Despite the rapid changes in the marketing
landscape, content marketing is a tactic that will never go away. It’s not only
a priority among marketers, but a top initiative in c-suites across industries.
Although highly prioritized, confidence levels
among marketers is spiraling down. After all, with everyone creating content,
how can we ensure our efforts are standing out in an ocean of articles, blogs,
white papers, newsletters, tweets and Facebook posts?
To ask if content marketing is worth the
effort is a painfully rhetorical question. If all you do is follow content
marketing best practices, you can expect the results you get from ‘doing’ content
marketing. In today’s always on firehose of content, rising above the noise
requires creativity, variation, and out-of-the box thinking. Let’s look at how
you can adapt your content strategy to achieve better business outcomes.
QUALITY LEADS – LESS IS MORE.
If you were to choose between buying an email
list and sending generic messages vs investing in targeted content and sending
it to an audience whose attention you’ve earned organically over time, which
one will you choose?
Although it requires more effort, it clearly
makes more sense to choose the second scenario given that companies publishing
relevant, rich, and timely content generate 2x more leads than companies who
Segmenting your content based on audience will
not only drive more leads, but the leads will also be more qualified saving you
time and money.
The takeaway – it’s better to invest in
quality over quantity. Be a resource before you try to be a vendor.
By regularly developing content that provides
a solution to a need or content that caters to an identified interest, you can generate
higher click-thru rates and increase website traffic. Along with the increase
in website traffic with each piece of content you are generating brand
Think about the search intent (keywords) your
audience is likely to use to search for information specific to your expertise.
Use that research to create a variety of topic segments which guides your
content creation for your website, blog, social, podcast, and videos.
Once you publish your content, make sure to
add tracking including the key variables (channel, medium, source, title) so
you can easily understand which topics, publishers, and types of content are
driving business outcomes. If your content isn’t generating inbound traffic, research
topics that haven’t been tapped – even if those topics have a smaller
addressable audience. The takeaway – if you are just getting started look for
niche topics or specific long-tail search queries.
Did you know that simply adding more visuals
to your content can increase audience engagement by up to 94%?
By enhancing your content with photos, videos
or infographics, your audience is more likely to engage with your content,
share it with their network, and most of all anticipate similar content from you
in the future.
While these tips are nothing new to most
content marketers, consider engagement over reach next time you create a social
post, blog, or newsletter. While reach is always important, understanding what
type of creative drives engagement is critical to judging content success. If a
tree falls in the forest does it make a noise? If a post doesn’t gain
visibility, you’ll never know if the content was valuable. Always keep the
photos, videos and infographics relevant, while using each post as an
opportunity to test engagement. The takeaway – test headlines, CTA’s, and
creative to drive engagement with your content.
Good content marketing not only translates to
be better sales but establishes your company or brand as a thought leader in
your industry. This is why creating and sharing relevant and rich content is
critical to driving better business outcomes.
An example of a company or a brand that has
established thought leadership through content marketing is SAP. D!gitalist Magazine
is SAP’s online tech publication where topics such as big data, cloud
computing, analytics, and Internet of Things are discussed. It is targeted at a
specific audience – individuals who are leading their company’s digital
Achieving the level of a thought leader is an
ongoing process, but the payoff can be tremendous. A properly executed thought
leadership campaign generates influence – which elevates you as an industry
expert people turn to when making key decisions. The takeaway –
rankings on search
Practicing good content marketing is not only
good for brand awareness and revenue. It is plays a pivotal role in SEO too. As
algorithms evolve, websites that have been practicing good content marketing
are rewarded accordingly by Google.
While SEO is a consideration in content
marketing, think first of how attractive your content is and how well your
content can be consumed by your audience. If you can do that, your level of
attraction with Google will also follow.
So, is content marketing worth the effort?
