Free Articles And Content Resources For Online Niche Web Sites
If you've spent any time online trying to promote your Web site or online business, you must have likely realized that one of the most effective ways to augment your credibility, authority, visibility, prestige and reach on a long term basis is to write your own research articles and freely distribute them to independent publishers, newsletter editors and major Web sites along with your one paragraph bio/credit line and a clear link back to your Web site.
Photo credit: Melissa Ramirez
The reasons why this free sharing marketing strategy is so effective include the following:
a) "Rich and relevant content" is the most important asset to cultivate and nurture in order to build an online presence capable of sustaining itself through the provision of valuable info to its readers.
b) Rich and relevant content is the one secret asset most small online business and virtual entrepreneurs keep hiding. By exposing the best and most unique and relevant content to your potential customers, even your small organization can increase its marketing thrust, prestige and credibility enormously.
c) The so-called knowledge economy is driven by information and solution-providers not by mere distributors of physical goods.
d) Information wants to be free. On the Web, people expect to be able to read, consult and use what you have to offer without paying for it. While this may be offered only up to a certain extent you must bow to the ruling paradigm: share before you sell.
e) Prospective customers are actively seeking for solutions to their problems and to their communication and learning needs. By providing rich and valuable content online your company can gain prospective customer loyalty even before selling products or services to them, while significantly increasing its credibility and competence in the field.
f) It's totally FREE.
g) It does increase your ranking inside search engines and it can significantly raise your Google PageRank (a popularity and authority indicator that can be gauged by installing the Google Toolbar in your browser) once people start to link back to your quality content.
Highly targeted, focused sites that are related to specific market segments are highly advantageous and can often be created using existing web content. The key is to provide value via the offer of great, high-quality content.
(extracted from: Content Sites are Great Marketing Tools by Sharon Housley - a freely distributed article)
Think of the time spent surfing the web gathering resources and information. By creating a topic-centric resource compiling information, webmasters are providing a service or value.
In many cases that value is simply the compilation of topic-specific information in a single resource. The compilation of this information in itself is the value.
These highly focused content sites can be great supplemental portals that are invaluable as a marketing tool for niche products.
Niche portals help define expertise in a specific market segment, not to mention the added benefit of providing valuable topic-specific links.
The topic-centric portals also tend to achieve high search placement and will often provide advertisers high quality exposure, allowing webmasters the opportunity to capitalize on their efforts.
But what to put in topical portal?
Many article writers allow webmasters to republish their articles.
Search the large article directories for quality topic-specific articles using keyword searches. The articles contained in these directories often allow publishers to freely reproduce the article's contents as long as the hyperlinks in the article and article resource box remain intact.
Resource for finding articles for publication:
GoArticles - http://www.goarticles.com
By nature, RSS feeds are designed for syndication. Most RSS feeds can be freely reproduced. Locate topic-specific feeds using keyword or category searches. The contents of the feeds can be used to populate web pages. There are a number of free scripts available that allow webmasters to display the contents of an RSS feed (see http://www.rss-specifications.com/displaying-rss-feeds.htm for instructions on displaying feeds).
Resources for finding RSS feeds for syndication:
RSS Network - http://www.rss-network.com
RSS Locator - http://www.rss-locator.com
While this takes a little more time, compiling a collection of niche websites on related topics can significantly enhance the value of a portal. Topic-specific directories and search engines can achieve high search engine rankings
with the larger engines like Google and MSN, and can easily be optimized for a collection of search terms. The process can even be automated if you have programming experience.
Sample Link Directory - http://www.investing-partners.com
TOPIC SPECIFIC FORUM
The most successful forums are those that are highly focused and niche-oriented. Establishing a community of individuals with common interests will result in return visitors. Managing a forum is not overly complex and there are free forum scripts available that will provide the forum structure. Many of the forums have scripts available that will allow for search engines to spider the contents and forum posts. As the content flourishes, the site will increase in value.
Free Forum Scripts: http://www.phpbb.com
More on topic-specific portals or news radars can be found in Robin Good's book 'The RSS Newsmaster's Toolkit'.
A site that is focused on a relatively narrow range of goods and services will find that there is less competition. Topic-centric websites that provide a gateway to niche information related to a particular industry, sector, topic or market segment are becoming increasingly valuable and popular.
Compiling the resource using free content will minimize the capital investment. Regardless of whether you are marketing a product, service or advertising, narrowing the topic focus will attract a targeted audience who genuinely are interested in the website topic, allowing you to monetize the portal, and minimize the expense.
Robin Good additions:
- The Creative Commons search engine Find is an amazing treasure trove of great content already tagged for re-use (commercial and non-commercial) that has no equivalent. Highly recommended.
- Yahoo Advanced Search also contain anm extremely useful search option that allows to filter inside search results only Creative Commons licensed content.
- If you are not familiar with the Creative Commons licensing scheme please look into: http://creativecommons.org/license/
- There is also a number of YahooGroups supporting the promotion and distribution of free articles.
- A great extensive list of free content resources that I have personally researched and pulled together in the past is available here.
- And for additional public-domain resources, I suggest to check out this book: The Public Domain: How to Find Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art &
More (by Attorney Stephen Fishman)
Original free article: Content Sites are Great Marketing Tools by Sharon Housley.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage a wireless text messaging software company.
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