As you’ll no doubt be aware, writing and syndicating content can be a powerful way to drive targeted traffic to your website over the long-term. But there are some unique challenges when you have a product-based website. How do you write the sort of non-promotional content that publishers are keen to publish — but that still drives traffic to your site?
First of all, what do I mean by a product-based website?
I am referring to any site on which you are selling product(s) that customers can purchase either for download or delivery. So you may have different pages that each focus on a different product — and it means you have to be creative when producing articles to spread the word about your business and raise your online visibility.
In my experience, most people with product-based websites initially take the wrong approach, and then wonder why they come unstuck. They assume they need to write articles that promote the exact product they have on their site, and then link to the page selling the same product in order to drive traffic.
This seems a no-brainer, but unfortunately the approach does not work for the following reason: most publishers simply don’t want to publish content that is basically an advertorial for a particular product. So while you might syndicate it, few publishers will ever want to publish it — meaning your work will be for little if any reward, and you’re denying yourself the benefit of a far more effective approach.
Instead, publishers are looking to primarily bring value to their own visitors and target audience. To get widely published on quality sites, the main focus of your writing should be to benefit them, not you.
It’s a subtle difference but, in return for this, they’re happy to link back to your site (which is how you benefit as well). It’s a mutually-beneficial partnership, where you’re effectively supplying them with enough content to warrant your own small ad at the end, commonly referred to as the bio or resource box.
So the question is, what do you write about if you can’t refer to your own products in the article body? How can you bring the benefit of your writing to publishers, and in so doing attract targeted traffic from the publishing sites back to your own?
Your aim is to write content that will attract customers who would then be interested in the product(s) you have available.
So if you sell photography equipment, you would write articles about how to take great shots, how to adjust exposure correctly, how to sell photographs and related images online, and so on. You’d attract people interested in such topics, and then at the end of the article give them the opportunity to click through to your site for more information. It’s at this point you start to develop your relationship with them, build up trust and, at some point, get the sale.
One approach may be to use the bio box – your ‘ad’ at the end of the content — to offer them a free video tutorial, or even a series of such videos, about various aspects of photography. In return for this, you’d ask for their e-mail address.
Then through continuing email follow-up with these prospects, you’ll keep your business front of mind for them. When they are looking to purchase, who are they going to think of first? That’s right — you. That’s how this type of content syndication works and becomes profitable for you.
Here’s another example of a product-based site.
Imagine you sold baby clothes, and possibly other related baby products. What audience would you be attempting to attract to your site with your content? Primarily expectant mothers and moms of babies, of course.
So your writing could offer tips or anecdotes about the experience of pregnancy and giving birth, parenthood, coping with sleep deprivation, weening, and more.
The potential topics are only limited by your imagination and ability to step into the shoes of your target market.
Think about the people you sell to. What are their concerns? Their problems? Their motivations? What are they wanting information about?
By acting as their information source — the expert in your niche — you attract your target audience, introduce them to your website, and begin the relationship.