Content is the digital marketing strategy du jour. Ironically, it’s always been about content – at least for us writers it has been. Yes, yes, there are a lot of brainy SEO tech-heads out there that have made lots of money and achieved ranking success for clients – albeit unsustainable. That is until they could no longer effectively chase Google’s algorithms and tech their way out of delivering original, well written, expert content, which demonstrates value, and, more importantly, passes the social litmus test – spurring engagement: comments, +1’s, “likes,” shares and retweets. After people find you on Google, BING, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al, you need to get them to your site and inspire them to engage – take your call to action, interact on social; comment on your blog; share your site on Pinterest – you get the picture.
Content marketing is an ongoing process with many important facets that work synergistically so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Here are three key elements to help you harmonize your content marketing efforts:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, clever digital marketers always want to know how prospects are searching for their given product, service or topic. Researching search volume, competition and variations of your core keyword terms will pay off when you start planning your content in an editorial calendar. Not only will you be creating great content, but being mindful of higher volume variations of terms that describe the “widget” you are featuring, will help you customize your posts more effectively for readers and search engines.
- Public Relations & Social Media – First of all, Social Media is a PR platform and should be integrated, accordingly. For example, if your company is announcing news via press release, that content, in addition to distribution over a “PR Wire” and email to journalists, should be posted to your website and then promoted via your social media outlets where engagement, sharing, etc., can flourish (See above for why that is important). Any and all positive editorial digital content that is by you or about you, should be shared with your social followers and include links back to your website whenever possible. Keeping the PR and Social pump primed builds and sustains your reputation in your sector with authoritative media links and engagement that creates SEO juice to strengthen your position on search engines.
- Storytelling – What type of information does your audience need from you? What can you teach your audience to convince them that you are the ‘go to’ person in your industry? Storytelling can be in the form of blog posts, white papers, teleseminars or webinars, podcasts and videos. The key to content marketing is to provide useful and valuable information that your audience can use. But how? Make them think about your product, service, industry or expertise in a new or different way; entertain, enlighten, be visual, use humor and don’t be afraid to be a non-conformist once in a while. Don’t just parrot what the mobs are preaching. Add your own twist to it and share your experiences to build trust.
So how does a content marketing strategy fit together these elements to create harmony? Here’s an example, once you choose keywords for your website pages, you should also use those keywords to optimize all your social media profiles. People will search social media using keywords and likewise, your social media profiles show up in search engines. Make it easy for your audience to find you!
But once you create your content, don’t just hope that the search engines find it. Promote your content via social media. Create hashtags using your keyword phrases. Individual social media posts show up in search engine results so make those keywords really work for you.
Are you sponsoring a local event? Send a press release to the local media, but also post that press release on your website (using keywords, of course) and promote the event on your social media outlets using hashtags. Write a separate blog post from a different, more personal perspective, sharing why your company chose to affiliate themselves with this event.
Then start promoting that blog post.
Content marketing will most definitely broaden your audience, but take a proactive approach. Sitting passively and hoping for the search engines to magically deliver people to your website is unrealistic. It’s nice when it happens, but being proactive in promoting your content will yield quicker long-lasting results.
How are you using content marketing to take your brand and business to the next level?