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Content Marketing

Why Anchor Content Is Key to Content Marketing Success – Here’s Why #67

What is Anchor Content and why is it now essential for effective content marketing? Eric Enge explains in this episode.

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Mark: Eric, it seems like the marketing world got the content marketing message, right? Year over year, more and more brands are creating more content than they did the year before. So is content marketing living up to its promise? Is it working for all of these companies?
Eric: Well, in many cases, it is, Mark. Here at Perficient Digital, we know how critical our content has been to attracting new clients. And we’ve seen a number of those clients use what we teach them to go on to their own marketing success. But it’s far from automatic.
We now have so much content chasing after the same audiences, it can become overwhelming. When some of content pops up, we can start to get numb to it. It starts to smother us instead of help us. We start to feel what Mark Shafer called “content shock.”
Mark: So the bottom line is you can’t take for granted that you have your audience’s attention.
Eric: Right. Simply creating garden variety content isn’t going to cut it any longer. In so many cases, whatever you’re talking about has already been talked about 100 times, and it makes no memorable impression. Even if you do happen to get people to click through to your piece of content, the battle for attention has only just begun.
Chartbeat did a study to see if people actually read the articles they share on social media. The redder the dot that you see on this chart, the more articles represented, and you can see that the majority of articles get near zero social sharing.
Articles shared are not read
As you move towards the lower right quadrant of the chart, you can see the articles get high amount of read time, but the number of articles here, as you can see for all of these articles, they don’t get a ton of social sharing. In the top left quadrant, we see articles with very high social sharing, and there are some articles that get shared a lot. But this group represents content with low read time.
Finally we have the top right quadrant, which looks nearly empty. Those are the articles that get both high read time and high social sharing. And there’s almost nothing there. You might think you could then focus on obtaining a high number of social shares, but the problem is that these types of articles are not likely to generate lots of engagement and value for your brand.
Mark: Yes, and it gets worse. A study of 1 million articles by BuzzSumo and Moz found that 75% of those posts had less than 39 social shares, and zero links some other sites. So the vast majority of content gets little engagement and contributes little to no SEO value to the sites they are posted on.
Eric: A dismal picture indeed, but there is a glimmer of hope amidst all the bad news. When Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo dug into the deeper picture, he discovered a pattern of certain types of content that are more likely to earn social shares and links together. You can find out what those are in my article on Anchor Content on Search Engine Land.
Mark: So Eric, you’ve been advocating for a while that serious content marketers need to invest in building what you call “anchor content.” So can you explain what that is and what our viewers need to do to create such content?
Eric: Sure. Anchor content is content that is clearly differentiated from anything else being produced about your topic. Seth Godin would call it “remarkable content,” while our friend AJ Kohn talks about creating memorable content.
Speaking of Seth Godin, let me list some characteristics of anchor content that I have adopted from a Ted talk of his.

  1. Anchor content can be content-focused on the interest of the early adopters and innovators in your space. These are people that love to have their thinking move forward, and if your content helps them do that, they’re very likely to share, promote, and talk about it.
  2. Aim your content at the people in your market who are actually listening, sharing, and discussing it. It’ll take some time and careful monitoring to figure out who those are, but this is the essential core of your audience. Create something they will love, and they will do far more for you than thousands of followers who don’t care.
  3. In Seth’s words, “Very good is bad.” You can’t settle for good enough. You’ve got to do the hard work to push through the content you know that’s truly excellent, far above the average.

Mark: It strikes me that “remarkable” means “worth talking about.” And ultimately isn’t that what we want, for people to be talking about our ideas, and our brand?
Eric: Right. As we showed earlier, it really isn’t worth doing content that is anything less than anchor content, for only anchor content will produce the result that you’re looking for. We get both shares and links together.
Mark: Thanks, Eric. And you’ll find a lot more about anchor content, what it is, and why it is worth doing, how you can produce it, at Eric’s in-depth search engine land article.
Learn how Perficient Digital builds content marketing strategies used by many of the world’s top brands.
Don’t miss a single episode of Here’s Why. Click the subscribe button below to be notified via email each time a new video is published.

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Thoughts on “Why Anchor Content Is Key to Content Marketing Success – Here’s Why #67”

  1. There are lots of information about latest technology and how to get trained in them, like this have spread around the web, but this is a unique one according to me. The strategy you have updated here will make me to get trained in future technologies. By the way you are running a great blog. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I’ve found that the most active blog readers are researchers/learners – sometimes the business owner, but largely not unless they are small. As a result, I generally write for operations and managers.

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Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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