Your content and SEO planning should go hand-in-hand. Here are some strategies to ensure they do just that. Kim Kosaka, the Director of Marketing at Alexa.com explains how to do just that.
If you’re a marketer tasked with promoting website content, you’re not alone facing this rather daunting challenge – millions of blog posts are published every day. Bringing attention to your particular content can be even more challenging than that number suggests: according to Pew Research, the number of different outlets we get our news and information from is declining, with 68% of Americans now receiving most of it from social media.
5 BIG STRATEGIC CONTENT EXPERIENCE QUESTIONS FOR CMOs
The future of effective content marketing is not in solutions that enable marketing teams to do the same activities with just more volume and efficiency
However, content promotion continues to be well worth marketers’ effort when done strategically. Compared to identical non-promoted content, it’s clear that successful promotion efforts yield far more backlinks and referral traffic, producing positive metrics that search engines often reward with higher-ranking organic positions. In the long term, this success helps increase organic traffic and enables marketing teams to meaningfully reduce ad spend while sustaining the content’s impact.
Here are six tactics marketers can use to promote content with an eye toward SEO success:
1. Reverse engineer your content so that it’s better designed for successful promotion.
To begin shaping promotable content, target each piece to a niche audience segment and differentiate it through more specific messaging (and keywords) than competitors are using. Then for each channel you plan to promote on, dive into your site’s analytics looking for patterns. What are the attributes that your most successful content pieces have in common? Variables to pay attention to might be around a word count sweet spot, the use of certain visual elements, or content formats that consistently prove effective.
When it comes to preparing the most appropriate posts for promoting content on social media, Buffer advises using video content for Facebook, infographics for Pinterest, brand stories for Instagram, and GIFs for Twitter. Messaging should also be tailored to the interests of each specific channel audience, all the way down to the subheadings, images, and tone of the piece. This gives the content the best chance to be shared by its audience, leading to increased brand awareness. Ultimately, this visibility can help you earn backlinks and more brand searches, leading to SEO improvement.
Beyond their own site analytics, marketers should also analyze the content strategies of their competitors, studying their most successful content for insights and benchmarking.
2. Repurpose your promoted content.
Quality content you’ve already created can really be a gift that keeps on giving. As opposed to creating new content, it’s quicker and cheaper to repurpose existing content for a new target audience or into a new format. At the same time, this strategy expands your reach across channels while enabling cross-promotion.
Many tools are readily available to help repurpose content for new channels, for example: the aptly-named Repurpose for turning podcasts into video content, Wistia for transcribing videos into blog posts, Animatron for turning slideshows into videos, and Visme for shaping data into infographics. Expanding the exposure your content receives in this way helps impact SEO by adding to the variety of related keywords and search results associated with your content – helping you to continually develop a richer keyword profile.
3. Utilize influencer networks.
Just as influencer marketing is effective for product promotion, leveraging influencers to share and promote your content can mean having respected experts directly present your brand to members of your target audience.
Rather than simply asking influencers to share your content, the smoother engagement is to create content that includes influencers’ opinions and advice, as well as links to their own content. Tools such as Mailshake and BuzzStream can help by bringing automation into the work of forging relationships with key influencers.
Success in leveraging influencer networks can earn content marketers not only backlinks, but also outbound links that are beneficial to search engine rankings. For example, Google uses the Hilltop algorithm to consider the relevance and quality of outbound links in determining if a page’s content qualifies it as a valuable hub of information.
4. Apply PR tactics to your content.
PR professionals make their living, in part, building up media lists and long-term relationships with influential press contacts in order to successfully promote their clients. These same techniques work just as well for marketers promoting content. Content marketers should build solid relationships with influencers and media professionals, understand how their content areas might map to publishing wants and needs, and shape content to meet those opportunities. Using tools to analyze where competitors earn their site backlinks (media and otherwise) can help yield valuable (and efficiently-sourced) targets you can apply to your own content promotion efforts. In turn, those backlinks help improve your SEO by signaling the strength and popularity of your content to search engines.
5. Run paid retargeting ads on social channels.
Especially when establishing an audience for a new blog or site, testing paid ads on social to generate repeat traffic can quickly prove a worthwhile investment and the quickest to drive impact of the techniques listed here (given that it can take organic traffic three to six months to show results). Promoting content on paid channels that speaks directly to your target audience (and its specific pain points and goals) has also shown to be effective in earning engagement. Retargeting your most successful content to an audience who has previously visited your site can help build up a loyal audience more quickly and unlock potential organic search success.
6. Value content promotion as much as content creation.
Finally, given the creativity and (hopefully) fun involved in content creation, content promotion too often ends up on the backburner. The reality for almost all content pieces, however, is that even the most incredible output can and often does go undiscovered without effective promotion. Some experts recommend following an 80-20 rule: spend 80% of your content efforts focused on promotion, with only 20% on creation. Those numbers might seem considerably titled, but they might just give your content the best chance of reaching the audience it deserves.
By knowing your promotion options, you can better ensure that your content reaches deeper into your desired audience – and helps strengthen your brand’s SEO for the longer term.