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.

Was this guide helpful? What other topics would you like to see us cover? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Is there a Google Update?

There have been chatter of possible Google update last weekend i.e Nov 20 and Nov 21. People are telling they are seeing huge changes in their rankings and traffic from Google. Others are saying spammers have returned to the Google search results. I am getting this from forum threads, tweets and detailed emails with charts of traffic changes. So something is going on.

google update

 

Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that he has nothing to announce, it might just be the 100s of changes they make to their search results every year. So clearly he is not aware of any search quality update that happened, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t a core search change in Google.

Is it going to be a late confession Like last time that they declared there was no algorithm change at all and then a couple of weeks later admitted it was the new “Site Quality” update? :http://searchengineland.com/th…

I personally believe it may by some phantom update. Here are three observations: A lot of direct niche oriented sites got a boost, A lot of the actual brand product website got a boost, and finally, a lot of major sites lost their Rich Snippets Stars in the SERPs.

So something is going on. Do you experience any change in your website ranking or traffic?Do share it and let us know

 

RIP, Yahoo Directory

Yahoo has closed down one of the most historic and prominent sites in the history of the internet. Once thought of as the Google of the internet, the directory is no longer to be found. Going to dir.yahoo.com now redirects you to aabacosmallbusiness.com. For some, it may seem like there has always been Google, and it’s always been the main way people have found things on the web. But before Google, there was the Yahoo Directory and its hand-compiled list of websites, organized into topics. So what led to the downfall of once a mighty ruler to a slow and quiet death? Lets look at the journey

Yahoo- The ruler

The most common way people found websites when Yahoo began in 1994,was to browse through lists, where sites were often organized into topics.

Founders Jerry Yang and David Filo  realized their own list needed a better name than “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” They settled on Yahoo! (with exclamation mark). That stood for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle” — a reference to organizing sites in a hierarchical order.Yahoo quickly became the most popular search engine on the web.

A “directory” relies on humans to review websites, summarize them with short descriptions and organize them into a categories. When Yahoo started, this system was effective, because there weren’t that many pages on the web  and automated search technology to organize websites wasn’t very good.

That contributed in a big way to Yahoo’s popularity over traditional search engines like InfoSeek or Excite that used automation. Yahoo had better relevance. You could find what you were looking for.

The popularity of Yahoo was so much that it was a privilege for publishers to be listed. From around 1996-1999, there were long delays to list new sites. Sites that did get in could find they were effectively invisible because a Yahoo editor might have changed their descriptions in a way that didn’t include important keywords.

So what led to the closure of Yahoo directory?

Yahoo quickly became the most popular search engine on the web. By search engine, Search engine during that time was a generic term of any service that helps you locate information, rather than the more technical one of a service that locates information by “crawling” pages automatically and allowing you to keyword search to find any pages that match your keywords.

The above difference is important, because it was this distinction that led to Yahoo’s eventual downturn as a search resource and directly to the coming closure of the Yahoo Directory.

With Yahoo, it was as if you were searching for books in a library using an old-fashioned card catalog system, where all you knew about a book was 25 words or so describing it.Google came along in 1998 and quickly proved that you could have search results generated by automation, rather than through human effort, and have better relevancy.With Google, it was as if you could search through every page of every book in the library. You didn’t miss that needle in a haystack. Google’s search algorithm was better than others.

Yahoo’s Partnership with his murderer i.e Google

Google’s search algorithm was so good that in 2000, Yahoo partnered up with Google. Yahoo had long partnered with crawler-based search engines, so that if there were no matches from its own directory, the crawler search engine provided some “backup” answers. Google became Yahoo’s fourth partner: Open Text was the first, AltaVista the second and Inktomi the third.

By 2002, Yahoo realized that Google’s search results were so good that it presented those as the main listings to searchers at Yahoo. That was effectively the start of the Yahoo Directory’s long, slow-death.

