Search Engine Optimization Strategies For Success In 2016

 

Planning For SEO Success In 2016? Do you have a digital marketing Plan in place with clearly defined objectives or goals? A 2015 study by Smart Insights showed that 50 percent of businesses doing digital marketing had no form of digital marketing plan or strategy. It’s a little crazy that they were doing digital marketing, yet they do not have a digital marketing plan or clearly defined objectives or goals.

Digital Marketing: An Ever Changing World Of Challenges

Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail.Certainly, the digital landscape is changing at a very fast pace. The digital channels and marketing opportunities are changing so fast that most businesses find it too difficult to keep up with its pace. Those that have attempted to keep up have an ad hoc approach and simply dive in at a tactical level and throw money at SEO, PPC, display, social and even content marketing.

For many, this  approach fails. This leads to businesses becoming more out of touch and stuck in the sinking ship of yesterday’s marketing methods.

SEO & PPC: Tools, Tactics,  & Strategy Go Hand In Hand

A strategy is of no benefit to us if we don’t have a detailed plan or tools to implement that strategy. Equally, if we are applying marketing tactics such as SEO and PPC without an overarching strategy, then we are likely seeing the bad result and excessive cost.Focusing on only the hyper-competitive elements like on the commercial keywords that we believe to drive our business while doing SEO or PPC is ignoring the bigger picture and a Blunder.

Let me give you a brief example of how assumed strategies and an over-reliance on tactics rather than strategy can lead to poor results.

Let us assume we have a client that operates the biggest restaurant and outdoor party venue in the Noida region of the  India. The business has historically had a roughly 15-mile radius of customers. Over the last 5 years or so, several new venues and large chains have set up shop, and there are now likely 15 other venues in that radius. The search strategy, however, has never changed — and it basically boils down to targeting users looking for the party venue in this 15-mile radius. This is done with local SEO on a micro level and PPC on a macro level.

Despite a  top-of-the-page results in the local and organic listings & a large spend on PPC, party venue business is dwindling.The answer to this been to spend more and more on PPC to continue to target those local and not-quite-so-local customers.

Anyone who parties regularly will know that this is the best venue in the area. These folks know and will go the extra journey. To everyone else simply searching for a party venue, the primary factor is location and price. Sure, our client really is better, but every company boasts of greatness online, and prices are much the same across the board.

This strategy of reaching farther and farther afield to convince potential customers to bypass several more conveniently located venues is simply not working, especially for the casual or first-timers.

The solution lies in our research which has shown that location is the key factor, then why not focus on prospective customers within five miles rather than 15 miles? Would our marketing be more successful if we focused on building awareness with the local market who don’t currently plan their parties outside, letting local customers know that an amazing party venue that too at an affordable rate is literally on their doorstep?

We have made a conceptual change from trying to persuade searchers looking for party venue to drive an extra hour past other venues to raise awareness with the local audience and creating new customers.Without thinking about strategy or reexamining our objectives and goals, we would never have made this tactical change.

Planning Digital Marketing

I want to briefly outline the methodologies which can be used with customers large and small to improve strategy and boost results of their digital campaigns.These are some proven models and methodologies for digital marketing planning.

SOSTAC® Planning

PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Plan is a marketing methodology developed by  useful for developing overarching digital marketing plans and can be used to create an overall strategy or apply at a tactical level.

Situation Analysis — Where are we now?
Objectives — Where do we want to get to?
Strategy — How do we get there, broadly speaking?
Tactics — How exactly do we get there? Which channels?
Actions — Systems, processes, guidelines and checklists.
Control — Measurement and metrics to ensure we are making progress.

Digital marketing methodology

 

Image reproduced with kind permission of PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Plan

Asking this questions is very important.The insight from a solid situational analysis covering the who, why and how elements of your audience and detailing that into customer profiles is as valuable as Gold.

 

SOSTAC® is a registered trademark of PR Smith.For more information visit  http://prsmith.org/sostac/

RACE

RACE Planning System for Digital Marketing is another model that can be utilized to create your entire plan.RACE is a practical framework to help manage and improve results from your digital marketing. Ultimately it’s about using best practice web analytics techniques to get more commercial value from investments in digital marketing.It is so easy to apply to a single channel like SEO, or even Local SEO.

