for example, will give you the top blogs on almost any subject. Writing better content will make it more likely that a directory will find it valuable and feature it on the homepage and even tweet it (which would be great on EzineArticles, since they have almost 60,000 followers).
2) Get involved with the article directory’s community.
After providing great content, another way to get featured is to get votes and comments from other members of the article directory’s community. Did you know that HubPages and Squidoo allow you to follow other users as well as interact in forums and answers? EzineArticles also has their own forums. Interacting in these forums and with other members will most likely lead to opportunities to promote your article (especially in the forums, be sure that your article answers a question that another member asks before promoting it). Squidoo also offers “Squidcasts” so you can send a message to all of your followers about your latest articles, or lenses.
3) Promote your articles.
Social promotion of your articles on article directories is likely to get your article more exposure, especially if you are networking with other article writers on your preferred article directories. Find people on Twitter and Facebook that would be interested in the topic you write about and connect with them. Be sure to interact with them often (by retweeting their posts, answering their questions, liking their links, etc.) so that they will get to know you better and would be then likely to promote your content with their network as well.
Another way to promote your article directory submissions is by blog commenting – you can either leave the link to your article as your website URL (assuming the site doesn’t have a comment policy against deep links) or use blogs that CommentLuv enabled to get a link to your author bio and to your latest article.
4) Build links to your articles.
Along with building links to your articles via blog commenting, there are other ways to build links to your articles.
- There are independent directories where you can submit articles from Squidoo, HubPages, and other site’s articles.
- Some Squidoo lenses allow you to add your lens links to theirs – just Google your keyword “add to this list” site:squidoo.com.
- If your HubPage fits well with another, you can leave a link to it in your comment on another hub (this borders link/comment spamming – be sure your hub really adds value to the hub you are commenting on).
- Assuming the article directory hasn’t been banned, you can bookmark your article on social sites such as Delicious, Digg, and other social bookmarking networks.
- If the article directory has an author RSS feed, you can submit your author feed to RSS submission sites.
5) Connect with top article writers.
Going back to getting involved with the article directory community, be sure to also try to network with some of the top article writers on the site. Getting in good with other writers may help you get your article get linked in one of theirs as well, giving you exposure on top rated articles on a particular network.
Even a friendly link request to another author can pan out successfully. After writing an article on how to promote Squidoo lenses, I messaged a few related lens writers to suggest mine as a good resource for their readers, which resulted in getting a dofollow link on an existing PR 4 lens on SEO tips.
Using these techniques will help your articles become more powerful in terms of ratings, rankings, and traffic.
Your Article Marketing vs. Guest Blogging Strategy
What do you find more beneficial for driving traffic and building links to your website – article marketing or guest blogging? What other tips can you think of to help promote your articles on directories to make them more valuable?