The End of Yahoo! Directory

In 2003, Yahoo completed the purchase of Inktomi, so it could have its own crawler-based listings. That led to end of its deal with Google. But by then, for Google, it didn’t matter. Google had long overpowered Yahoo in the race as the most popular search engine out there. Eventually, Yahoo even abandoned its own search technology and outsourced to Microsoft for it. Yahoo never regained its lost throne and it was recent that its closure was announced in a quiet manner.Yahoo shared the news, a short paragraph that’s part of announcing two other closures, under a headline of “Progress Report: Continued Product Focus.

yahoo1

What are Search Engine Optimization/SEO Strategies and Tools in 2015

Search engine optimization
SEO
Can I get found on the first page of Google?

Search Engine Optimization starts with the very need and desire of getting found on the first page of google search result, so is it very difficult? No, But It requires us to think like a search engine.So welcome to the Free complete SEO guide for 2015 for all the tactics and SEO tools you need to know in order to rank higher in google search result.

So Search Engine Optimization is basically two types. On-site Optimization which is basic changes which you made to your website and Off-Site Optimization is everything else like links and social media.

On-site SEO: Research topics

  • What do people search most or what queries people type to search for product and services you offer? This is Google keyword research.
  • Use Keyword Planner its a very Powerful tool it can even forecast the number of impressions you can have for next few months or Google Analytics or any third party tool.
  • Go Broad Match for General Page topics instead of phrase match or exact match. This will give you a much higher traffic.
  • Having said that you can create a list of Broad match topics and then select Exact Match from it but only if it’s Natural and only if it make sense. Some terms make sense as search queries but not as page title, so you do not want to make it look Unnatural.
  • Think local when doing SEO because google is going to ignore keywords to some extent for example if someone type a query for dance classes google is going to show the result for dance classes in their particular location or adjoining areas.So go down to the local level when doing SEO.
  • Watch for Mobile Vs Desktop traffic, your site should be mobile optimized to take the advantage of the mobile traffic.

On-site SEO: Design pages for your website

  • So your have done your Keyword research and now ready to make your pages. This goes not only for users who are developing a new website but also for those who are adding new pages to their existing site.How many topics you want to put on a page? No more than 1 topics per page you don’t want more than 1 main keyword or  keyphrase per page and that’s the topics for that page.
  • You can also put the keyword in URL or Title, Heading1 -4 and content.Using the keyword in Title is preferred. Another Quick note for Exact Match Domain(EMD) is that they are risky. Search metrics in 2015 have shown that they are not of much help either. Exact match domain has an extra algorithm known as EMD Algorithm like PANDA which try to demote them and it seem to be susceptible to PENGUIN.Go for a catchy domain name which reflect brand recognition which people can remember over time instead of Risky EMD.
  • When writing write for humans- be precise and not be repetitive.
  • Write Title /Description for CTR, CTR is extremely Important. You can use this awesome free SEO tool– websiteadvantage.com.au/Google-SERP-Emulator. This will show you exactly what your snippet would look like, you can also use Adwords Ad Preview and Diagnostic tool also. Use psychological power words like Free, Now, New, You to improve CTR.Better Click through rate means Better Ranking.
  • Stay Fresh: Update content on your site regularly, upload new content, never delete a page if required always go for editing instead of deletion.Have an “updated on”, Current copyright and year in Title tag if room.

STRUCTURED DATA: This is another important thing in SEO 2015 that people underestimate entirely.The biggest Algorithm change in last 2 years has been Hummingbird. Since Hummingbird, google does not rank web pages.It ranks entities that have an associated URL. Let’s discuss this in some more detail with an example.

Google ranks entities
Google ranks entities

Google will crawl the web pages of the website and develop factoids from it which will include information such as author, product or services offered, contact information etc. Factoid are a part of entity another part of the entity is derived from off-page schema references like Wikipedia, blogs which talk about you, ratings and reviews from third party sources and not only this they will get information from social media too like twitter, g+, FB and more.

SCHEMA Gets big results: Fills in the “entity fabric” for google in building up what sites are best and what they are about.It makes them understand page type whether it’s an article page, product page, purchase page, contact page etc. It gets access to knowledge panel including “In-depth Articles”, It’s a very powerful 2015 off-page ranking factor.

