Content Marketing

Why Content and Promotion Need to Work Together – Here’s Why #172

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George has another harebrained scheme, but he needs to get Jerry’s cooperation for it to work. Can he sell it to Jerry? Was getting Kramer involved a good idea? (Is it ever?)

That gang may never work together well, but your digital marketing channels must for you to succeed. In this episode of our popular Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Perficient Digital’s Eric Enge explains how to make content and promotion work together for better marketing success, both on-site and off-site.

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Transcript

Mark: Eric, what’s your idea of an ideal marketing campaign that would drive a great deal of SEO benefit, and how would you structure it?

An Ideal Marketing Campaign

Eric: Well, such a campaign actually has many different components.

  1. You have to publish great content on your site. You want to be able to draw people into your site. So I’ll talk more about what that is in a minute.
  2. You have to have selective strategies involving off-site publication of content or leveraging visibility on third-party sites.
  3. You need effective promotion leveraging all this content that you’re creating, including a tight collaboration between marketing and PR. And while you’re doing all of this, you should really have a focus on reputation, visibility, and branding; not be wrapped around the axle thinking about SEO because that impact will follow, but if you put the SEO goal first, then that’s where it leads you into doing things that can be problematic.

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Start with Great Onsite Content

Mark: Expand on what you mean by onsite content.

Eric: Well, first of all, obviously, publishing it on your own site, but the big key is figuring out how to gather the world’s best content on a given topic and actually get that together for publication on your site.

Essential to campaign success is not just blasting out a ton of so-so content.

Instead, focus on quality over quantity, though a certain amount of quantity is helpful in the whole process. Lots of other sites have gone down the path of publishing hundreds or thousands of pieces of content which are so-so, and to be frank that actually works to some degree today, but is not so much the right thing for strategies going forward.

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And then, you’ve got to focus on being the absolute best on those topics. That can seem daunting to you as you engage and think about how you might go about doing that, especially if you’re entering an already-crowded market.

For example, if you’re creating content in the market related to education, instead of covering all aspects of education, take on one very specific area and create the world’s best content in that particular area. An example might be a comprehensive set of resources related to one career. Once you’ve succeeded at covering that one career really well, and you’re seeing results there, you can begin working on the resources for the next career, but it’s better to start by going deep and vertical, rather than trying to be broad and cover everything.

The problem is the big boys publishing in the education arena in my example are already covering the broad topics extremely well, and they have more authority than you do.

So here’s an example of the traffic chart for an actual site. I have to keep it anonymous because of who they are, but they’ve achieved great progress in their own SEO strategy by publishing great content onsite and in reasonably high volume. Look at that curve; they actually launched their site in May 2016. And as of May of 2018, their traffic growth is just fantastic.

Traffic Chart screenshot

Next, Promote the Content

Mark: Great, but how about promoting that onsite content?

Eric: Well, this is a huge area where so many businesses really don’t executive that well. Once you’ve captured the concept that you’re creating the world’s best content in a particular segment of your market, you do need to actually let the world know about it.

Think about this process as building relationships with the community interested in your topic area. It’s not just blasting stuff out all over the place, but you taking a role providing the leadership in that community. This mentality will serve you really well. For example, what can you do to get media people hungry to write about your content?

By the way, that mentality should be fundamental to the whole way you structure your content plan, knowing that media people and influencers and folks like that, the ones that can help amplify your content, are really your target audience,. But also seek to actively contribute to the visibility of others.

Nobody likes someone who’s just promoting themselves all the time. Even if they’re publishing great content, it still seems kind of selfish. So you shouldn’t expect that they are going to share your stuff when you don’t end up sharing any of theirs. This is incredibly important. The other thing you really need to do is have tight integration between your marketing and PR. Collaborate with those teams because they can really help amplify what you’re doing.

Include Offsite Publishing

Mark: Okay. So for off-site publishing, are you talking about guest posting?

Eric: Well, that can be a part of a campaign, if done selectively, but remember to focus on something like this from a marketing perspective, targeting the right sites where your audience is, driving branding benefits and things of that sort.

If you do that, then yes, guest posting can be part of your strategy. And, of course, if you’ve published a really high-quality piece of content on a very authoritative, well-visited site in your market niche, then getting a link back is actually fair. It’s really just sort of attribution for your contribution to their site, but definitely stay away from the high-volume, rich anchor text stuff.

But having talked about guest posting, you should also think about other off-site strategies, such as getting team members from your business interviewed by third parties. So that’s an example of something that can work really well too.

Consider Data Studies

Mark: We publish a lot of deep data research studies. Do you recommend that as part of the mix?

Eric: Yes. It’s actually a great way to go with your strategy, but there’s some key points about that that you need to have in mind if you’re going to go down the path of publishing research studies.

  1. Make sure that it’s unique. Publishing the latest study in something that somebody else already wrote about is not going to do that well.
  2. You also have to make sure that the topic area is something where the conclusions are interesting, and you target audience is interested in the overall topic area.
  3. Then you have to do you data collection in an unimpeachable way. That means ignoring whatever bias you have about what conclusion you expect. “Let the data tell the story,” is what I like to say about that. So what you thought the conclusions were going to be when you started actually don’t matter. The data tells you what the conclusions are.
  4. And, of course, as I talked about before, combine this with interesting promotion.

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About the Author

Eric Enge leads the Digital Marketing practice for Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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