Content marketing has come a long way! Once nothing more than a catalyst for SEO campaigns, it is now a viable and effective strategy in its own right. Content is now less about keyword stuffing and word count and more about imparting knowledge and experience onto the user. Of course, links and anchor text are still important, but keep in mind that brand mentions are now also going to have an impact on organic campaigns and climbing the Everest that is Google.
Find below a roundup of some of the most efficient and effective ways that you can make the most of content marketing.
Ask Smart Questions
At some point, a site is going to reply to your request to contribute content by asking for a (typically astronomical) fee. This usually comes in the form of a phone call, where they will beguile you with huge numbers of social media followers, email newsletter circulation and unique visitors, before telling you how much they charge.
Then you’ll take a deep breath and tell them that you will need to discuss it with your colleagues whilst thinking to yourself, “LOL – Good One!”
If you think that the site is going to be a strategic placement for your brand and you could be tempted, even after the fee – there are some questions you should be asking EVERY time a fee is involved.
- How many returning visitors do you get each month- numerical and percentage?
- What is your email open rate and click-through rate?
- What is your bounce rate?
- Where is your referral traffic coming from?
These questions will provide you with the information that will allow you to make an educated guess as to whether the will see a ROI on the fee.
Secretly, or not so secretly, we all want our content to go viral; if this is a goal of yours then you need to use visual content. The chances of written content going viral is highly unlikely, because it’s the short and sweet nature of visual content that is so compelling.
Memes are good way to get a very short message across, but they tend to be used for entertainment value rather than holding the viewers interest. Used sporadically, they will keep your brand name at the forefront of the audiences mind. Infographics, Video’s, Interactive content – all popular choices to embrace the power of visual.
Hubspot report the following facts about visual content;
- Eye-tracking studies show internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.
- Infographics are liked and shared 3 x more than any other content
- Researchers found that coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%
- When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
So where do you start with visual? With the stats; the facts behind the content have to be correct, must show ALL information to prevent your audience being misinformed (Eric Trump we are looking at you) and be easy to understand, and of course error free; ie – pie charts segment should not exceed 100% when totalled.
The next step is creating an engaging design that is also in keeping with your brand. Many opt to use a freelance designer, but it is possible to create them in house with a little upskill; Chris Hardy and Adobe trainer from Xchange Training explains why it’s important to make visual elements a priority,
“We anticipate there to be a shift in 2017 to more online marketing focus on both video and infographic content and targeting the mobile market. Digital marketers have already seen the benefits of increased infographic use to better communicate their message with visual appeal and brand building and this is likely to continue. This trend along with the addition of more video content and other tools like quizzes are all designed to grab the attention of the end user more than traditional text based advertising”
Utilise All Avenues
How do you envisage that you will find the websites, blogs or digital magazines that you can contribute content for? Put a request out on Twitter and hope for the best? No, it’s a long hard slog that takes time to master.
There are so many ways that you can find suitable sites on which you can place your content, it’s about putting in the ground work;
Tweetdeck, allows you to monitor Twitter for specific hashtags such as #journorequest. Used when journalists or content writers are looking for experts to provide contributions to underpin their stories. This is the one to monitor for your top tier placements, writers and editors for The Independent, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Mens Health and Tech City are among those using #journorequest. You can also sign up to the Journorequest service, which delivers these requests straight into your inbox.
AH Refs, offers users a lot. But with respect to finding placements, it allows you to input a competitor’s website, and provides you with the top referring content. This gives you into an insight into places you can be featured, and the type of content that you accept. You can also see if they are using black hat tactics, in which case you can sit back and wait for their strategy to fail and their rankings to tank, if you are really lucky, their website to get de-indexed. Not that you want that…right?
GOOGLE, of course! There are a number of ways to utilise the search engine giant; Typing in a question that you think will be popular such as, “5 Foods to Avoid” and analysing the results. Can you provide a 7 or 9 Foods to Avoid (odd numbers work best!)? This is called the skyscraper method and is all about you providing a better version of a sites existing content.