Structured Data Tips:

  • Use Webmaster tool and check there are no errors in schema or Hatom
  • Use Webmaster tool data highlighter and Schema.org to define, freebase.org to define entity, & Ratings to get third party reference/quality signals

THINK SEO THINK LOCAL

After the Pigeon update that is a new algorithm to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. Google stated that this new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters. Following should be done to in order to rank higher locally.

  • Enhanced Listing is very helpful, Get yourself local Google business photographer and get yourself listed.
  • Maximize your map listing, Include more entity information like if you have free parking or bonuses etc include them in your listing information.
  • Have a quality site, Ensure that every user is completing the task at given page. For example if it’s a sign-up page, people are signing up or if it’s a contact page then people are contacting you. You don’t want users to bounce back to google and search for another site, believe me, this is not at all good for your ranking.
  • Have multiple good reviews from WIKI, forums, blogs etc.
  • Be mobile optimized, watch desktop vs mobile Traffic.

OFF-PAGE OPTIMIZATION: LINK BUILDING

In 2015, you still need links but the quality is more Important than quantity. Get Links from sources which google trust.

  • High Authority sites which represent real businesses and that have a high trust rank, not just some spammy sites selling links for few dollars.
  • 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.
  • Main content link.
  • Anchor text with natural stop words like “good site for organic food” etc
  • An appropriate quantity of links, don’t match current spam pattern.

Links Ignored By Google:

  • Links from new blogs or multitopic sites are ignored by google.
  • Manual post sites or Directories, Articles, etc.
  • Followed sidebar or footer links
  • Comments, Social bookmarks, etc

OFF-PAGE OPTIMIZATION: SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Sharing of your pages by users on social media helps a lot, Google seeing it that some content going viral help you rank faster and higher.(Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc) .
  • You also need to have activity in associated profiles, that tells google that you are a real site, you have an official sounding fan page or business page which has a lot of activities and is associated with your website that is a very good signal for Google telling it that you are a real site.In order to get it, the following should be done.
  • Post share-worthy content, Engage, Talk, Comment with the users
  • Get Buzz from Experts, If you have any expert in your field reach out to them and get them talking to you on your social media profile or get them commenting on your post or twits.
  • So there is no sandbox for what’s trending, the more popular the more you will rank for a topic.
  • Get all the positive mentions/Ratings u can.

SEO 2015

So it’s not that difficult to rank Higher in Google but you have to jump these sharks which are DEMOTERS

PANDA: It’s the single biggest demoter algorithm moving forward, It’s based upon usage metrics & on/off page factors. Google’s Panda Update is a search filter meant to stop sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. Panda is updated from time-to-time. When this happens, sites previously hit may escape if they’ve made the right changes. Panda may also catch sites that escaped before. A refresh also means “false positives” might get released. So apart from 23 question and answers from google on what should and shouldn’t be done to avoid panda here are some do’s and don’t.

DO’S:

1. First and the foremost thing is to have the Satisfied users.

2. Your website should have professional finishing.

3. You should have legit business signals

4. Outlink to authorities

5. Be shared, liked, and Reviewed.

DON’T:

  1. You just don’t want to crap content for the sake of SEO, this is what panda eats so don’t make SEO content.
  2. Do not duplicate or stuff content with keywords just to rank higher in google, it’s of no use.
  3. Don’t have a bad reputation out there.
  4. Annoy User with Ads and Pop-ups.
  5. Don’t have naked affiliate links.

PENGUIN: It’s a “web spam” or “over optimization” Algorithm to better catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results, in particular, those doing so by buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings. When a new Penguin Update is released, sites that have taken action to remove bad links can regain their ranking. It’s a page based Algorithm. It put a flag on the page which is affected.

How to remove it?

  • Remove on-page keyword repetition.
  • Delete at least 80% of exact match query backlinks pointing to that particular page.
  • 404 or delete the target page because it’s a page based Algorithm.