RACE consists of four steps or online marketing activities designed to help brands engage their customers throughout the customer lifecycle.There is also an initial phase of Plan involving creating the overall digital strategy, objective setting and plan, so sometimes members call it PRACE.

Reach — Buyer Stage: Exploration
Act — Buyer Stage: Decision-making
Convert — Buyer Stage: Purchase
Engage — Buyer Stage: Advocacy

 

race model
Image courtesy Smart insight

 

Reach

Reach is brand awareness covering paid, earned and owned media. To reach our customers, we must ensure visibility across search engines, social media and relevant blogs and content hubs.

Act

It’s about persuading site visitors or prospects take the next step, the next Action on their journey when they initially reach your site or social network presence. It may mean finding out more about a company or its products, searching to find a product or reading a blog post. You should define these actions as top-level goals of the funnel in analytics.

Convert

It involves getting your audience to take that vital next step which turns them into paying customers whether the payment is taken through online E-commerce transactions or offline channels.This is conversion to sale.

Engage

we want to build on that initial conversion and build a long-term relationship with our customer. We want to sell other services. We want to retain that customer over the long term. We want to keep that customer happy and maximize the lifetime value of that customer. We also want to drive advocacy and ensure our happy customers become part of our marketing arsenal through reviews, social shares, and referral.

Success Of Digital Marketing, SEO, & PPC

The Importance Of Strategy And Planning for the Success of any Digital Marketing Campaign cannot be overlooked in any case. A more strategic approach to SEO and Digital Marketing is required for success in 2016.

For digital marketing managers, I strongly recommend looking into both of the above models, and I would love to hear of any frameworks or models you have used for digital marketing planning within your own organizations.

Watch a video on SEO Strategies which can help you build a successful

Article idea Courtesy SearchEngineLand

 

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MOBILE MARKETING: ESSENTIAL GUIDE

MOBILE MARETING

Mobile marketing according to Wikipedia is

Mobile marketing is marketing on or with a mobile device, such as a smart phone.[1] Mobile marketing can provide customers with time and location sensitive, personalized information that promotes goods, services and ideas.[2] In a more theoretical manner, academic Andreas Kaplan defines mobile marketing as “any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device”.

Practically the entire world has a mobile phone and a whole bunch of them are smartphones.We all know that every single day more and more people turn to their smartphone, tablet, etc. to do pretty much everything they can do on a computer.

There is no shortage of statistics to back up and support the fact that the use of mobile as part of an overall marketing strategy is no longer a luxury but is, in fact, essential.

Following stats are sufficient to understand the seemingly never-ending rise to the proliferation of mobile among consumers.

  1. 150* Number of times consumers check their mobile devices a day
  2. 79% Smartphone owners use their mobile devices to buy products or services

According to Econsultancy, that there will be a 67% increase in mobile marketing budgets in 2015.

The following 5 key things you need to know when it comes to Mobile Marketing:

  1.  Unifying mobile technologies to deliver orchestrated experience
  2. Use smart data and signals to inform your mobile communication strategy
  3. Create a holistic view of customer interactions
  4. Personalized marketing experiences
  5. ROI of  mobile marketing strategy that can be proved

Let’s discuss each one of them in detail.

 

Unifying mobile technologies to deliver orchestrated experience

mobile tech

The first and the foremost move to be made is the move from a focus on single-channel marketing campaigns—to focus on the entire customer journey, you need to do it now.

The solution, however, isn’t in buying a slew of individual mobile technologies to execute—such as SMS, push, mobile advertising, and Passbook. Operating in silos can only deliver fragmented experiences that frustrate customers and result in missed opportunities for marketers. Instead, the opportunity lies in unifying mobile technologies and delivering orchestrated experiences that monitor signals from all channels (including connected devices).

These experiences speak to customers offering solutions based on who they are as individuals and how they’re interacting with your brand in their moments of need. By having the ability to send marketing campaigns out across channels, you can also track results that aren’t limited strictly to mobile. Automation makes the options for measuring success and running marketing campaigns a much more robust offering.

Push Messages as an example

Let’s look at Push as one example of how to create a cross-channel orchestrated mobile experience.

