Does Your Content Marketing Deliver?

Content is Not Enough

Content marketing has gained tremendous popularity in the past few years. Two reasons for this are:

  1. The changes in Google’s algorithms placing more emphasis on meaningful content.
  2. The popularity of social media where lots of content is shared and discussed daily.

There are ghost writing services where you can get all sorts of content like:

  • Website content
  • Blog posts
  • White papers
  • Case studies

This is all great content to feed your content marketing machine. However, more and more businesses are creating content for their SEO and social media marketing efforts and… that’s a lot of content!

Content Shock

You may have seen our posts about Mark Schaefer’s content apocalypse or as he calls it “Content Shock.”

The Content Shock premise is simple. The amount of content is growing while the available time to consume that content has plateaued. We are overwhelmed! To combat the content avalanche (way too many metaphors going on here), we’re forced to use filters…

  • Search engines — the most relevant and popular content is listed in search results.
  • Social — content is recommended by social media friends and influencers we trust.
  • Aggregators — apps like Flipboard will deliver us content based on our preferences.

So, does your content deliver results? Will it show up in the filters listed above? Or do you still think that if you build it they will come?

Simply writing and publishing content isn’t enough. There’s simply too much out there. Your content needs help.

Content Ignition — The Key to Successful Content Marketing

In Mark’s book, The Content Code, he breaks out his idea of Content Ignition with an awesome acronym…

  1. Brand Development
  2. Audience and Influencers
  3. Distribution, Advertising, Promotion and SEO
  4. Authority
  5. Shareability
  6. Social Proof and Social Signals

Content ignition is what gives your content marketing the boost it needs. This is a step by step process outlined in Mark’s book. Here’s a brief overview of Mark’s BADASS content ignition strategy.

Brand Development

Often we create content out of fear or obligation without first identifying who we are as a brand. If your brand doesn’t matter to your audience, it’s less likely that your content will.

Your culture and the relationships you build with your clients should all factor into your content marketing plan. In other words, the content you create and share should be an extension of that relationship.

If you’re seen as an expert or go to resource by your clients, use that in your content plan. Create and share content that’s useful to your audience. Content that they will literally thank you for.

Or maybe you are in entertainment and your brand is one of humor or fun. Then create fun or humorous content. Your content should match and support your brand.

Audience and Influencers

Do you ever notice yourself attracted to a specific brand or product because a celebrity you love has endorsed it in some way?

The same principal works with your content. In his book Mark talks about engaging your Alpha Audience. These are your influencers and the influencers of your target audience.

I mean, let’s face it, we have Instagram and Vine celebrities. These are people who have developed a level of influence over the very large following they’ve acquired. They are “famous” for no other reason. That, to me, is insane. But, this is the world we live in.

There are celebrities in your audience. People to whom others will gravitate. Maybe they’re funny or maybe they consistently share useful information. Get to know these people:

  • Comment on their posts
  • Share their posts
  • Buy their books and write honest reviews
  • Name drop in your posts like I’m shamelessly doing here with Mark Schaefer
  • Maybe even ask for an interview for your blog

Sometimes, as you build honest relationships with these people, they might share your stuff or even do a guest post on your blog.

Distribution, Advertising, Promotion and SEO

This one is pretty obvious. Simply posting content is no longer enough. It needs help….

  1. Distribution — this could mean sending your content out to your email newsletter list, sending it to the influencers you’ve mentioned in the post, sharing with friends or colleagues and asking them to comment and share.
  2. Advertising — this could be sponsored posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Linked. It’s not expensive and can drive qualified traffic to your content. This is traffic that otherwise would not find your content.
  3. Promotion — for example, we distribute content from this blog to Business2Community (perhaps you’re reading it here now). This means our content is available to an audience who might not otherwise find our website. And there is a link on that distributed post which points back to the original. Promotion could also include posting your content to sites like Digg or BizSugar. Find places to share your content with an audience who might want it.
  4. SEO — make sure the content you’re posting to your website is optimized for search engine visibility. Have a focus keyword or keywords. Optimize your page titles, heading tags, and other SEO related areas of your post. See this SEO article for more on that.

Authority

Authority is a bit more challenging. He’s mainly referring to site or page authority. This is a more advanced SEO practice and takes some time and effort. Building authority means your site has good rankings for targeted keywords. It also means that other related sites with authority link to you.

Building authority takes time. It takes a measured investment in SEO. It’s possible to build authority over time by simply following the other ignition tips from the BADASS list. However, you can speed the process up by having an complete SEO strategy in place.

I recommend the following resources for more on SEO:

Shareability

This really gets to the substance and value of your content. Why would someone want to share it? I mean, really think about that… why?

Think about why you share content. Do you share to be helpful? Do you share to look smart?

In addition to thinking about the mechanics of sharing, you have to think about their motivation. Remember, as Jason in our office likes to say, “people love them some them.”

They share for personal reasons…

  • To be seen as an authority on a certain subject
  • To look smart and “in the know”
  • To be funny, talked about
  • To build their own audience

Keep this in mind as you create content. How could sharing your post make someone look smarter, cooler, or “in the know?” Make more of that kind of content.

Social Proof and Social Signals

So, now that you know your content is shareable, can it easily be shared???

  • Do you include sharing buttons on your posts? Are they working properly?
  • Do images load when sharing to Buffer, Facebook, or LinkedIn?
  • Are you monitoring those shares and engaging when possible and appropriate?

Social proof means that people with authority have shared or even recommended (like really recommended, not LinkedIn recommended) your content. Those shares send traffic to your content. These are social signals.

Google is pretty vague about how social media impacts SEO. They have said that tweets are indexable. They’ve also hinted that shares help them to determine the popularity of content.

Remember, we’re talking about shares, not likes. Likes are great on the platform itself but shares are the real social currency you’re after.

Think about it this way… each share is a new open connection to you and your content.

The Content Code — Six Essentials for Igniting Your Content, Your Marketing, and Your Business

The Content Code by Mark Schaefer

Of course this is a brief overview of the concepts Mark explores in the Content Code. If you are serious about getting serious about your content marketing, I highly recommend you pick up this book!

This article originally appeared on the Wood Street Journal.

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