If you’re experienced with online marketing at all, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “content is king.” A few years ago, this was a common phrase and was usually connected in some way with search engine optimization and driving organic traffic to a site with page one search engine rankings.
Things evolve fast in the online marketing world, and it’s shifted from “content is king” to “content marketing especially when it comes to content in social media marketing,” which covers so much more than search engine traffic. With the continued growth of social media and the changing marketing landscape in terms of paid advertising, content marketing has certainly evolved.
However, it’s important to understand that content marketing is not simply about creating tons of short low quality random content. In the past, marketers would create lots of low-quality content to drive organic search traffic to their web sites and since the past few updates within search algorithms digital agencies such as our taken a new strategy and pruned low quality content and seen organic traffic increase as a result.
Creating a massive amount of low quality or non-targeted traffic is not going to magically generate leads for your business. It’s like playing darts with your eyes closed.
So, if content marketing is about more than blindly creating lots of content, what is it, exactly?
Keep in mind, search engine optimization (SEO) is still considered part of a good content marketing strategy. However, it’s how you go about it that has changed. Search engine rankings are about so much more than writing an article around a specific keyword phrase in the hope of ranking for it.
A good content marketing strategy is about building a targeted audience of people that are passionate about what you offer by creating, publishing, and promoting quality content that not only educates that audience but entertains as well. The ultimate outcome, of course, is to turn the audience into fans of your business. These fans are the leads that will help grow your business.
In other words, the whole point of a content marketing strategy is to turn strangers into fans, leads, and then customers. Two of the really cool things about content marketing is that you don’t need a huge budget, and you don’t need to be a massive corporation to create a successful lead generation campaign through content marketing.
Content marketing used to be simply about articles, getting them posted on different websites, article marketing sites, or posting them on your own site. Now, content marketing can still be articles, but it can also be infographics, podcasts, or even YouTube videos.
Let’s use the example of an exercise equipment company that sells kettlebells. With a content marketing plan, you wouldn’t use paid ads that send people to an order page for kettlebells. Instead, you would create and publish high-quality content on various kettlebell topics. For example, you could have a piece of content that discusses the benefits of working out at home with very little space available.
Another piece of content might discuss how to do kettlebell swings and the health and weight-loss benefits of a workout program centered around kettlebell swings. One piece of content might even be a YouTube video of a kettlebell swings workout, all while the trainer discusses the benefits.
You can also get ideas and test how “shareable” they are by using buzzsumo. With their free tool, you can input a keyword, and you’ll get back results of content with their social media numbers. For example, by putting in “kettlebell swings,” the first result, a 30-day kettlebell swings workout, received over 59,000 social engagements. The end of the article included an option to get a PDF of the 30-day program. This gift is the lead generation aspect of content marketing.
Another great thing about the free aspect of Buzz Sumo is the ability not only to see the type of content, whether it’s text, graphics, or video, but also the social media sites where it does well. Using the above example, over 90 percent of those engagements were on Pinterest. The content has a nice graphic on the 30-day workout that was obviously a hit with Pinterest users. Information like this is important to know!
Once you have your content ideas and how you are going to publish that content, whether it’s a text-based article, an in-depth infographic, a podcast, or even a video, you have to actually create the content. It’s important to understand that with content marketing, the piece of content is the cornerstone of this type of strategy. It must be high-quality content that informs and entertains your target audience.
Once the content is created, it’s time to get to the marketing, or promotion, of that content. While search engine optimization shouldn’t be the sole focus of content marketing, it is important and should not be ignored either. SEO is a longer-term game but well worth doing. If you set up your content using keyword research and on-page optimization, over the long term, you’ll find your content-generating organic traffic.
Without setting up the possibility of search engine traffic, your traffic will be hit and miss based on promotions. When you can include search traffic with other promotions, you’ll get nice spikes in traffic. This approach will also generate traffic in the long term from the search engines.
Sharing content on social media can help, but free social media traffic is not what it used to be. Most social media sites like Facebook have greatly reduced the reach of most content.
Now, combining paid ads with content marketing has become more crucial. The gist of this is, instead of looking to get a direct sale from a paid ad on social media, you promote your high-quality content to build an audience through not only likes, pins, and shares but through generating leads. Offer something else besides the content on the page in exchange for an email address.
Interestingly, social signals now impact rankings in the search engines. So not only can the paid ads get your content seen by more people with interest in what you sell, long term it can help to generate free search engine traffic as well.
The wrap up
To succeed online today, it’s about content marketing by entertaining and educating your target market, not aggressively selling to them. Create high-quality content designed to do just that while generating leads and building an audience, and you’re well on your way to content marketing and social media marketing success.