Push is a permission-based, mobile customer communication channel. By opting into your Push messages, a customer gives you access to their most intimate communication channel.

Today, there are more than 8.7 billion connected devices. This has led to a huge marketing investment in mobile apps—they command 80% of the time people spend on mobile.Mobile devices are fundamentally changing the way customers interact with businesses.As a result, customers expect to engage with brands to get any information or service they desire immediately, and in the right context. To capitalize on this opportunity, marketers need to take an orchestrated approach to mobile interactions and push notifications to make them part of their integrated, cross-channel marketing efforts.

  1. 70% of consumers find all types of Push notifications—including order updates and location-based messages—to be valuable for their engagement with brands.
  2. 50% higher open rates on Push notifications 50% versus email

The solution lies in technology that enables marketers to extend their cross-channel marketing strategy to the world of apps—technology that collects all user behaviors and unlocks valuable information about how and when your app is being used. By understanding the behaviors of your mobile users, marketers can better inform all their other channels and drive more valuable conversations with prospects for improved sales effectiveness. Integrated with the right technology, marketers can, in turn, deliver Push notifications across devices as part of an orchestrated customer path, helping to drive new revenue, improve loyalty, and strengthen customer relationships.

MOBILE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY USING SMART DATA

Smart-Data-Graphic-850px

MOBILE MARETING
MOBILE MARETING

Apps on connected devices can collect information such as: Device Type, App Engagement, App Operating System, Loyalty Information, and Geographic Location. By focusing on collecting these new types of smart data, marketers can sense and respond to real-time contextual information about the customer, giving them the ability to deliver relevant information in a way that was never before possible—both on the mobile device and in an orchestrated way across traditional marketing channels. This information gives you the ability to further develop customer profiles and improve customer journeys.

 DELIVER DISTINCT CUSTOMER JOURNEY

customer journey

The way to do this is to centralize all of your customer data and connect customer identities across touch points and channels. Marketers can’t deliver a personalized experience if they don’t know who their customers are and what they’re buying, when they’re buying, and how they prefer to buy. Today’s technology enables marketers to collect information on how individual customers are interacting with distinct channels and to analyze those interactions to glean information on what customers want. Marketers now have the ability to know not just what their customers are purchasing but also the different ways they use mobile to live daily lives. For example, maybe they prefer to use their laptops in the morning to shop for household products before they head to work and their tablets in the evening for entertainment and consuming content. What’s more, you can use that information to deliver distinct customer journeys. For example, if a customer clicks on a dress offered in an email message, a mobile marketer can know whether the best next step is to send a Push or an SMS offering a discount on that same dress.

Two Important Points

SEGMENTATION

The needs of each customer differ, so it makes sense that marketers create different offers for each segment of the market. Consumers in each segment should exhibit similar types of behavior as shown by the data, ensuring that they can be marketed to in a similar way. Mobile offers a unique opportunity for marketers to capture their prospect’s device type, physical location, in-app usage, and behaviors. Marketers can now capitalize on this rich customer data gathered to identify ideal customers and target specific audience segments. Segmentation is vital when it comes to establishing engagement trends. With the ability to identify the physical location of consumers, marketers can now even segment their audience by location, enabling them to connect with their audience at the right time and place. Behavioral targeting allows marketers to reach out to customer segments based on behavioral patterns such as past actions and purchase intent. Once segmentation is in place the insights derived can ultimately ensure campaign success.

Data Management Platforms (DMPs).

Advertisers need a sophisticated technology platform that addresses the unique challenges of mobile data collection, media organization, and campaign execution. This technology tool is called a data management platform, or DMP.

A DMP is a centralized platform that ingests, organizes, and segments an advertiser’s first- and third-party mobile and desktop audience data assets in one place for audience creation, analytics, and execution. Mobile DMPs give brands control of their ever-growing mobile advertising programs. Mobile advertising offers a huge opportunity to capture a consumer’s immediate location-based, in-the-moment interests. Customized mobile advertising, when done effectively, delivers extremely high brand engagement and conversion rates. The most sophisticated mobile DMPs enable marketers to integrate mobile campaigns with wider digital and offline advertising initiatives to improve cross-channel targeting. For example, a brand could target a consumer on her smartphone after she takes an action on her laptop, or target a user on his computer after he visited a retail store (as captured by his mobile device), and then track conversion across the device.

