“Content Marketing” as a term is everywhere these days, it’s what most marketers are looking at now to improve visibility. In days gone by they would’ve more than likely looked at “link building” instead. It’s true that there’s some crossover, but the best content marketing strategies look to develop and showcase authority and value. Links are a secondary concern, because if you can establish the former, the latter will come as a matter of course.
Value Added Content
In 2015 your content should be looking to inform and entertain, to assist and enlighten. Think about how you can achieve these aims, otherwise too much of what you write will simply be ‘churn’.
Look for the questions that are unanswered, or only served by question and answer websites. These are a great opportunity to be seized. Look also to Google Auto-Suggest – this is showing you the wider search intent. Follow some of these suggestions through – how well is that query served? Could you improve on it?
It’s not just about ‘beating’ other people’s content too. If you’ve found you can improve on or extend someone’s work, do so, and then reach out to them. They might feature or discuss your content. You might get ignored, but you also might get a link, a mention or simply build a new relationship into your network. It’s worth the two minutes to send that email!
Say No to Clickbait
We’ve all seen those clickbait titles: “Man does x and you won’t believe what happened next…”. We’ve all probably read one or two and likely come away unsatisfied – the most compelling thing was the title. That’s because more often than not the sites that use this tactic don’t have anything to offer, but do have ads they want you to click. It’s not quite spam, but it’s not far off. Anyway, I believe you’re better than that and have more to offer.
So you may be wondering what you should do to encourage people to read your content. Let’s talk “call to action not “clickbait” – the difference here is you offer a clear value proposition. The reader knows what to expect from your article and isn’t going to be disappointed when they read it, because unlike “clickbait” titles a good title with a compelling call to action actually delivers on what it offers.
For example you might write “Setting up your first WordPress website is easy – we show you how here”, “Read our simple steps to improved conversion rates on your Magento site”. These perhaps cross the line a little into what you might use for a meta description or in a tweet, but hopefully the general principal is clear:
Clickbait is junk food, call to action is a nutritious home-cooked meal.
Authority Over Links
There are various criteria you could use for assessing whether you should offer content to a website. You might look at Domain Authority (DA) and set a minimum level. Perhaps you’ll look to social authority figures. Maybe it’s whether you’ll get a follow or nofollow link. However, I’m going to suggest a new way because:
Domain Authority can be irrelevant – a new site could have low DA, against an established site that’s borderline spammy, but just happens to have a higher DA because of the sheer volume of content.
Sure social authority is important, but would you throw away an opportunity to work in a highly focussed niche for yourself or your client because you don’t like their follower/following ratio?
Follow Vs nofollow. This is easy – we’ve already said you’re not doing it for the link; you’re doing it to demonstrate authority and experience. For example, would you turn down an opportunity to be featured on the BBC website because they said you would get a nofollow link/no link at all?
The new way is considering the overall authority of the website in question – as well as their potential for growth. If their content is good, they’re not spammy and they fit in with both your niche and attitude then go for it! Authority will grow authority; so keep looking to get that next step up in terms of whom you can work with (but keep nurturing existing connections on your meteoric rise!).
These are just a few of the reasons why you want to look at proving/improving your authority over just seeking out links.
Selection Over Scale
If you had to pick one way of determining whether a specific link building technique is a poor choice what would it be? For me it would be: “is it scalable?”. If the answer is yes then I stay away – and though we’re talking more about content marketing than link building as such, the same response applies.
You can’t really scale or outsource the process of building the relationships you need to give your content marketing campaign maximum impact. That’s a great thing however! It means your link profile will be good and grow at a natural rate. It means you only have to do a little bit of work every day – the momentum will build and build. It means you can create higher quality opportunities.
That’s how I see content marketing in 2015 – how are you structuring your campaigns?
This post was written by Owen Radford, online marketing manager at Elementary Digital, a London and Leeds (UK) based digital agency specialising in Magento, Wordpress and digital marketing.