The results of good content marketing may not
be instant, but just because it is not easy to win does not mean it is a waste
is it about social media that makes brands pay so close attention to it? Why
are brands focusing their marketing efforts in identifying, planning, and
implementing different social media strategies? Social media is a deep well of
brand growth opportunities. Social media gives brands a voice to engage with
and influence their customers. Social media assists in driving leads and
closing sales. Social media makes or breaks a brand.
media management is much more than just creating a post, attaching a photo, and
posting it on your Facebook business page. To generate awareness, engagement,
and, ideally, sales, content strategy must be in line with the business’ social
media goals before posting on multiple social platforms. Posting content
randomly and frequently without a goal should not be the way marketers do
social media marketing. Look beyond Facebook
and maximize your reach with Twitter, G+, and other popular social channels.
Facebook, Twitter and G+ Aren’t Created Equal
works for one social media channel may not work for another. Each platform has
its own guidelines and restrictions, its own marketing tools and tips. Marketers
are asked to put a lot of effort in acquiring an extensive knowledge in
identifying and targeting audiences of, running ads in, and optimizing content
for a specific channel to come up with a sound digital marketing strategy. Each
platform is different from the other so it is up to digital marketing companies
to figure out how these differences can work to their advantage.
can create and maintain multiple Facebook business pages. They can design and
publish different types of content – text, links, photos, videos – although
image posts tend to do better than text-based posts. Facebook’s News Feed
algorithm favor visually appealing and mobile friendly image posts, which get
the highest amount of engagement. Facebook’s paid advertising tools include
audience targeting, calls to action, and streamlined ad buying.
was designed for the mobile audience so
it lets marketers reach the audience through engaging tweets (limited to 140
characters) and rich media content. Brands can build their personality in
Twitter where they can converse with their followers in real time and follow
their audience back. Marketers can target more users through Twitter’s paid
product offering, Promoted Tweets.
allows marketers to create and curate content by “pinning” original
photos and infographics and “repinning” content from other users. Brands
showcase their product offerings and drive traffic to their website by
attaching a link on the pins. Companies in the business of art, fashion, and
beauty, industries that appeal to their market with a constant stream of
visuals, have become prevalent on the site.
Adoption, Engagement and Conversion
media management strategies is essential in advancing a company’s marketing
campaign. Brands must be engaging via social media but the function of social
media management is not limited to a conversation between brand and audience.
An effective social media strategy converts their target audience into actual
customers purchasing the product or service offered by the brand.
Content is king, and everyone, especially businesses, knows
that by now. Small businesses, however, sometimes have a tougher time pumping
out content that competes with big name brands and national companies — mainly
because they have such large budgets with which smaller businesses can’t
compete. It sometimes boils down to a misunderstanding, though: long-form
articles do well for SEO purposes, and videos entertain and go viral, but these
often expensive forms of content are not the only types available for small
A Robust FAQ
It seems obvious now, but many small businesses don’t
realize that customers have a lot of questions — even if the answers are
already scattered across your website. Collecting all the questions that
customers have (even the not-so frequent ones) can do wonders for both SEO and
customer satisfaction. And it benefits the business, too, in that you won’t be
fielding phone calls and emails answering questions that can be easily found on
the website. Customers don’t want to call or email, either — you’ll save
everyone some time.
Potential customers always want to know what others think —
it’s why Yelp is so popular. There are a lot of places to collect reviews, such
as Google Places, LinkedIn and Facebook; you can also solicit review from
customers yourself. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more common for unhappy customers
to review a business than a happy customer, so offer some kind of incentive
such as a discount code or a sample pack of your product in exchange for a
Put these customer reviews directly on your website. If
you’ve got a little extra wiggle room in your budget, ask a particularly
satisfied customer if he or she would be willing to be interviewed briefly
about the experience with your company. Videos have become more and more
important in regards to content, and hearing a positive review straight from
the horse’s mouth can be more convincing than a written review.
Curate Some Content
Let’s face it: sometimes other companies create such great
content that you’ve just got to share it. But don’t just plop a link to a blog
post or infographic on your website’s blog and call it a day. Explain to your
readers why you think it is an important piece of content and, if possible,
analyze any data that comes along with it. Even better — if you disagree with
the article, infographic or other type of content, explain why your company has
a different viewpoint (and why you’re right, of course).
