The more time goes by, marketers start realizing that you can’t pull a fast one on Google. In the past, there were ways you could slip through the cracks and make tons of money by using an approach that couldn’t really be called ethical. Well, as time goes by, Google keeps patching up these cracks and they are getting more difficult to slip through. Sure, there is a significant percentage of clients who are still willing to pay for outdated SEO approaches but the fact that our community has grown to be quite loud in recent years, so the number of uninformed clients is also dwindling.
Content is king, this still stands, but how do you go about preparing your content strategy? You need an all-encompassing strategy of content creation so as to avoid producing stale and thin content that serves no purpose. If you can’t find a way to produce engaging and interesting content for your audience, you are not going to get any positive signals from Google. Some businesses are still debating if they should consider content marketing as an option. Well, we are here to provide you with information relevant for this subject. You can use it to create a strategy that works for you.
The presence of content is almost universal, being that 82% of B2C and 95% of B2B businesses rely on content marketing. So, if you are telling yourself that content marketing is a hyped up trend that it is going to go away pretty soon, think again. It has been here for years now and the majority of business use it. Only 12% of businesses do not include content into their marketing strategy which goes to show how important and universal this approach is. According to surveys, some 78% of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) believe content is the future of marketing and that we need to focus on providing people with interesting and engaging material instead of attempting to hard sell our brand with pushy approaches.
Content cannot remain strictly textual if you want to achieve results. It is problematic that the word content is first and foremost associated with text, but content backed up with visual aspects (videos, photos, infographics, etc.) 94% more views and shares. On Facebook alone, there has been 3.6 times more personal and brand video shares throughout the course of 2014. Original visual content creates more opportunities for brand reputation affirmation and 70% of marketers will focus on increasing the amount of original visuals at their disposal through 2015. Now, when determining what kind of visual boost your content needs depends on the type of story you are trying to tell and the niche you are operating in.
It is highly important, to be up to date with the latest news that have an impact on content creation and distribution. Here are a couple of juicy news that can make a difference for those who want to establish a solid content marketing strategy.
The importance of quality content was further stressed this year by Google’s phantom update which was pushed out as a small update which wasn’t supposed to change much but it did. It was focused on the overall quality of a website, which includes design, tagging and quality of the content that it possess. The update was pushed through on May 3rd and was dubbed the Quality Update.
On April 22nd, Google’s Mobile Geddon update was pushed through to deal with websites which still hadn’t adapted their design for mobile users. Being that there are currently more people browsing the web by using a mobile device than there are using a PC, it is only understandable that not being optimized for mobile devices shreds some points from your rankings. Still, it was announced well in advance so most businesses had the time to make the switch but now, the question is if we can actually adapt the content for mobile users. You can’t just optimize your website for mobile devices, you need to adapt your content as well, and this is going to be a challenge to rise up to down the road.
The Google and Twitter deal also went live in May and it shifted the focus on Twitter as one of the more prominent channels for sharing content. On Google’s blog, they explain that the deals that have been struck between these two online magnates will help relevant Tweets emerge into SERPs to provide users with relevant newsworthy information and expand the influence of Twitter influencers that bother to be at the right place at the right time.
Metrics can be very helpful when it comes to determining what type of content suits you best. If you are under the impression that there is some universal content type that works best for everyone, we assure you that there isn’t. Let’s be honest here, there is a lot of A/B split testing going on in most major content sharing websites and you need to take notice and apply the same philosophy. Keep your metrics under close surveillance and strive to identify relevant factors that help provide better results.
That said, let’s dive into the metrics you should keep track on. The time people spend on your website is a clear indicator of how engaged with your content users are and this should be your top-priority metric. You should also ensure that you have a high number of unique visitors – no traffic equals no engagement and you should also follow the metrics on return visitors. This will help you determine how much loyalty your content provokes. Your bounce rate is also important since it helps you determine what type of content people are interested or not interested in. This will help you determine what content to share on what platform and with what kind of crowd. Relevance is a key factor here since the most common cause for a bounce is misleading the users or being too pushy with pop-ups and subscription forms. Social signals are also a clear indicator of what works and what doesn’t, but they require a more serious amount of traffic to be a valid metric. External referral sources are a final metric we are going to mention here. Follow the links from which converting traffic is coming from so you can determine where to invest more and which traffic sources to disregard.
Ok, so we’ve determined that adding visual aspects through videos, images, and infographics to boost performance but what more can you do? Well, publication is one thing, but without proper social media promotion, you won’t get very far. Furthermore, dry marketing is showing poorer and poorer results so most marketers are striving to integrate their advertising messages into their content without creating a tasteless hybrid that won’t serve the function of either one. As budgets for content get bigger and bigger, more diverse content types will emerge and the battle for the attention of a wider audience will become more intense. It is also an emerging trend, to include employees and customers into the content creation process, to make it more natural and give a face to the voice behind the story, to avoid that dry corporate image, thus humanizing marketing processes and bridging the communication gap. After all, people are much more likely to engage with a person than a brand. Still, a big problem are the constraining budgets and flavour of the week content seeking that most SMBs resort to as a solution for their “content problems”. You need to have an overall plan that works for you and avoid stabbing in the dark.
A lot of marketers and entrepreneurships are obsessed with having a rigid plan and sticking to it. When we say have plan, we don’t mean that you should do things one way and one way online. You need to determine a goal you wish to achieve with your content and seek it out. The fact is that things change fast when it comes to content and you need to remain flexible and adapt to the new changes. Remain up to date with the latest news, follow competition as well as your metrics and adapt accordingly. Of course, the final say is always left to your audience. If they are not engaged, you are doing something wrong. Keep your users in mind when creating your content strategy and you will lower the chances of botching the entire thing. We hope you enjoyed this articles and that it helped you put things in perspective when it comes to content.