Tag Archives: Content Marketing

Content Marketing: It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint

How PR Pros Converge Media and Content Marketing

Content marketing is a term that’s appeared many times on our blogs. We use content marketing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday when we put out our DW Security Update headlines. Despite content marketing being a trending topic in the PR world, many PR pros are hesitant to implement it into their PR strategy. Why you may ask? Marketing. The word marketing throws PR pros off. We aren’t marketers and we aren’t sales people so why should we handle content marketing?

In its simplest form content marketing is building relationships and trust with your audience. You create helpful content for current and potential clients and in turn they see you as someone they can turn to when they need help or information on your industry. This is exactly what PR is.

Why it “Fails”
Content marketing has a reputation of “failing.” The truth is content marketing isn’t failing. You’re just thinking about it wrong. When most people think of content marking they have this general outline in their heads:

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Just because someone reads your content doesn’t mean they are going to buy – just yet. Content marketing is a much longer process. It starts with making interesting, usable content. The hope is people will click on it. If they like what you’ve posted then they’ll remember you. You start to build trust and relations with people. You want to show them that you are someone they can trust –whether it be in the product or service you are selling or simply the information you can provide them. When they are ready to buy they will remember you and select your product or service.

It’s Not All About Sales
Content marketing is not about selling. Of course sales are vital to the growth of your business, but it has to be in the back of your mind. It is about building trust and telling a story. When you are writing content ask yourself these two questions: Why does you audience care about this? And, is this news just about your business? If this is just news about your business consider packaging it as an office memo instead of a press release or blog post. Your primary focus is being an expert and helping potential customers and clients do better in their businesses.

 

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Don’t Forget LinkedIn in Your Content Marketing Mix

Let me start out by saying that I don’t think advertising is dead.  There is a lot of talk out there that it’s limping along as content creation sprints forward leaving it in the dust.  But, let’s be real, good advertising still sells.  That said, content creation has been around for a while, but as a relatively newbie to the marketing tool kit it’s getting a lot of attention. There are some pretty compelling reasons for this. Study after study shows that people respond to informational content.  What catches people’s attention is useful content that provides some insight or understanding.  A good blog – one that tells your customers and potential customers something they need to know — is a perfect example of persuasive content.

The biggest challenge with a blog is consistency and providing useful information.  But, there is more to it than that. Once you have the blogs written and posted your work isn’t done. If you have spent the time and energy to put together a useful blog you have to market it to keep it alive and reaching as many targeted people as possible.  Good content is marketing gold, but only if you get people to see it.  You can create a great ad, but if you don’t place it, it doesn’t sell anything.

There are lots of ways to market content.  Social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ should all be part of the mix.  But, I think one of the most overlooked marketing tools for b2b communication efforts is LinkedIn.  We all know (or should know) that LinkedIn isn’t just for recruiting and job searches any more.  People use it to keep tabs on contacts, network with peers, follow industry groups and get company news.

According to reports, LinkedIn has 300 million worldwide users with 100 million in the U.S. alone.  And it’s estimated that 40 percent of those users check their accounts daily.  The average LinkedIn user has 150 connections and many have more than 500.  When you post something to LinkedIn it appears on the news feed of all of your followers (depending on your privacy settings).  If one of your connections sees it and likes it then it appears on the news feed of all of that person’s connections, if one of his/her connections likes it, it appears on the newsfeed of all of that person’s connections and if someone from that person likes it . . . well you get the idea.  The number of people who see your post adds up pretty rapidly and exponentially.  

If your post links back to your website, you not only get more visibility for your content but you also have the potential of driving more people back to your website.  And remember all of this is free.  All you have to do is assign someone (or your agency) to regularly post all blogs and news coverage to LinkedIn. It should be on the check off list along with posting to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

LinkedIn works pretty much like Facebook, but I like it because it is a business platform targeted to professionals. Facebook is great for family photos, funny animal videos and personal opinions, but LinkedIn is for business. When you post on your company page that post appears in the news feed of everyone following your company. These are people who have shown an interest in you. Keeping them updated is important and should be a priority. These are your evangelists – people who will spread the word for you.