PAYDAY LOANS: This algorithm specifically targets “very spammy queries”.  The 2.0 version targeted spammy sites, whereas version 3.0 targets spammy queries.What exactly that means is not 100% clear. But the types of queries this targets includes terms like [payday loans], [casinos], [viagra] and other forms of highly spammy queries.

NEGATIVE SEO: Negative SEO occurs when someone makes an attempt to lower a site’s rankings in the search engines. There are multiple ways that this can be attempted. The most common type of negative SEO that gets discussed is link based negative SEO, but there are many other techniques that unscrupulous people can use to try to reduce your rankings.

  • Set up Google webmaster tool Email Alerts

Google can send you email alerts when:

  1. Your website is being attacked by malware
  2. Your pages are not indexed
  3. You have server connectivity problems
  4. You get a manual penalty from Google

If you haven’t already, connect your website to Google Webmaster Tools.

  • Keep track of your backlink profiles:This is the most important action to take to prevent spammers from succeeding. Most often, they will perform negative SEO against your website by building low-quality links or redirects. It is vitally important to know when someone is creating links or redirects to your website.You can use tools like Ahrefs or Open Site Explorer, from time to time, to manually check if someone is building links to your website
  • Secure your website from malware and hackers.
  • Check for duplicate content with Copyscape.com.
  • Find mentions of your company name on social media and websites withMention.net.
  • Monitor website uptime with Pingdom.com.

If all above mentioned things are taken care of your site will definitely start ranking better in few months.

If you have any Suggestions or Feedback on the topic, do let me know in the comment section.

CIVIL ENGINEERS: CAREER NEEDS, PROBLEMS, AND SOLUTIONS

The aspirational vision of a future world challenges you, the civil engineer, to rise to a new level of leadership and professionalism. The society has entrusted you with a vision to achieve a sustainable world and raise the global quality of life. To get that confidence, civil engineers, as a body of professionals, should exhibit mastery in five key areas:

Master Builders

To achieve the first vision, civil engineers as leaders in planning, designing, and constructing the built environment will have to position themselves as the helm of multi-disciplinary, global, collaborative, team that carry out successful projects. They will have to acquire a new, more expansive body of knowledge, provide ethical guidance, attract a diverse workforce, and define the knowledge and responsibility for each member of a well-defined hierarchy of professionals.

Care Takers Of Environment

Civil Engineers will have to put new technology, techniques and financial methods in place for sustainable planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance for the built and natural environment and will have to encourage owners to adopt new environmental technologies and techniques to improve the quality of life, while environmental stewardship becomes an integral part of engineering education and research.

Innovation And Strategic Research

Innovation and integration of new technology are the way forward and it will help define the research agenda. This will take a variety of efforts, including identifying and prioritizing emerging technologies and innovations, fostering civil engineering input into strategic research planning, influencing and bolstering funds for research, promoting faster application of new technologies and multi-national knowledge exchange, championing diversity and inclusion in the profession, and accelerating the integration of technology through spirited partnerships among diverse sectors.

Risk Management

Civil engineers need to have mettle in assessing and managing risk—forging new tactics for reducing the incidence and effects of natural and man-made disasters. Civil engineers will lead enterprise-wide risk management efforts and routinely make project-specific risk decisions, communicating risks and mitigation options to project colleagues, clients, government agencies, and the general public. At the same time, they will advance new approaches to balance business risk and reward. To have an impact, risk management must become part of every civil engineering project—a step as basic as scheduling and budgeting—and a key ingredient of all communication channels.

Role In Public Policy

There is a greater need for civil engineers to expand their role in public policy making. Through the efforts of civil engineers, policy-makers, and the public will understand the hard-wired link between infrastructure and the quality of life. That means civil engineers must be given the tools and training for engagement in public policy work while they become more vocal participants in public policy forums and increasingly serve in appointed and elected positions. Civil engineers will learn to lead and become motivated to initiate, communicate, negotiate, and participate in cross-professional efforts to envision societal changes that shape the quality of life.