DELIVER PERSONALIZED MARKETING EXPERIENCES

Let’s take a look at SMS messaging as a tool to deliver personalized messaging with content that matters to the customer and offers that are based on their needs at that moment in time to strengthen customer relationships and loyalty. In recent years, mobile SMS marketing has pushed forward to become one of the most desirable forms of marketing available. The number of people with cell phones capable of texting has grown rapidly in the past few years and so it makes sense that texting is swiftly becoming the best way to reach a customer. The low cost and flexibility make it great for businesses while its ability to deliver offers instantly leave customers wanting more. SMS is lightning fast, literally putting your message into subscriber pockets or purses seconds after you send. The average time for all mobile carriers and SMS services is less than 7 seconds from send to receive.

Compared to email marketing, SMS has a staggeringly high open rate. Essentially, almost every SMS sent is opened (and read), whereas only a fraction of emails sent are read. When a subscriber feels that friendly buzz in their pocket or hears that Pavlov’s Dog tone signaling a text message, they always look. In some cases, text messages are automatically opened, where emails aren’t. Subscribers have a choice to open your email. Consumers can get thousands of emails a month. Empowered by the technology at their desks and in their hands, consumers can fast-forward, delete, or tune out any messages they don’t like.

Planning an interactive SMS promotion is a good way to make your message fun and engaging, and there are plenty of ways to do it. Posing your message as part of a questionnaire or poll encourages your target audience to read more closely and become an active participant. Offering up a toll-free SMS reply option is an extra incentive for users to engage with your brand. Meanwhile, including a link to an entertaining video or images with more details about your promotion encourages users to investigate further.

PROVE THE ROI

ROI

Many mobile marketing platforms now have a link tracking capability which allow marketers to embed branded short URLs in their SMS messages to get deep insights into how well campaigns perform by monitoring SMS click through rates, conversions, and click recency. SMS click recency behavior is recorded at the individual level and can be used for targeting. For example, marketers can use a mobile-specific landing page toward which they direct customers that will allow them to glean metrics on conversion, geo tracking, and device detection. Or a specific call to action such as “Order now and you’ll receive a $5 credit toward your next purchase” alongside a point-of-sale code specific to one particular mobile campaign can track the success of that campaign.

Marketers can then use response data to monitor, track, and create more relevant campaigns. This results in better conversion rates and a faster return on investment. It is important to set clear goals that are tied to business objectives from the outset. Marketers should set up custom events based on KPIs, such as installs, in-app purchases, or time spent on the app. If the custom events are set up properly, these third-party tracking companies are invaluable tools to measure which traffic sources drove the most revenue at most efficient ROI. This then allows marketers to optimize their marketing spend and shift their budgets accordingly.

MOBILE MARKETING: POINTS TO REMEMBER

  •  Your website must be web friendly.
  • You need the SMS and Push features.
  • You have to have the data from both online behaviors and offline purchases.
  • You need to track and use preference information to truly personalize the experience.
  • You’ll probably be asked to quantify to justify and show ROI.

 

Note: This ARTICLE is broadly based on a white paper published by Oracle cloud.You can get the complete Research white paper here

 

SEO & Link Building: What To Avoid?

Link-Building
Link-building
How To avoid bad links and stay safe?

Google’s webmaster trends analyst, John Mueller, in Feb 2015 through a live Google+ hangout recommended to not focus on link building and warned if you do, it may lead to more harm for your website than anything good. Certain aspects of the link-building process have already proven to be pointless and obsolete. But one thing that will never change is human desire to connect with other humans, to share, cultivate, curate and collect useful, valuable and helpful pages, apps, or whatever the digital content is, with each other. If that wasn’t the case, there would be no Twitter, which is tailor-made for link sharing.

But this is not the complete story, There is another part of it which should not be missed. The other part can be understood while going through this transcript of the Video.

 

In general, I’d try to avoid that.

So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.

We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.

So the important part is Google Still uses Links as part of their ranking algorithm, so there is no question of not doing Link building, but you have to be cautious. Avoid Bad Links and in order to do so you have to be sure that a link you’ve manually built isn’t just going to get your website penalized?

Bad Links: How To Identify Them?

Avoid these characteristics, all of which can make a link “bad,” and stay Safe.

Avoid Links From Low Authority Or Questionable Domain

It’s in our best interest to get links on the high-authority sources we can find, and avoiding links from Suspicious or low authority domain.The higher our site’s authority is, the higher we are going to rank in Google. Links on already-high authority sites pass far more authority to our site than those on low-authority sites. If our link appears on a site with a poor reputation, it could do active harm to our organic search visibility.

Link From Sources Which Is Irrelevant To Website Content

If you are a cable and wire manufacturer and a website dealing in pizza delivery is linking to your website then this for sure is going to raise a red Flag.Context is important in Google’s modern search algorithm. It’s not enough to have a link pointing to your site, that link needs to be associated with content that’s somehow relevant to your site, as well.

Do Not Match A Current Spam Pattern

An appropriate quantity of links are Important, don’t match current spam pattern.If Google sees too many links pointing back to your domain on a certain site, it may flag that as suspicious.Quantity is important when it comes to links, but more links aren’t always better. Multiple sources pointing to your domain is Good, Try to diversify your link source.

Avoid Links From Multi-Topic Sites

You should avoid links from multi-topic sites or a site which already is linking to a large number of other sites. If a site is already having 50 links to some other sites you certainly don’t want to get a link from that site.

Link Embedded Keyword-Matched Anchor Text

There was a time when It was a best practice to embed your link in anchor text using the exact keyword you wanted to rank for but today that isn’t going to work. With Artificial Intelligence of Google search, Google has an intricate understanding of semantics link context, and it strongly favors links in natural journalistic context.

Buying Links Or Link Scheme

Do not fall prey to sites selling hundred of links to you for few dollars, They are all spam sites. Participating in complex systems like link wheels or link pyramids is a violation of Google’s terms of service & you could earn a bona fide Google penalty.Although the popularity of Link scheme has hit a low, but somehow they’re still floating around.So better avoid them.

The Take Away

Create Awesome, Share-worthy content and make it easy for other people to share it.You can use Moz’s Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Majestic or any other tool that functions as a search engine for links.If you notice any Links that are questionable, work to remove them. It’s better to remove a Suspicious link than leave it and suffer the potential consequences. Ensure your future link building efforts avoid these factors at all costs.

 

 

Facebook Improves UX For People With Slower Connections

Facebook is seeing its fastest growth in the developing world & that’s where the social network is signing up most of its new users, and because many of those people are connecting via slower 2G mobile connections, Facebook is making technical accommodations. Using a Facebook-created open-source “Network Connection Class,”  Facebook is able to sniff out how fast a person’s connection is and serves content in the News Feed accordingly.

While on Facebook people on slower connections see fewer bandwidth-hogging videos and more text and photo updates. They are also able to read the story they are looking at while the rest of the News Feed is loading in the background, but in a way that prioritizes the content currently in view. Facebook has now been displaying photos in progressive JPEG format, meaning that it can display lower-quality versions of images while they are loading.

In it’s continued effort to improve the mobile experience for people with slower internet connections, Facebook has made another accommodation. Now Facebook will look at all the previously downloaded stories that have not been viewed yet, rank them based on relevance and display them for users. It will also factor in whether images associated with the story are available.Previously, people with sketchy cell signals had to wait for stories to load in Facebook’s mobile app.

Here is excerpt from the latest updates from Facebook BLOG POST

We are now testing an update in which we look at all the previously downloaded stories present on your phone that you have not yet viewed, and rank them based on their relevance. We also factor in whether the images for the story are available. This way we can immediately display relevant stories you haven’t seen yet, instead of showing a spinner while you wait for new stories. When we receive new stories from the server when you’re back online, we load and rank those stories normally.

You can now also comment on stories you see when you don’t have an internet connection. While the ability to like and share posts when you’re offline has been available for some time, now you can comment on posts and the comment will be posted whenever you next have a connection.

Facebook said the updates won’t affect the overall News Feed ranking algorithm.

Accelerated Mobile Pages: Google Update

amp

Google Accelerated Mobile pages (AMP)  initiative  was Launched on October 7, 2015, with the primary objective of delivering faster-loading mobile web pages and thereby improve the mobile web user experience (and the Google search experience).

Accelerated Mobile Pages: Project Update

Google held a meeting on 9 dec, 2015 to provide updates about its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) publishing initiative.

  • The company previously said that it will support AMP within Google search “early next year.” It confirmed that it “will begin sending traffic to AMP pages in Google Search as early as late February 2016.”
  • Twitter will begin to experiment with linking to AMP content provided by publishers early in 2016.
  •  AMP pages load four times faster and use eight times less data than traditional mobile-optimized pages found out by Pinterest, currently testing publisher AMP pages in their iOS and Android apps.
  •  Messaging apps LINE, Viber, and Tango will link to AMP content in early 2016 as well.
  • WordPress will support all publishers that wish to enable AMP pages beginning in January.
  • Analytic tools like comScore, Chartbeat, Google Analytics, and Parse.ly will have AMP support in their tools by late February.

Google also updated on four key areas of the AMP Project: Advertising, Analytics, Subscriptions, and Content Format Innovation.The key updates covered in the meeting are explained in the company’s blog post. Here are a few Important excerpt of each of the four area as explained on marketingland.

Advertising:

Faster ads, ads that can resize, and support for viewability; as well as integration with certain data management providers, and sponsored content providers is the way forward for advertising

Analytics:

Implementation for a richer analytics framework is in progress, with the initial functionality landing in December and more coming in the subsequent weeks.End-to-end testing for publishers and analytics vendors is expected to start in late December, with full testing happening in mid to late January.

Subscriptions:

The proposed solution covers metering and access for subscribers. Engineering is working out technical details on the spec and on prototyping the solution.

Content Format Innovation:

Highlights include amp-iframe, which now has a resizing capability, and amp-click-to-play to enable a rich experience within an iframe once a user interaction has occurred.

Support From New Publishers

Network18, NDTV, and DNA India in India; Tempo and Kompass in Indonesia; Chosun, Joongang, Maekyung, Yonhap, YTN, Newstapa, and Slow News in South Korea; Inquirer in the Philippines; Televisa and Grupo Expansión in Mexico; Fox News in the US; and LINE, Nikkan Sports, CINEMATODAY, and IID, Inc. in Japan have come on board to express their intention to support AMP next year. LinkedIn intends to support AMP in early 2016 by serving faster-AMP alternatives to its published content when available.

Here You can also create your own first AMP page.

 

Google+ Breakup With Google+ Local

Google+ started life as a social network, but for a number of reasons it never really took off and Slowly and steadily Google is systematically breaking it up and keeping only the pieces that did work – e.g. Photos, Communities, and Collections as is evident from the latest Google+ changes.

Google+ Local piggybacked on G+ and became the place that Google displayed local business data. It always felt like an odd association – social features with business information – and now that association is ending.

The New Google+

The official Google blog post define the changes as Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler.

These changes are entirely centered on Google+ Local pages. Up until recently these pages displayed all the useful & important data that Google holds about a business, and Google linked to these pages from local and map search results. They no longer think that Google+ is the right place to display business information.In terms of marketing, businesses that want to reach people who are passionate about something will find it easier to do so with the new changes to Google+.

Google+ Ambassador Denis Labelle  is very positive about theses changes “The new Google+ is all about the interest graph, the open web but mostly, about people’s passions.” If your marketing is geared towards passionate people, you will find great ways to connect with them in the new Google+.

Google My Business: If You Are Local Business

The annual Local Search Ranking Factors study, Google My Business signals made up 14.7% of the overall ranking factors (see image below).

local-search-ranking-factors

So Google is still very much focused on local, and there is little need for SEOs and local business owners to worry about changes to Google+.The data from your GMB dashboard will show up everywhere that Google deems necessary; notably in Google Search, Maps, mobile search, and the Knowledge Graph.

Power Of Google/Local Search

Google+ Changes: The Take Away

So Their is no denial of the fact that Google Local search is very powerful, but Google+ is no more a place to display business information.Still marketer can leverage the benefit of New Google+ with Communities and Collections section, businesses that want to reach people who are passionate about something will find it easier to do so with the new changes to Google+. For a more detailed look at the changes check this Blog post.

