On-site and off-site content marketing are two halves of the same whole; it’s nearly impossible to be successful in a new content marketing campaign, or in an SEO campaign without both elements. The problem is, like most businesses, you’re operating with a limited budget and limited resources.
So what’s the optimal way to allocate resources between on-site and off-site content in your content marketing campaign?
Why You Need On-site Content
Let’s start by examining why you need each category of content, and how they’re best used. On-site content refers to all the assets that reside on your website, including your blog, and any downloadable resources you offer (like whitepapers or eBooks).
On-site content is important for:
· Conversions. All the off-site content and inbound traffic in the world won’t do much for your bottom line if you don’t have an on-site conversion strategy. Unless your business model depends on advertising impressions, you’ll need on-site content to help drive your traffic to make purchases, fill out forms, or take some other kind of meaningful action.
· Authority and retention. On-site content also helps you develop your brand as an authority in your space. When first-time visitors venture through your website, they’ll judge your brand based on the quality of content you offer. Assuming you contribute on-site content regularly, it can also help you retain your audience, so you get more recurring visitors.
· Anchor points. If you’re using off-site content to link to your site (as you should), you’ll need strong pieces of on-site content to serve as anchor points (i.e., the destinations for those links). Opting for pure homepage links isn’t going to work in your favor.
Why You Need Off-site Content
Off-site content is found on external websites, written under your brand’s name or under one of your personal brands. These include articles, interviews, guest posts, and press releases, among other types of content.
Off-site content is important for:
· Links. Links to your website usually don’t just magically appear — you need to directly build or indirectly influence them with a link building strategy. As you can probably guess, off-site content is the most efficient way to do this; publishing content on external publications with links pointing to your site helps build your domain authority, boosting your website’s organic search visibility, while also resulting in referral traffic.
· Amplification. Even if you have the best on-site content in the world, it doesn’t do much good if nobody knows it exists. In the mid- to late-stage period of your campaign’s growth, your content might be able to grow based on its own merits, but early on, it’ll likely need a jumpstart. Off-site content can provide that jumpstart, allowing you to piggyback on other publishers’ existing audiences and make a name for yourself.
· Reputation. Speaking of making a name for yourself, off-site content is one of the most powerful ways to build your reputation and become an influencer in your industry. You’ll get to network with other writers in similar positions, build connections with publishers, and ultimately connect with a much wider audience.
How Should You Divide Your Resources?
Now for the important question. Knowing that on-site and off-site content are both important for a well-rounded campaign, how should you divide your resources between the two?
1. Start with on-site content. If you’re new to the game, you’ll be glad to know there’s a clear answer for which facet of your strategy to focus on first: it has to be on-site content. On-site content, in addition to its primary benefits, also serves as a kind of resume when finding sources to host your off-site content. In other words, it’s virtually impossible to build much momentum in the off-site content realm without a strong foundation in the on-site realm. Until you’ve built up an impressive portfolio of content on your own website, external publications won’t have any reason to think your content can benefit them. Accordingly, on-site should get the majority (if not all) of your content budget to start.
2. Determine your goals to plan your future resource allocation. As an oversimplification, off-site content mainly brings more traffic to your site, while on-site content mainly makes that traffic more valuable. Accordingly, off-site content is better for scaling a marketing campaign, while on-site content is better for providing a foundation for one, and amplifying the effects of one.
3. Be consistent. Though each piece you publish has the power to influence ongoing returns, neither on-site content nor off-site content is a one-time investment. If you want to be successful in either area, you have to invest in both consistently. I recommend publishing new content to your own website multiple times a week, along with continually building relationships and giving your readers more of what they want. If you plan to focus on one side over the other, at least make sure you have a baseline commitment to the weaker side; for example, if you want to focus on off-site content, you should still contribute new on-site posts at some minimum frequency.
If you still aren’t sure how to balance your time between on-site and off-site content, you can start with an equal balance between them. Experiment to see how each side of the equation affects your overall campaign results, and make gradual tweaks until you find a balance that works for you.
For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast