We have all heard that content marketing is new wave of marketing, and that if you are not in content marketing you stand to fail miserably. However, there are a few golden rules that, if followed correctly, could make this transition into content marketing far easier and show some results faster than you would have received otherwise. The tips herein are designed for anyone to use, you don’t have to be a huge publisher or agency to make content marketing work for you. Just be sure to remember that each of these points are to be practiced all the time, there is no once off application. 

  1. The reflection of perfection:

Creating content should not be based on how well the sentence is structured, or how a search engine will find it. Content is written by people, for people, not search engines. Perfection is only a temporary “phase” online anyway, as the rules of engagement keep evolving, just like the audience. This is not to say you should publish sub-standard content, rather get the piece published, you can edit, condense, expand and contextualize a couple of hours later. Read what you’ve published, then decide what needs to be fixed.

  1.  Reduce, reuse, recycle:

Lets look at a free publication of say an E Book. Every single page and possibly paragraph could become an, info graphic, chart, social post, video, how to, and so forth. We often have no idea how much content we actually have at our fingertips. In this infographic I have used an article and broken it down into an easy to understand 4 part infographic set that was published via social media. So from a couple hundred words, I created 4 separate pieces that each ranked individually for a week. Now that makes more sense, especially if you create your own content.

  1.  Slice and dice it:

We content marketers are always looking for ways to extend our content to prospects, partners, publishers, bloggers, etc. Re-purpose old content through quizzes, surveys and polls. There are tools like SnapApp that can assist you in this, however it’s not a free tool. Leverage SEO, through tools or a professional that will boost your efforts. Enable sharing of the content through partners, and social media. If it can’t be shared it won’t be seen. Bite sized portions suitable for the on the go mobile user.

  1.  Pictures share faster than words:

They always have… Most publishers have access to image galleries, free and paid versions. Free versions are duplicated incessantly all over the web, it’s even worse when you’re in a competitive industry, this should not stop you though. Images have always had greater impact than anything else online, just look at the birth of the meme, and then the platforms dedicated to pictures like Pinterest and Instagram to name just 2. Infographics are generating 45% more search volume and traffic than most content online – Why? I’ll tell you, information x image = Informative image that is easy to understand, identify, and SHARE! It contains data in pictures, and I’ll let you in on a secret here, the brain naturally retains more information from an image than it does a 1000 word article.

  1.  Mobile missiles:

We all heard about the Google mobile update that in essence, enforces that your site is mobile friendly. Did you know that Africa has more mobile devices that toothbrushes! We can safely assume they access via mobile right? In January this year, 3 out of 10 “Facebookers” access the platform through their Mobile device, and that is exclusively, in fact, just last week I saw that Facebook had reached 1 billion consecutive users at one time. That’s insane. But my point is this; your content marketing efforts should include social “versions” that can support. Collaborate, cement and amplify your content marketing campaign.  The most consumed content on Facebook is VIDEO, so consider short 1 min inserts that natively support the other content, or supplement with an image that can be quickly imprinted and shared.

  1.  The authenticity factor:

I have heard this term thrown around more often than I care to admit, “the internet is nothing but copy and paste” and in the past it may have been 100% correct, but the search giants have an algorithm that can tell if you have plagiarized, copied, scraped and stolen content. This will flag your site as LOW QUALITY and then its game over for your search ranking.

Be authentic, if you find information you wish to relay, read it, validate and authenticate the source, and relay it in your own words. Mention your source. You could always just ask if you could publish it on your site, most publishers don’t mind. People and search engines prefer that, i promise.

  1.  The “How to”:

Ever search for a “How to” article? I’m sure you have. I am an avid DIYer and gardener, and i often search for “DIY or How To articles, these are generally the easiest to find aswell and since last year are doing wonders for the SEO (that means ranking) of the sites who published them. This directly ties in the Google Knowledge Graph, the Hummingbird algorithm. This algorithm is set to amplify the usefulness of the internet as this is primarily what people search for, useful relevant information. You don’t need the knowledge graph to make this work though, just publish some good quality how to content. Assuming search volumes are in sync, If you were a baker, I would opt for “How to make butter cream icing like a pro”, and link that article to another one with “Icing ideas for buttercream icing”….

You can see where I am going with this right?

  1.  Content Marketing the SEO way:

The best way to explain how SEO works is by thinking of a spider and how he builds his web. He starts in one corner and moves to the next corner, and then the next…. Creating a support structure to build on. Then he spins his web connecting each and every strand to each other. In the early morning the web has dew drops all over it, these would be the data points, but when a fly lands in the web, the spider is able to identify by that web he built, where the fly is caught. He quickly moves towards they prey to immobilize it. That’s how SEO works. It’s a spider web of security for your site and all the people to come to it, and can find it.

How much of your content marketing efforts should be focused on SEO?

Tracking where your traffic comes from is a great start, so you would go to Google Analytics and then to Audience acquisition and then to the overview. You should be able to track 7 traffic sources. Organic search, Email, Direct, Referral, Social media, Paid search and other. Don’t rely solely on Google Search that would be impeding any efforts. SEO is not just Google, neither is content marketing. G+ is a great tool for authenticity and authorship, RiteTag is perfect for Social media monitoring and amplification, and Facebook has Insights you could delve into, just be cautious of the 7 day data cycle.

There are 8 different formats you could create that have SEO value to your content marketing campaign, like Video’s, Article’s, Infographic’s, free E Books & PDF’s, How to guides, expert interviews, embed Tweets and memes.

  1.  Socially speaking:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram have ALL updated their algorithms to combat spam on the web, but more specifically here it’s to stop brand spam.

The gravy train for businesses and brands in Facebook is over. Brands and agencies have long exploited the social algorithms, from both ends, by spamming the audience with far too many organically seeded over promotional posts, charging clients stupid amounts of cash for “posts” to the audience based on the average of 0.04% CTR. That’s all in the past now, the search giants woke up, know what is happening and will be swift with penalization. The penalty? Only 10% of ALL over promotional posts will ever be seen by your audience, unless you pay for your audience to see it.

Search Wars defines and outlines all the changes that have occurred within Facebook and Twitter, as well as the penalties and other titbits of useful info. In this document I outline the do’s and the don’ts with key guidance and insight.

  1. SEO long tail

It’s unrealistic to expect any real search volumes when you just start content marketing, by incorporating social you could grow that traffic much quicker. When you start to see increasing volumes through search efforts you apply, the residual affect could be long lasting.

As I work with news publishers, we have some great examples of good content marketing. We all know the Oscar Pistorius saga, every time he makes it back in the media spotlight, all the old content on the site gets a new insurgence of traffic. This is the long tail effect of content marketing. If you’re really savvy you will anticipate the wave of interest and be prepared with social media amplification content, that provided this “social content” is a new spin, on an old  tale, the search volumes should sky rocket for at least 48hrs. If planned well with a water tight lateral content strategy, you could retain and or re-target half of that new audience.

Amplify your visibility through Google Knowledge Graph and Twitter.