Content marketing has been growing for over a decade now, but 2013 is proving to be its pinnacle year. Marketers are starting to realize that search and social center around content rather than the other way around, making true content marketing on and off a website a must-have discipline for companies wanting to find success online.
There are two major components to content marketing – offsite and onsite. For onsite marketing, it’s easy. You simply have to put engaging content on your website, then drive eyeballs, links, and social signals to it. Offsite content marketing is more challenging and can be extremely time consuming, but when done right it can be a beautiful thing.
One way to do it for those who are either ambitious or who run an agency tasked with marketing within a particular niche is to create a blog network. This is one of those arenas where the waters get murky. We absolutely, positively do not recommend trying anything that is intended to fool anyone, particularly Google. There are articles out there telling you to put your blog networks on different hosts, to have different author names, etc. This is bad advice. Be transparent, add value to the readers, and Google will reward you. Try to fool them and you’ll end up hurting yourself.
We have an automotive blog network of our own that we’ve been building for years. Only recently have we truly started pushing it out there more with the goal of building the best unique content for the automotive industry anywhere. We have the whole network of dozens of blogs running through the same host, working from the same WordPress theme, and with the same authors. They are all automotive experts so there is no need to try to hide it. This is a network with unique content on each. That’s how it should be.
If you are considering building a niche blog network, you can use this as a guide. We haven’t fully fleshed-out the content completely but with writers being hired and effort being put into making it great, our goal is to create something that people (and Google) will love while giving our clients the best possible boost on their own marketing through association with a strong network.