This is a guest contribution by Ruchi Pardal of ResultFirst.
Some people believe that content marketing means multichannel, and seemingly mechanical, publishing of anything, anywhere. Their goal is to gain links and rank well (of course, momentarily) using thin content, spinned content, keyword-rich content or unnecessary press releases. That’s the kind of content marketing that brings very short lived benefits (if any). True content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
What’s Content Marketing?
Content marketing creates valuable, sharable content published on multiple channels to attract readers and hopefully customers. Content marketing builds a community. Content marketing gains exposure. And, of course, content marketing markets your brand. But true content marketing taps into people’s desires and grabs their attention by wowing them. Bewitching them. Making them learn something they didn’t already know or were seeking. It hooks them in not just once, but time and time again.
Your Content Marketing Weapons
- Blog posts
- Guest posts
- Video content
- Open discussions
- And counting…
Questions for Long Distance Content Marketing
Content marketing, if used smartly, can help you gain things you never even knew you could get your hands on. Kissmetrics skyrocketed its traffic and got 3500+ unique domain links using by creating 47 infographics. In fact, it’s one of the greatest examples of content marketing done right. Even Mashable believes that.
So, here are the questions you should (and must) ask yourself if you want your content marketing to work for you in the long term:
Is there any meaning to the content I’m creating? Content marketing with an ambiguous objective is the worst of them all. So, first off, think about what you want to achieve and how that impacts your different audiences. Then track back to how content marketing can bridge the gap. Choose the right content marketing weapons for your audience and your objectives and before jumping in feet first, work out how your content can stand out.
Is it relevant to what my audience wants? Anything that gives your audience, or their network, real value is relevant. Instead of wasting time thinking about how to convert them as a subscriber, think what they need to learn and what they’d love to learn.
Is it mostly about myself, my company, my team? That’s okay – but only sometimes and it’s important that content that’s just about you, with no value to your audience, is in the minority
Does it add any value to or challenge traditional wisdom? Nobody loves rehashed content but yes, if you can give an old topic a new angle or your take then it can feel like a brand new idea.
Does it sound robot-generated? Try to make your content interactive as hell. If it sounds robot-generated, it’s drab, irritating and repelling, your readers won’t read beyond the first paragraph.
Will my audience link to it and share it socially? One of the qualities of content marketing that lasts the distance is its ability to resonate with large audiences and that means making it sharable! Sharable content also helps you in your SEO efforts, too.
Am I just adding to the sea of crap content that’s already on the Web? Please don’t! It’s our Web and it’s up to us whether we make it all the more exciting or filled with full, lifeless, boring content
Have I chosen the right channel for publishing my content? The right channel leads to the right audience so it’s quite an important decision. If you’ve been doing content marketing just to get links, well, that won’t help you now. Google values not just hard-earned but relevant links from trusted sites. Moreover, this I-want-that-link behaviour is disturbing and somewhere undermines what we put into getting one. Time to get over this, right?
Last and the most important: Is my content marketing based on a content strategy? Solid content marketing needs a solid content strategy, one that must answer how you’ll take care of creating, marketing and governing content over time.
A footnote about SEO
“If your content is the best thing since sliced bread, you’re going to rank well. We are focused on what searchers are engaging and how we can deliver them better results.” – Bing’s Duane Forrester
“Don’t think about link building, think about compelling content and marketing.” – Google’s Matt Cutts
If you still think that SEO is all about rankings and traffic, don’t do content marketing for SEO, at all. However, if you understand that content marketing is about creating and sharing value that helps you build great communities, well the SEO benefits will come as a result.
In summary, I’d reiterate that you can’t win the marathon and gain loyal followers with short sprints of content. You need a content strategy and consistent effort.
So, how do you make sure that your content marketing lasts the distance? What is your favorite content marketing weapon and why? Shout out below.
Ruchi Pardal is Director of ResultFirst, a firm that works on pay-for-performance model, helping businesses get found across search engines and give an optimal experience to their audience. She’s been into digital marketing for well over 10 years. When she’s not busy with her work, Ruchi loves to spend every moment with her awesome family.