Identifying the influencers in your niche is important for many reasons.
You can follow those publishers to get a handle on what stories are trending, how your competitors are successfully reaching your audience, and when the best times are to share stories.
You can also follow those publishers to get ideas for your own content, such as by taking alternative viewpoints, writing about a related subject, or exploring a more narrow focus of a subject.
You can also work to build partnerships with those publishers so that you can grow your influence.
First, you need to find out who the top publishers in your niche are.
Results will vary by niche, but we have rounded up our picks for the top 10 US online publishers across categories.
The New York Times
The Gray Lady has long been the top newspaper in the country, and it has handled the transition to online publishing with the same authority.
The New York Times continues to offer the same high quality of content even among a sea of listsicles and celebrity gossip. Yet it also finds ways to stay relevant and engaging, maintaining a strong social media presence and staying on top of breaking news.
Wikimedia proves that the lowest common denominator can sometimes result in the best content.
Though the site is written and edited completely by volunteer users online, it has high standards for quality and its community ensures that it meets them.
Anyone may be able to write or edit an entry for Wikipedia, but anyone else can (and will) come along to quality check it and make corrections as needed. The site proves again and again that what users want is reliable and quality content.
This publisher shows that even content mills can be successful if they are operated right.
Demand publishes sites like eHow, Livestrong and Cracked, and it gets content from an assignment database. It recruits thousands of writers and editors, who are added to an interface and are able to choose from generated topics.
Topics are created around keyword research, and headlines are generated according to formulas designed to get the most traffic. It’s a formula that works since eHow alone gets 50 million visitors a month.
The Huffington Post started as an “Internet newspaper,” and it has grown to become one of the most visited and shared sites on the web.
Not only does the site share hard news, but it also invites bloggers from around the web to share their content for greater exposure. Bloggers are not paid for sharing their content, and the site gets the benefit of viral views.
It’s a popular joke that if you check your symptoms on Web MD, you’ll convince yourself that you’re dying.
But the joke exists because the site is a juggernaut. It is the go-to source for medical information by people around the world.
Martha Stewart Omnimedia
Martha Stewart is the name in home decor and baking, and her sites are the first that many people visit to get tips and tutorials.
Even her legal troubles weren’t enough to tarnish her image or stumble her business. Her authority in the home and kitchen has been so well-established that it cannot be shaken.
Salon is the place that people go when they want more than just the hard news. It’s where they get in-depth analysis and commentary about the impact that the news has on politics, society, and more.
Salon also offers up interesting personal pieces and essays.
For travel information, Conde Nast is one of the top publishers. It includes a variety of travel magazines that cover different niches.
Of course, Conde Nast also publishes magazines like Vogue, so it has its finger in quite a few jars. It has become a giant in the online publishing world just as it is in print.
National Geographic has long been a trusted source of information for scientific, historic, and sociologic issues.
Like other print institutions, it has handled the transition to digital publishing deftly. The magazine has a strong online presence, including on social media.
Love them or hate them, Buzzfeed is an undeniable force in online publishing.
Buzzfeed popularized the listsicle format, and it has had unparalleled success with it. You can find lists on everything from toys you may have loved in the 90s to the weirdest places to visit before you die.
Online publishers across niches have tried to copy what Buzzfeed does because it consistently gets viral traffic for its stories, and it has an amazing social media presence.
Study these online publishers to get ideas for your own content marketing strategy, including topics, writing techniques, and marketing ideas. If you get even a fraction of the traffic that these sites get, you’ll be very happy indeed.