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Content Sites are Great Marketing Tools
By S. Housley

Highly targeted, focused sites that are related to specific
market segments are highly advantageous and can often be
created using existing web content. The key is to provide
value. 

Think of the time spent surfing the web gathering resources
and information. By creating a topic-centric resource
compiling information, webmasters are providing a service or
value. In many cases that value is simply the compilation of
topic-specific information in a single resource. The
compilation of this information in itself is the value. 

These highly focused content sites can be great supplemental
portals that are invaluable as a marketing tool for niche
products. Niche portals help define expertise in a specific
market segment, not to mention the added benefit of
providing valuable topic-specific links. The topic-centric
portals also tend to achieve high search placement and will
often provide advertisers high quality exposure, allowing
webmasters the opportunity to capitalize on their efforts. 

What to put in topical portal?

ARTICLES

Many article writers allow webmasters to republish their
articles. 

Search the large article directories for quality
topic-specific articles using keyword searches. The articles
contained in these directories often allow publishers to
freely reproduce the article's contents as long as the
hyperlinks in the article and article resource box remain
intact. 

Resource for finding articles for publication:
GoArticles - http://www.goarticles.com


RSS FEEDS
By nature, RSS feeds are designed for syndication. Most RSS
feeds can be freely reproduced. Locate topic-specific feeds
using keyword or category searches. The contents of the
feeds can be used to populate web pages. There are a number
of free scripts available that allow webmasters to display
the contents of an RSS feed (see
http://www.rss-specifications.com/displaying-rss-feeds.htm
for instructions on displaying feeds). 

Resources for finding RSS feeds for syndication:
RSS Network - http://www.rss-network.com
RSS Locator - http://www.rss-locator.com


LINK DIRECTORY
While this takes a little more time, compiling a collection
of niche websites on related topics can significantly
enhance the value of a portal. Topic-specific directories
and search engines can achieve high search engine rankings
with the larger engines like Google and MSN, and can easily
be optimized for a collection of search terms. The process
can even be automated if you have programming experience.

Sample Link Directory - http://www.investing-partners.com


TOPIC SPECIFIC FORUM
The most successful forums are those that are highly focused
and niche-oriented. Establishing a community of individuals
with common interests will result in return visitors.
Managing a forum is not overly complex and there are free
forum scripts available that will provide the forum
structure. Many of the forums have scripts available that
will allow for search engines to spider the contents and
forum posts. As the content flourishes, the site will
increase in value. 

Free Forum Scripts: http://www.phpbb.com

More on topic-specific portals or information radars can be
found in Robin Good's book 'Newsmastering'. 
http://www.masternewmedia.org/reports/newsmasterstoolkit/

A site that is focused on a relatively narrow range of goods
and services will find that there is less competition.
Topic-centric websites that provide a gateway to niche
information related to a particular industry, sector, topic
or market segment are becoming increasingly valuable and
popular. Compiling the resource using free resources will
minimize the capital investment. Regardless of whether you
are marketing a product, service or advertising, narrowing
the topic focus will attract a targeted audience who
genuinely are interested in the website topic, allowing you
to monetize the portal, and minimize the expense. 

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing,
publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon
manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net a
wireless text messaging software company.