What do you think about the latest changes to Google+? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

What is content marketing?

What is content marketing?
What is content marketing?
Content marketing strategy

Content marketing as defined by Wikipedia is

Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books,infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc

The Content marketing institute gives a more precise definition of content marketing as

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

So what’s important in the above definition is the stress on content being Valuable, relevant and consistent.

Food for the thought is that all the areas of internet marketing like social media and SEO are really only around because of content.

We talk to our customers, our clients, and our readers, and what we say to them regardless of what form it takes is our content.Every email, every tweet, every landing page, and every product description—they’re all examples of content.Without content, SEOs would have nothing to optimize for search engines, Every link earned by every marketer points to a piece of content, and the keywords that people type into search engines are an attempt to find—yes—content. Content is the heart of any marketing strategy.

The-Anatomy-Of-Content-Marketing

 

Content marketing is the use of that content—any of it—to help meet a marketing goal for your organization. That could be an acquisition of potential customers, retention of existing ones, making more people aware of your brand or your products, or really anything else.

Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process, not something separate. Quality content is part of all forms of marketing:

  • Social media marketing: Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
  • SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
  • PR: Successful PR strategies address issues readers care about, not their business.
  • PPC: For PPC to work, you need great content behind it.
  • Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
  • Content strategy: Content strategy is part of most content marketing strategies.

I hope by now you would have buy in the idea of content marketing and understood its importance in delivering your organizational goal, So the very obvious next question is where to start from. Let’s dive in to get started.

Content Marketing: Where to start from?

Content marketing explained
Content marketing strategy

Every successful Content marketing plan has two essential parts:

  1. An understanding of your goal(s)
  2. A mission statement

These two elements are very important because they help you decide what content you should be creating, and figure out if there’s something in particular that you should not be doing.

Let’s explore each of these in more detail:

Content creation based on Understanding of goal(s)

GOALS

Content should always be created for the sake of supporting at least one core marketing or business goal.Remember to constantly ask yourself, “How will this project support our business goals?” There should always be a clearly understood purpose behind any content creation.

  • Is the content created to raise awareness for your brand?
  • Is the content created to build your email list?
  • Is the content created to nurture prospects along their buyer’s journey?
  • Is the content created to convert your audience to paying customers?
  • Is the content created to retain customers and/or increase their purchases?

If you find that the content you have planned will not support those goals, chances are that it should not be a priority.

Content marketing based on a solid mission

Content marketing mission
What is the mission of Content creation?

By now you have a clear understanding of your goals now you must be clear about what are you trying to achieve with your created content. Here is where a solid mission statement will guide you.

As such, it should speak to three components of any successful marketing endeavor:

  1. The Target audience: The type of person you can help most with your content
  2. What will be the value addition to the audience: The types of information you will provide through your content
  3. The desired outcome for the audience: Things your audience will be able to do once they have consumed your content.

To see examples of mission statements, check out this complimentary chapter from Epic Content Marketing.

So we are now at a point where we understand the reason why we would be creating content and what outcome do we expect from it. Next step is creating a valuable & attractive content.

Creating Content

Types of content marketing
Different ways of content marketing

Assuming that we have the team & the technology. Now we have to actually start “doing” the content marketing.We would be discussing two most important aspects of content marketing

1) The types of content assets a content marketing team could be creating to demonstrate the opportunities available to the content marketing team.

2) Who should be involved in creating those assets?

Blog Posts

Blog posts are the most successful and popular way of content marketing. An SEO Optimized and a good keyword researched blog post can help improve the site’s SEO, and drive organic traffic and leads. Blog posts are typically written by the bloggers.

Types of Blog Posts:

  • How-to  Posts that teach readers how to do something; these typically perform very well in organic search if they align with long-tail search terms.
  • List Posts  Curated examples that can be informative, and thus also rather search-friendly, or simply entertaining.
  • Thought Leadership Posts that explain fundamental shifts in an industry, or ask the reader to rethink convention wisdom.
  • Newsjacks  Timely content that either reports on industry news or finds unexpected tie-ins with popular news items.
  • Infographics/SlideShares Blog posts that primarily use visual content to tell a story.