Make Some News

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the value of content — company news and opinion — in driving potential customers to a small to medium business website or social media platform. One of my favorite headlines is “Content Is King.” Now I’m not much into royalty, but I totally agree that self-published content can be a huge asset in helping to grow an SMB.

There are a couple of factors driving this. One is that the major search engine — Google — no longer gives much weight to news releases, long the staple of a public relations campaign. The theory is that a release put on a wire service and picked up en masse by relevant and non-relevant outlets can be accomplished by any company willing to pay the wire charges.

However, algorithms known only to a few Google computer engineers do notice original content. A 20-inch company profile in the New York Times or two minutes to pitch a new product on the Today Show is still a big hit. But let’s be realistic, those opportunities don’t come along very often.

Industry trade publications still need news to fill the space between ads. But increasing numbers of editors are doling out their coveted spaced to those SMBs that advertise. It’s becoming known as the “No pay — No play” rule.

I’m sure your SMB has something to share with your current and potential customers, but how do you reach them? Make your own news. Tell your unfiltered story through a blog page on your website and by using social media. LinkedIn, the social media site for professionals, recently adding blogging capabilities that let’s you communicate directly with your connections. But no matter the platform, plan for regular posts that will increase your online visibility.

And if you think your business is too boring or technical for blogging or social media, think again. Let’s look at one example. Plastic pipe extrusion won’t make lively party conversation, but a search of the term on Google brings back more than 1 million hits. Somebody out there wants news about making tubing and pipes of different sizes and shapes.

So get out there and create some content about your business. If you don’t have the capability on staff, find a good writer to help you tell your story. There’s no longer any excuse for sitting quietly and letting self-publishing competitors pass you by.

– JD

Follow me on Twitter @jdaum

 

6 Tips for Email Marketing

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Content marketing is one of most important trends in public relations this year. It’s all about promoting your business to followers with useful content. A great way to do that is through email marketing. But, are a few things you should know before you start.

First, think about the direction of your message/content. What type of information do you want subscribers to see?  Is your content beneficial and informative?

Choosing a Platform: Choose an email-marketing platform. This is essential because you do not want your emails to automatically go to spam if you are sending them out to a large group of people.  Email marketing platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp are an easy and inexpensive way to help build and polish your content and keep it out of the spam folder. Create multiple test emails and send them out before you choose a particular platform. See what you like.

Finding Contacts: You should already have contacts ready to go to start a marketing campaign. However, you want your contact list to expand. Think about who would be interested in the services/ information you have to offer. Do your research and build a good contact mailing list. In addition, make sure it’s easy for potential subscribers to sign up for your email service – whether that be on your website or your social media platforms.

Crafting your Email: Make sure your emails are written and designed so that they are clear and concise, and the design is mainly neutral colors. Emails should be a “readable” length and if they are too long the will more than likely not be read or read all the way. Try to make it so that your reader only has to scroll down one or two times while reading any given email.

Integration: The key to growing your influence is integration. Create a Twitter account, a Facebook page, etc. for your newsletter. Make sure to advertise your social media when the newsletter goes out. Also use your social media sites to tweet or post updates from your newsletter. Post or tweet a link to your newsletter subscribe button as well. 

Tracking your Emails: Many email-marketing platforms will allow you to track your emails. You can see how many people opened it, what links they clicked on, etc. Every week you should be tracking your progress. See who’s opening your emails and what they are doing after that. Are they clicking on your links? What type of links get the most hits? All of this is important in maintaining a successful email marketing campaign. Use the statistics you collect and modify r accordingly. Remember, email marketing is all about what the subscriber wants to see.

Be Consistent: The key to all content marketing is consistency. Plan out which days and approximately times you want your email to go out. When you start your email- marketing campaign write a welcome email to let your subscribers know what they can expect from you.

– Niki Perri

Google and SEO, What You Need to Know Part I

 

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In my last blog I wrote about the importance of content marketing for business growth but content marketing can also drastically improve SEO — Search Engine Optimization — that determines where your company’s web postings rank in a Google search. Traditionally, website structure and keywords alone impacted SEO results.. In 2011, Google launched its “Panda Update,” an update that changed Google’s ranking algorithm to focus on user experience. This meant that while the structure of a website was still important, content was even more important. This is where content marketing comes into play. Businesses can improve SEO results by revamping their website and focusing on the quality of content.

