Content Marketing: Tips from the Agency
In 1891, Dr. Oetker started to print recipes on his packets of bicarbonate of soda. Over time, these recipes were turned into one of the most successful recipe books worldwide. But what makes this a great example for content marketing?
Dr. Oetker’s customers, in addition to the product, were being given relevant and useful information – at no extra cost.
Content marketing is so much more than just a „10% extra free!“ package. These offers are designed to target the money-saving consciousness of the average buyer. Content Marketing, however, offers something more – a special degree of emotional, cognitive, or even positive content. It’s this kind of special added extra that not only ensures customers will return, but also goes a long way to attract new customers, too. Content Marketing offers the kind of special extra which is easy to link and share – which benefits the link profile and ranking.
Every business is different
There is no easy-fix magic formula for content marketing, guaranteed to work effectively for each and every client. Content Marketing always has to be planned from the perspective of either the customer, the service or the product. A steel hall manufacturer is going to use a different strategy to the producer of audio-books. In short: You’ll need a different strategy if you’re working B2B or B2C. That said, there are a few core ideas which will form the base of any content marketing strategy.
Core Forms of Content Marketing
Blog: How long will a company’s blog remain valid? Won’t it expire at some point? The answer to these questions lies is, quite simply, no.
It’s always possible to write something about the company or its services – whether the topic of the blog is background info on the company, new developments in the industry or even insider tips and tricks. It normally takes around 1-3 months before visible differences in blog-traffic can be seen, but even then; if the blog didn’t take off well, the company can always use it as a communication platform for new industry developments.
Glossary: One incredibly efficient method to share helpful information with your readers is by maintaining a well-informed and updated glossary. One great example here is the cookery glossary on the good housekeeping platform. The useful and easily digestible information here really add to the site’s expert status; the information enables readers to quickly and easily access the facts they need, and on top of this, this glossary is a source which lends itself to being linked. It’s exactly glossaries such as this one which often earn themselves a link in Wikipedia.
Video: YouTube belongs to Google. A popular and widely spread video can really boost a site’s user basis and improve ranking. That’s easily said, but finding a topic for a video is something else…
How-To videos are always going to be popular, and there’s little you can do wrong here. “Fun Videos” tend to go viral quickly, such as the clip from McAfee featuring the founder, John McAfee, himself – but not every company has potential for such a video.
Infographics: Infographics can be created quickly, they’re easy to link and, provided they’re designed well, they offer some real value to the readers. These qualities make infographics one of the most popular tools for content marketing. The emphasis here lies in the presentation and structure of the facts on the infographics, and not on presenting the hottest, newest information.
Further forms of Content Marketing, such as Whitepapers, E-Books, guest posts, case studies, Webinars/Hangouts or podcasts are derivatives of these four main ideas, and they should certainly be taken into account in any good content marketing strategy. These derivative forms, however, require a lot more time and work, and, generally, a pretty generous budget.
The Right Channel
Creating great content is only the first step on the path to successful content marketing. If the content isn’t made available on suitable channels, it’ll remain unread. And finding ideal locations for this great content depends largely on the business. A general rule of thumb, and speaking from experience, sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are ideal for B2B companies. For B2C, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest tend to offer the greatest potential.
Popularity vs. Authority
There is a difference between content for popularity and content for authority. Both types are useful in their own right: Popular content attracts, above all else, greater traffic. As this content entertains, it’s often recommended, liked, shared and discussed.
Whether it’s a video, blog article or glossary: Authoritative, expert content will often be found on high-quality sites, often given as a source of information, as links. It goes without saying that this content has to be incredibly good. Although these high-quality sites themselves see little traffic, Google regards the links to the expert content sources very positively. This, in turn, leads to a better ranking.
Popular content, above all else, has to excite its readers – think along the lines of competitions, amusing videos or infographics. Although such content will rarely be found on the more prestigious sites, like government institutions’ pages, for example, popular content has great potential to attract new traffic, new readers and to generate new customers.
A good basis of followers on Facebook, Google+ and Co is worth more than gold, offering, as they do, one of the most effective ways to distribute popular content. It’s important to remember that this following will need to be built up, and then tended to. Are your fans satisfied? Do they share the content you give them? These are both important factors which effectively lead to increased traffic and fan numbers.
Research Tips for Great Content
There are three main principles to bear in mind when you’re researching content:
- „Around the Product“, not „About the Product“!
- Keep your target audience as your target!
- Keep the user requirements separate from the search engines. Remember: the search entry is just one small aspect from the client’s requirements.
Once you’ve internalised these principles, you can begin coming up with a topic. Who was the product or service created for and why is it useful? If your company creates components for forestry and agricultural technology, for example, then it’s the entire agricultural industry which provides the topics for your content marketing campaigns.
If you’re struggling to find topics for great content, it makes sense to speak with your clients: What do they want? Are there any topics which are particularly important to them, or are there any frequently encountered problems, maybe with specific problems or processes? These are all ideal topics which content marketing can provide the answer to.
You can also ask yourself if there is anything your clients don’t know. Are there any topics which are bound to interest your clients, but which they don’t – yet – know about? What might interest them? A keyword analysis on the company’s products is also a great place to look for inspiration.
Ubersuggest: What are people searching for and why? Check out the questions posed to search engines, along with the search results, and work on providing the answers to these questions in your blog. If you find there are primarily complaints or the you realise it’s mainly negativity on the sites you find, then it helps to think about how you can react to these responses.
Google Keyword Planner: The AdWords Keyword Planner is a similar tool to Übersuggest. This keyword planner also provides the search volume for each of the keywords, making a more detailed analysis possible.
So what now?
Today, it just isn’t enough to just post an advert in your local paper or launch your campaign during the best advert spot on TV if you want to reach all the relevant people. Target groups online tend to be very segmented, with each individual user gaining information about a brand via their own various favoured channels before forming an opinion. It makes sense to identify which target groups prefer which portals and platforms online, and then make sure these platforms and portals are loaded with the best content.
The SEO scene is moving slowly but surely away from a purely technical approach, steadily transforming into something we can only be identified as PR. Content Marketing is PR online.
Content marketing is, however, no one-way communication. A spot on the TV only gives the user one means of interaction – switching off. Good content marketing, though, will give users something to talk about, link, share and change. Content marketing is the superior PR.
About the Writer:
Tilmann Klosa studied Philosophy and Rhetoric in Tübingen. Currently he works as the online marketing adviser at the SEO Küche Online Marketing Gmbh & Co. KG.