Technical content marketing tip 4: three ways to evaluate 3rd party sites for your content

In B2B technical content marketing, particularly in electronics and engineering, there’s a host of 3rd party trade media sites that welcome authoritative contributed technical articles, white papers and blog posts. Most of them are astute enough to ask for unique content because they’re aware of the tendency of search engines to downgrade duplicate content with respect to search. But creating unique content is hard work, even if the material is re-purposed from an existing article or video. So how do you decide which trade media sites to target? What criteria can you apply to judge which will be most useful for ensuring that your content gets found?

There are so many trade media sites. How do you choose where to pitch your content and what tools are available to help you evaluate them?

Here are three that will help, beyond ensuring that the topic you’re promoting is relevant to the media outlet’s audience and editorial platform:

  1. Establish what they’ll do with the content. If they are simply going to host it on their site it may or may not be found by the intended audience. But some media outlets will feature the content in their e-newsletters. It’s worth finding out if they’ll do that, how often the newsletters are sent out, and the size and relevance of the newsletter audience. It may be that your content will feature in one newsletter, or in a series of them over a significant time span. Of course, some publishers will want to charge for your piece being included in their newsletters, others will treat it as a genuine editorial contribution, which will be published free-of-charge on the website and in the newsletter.
  2. Check out the basic traffic stats for the website in question. There are numerous tools available for doing this and the free versions of many of them may be adequate for this purpose. We often use one from SimilarWeb. The free browser widget will give you one-click access to basic data about a website, including average monthly visitors over the last six months, the sources of that traffic (direct, search, social media etc.) and the geographic regions from which the traffic is generated. Alexa offers a similar browser widget that requires a free sign-up to activate it but provides the SimilarWeb data and more, including the most common keywords being used to drive traffic to the website in question.
  3. Establish the domain authority of the websites you’re evaluating. Domain authority is the Moz score that tries to predict how well a website will rank in search. It gives each site a score of 1-100 but it’s a logarithmic scale. This means that it’s relatively easy for a site to grow its domain authority from 10 to 20 but very difficult to move it from 90 to 100. Within a given media sector, it’s difficult to say what represents a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ score but most trade media sites fall into the 40 – 80 range. Clearly, if you want your content to be found in a search, having it appear on a site with high domain authority is more likely to ensure that this happens. But there’s more too it than that. If the site provides one or more backlinks to your own website within the article or blog, or just at the end of the piece, your website’s visibility in search will also be improved. And the higher the domain authority of the site linking to yours, the more valuable that backlink in SEO terms. In summary, look for sites that have high domain authority in their own right and that will give you one or more backlinks to your own. I use the MozBar widget for Chrome to determine domain authority but you can carry out the same check free-of-charge on this website.

    Analysis of traffic and domain authority for some leading B2B electronics websites published in North America. (SimilarWeb and MOZ tools.)

When you’ve done your evaluation research, you may still have to introduce an element of judgment into your decision regarding where to place your content. That’s because some of it may appear to conflict. For example, when you want to decide between pitching a blog or article to eetimes.com, a long-established B2B electronics brand published by AspenCore a subsidiary of Arrow Electronics, and allaboutcircuits.com, a more recent market entrant. eetimes.com has a domain authority of 84, which is high for a niche sector trade publication but only attracts around 1.5 million visits per month. allaboutcircuits.com appears to have over 6 million visits per month but the domain authority is significantly poorer. I suspect that’s mainly because the site has not been around so long, so there is significantly less content on there. The traffic on allaboutcircuits.com is high for a recent market entrant and is probably due to its wide appeal to both hobbyists and professional engineers. As most electronic components and technology companies want to target professionals, any analysis has to take that into account.

Search results for ‘low power wireless microcontroller’ indicate the most useful 3rd party sites for your content if you’re promoting this technology

Here are three more points worth considering:

  1. Check with your paid media people where they’re getting the best results from online advertising and advertising in e-newsletters, particularly where the advertising is closely related to the topic covered by your content.
  2. Try a simple check using the keywords that are relevant to your content and see which websites are served up on page 1 of a Google search. Incidentally, it’s best to use a browser with its history cleared to do this. Otherwise, results will be skewed by your previous searches. And if you are not located in the region where you want the content to be published, use a VPN to see how the results will appear in that region. If you’re in Europe but your audience is in the US, set your VPN so that you appear to be browsing from the US in order to get the most meaningful results, bearing in mind that your potential audience is unlikely to see exactly the same result for a host of other reasons, not least their browsing history. Here’s an example. IoT is one of the hottest topics in the industry and reducing the energy consumption at edge nodes is a critical consideration for designers. Also, many microcontrollers are now available with integrated radios, helping designers reduce system size, cost and complexity. I set up my VPN to make it appear I’m browsing from New York, cleared my Firefox browser cache and entered “low power wireless microcontroller” into Google as a search term. The results are shown in the screen grab. TI dominates for its own website and references in distributor listings and trade media sites. The top trade media sites are Electronic Design (Informa) and Embedded.com (AspenCore), both long-established websites with strong domain authority. Mouser is the leading distributor listing, again for a TI part. Incidentally, the most significant trend in the publishing industry over the last decade has been companies becoming publishers and in exceptional cases acquiring publishers, as Arrow did with AspenCore. If you sell products via distribution, your distributors may well offer the opportunity for your content to appear in their technical libraries. Here, it is as likely to be found through search as it is on many trade media sites. Mouser.com has a domain authority of 80. Amongst trade media, only EETimes, Network World (which isn’t exclusively about electronics) and IEEE Spectrum have a higher score.
  3. If you’re a content specialist, work closely with your SEO and PR specialists. Teams are so often siloed, especially in large companies. SEO and trade media relations (PR) are integral to getting your content found. As the central players in the game, content specialists can have a role to play in helping SEO techies and PR teams understand each other better. It’s something we focus on constantly at Publitek.

In response to the changing marketing communications landscape, Publitek’s business has evolved over the years. Content development, trade media relations and digital services, including SEO work and media planning/buying are all core parts of our integrated offering.  Please let us know if we can help you.

 

2018-01-30T14:48:13+00:00 January 30th, 2018|

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