Something to remember regarding content marketing is consistency.. Google analytics can see when you are continually uploading content and that will start to improve your SEO rankings. If you stop uploading content your SEO results will drop.

Constantly creating new content is challenging which is why re-purposing your content is a good idea.  One way to do this is to write blog, white papers and case studies about your industry and then re-purpose them into shorter posts, an infographic, an email newsletter and tweets. Spread these posts out over the course of a few weeks. If you post everything at once it will help your SEO for only a short amount of time. Pace your content.

In 2012, Google launched a follow up update to Panda called Google “Penguin.” Again, this changed Google’s algorithm. This update looked more at links and shares from social media. It took into account the sources that picked up a story or press release. When those get picked up, it shows Google that specific content is useful and enjoyable and as a result, you will get better SEO results.. Don’t just build links or use fake accounts to increase content reach because Google can tell. The important part of sharing your content organically is that it helps you build a relationship with reporters/ bloggers in your industry. Once you establish that relationship it will be easier for your future stories or releases to get more traction.

Another way to increase your SEO results is to update your Google Plus page. After you’ve created content, post the story or the link onto your G+ page and share it. You can also go onto Google Author and establish yourself as an author and cite your works. This helps give you and your work name recognition in Google — again giving you better SEO results.

Google also has a Webmaster Tool that allows you to see your impressions and clicks on your company’s website for free.

SEO now relies on both technical structuring of websites as well as content marketing. Remember, create content that people are interested in, post it regularly and watch your SEO improve.

-Niki Perri

 

Content Marketing

Content-Marketing

Building relationships with customers and clients is the best way to generate business. People and businesses do not want a hard sell.. They want to feel like they know and trust your business before buying your product or service. That is why content marketing is so crucial. 

Content marketing in its most basic from is the creation of content (i.e. press releases, infographics and social media posts) to a target audience in the hopes of engaging them enough to share your content.  The whole idea is to build an audience and relationships with potential clients.

You want to create content that you know  and yourtarget audience can use.In turn, they will be more invested and will be more likely to share it with their friends, followers, etc. The more your content is shared the higher your SEO results will be. This is great for generating leads and getting new clients. Keep in mind content that is over 2,000 words tends to rank higher on Google.

What type of content should you create? PR professionals are constantly creating content, that’s an integral part of our job. Clients want content that will create traffic, like blogs, infographics, and helpful solutions. Companies that blog or post unique content 15x per month, generate 5x more traffic than companies that don’t post regular or enough content.  However, the best type of content is useful content. This is content that informs and is valuable.

Content doesn’t have to mean blatent self-promotion. Customers and clients want to see that you have their best interest at heart and care about the same things they do. Think about when you go into a department store and are looking for a specific brand of jeans. You go up to the sales person and he/she tells you that they do not carry that brand of jeans but the department store down the road has the brand you are looking for. Instead of the sales person trying to persuade you to purchase a different brand of jeans, he/she gave you helpful information and you now trust and respect that department store more. This is the same in public relations.

A great way to advertise while still offering helpful content is through social media ads. Instead of obvious ads, PR and advertising teams can search sites like Twitter and lookfor relevant questions. Say you have a client in the computer/ information systems industry and you go onto Twitter and notice people have been asking about how to unfreeze a computer. You might respond to them saying “Press Control, Alt, Delete at the same time.” Now you have helped people out and theymay now have a newfound respect and  connection to your company.

Another form of content marketing is native advertising. Native advertising is content that fits with the user experience. Again, this is content that does not feel like you are being advertised to and helps you build a relationship. An example of this is the “recommended for you” features on web articles. Here the advertisers are trying to appeal to your taste preferences. It makes it seem like the viewer found the article on his/her own. 

Advertising has become extremely difficult, people can rewind TV commercials, listen to ad- free radio stations so advertisers need to be creative. They need to give the client what he/she wants. That means helpful content-based ads and marketing strategies that develop a bond between you and the customer.

– NP