 

Premium Assets

Compared to many other content marketing tactics, Premium Assets represents a longer form of content that can educate prospective buyers about topics important to buyers and the brand. It’s a great way to demonstrate expertise in a creative way. They might be used to generate leads or contacts, or for brand-building purposes. These are typically created by the dedicated long-form content creator.

Types of Premium Assets to Create:

  • Ebooks  An incredibly popular format, typically presented as a PDF and redeemed behind a form.
  • Research Reports  Often presented as a gated PDF or an ungated microsite.
  • Webinars  Though time-intensive, webinars may feature a guest speaker who brings his or her own audience, which can help broaden the top of the funnel. Recorded versions of webinars can live behind a landing page to extend their lifespan.
  • Tools & Templates  Because they’re extremely utilitarian in nature, tools and templates often prove to be incredible for the long-term lead generation despite the upfront resource investment required.

Visual Content

The success of Visual contents in content marketing is huge. Visual content is a key component in each of the top  most effective B2B marketing tactics. Data reveals that marketers who are leveraging visual content are seeing significant increases in their blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results.

Types of Visual Content to Create:

  • Infographics  These can be embedded in blog posts, and shared on social media.
  • SlideShares  Some social media managers focus a lot of energy on SlideShare as a channel and create content exclusively for it.
  • Video  Whether for YouTube or a blog post embed, short videos for the sake of entertainment or education can help you diversify your content portfolio and improve your SEO.

Stats You Should Know About Visual Content Marketing

Content Distribution

content marketing
Content distribution for content marketing

There is no use of creating an awesome content if no one knows about it.So here comes the crucial part of distributing the awesome created content. It’s all about making sure the content you create gets found by the widest audience possible.

So let’s explore the most valuable channels you have at your disposal for distributing your content.

Search Engines

Your job is to make sure as much content as possible appears as high up on page one as possible. This means your writers should be working closely with your SEO specialist to determine what keywords to go after — ideally a combination of long tail terms and head terms, at an appropriate level of competitiveness given your domain authority and how aggressively you can go after the terms. Of course, that content should also be optimized for on-page SEO to improve its chances of ranking highly.

Social Media

Google’s algorithm considers social signals as one of its most important ranking factors, Social media is essential during two key content marketing processes:

  • Listening to your audience to understand what they care about, so you can create content that they will find engaging and relevant
  • Distributing content

You should also invest in growing your presence on social networks so that the content you share reaches an ever-growing audience. Your online network will help in the content spread, so the larger the networks, the better your content’s distribution.

To minimize wasted efforts, time, and data, it’s essential to spend time in developing a unified and comprehensive  social media marketing strategy

Email

Email lists are marketer’s most treasured assets and they’re a smart way to drive traffic, conversions, and re-conversions on your content. No content distribution strategy is complete without email. Mailchimp, in addition to having one of the best brands out there, leads the way when it comes to email distribution. The service allows you to send well-designed marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns. These emails are then tracked through detailed analytics reports, so you can continuously improve your email campaigns over time.

Pay per click (PPC) & Social Ads

Pay per click advertising & Social media ads work, and they’re cheaper than really any traditional advertising option. Each network brings its own advantages and audiences, but all businesses can and probably should tap into some form of social media advertising as part of their content distribution strategy.In fact, targeted spend can help certain pieces of content get unprecedented amplification when you find an efficient CPC.

How to measure content marketing success

CriteriaforContentMarketingSuccess (1)

Content cannot be measured with a single metric because no one data point can successfully or satisfactorily tell you whether your program is working. Instead, you need to create an array of metrics that are selected from four primary buckets.Following key metrics might be used to determine success.

  • Brand awareness: share of voice; website traffic; impressions; reach; video views; mentions
  • Engagement: Likes, shares, comments, retweets, etc; blog comments; link clicks; inbound links generated
  • Lead generation: form completions/downloads; email subscriptions; blog subscriptions; conversion rates; cost per conversion
  • Customer retention/loyalty: Brand evangelists; Net Promoter Score (NPS); customer retention rate; customer reviews

Click to know more in detail about Measuring success.

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