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No Content is an Island
Written by: Jo Turnbull
There have been many blog posts and presentations on “content marketing” which seems to be the new buzz word for the industry. While I do not proclaim to know all the answers, I wanted to share some of my experience and what has/has not worked.
Content Marketing should not be thought of as an add-on to digital efforts, but rather an integral part of the online marketing strategy. It serves the purpose of providing consumers with genuine information about the brand they are being invited to engage with so that they are encourage to learn more/share and interact with the content on offer. To give the great content that you are looking to create both consumer attention and longevity, here are 5 key tactics.
1. Involve the Key Stakeholders
Never underestimate the importance of buy-in from the rest of the company (not just the marketing team). Rand Fishkin was at Link Love in March earlier this year where he presented “How to Transform Your CEO into a Link Building, Social Sharing Machine”. It is very important that everyone, even the top management are on board with your content marketing strategy. The CEO in particular should engage in the marketing of the company because of the following reasons:
- No one else will ever know the company as well as the CEO
- No one else has the CEO’s reach of coverage
- No one else has the CEO’s level of authority over decision
- Much of what makes leaders great also makes them great marketers.
- For these reasons and plenty more, the CEO’s job has to include evangelism and marketing
2. Think Outside The Box
Many people say this, but the point remains; do not just write content just for the sake of it. Many clients may believe they need X number of articles which are 500 words per week because it shows activity. However, there is no point writing content just to hit a certain KPI that was agreed by senior management. It is important to thoroughly research the content you want your readers to interact and absorb. In our infographic we gave some tips on how to create engaging content.
Content is not just writing a few hundred words in a word document and syndicating it out to a few blog sites. It has many faces that include well thought out videos and infographics as well as images. These alternate forms often are easier to digest, especially if the content is lengthy and difficult to follow.
3. Set Up Micro-conversions for the Content
If senior management are not 100% behind your content marketing plan, because it appears to provide no surface ROI value, you may need to set up micro conversions to prove its value. Not all content will lead to a sale, but it is important to show if there has been any engagement with the brand. Wil Reynolds, referred to these non-ROI interactions with the brand as micro conversions in his presentation at Search Love this year. These involved:
- Clicks on share buttons by campaign
- Scroll to a certain point
- Sign up for newsletter
- Read next article
As an example, if your client has a blog where the content is hosted, it is useful to show the referral traffic from the blog to the main site. If you have set up GA correctly, you can also see assisted conversions (from the content) to showcase impact on other marketing channels.
4. Tie in Content with Other Elements of The Marketing Plan
If the PR team is launching a new product, new content can be produced to ensure the product is marketed well. Sometimes brand managers being too close to the product, what they may not think of as news could gain a lot of exposure. For example, if the company is rebranding, they may want to promote this in 3 main steps:
1. Teaser – announce 1 month before the rebranding goes live and the date this will be
2. Promote – the day before and the day of the launch make sure the PR team, social team are active online
3. Spread the Word – even after the launch by sending emails to customers/clients
Sponsorship may fall under PR but it can have a positive impact on SEO if implemented correctly. If the company is sponsoring an event, ensure there is space on the site to promote it in the lead up to the big day. Alternatively, if there is enough budget, build a microsite to host some of the content. This micro site can also be used to outreach to bloggers who may even be taking part in the event themselves.
5. Add Value
Ask yourself “So What?” when writing the content. If you cannot get consumers to care about the content you are working on and it has no appeal to your audience – don’t write it. Work on something that people actually care about enough to engage with. One idea to find out what people are interested in, is to use surveys. Here, you can gather a lot of data on a particular subject which in turn will generate some pretty interesting results which your readers will find useful.
Content Marketing should not be seen as just an add on to marketing. It needs to be part of the overall online marketing strategy where everyone in the company is on board. Team members who are not directly working in the content or SEO team are also your brand ambassadors and should be proud of the work that is being done at the company. If they are aware of the work and are fully behind you, they will then share your great work – which will create more positive buzz about your product/service.