Some small businesses shy away from content curation because
they believe it leads consumers away from the business itself. Of course,
you’ve got to give credit where it’s due, but they’ll still be reading the
content on your website. And you’ll show that you’re keeping tabs on the
Recycle & Reuse
Old content is still good content. A blog post you’ve
written months ago may not have been seen by everyone, so turn that content
into a list-style post to share on Facebook. Tweet out some stats from an
article that has been languishing on your blog for weeks. And you don’t
necessarily need the Photoshop skills of a professional graphic designer to
create a simple meme (that’s a simple photo with some words, in case you’re not
with the times!).
A Nifty Newsletter
A newsletter not only gives you the opportunity to collect
email addresses, it can help showcase your insight. While this does require
some budget, not all content in the newsletter has to be completely original —
and it doesn’t have to be a fancy layout, either. Scour Twitter for relevant,
funny or interesting tweets about your industry from well-known people, and
link to some content created by industry analysts that will resonate with your
audience. Add some recent statistics or other data in big, bold letters to
You can interview anyone for a quickie blog post or even a
video if you’ve got the equipment. It doesn’t have to be a regular customer:
interview a local celebrity that happens to use your business or one of your
suppliers for some industry insight. You can even interview your own staff so
that locals can really get to know your company — and when they see that staff
member in person, it’ll be like meeting a celebrity!
With the rate at which businesses are expected to produce content, it can be difficult to strike a balance between really good content and an appropriate budget. Small businesses often run into that problem — after several months of weekly (and for some, twice-weekly) content, the money and ideas run out. But with a little creativity and an open mind, small businesses can beat out even the biggest brands — and become king of their own content.
Increase Brand Authority through Amazing SERPs
How can you increase
click through rates (CTRs) for organic search results without having to rank
first? The answer lies in two words: rich snippets.
came into play when Google decided to make it easier for users to understand
what a page is about even before clicking on it in the search results. With a
short and concise summary of what a user can expect to see on the webpage,
websites become more visible, more attractive to click on. Rich snippets, which
does not affect ranking in any way, can increase website traffic dramatically
thereby giving lower ranking sites a chance to compete with higher ranking
sites on the SERPs.
optimization (SEO) remains a major player in improving site ranking and driving
quality traffic. However, the underutilized advantage of rich snippets offers
an improved appearance of your listing resulting to an increased CTR, reduced
bounce rate, and increased time on site. Large businesses such as YouTube,
Microsoft, and Amazon has Wikipedia, which places first in many keyword
rankings, as the information source from which their rich snippet data is
pulled from. Brands can use enhanced SERPs to their advantage in order to guide
searchers in their decision making before they click on a competitor site’s
Using Rich Snippets to Your Advantage
Rich snippets add
variety, color, and distinction on Google search results, which also makes it an
excellent way of establishing brand authority. Depending on the type of content featured, websites can display sitelinks
(internal pages of the primary listing’s website), author’s Google+ profile,
review star ratings (for movie and product reviews), images, or video stills.
For eager brands
seeking to take advantage of rich snippets, here is a quick overview of how to
1. Choose a
markup format: microdata, microformats, or RDFA.
2. Mark up your
content accordingly (reviews, products, people, music, etc.). Markup should be
relevant, up-to-date, original, and describe or summarize the page’s content as
it actually is.
3. Test the
content using the structured data tool if it renders a rich snippet for the web
pages or not.
Start Optimizing Your SERPs
Rich snippets may
not directly affect your site’s rankings but it certainly adds value to your
site as it comes up on Google results. With meta tags out of the picture, the
structured markup of rich snippets supplies search engines with information
about your website. It differentiates your site from other listings with the
expectation of higher CTRs and increased number of qualified visitors once it
appears in search results. All these benefits make rich snippets a worthwhile area
for marketers to pay more attention to.