February 14, 2017
Google’s demand for quality, shareable content has risen year-on-year over the past decade, reflected in its myriad of updates to its algorithm. As such, the digital focus for anyone looking to market their business effectively lies firmly within the content output of the business and the promotion techniques utilized.
In this piece, we’ll explain why content marketing should be your top priority in 2017 so you can gain an advantage over your competitors.
Why do you need Content?
Firstly, any form of content should be used as a ‘hook’ to attract potential customers back to your website, which is essentially your 24/7 salesman. Using an analogy to exemplify this, imagine you’re going fishing (for new customers). You dangle your fishing rod over the edge with bait (content). Then once you feel a bite at the end of your rod (potential customer), you reel them in (to your website) and then transfer them to the keep net (client base after conversion).
Examples: On-site blog posts, Blogger Outreach, On-site web copy, Resource/White papers
Content is ubiquitous online, and it’s one of the most integral components of any digital strategy, so try to think about how you can increase its share-ability during creation. It forms the backbone of any strategy and serves as an effective method of heightening exposure of your brand, its voice and its products/services using many different methods. As a few examples;
• If you have a website, you need website content.
• If you have a blog, you need blog content.
• If you want to acquire a link, you need blog content.
• If you run campaigns in AdWords, you need Ad content.
• If you use social media, you need to promote content.
• If you run e-marketing shot outs, you need to promote content.
The common denominator here (in case you haven’t followed the recurring theme…) is the use of text content throughout every single element of marketing activity, which is why it’s still so surprising that content is still considered an afterthought to many. Since Google’s Panda update, the regular distribution of blog content on- and off-site is conducive to success and helps to educate, engage and influence potential customers as well as build authority into your site through linking domains.
• On-site webcopy should be written in first person and addressing the visitor. Create brand and tone of voice guidelines to ensure all content is consistent.
• On-site blog posts should be a mixture of both contextual and industry-relevant pieces, with two to four quality posts published monthly as a minimum.
• Off-site blog posts should be used sparingly and delivered to relevant, authoritative and trustworthy domains, so be sure to check site metrics before acquiring a link from a site you’ve never used before. Two to four quality posts per month would be a great starting point.
Examples: Infographics, GIFs, Meme’s, Image submissions.
Though some may believe that this form of visual content ‘has had its day’, it’s clear that they still hold value and has the potential to engage viewers in a split-second. Social media has become littered with visual and video content, which is the ideal place to try to develop a natural linking strategy. The creation of infographics is one of the best forms of visual content that you could produce, because they’re highly shareable and aesthetically pleasing if done well. Most forms of visual content can be promoted on-site and off-site, as well as on other marketing channels such as social media.
• Infographics should be informative, accurate and data-driven.
• Any visual content presenting information should link back to a source with more in-depth information on the subject.
• External or third party image submissions should be limited to quality sites to maximize exposure.
Examples: Whiteboard sessions, Facebook Live, YouTube submissions, Customer Testimonials, Brand videos.
For those who’ve perhaps been sleeping under a rock, every Facebook user should now have realized that visual content is highly shareable across social media platforms. In fact, Facebook delivers more time watched than YouTube when taking into account the autoplay part of videos – such is the nature of regular Internet users’ online behavior. However, both Facebook and YouTube are ideal platforms for promoting video content for your brand. Although it may be relatively expensive to create, it can deliver a monumental amount of exposure and engagement, in turn delivering great value to your business if executed well. It’s worth noting that prior to developing any video content, you should develop a clear message that you want your audience to take away so spend some time planning a thought-out strategy.
• Ensure all branded videos produced are high quality, as your messaging will need to be as clear as possible.
• Optimize video content on YouTube and promote organically via Facebook.
If content marketing isn’t one of the core focuses of your digital activity for 2017, then it should be. It’s one of the most critical inclusions of any digital strategy and can deliver a great amount of value in the form of exposure, engagement, influence and branding.
Nathan Elly is the branch manager at Digital Next, a full-service digital agency based in South Melbourne specializing in responsive Web design, SEO, PPC and social media marketing. He's a passionate digital marketer specializing in business development and long-term strategy, with experience from a multitude of SEO disciplines combined into a role which supports and progresses online businesses.