Earlier this week, I gave a presentation at SES San Francisco about the convergence of search, social media, and content marketing. Here’s a deeper dive into what I discussed…
From a content marketing perspective, success can only be fully realized if extra steps are taken to fully harness the power of social media in a way that increases exposure and naturally builds an audience. Similarly, great content can have a significant impact on search positioning, ranking and visibility, but only if content strategies are approached taking such goals into account.
In order to do remarkable work within digital marketing, you must have the experience and knowledge to leverage the multi-faceted and complex interplay of complementary marketing channels.
Demolishing theÃ‚Â Silos
Many businesses “know” they need a social media strategy or have been told they have to “compete in Google.” Because of this, there’s been a proliferation of stand alone service offerings. Ã‚Â As a business owner, if you believe you need to be “in social media” you may seek out a social media agency or a social media consultant. If you believe you need improved rankings, you might try to hire an SEO agency or SEO consultant.
The problem with this approach is easy to understand. Search and social are intimately tied together and are only becoming increasingly intertwined. If you rely on an approach that fails to think holistically, you’re engaging in strategies that are wholly disconnected, and destined to fail.
Too many “strategies” are like this kid’s headphones…
We Live in a World of Converging Mediums
One look at the SERPs, and it’s obvious it’s no longer a matter of “if” or “when” search and social become intertwined.We’re already there…
SuccessÃ‚Â requires that your business evolvesÃ‚Â to accommodate this new landscape…or dies. There is a massive shift towards connecting the disconnected online destinations we use most. Ã‚Â In order to truly thrive online, strategies need to be constructed from this vantage point.
Great marketers begin by constructing strategies that can work across multiple channels. In this fast-paced and quickly-changing market, remarkable content is the fuel that drives brand growth across search and social. Content marketing encompasses the strategic direction and planning that bridges the gap and empowers businesses to take full advantage of the current digital ecosystem.
Great Content Marketing Ties Everything Together
Content is a means to an end: use it as the vehicle that reinforces the identity of your brand.Ã‚Â There’s a reason you created your business, and a purpose for you in the marketplace. The same holds true for all of the content you produce.Ã‚Â Every piece of content should have a purpose!
Content is anything and everything on the web: videos we consume, what populates the search results, and what is shared via social media. Brands that Ã‚Â understand the interplay of search and social media will understand the importance of well-planned content strategies.
Broken down, great content marketing does a few things very well:
- Creates and shares valuable free content.
- Attracts and converts prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.
- Serves as a reflection of your company and help promote the products and services related to your brand.
- Educates to build relationships & trust.
Moving from Siloed to Cohesive Content Marketing Strategies
Remarkable content is the keystone of any content marketing initiative, but it’s planning that allows that content to have an impact that resonates. Ã‚Â Having a vision and plan for the full lifecycle of your content is essential because it allows you to make important decisions about the true value of each initiative.
Similarly, each initiative needs to fit into a long-term strategic plan, one that considers business-specific goals related to overall reach and exposure, as well as more other potentially important metrics such as link acquisition or social follower growth.
Going Beyond Just Creating the Content
An “if you build it, they will come” mentality won’t lead to content marketing success…
How do you go the extra mile? There are a few things you should ALWAYS be doing…
It’s easy to get comfortable and keep doing the same thing that’s worked before. Without experimentation, there can be no innovation. Be willing to take risks…
- Use common sense and know what your risk levels are (certain verticals won’t have as much freedom to experiment as others).
- Apply the scientific method to everything you create.
- Be thorough and avoid bias. Don’t drink your own Kool-Aid.Ã‚Â
- Objectively study your competition. Learn from what has and hasn’t worked for them.
The promotion of your content can be just as important as the creation of content.Ã‚Â Create a definitive list of internal & external resources to help promote your content.
Some promotion resources include:
- Your employees and their social presence
- Paid traffic and social ads
- Business partnerships and relationships
Each piece of content you create is an opportunity to hook new people and grow your long-term audience. As this audience grows, you will have an even bigger base of people willing to share your content.
Are You Proud of Everything You’re Creating?
You should be obsessed with everything you create. If you’re not, how can you expect anyone else to care and be willing to share it?Ã‚Â Before you try pitching your content to others, be your own biggest critic. It starts internally…
Is your entire team proud of what you’re creating? Are you excited to show your content to everyone in your organization, from your CEO Ã‚Â to your sales team to HR to your newest employee?
Being passionate and proud about your content marketing initiatives will make everyone throughout your company eager to pitch in.
Are You Doing Something Remarkable?
In closing, your content should always relate to and reflect the following questions (and they should be revisited as your brand evolves):
- What story can we tell?
- What can we do better than anyone else?
- Where are the gaps?
- Who/what can we leverage?
- How can we be remarkable?
How We Got 100s of Leads, 100s of Links, and 1,000s of Social Shares (All From One Piece of Content!)
For more on how to go the extra mile with your content strategy and a case study of one of our branded infographics, check out my full presentation from SES San Francisco.
How are YOU going above and beyond to tell your brand’s story with content? Let us know in the comments below.Ã‚Â