As someone who spends most of his time talking to brands and agencies about content, I see far too many of them keeping content in a silo, rather than using it as part of a holistic marketing plan. Here are a few best practices for using content to supercharge your marketing spend.
I find it amazing that some brands still rely on sweepstakes and coupons as the main form of consumer engagement on social sites. This is an old school marketing tactic to which today’s consumers won’t react well, associating your brand with nothing more than a dollar shop.
Content has changed the game, allowing you to share valuable information with consumers across the web. L’Oreal is a great example of this. In a philanthropic campaign with the Melanoma Research Alliance, L’Oreal has shared useful tips on staying safe from the sun this summer, aimed at promoting Melanoma and Skin Cancer awareness. By sharing these tips across social channels, L’Oreal has started an ongoing and engaging conversation with their community. This type of longer-form content can provide a good balance with shorter Tweets and Facebook updates on promotions, sales or other promotional content.
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Brands need to think about their presence on Facebook and other social networking sites with an editorial mindset. Facebook made a huge change when the company discontinued their brands pages, which was really just another direct response landing page. Now that it has been retired, your front page is your timeline. Go to your timeline, browse through it, scroll down to the bottom, and look through the eyes of a potential consumer. How does your brand’s story unfold?
Now that we’ve covered social, let’s take a look at the less obvious impact that content has on your search marketing and SEO strategies. If you’re a marketer and aren’t aware of Google’s recent algorithm changes, Penguin and Panda, I’d encourage you to take a look.
The most important thing about the Panda and Penguin updates are that Google has decided to place a higher emphasis on what it judges to be high-quality content. In other words, content that was made for humans, not machines or algorithms. You can forget about the content farms that relied on keywords and matching phrases to bring you to the top of search results. Links from external sources still hold some importance, but SEO tactics like meta-tagging or “breadcrumbs” are less likely to fool Google as a result of the update.
While an effective SEO strategy relies on having a large quantity of quality content, I have found that providing readers with the tools to share this content to be equally important. Think of sharability as the currency of SEO. To Google, content that has been shared means it was created for humans. The more you help your content get discovered on content recommendation platforms, and the more your content gets shared on your social media channels, the higher your SEO score and page ranking. All of these pieces to the modern day SEO puzzle are going to lead to an increase in direct search for your product and brand. Content will decrease the cost you have to spend on your search engine marketing campaign and ultimately lead to an increase in conversions.
While it may seem on the surface like content and display ads are on the opposite ends of the marketing spectrum, it turns out that integrating content into display ads increases reach, precision, relevance and engagement rates. What’s more, you’ve probably already come across content-powered display offerings without knowing it.
For brands interested in using content to drive their display campaigns, there are already a few easy tools available. Flite can convert your entire portfolio of owned and earned content into ads and help you distribute them using real time bidding. Similarly, Kontera identifies the web’s most relevant content and then serves it in a display ad, making it more personalized to the consumer.
Keeping Content in Mind
One of the most exciting things about content is that it’s breathing new life into so many other marketing channels that were once thought to be dead or outdated. With this in mind, it’s become increasingly important for marketers to approach their content strategy holistically, and identify other areas of their business to which it can be applied. In doing so, you’ll not only gain heightened exposure for your company but will also be viewed as a thought leader and expert across a variety of topics relevant to your business.