Blog | Marketing Madness

Content Marketing: is this the new ‘in thing’?

19/11/2012

Content Marketing isn’t new, it’s been around forever and you’ve probably been doing it for a while – but within the SEO world it’s being spoken about as a means of “Link Earning” rather than “Link Building”. What is Link Earning/Link Building? It’s a way of encouraging people to link back to your website as a signal of credibility for your domain, which helps towards your search engine rankings.

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz recently about this “Content Marketing” thing, more so since the latest addition to the Google animal family back in June – the Penguin.

Content Marketing isn’t new, it’s been around forever and you’ve probably been doing it for a while – but within the SEO world it’s being spoken about as a means of “Link Earning” rather than “Link Building”. What is Link Earning/Link Building? It’s a way of encouraging people to link back to your website as a signal of credibility for your domain, which helps towards your search engine rankings.

So, if I say that Content Marketing has been around forever – what is it and have you been doing it?

In my words; Content Marketing is consistently publishing and circulating fresh, unique and creative content that is written in a way that identifies your business personality and expertise in order to build trust between you and your community.

The idea is that your customers, social followers and like-minded search engine users will come across your material and it highly interesting. It’s also believed that great content will help transfer your readers from the “Like” to the “Trust” stage of the marketing continuum – and hopefully consider buying from you as they feel a relationship has started to bond.

So, what kind of activities can you do within this “Content Marketing”? Guess what, there is nothing new and I can bet you are already doing these things. My challenge to you is are you being creative and fun?

Here are a few that you already know;

1. Press Releases

I see press releases every day and the ones that stand out to me are those who are creating their own news. Buy this, I mean companies have taken the time to conduct a survey and then openly publish their results (rather than keep them locked up in the company safe for internal use). Journalists and bloggers rely on and feed off ground breaking information – which they can then pass on to their subscribers and readers. So, in theory fresh and factual pieces of information should always catch a journalist’s eye.

The other types of press releases I tend to read are those where the writer is proving their opinion or angle on a recent event in the world (industry specific or general). Obviously if I recognise a writer’s name and already like them I will tend to read their material before anyone else’s – which means it’s important for everyone else (including you!) to be consistent and patient for this recognition to solidify.

2. Blog Posts

Ever found yourself thinking or saying these words; “I don’t know what to blog about?”

Here’s a thought; Do you find that customers sometimes ask similar types of questions? For me, the answer is “yes” which is why I am writing this post for you today. People are starting to ask me “What is content marketing?”, so I added this to my weekly list of possible titles/topics and then (like today) I pick one and then write about it.

You could also provide your readers updates on internal business activities; for instance has you had a new member of staff, have you all just gone out for the day etc.  You can write about anything and those who are interested will read your content.  Remember, some customers will enjoy knowing what you are all up to because it helps build a stronger and open relationship.

I teach people to see their Blog as a “mini-news room” and a vehicle to report the latest industry and company happenings to those who want to tune in. The key is to make sure readers can identify your personality, wit and more importantly see you in action – being the expert that you are and providing useful information for the rest of the world.

3. Video Marketing

Video is (and always has been!) a very clever way to connect with your current or potential client base. Here at Spiral Media, we tune into Whiteboard Friday every week for inspiration and brush up on recent search engine movements. We find it very easy to connect with because we can relate to the presenter and it helps us pick up the message a lot more effectively.

You can be the first in your local area to visually broadcast your opinion on a recent “hot topics” from your industry. You can post it to your blog, send a tweet out or just let it get naturally found on YouTube.

You could consistently upload demonstrations on some of the basic tasks (for instance wiring a plug – for your electricians out there!) that you feel clients would appreciate you sharing.

Going into ecommerce – more and more merchants are realising the positive impact of short product demonstrations and how well they are increasing their sales. It’s free to create a YouTube account and get started, so what are you waiting for?

You have to cater for the ‘visual’ people in the market – those who like to sit back and watch rather than read.

4. Email Marketing

You can have a lot of fun with email marketing. I firstly see it as a way to reach out to your current client base on a monthly basis by circulating usful and fun information. Keep people up to date with company events and again, give them a bit of information they can use in their own time (hints and tips etc.). You could also include a coupe if titles that link back to your blog of things you have talked about during the month to try and get a bit of traffic back to your websiteand rasie awareness of what you have been writing about.

With a new carefully and strategically targeted email list you can use email marketing as a “soft” and “subtle” way to reach out to new markets or prospects who haven’t heard about your business. If you keep your content informational, non promotional and useful for all you stand a good chance of the new contacts reading your material.

The key here is to not annoy or (more importantly!) bore people. People need to see your emails and “want to” or “consider” reading them. Once you have people with this frame of mind, you’re onto a winner. It shows that the types of content you’re sending out are being enjoyed by the recipients.

You can measure the success of any email account by looking at the unsubscribe rates of each email blast. Unfortunately once people opt out, they’re out – so do everything you can to keep your emails fun, short and unobtrusive.

Summary: What about the SEO?

So where does SEO come into all this? There will be people you reach out to who also partake in an element of Content Marketing by using the methods above, and when they need a reference to back up a point they have made they usually create a link to an external source. This outside source can easily be you, by making yourself known and sharing great content that people may want to refer back to at a later stage.

As mentioned earlier in this article; a link to your website from someone else’s is seen as an endorsement and is a strong “trust” signal for the search engines. This will build the credibility of your domain thus having an element of impact on all of the keywords you are listed for.

Thank you for investing the time to read this article, I hope it’s useful and given you new ideas to apply to your business.