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The brutal mugging of the trade press at the hands of the Internet has meant fewer opportunities to place news story or opinion pieces. A recent post by Katherine Griwert at the Content Marketing Institute shows how to attract prospects to your site by publishing industry news on your own.

She cites security-as-a-service provider ProofPoint Inc., which faced challenges I often see with my clients. ProofPoint needed more content to boost their search ranking, their customers “weren’t always responsive when we ask what they want to learn and there’s only so much one can add to a site’s core products section,” said Director of Market Development Keith Crosley.

In response, ProofPoint added industry news to an existing white paper and weekly blog strategy, and assigned internal writers to generate ideas for articles based on news about around issues such as “data loss prevention” and “email security.” Results included a page rank that matches that of companies with several times its revenue, with organic search traffic rising 18 percent quarter over quarter, and news-related posts generating thousands of unique page views among organic search visitors.

Not Just News, Commentary

As Griwert points out, just re-posting industry news won’t draw as many readers (or impress your prospects) as much as explaining to them why it is important or telling them what they should do in response to it.  (For more on when and how to add value to content, read my ebook.)

For proof, look to cloud-based phone provider ShoreTel Sky, which found a 42 percent higher conversion rate among site visitors who read news content than those who read product promotional content. One of their tactics was to report on a story about what doesn’t belong in the cloud, and then explain why phone systems like theirs do belong in the cloud. This is a favorite tactic of mine: Gain instant credibility by admitting the weaknesses of your approach and explaining, by contrast, where it works best.

Other good ways to turn raw headlines from the Web into good content:

Explain why the reader should care: What trend does it illustrate, what opportunity does it uncover, and which dangers does it warn about? For example: “This wave of ‘software-defined storage’ announcements shows how much confusion there is around the term. This is an early-stage industry that promises great benefits, but needs to shake out before it is real.”

 Explain what the reader should do: “When reading about `software-defined storage’ be sure to look past the buzzword and ask how each offering meets your specific needs, such as scalability, availability and avoiding a single point of failure.”

 Explain what the original story missed and how that affects the reader: “Each of these announcements talk about software-defined storage without integrating it to the broader  software-defined data center. What good is software-defined storage if it’s a silo I need to manage apart from my servers and storage?”

 Expand on the story/explain the trend with an anecdote:  “I was talking with a client the other day who said `software defined storage’ is B.S. He says it’s nothing but a fancy term for storage virtualization, which has never proved its worth. This got me thinking about where we fell short with storage virtualization and where the industry needs to go from here…”

 And how do you tie the stories you write to the products or services you sell? The answer: Only when it’s justified. If in doubt, deliver smarts and insight to your readers, not a drumbeat about your most recent product release. When your product or service is a natural fit for a post, story, mention its advantages briefly with a link to an offer page, but don’t overdo it.

For example, here’s how I would do it for this post: If you’d like an editor’s help developing news content or an editorial calendar for your site, feel free to be in touch.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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