Google has been using some pretty effective scare tactics to warn marketers off link building lately. Scalable link building – even tactics that used to be seen as white-hat, like guest blogging – are steadily coming to be seen as black-hat. Instead of focusing on links, Google says, just build your brand by creating great content!
The problem is, everyone and their best friend has already jumped on the content marketing bandwagon. This noisy space is getting even noisier! Over 90% of B2B marketers use content marketing – for obvious reasons:
- Two-thirds of consumers say they feel better about and are more likely to buy from a company that delivers custom content.
- Interesting content is a top 3 reason people follow brands on social media.
So when everyone is doing it, how do you stand out?
Creative content is important, but concept and creation is only part of the process – once you’ve built it, content promotion helps you get in front of the right audience at the right time. And most marketers have no idea how to promote their own content, so it has only a fraction of the reach it could have, then dies a quiet death that nobody mourns.
As the competition for attention increases, marketers need to adopt new strategies to stay ahead of the curve. However, despite the fact that the majority of both B2B and B2C marketers are participating in content marketing, only 32% of B2C marketers consider themselves effective at it. Having a strong brand is a massive sales driver, so it’s more important than ever that brands learn to tap into the power of content promotion for brand building.
This was the issue I addressed in my session at Pubcon New Orleans 2014: How can you use content promotion to better build your brand?
In this post, I’ll dispel some of the myths around content promotion and outline a framework for successfully promoting your content to build a stronger brand.
First, we need to establish something.
SEO Is Terrible For Brand Building
Content promotion matters because SEO is a terrible tactic for brand building. SEO allows you to target people who know what they’re looking for but aren’t sure where to get it. This is important for exposure, but does nothing to build your brand.
I learned this the hard way. For the last six years, I’ve grown my organic search traffic by over 8% per month. My blog today does nearly 600k visitors/month. I thought we were kicking butt!
Unfortunately, on closer inspection, I realized things were not as great as I had thought.
Problem A: Low Visitor Engagement
The WordStream blog had very low user engagement. People would find our site and stay for about 94 seconds, on average. Around 80% of those visitors would never come back.
Problem B: No Branded Searches
Another problem was that only 3% of our organic traffic came from branded searches. This meant that 97% of the time, my visitors weren’t familiar with my brand.
Our SEO was strong, our traffic numbers were skyrocketing, but we were the rocking internet marketing company that nobody had ever heard of. It was a total disaster.
Here’s how we fixed it.
Build Your Brand With Content Promotion
At WordStream, we do about one big content promotion project every quarter. In my Pubcon presentation, I shared the strategy and results of one such content promotion project from just over a year ago – this effort generated over 10,000 press pick-ups and over 10 million unique visitors.
This didn’t happen by accident. I’m going to show you how we did it and how you can replicate the process.
Start With The End In Mind
Most content promotion efforts are doomed before they even start, because great content promotion starts long before you even start creating content. If you create the content first and then think about ways to promote it, you’re going at it backwards.
At WordStream, we employ a reverse funnel approach to promoting content.
Where Do You Want Media Coverage?
We start with our goals first:
- What kinds of publications do we hope will cover this story?
- What kind of stories do those publications love?
Basically, rather than trying to get news organizations to cover things we want to talk about, we produce content we think they want to cover, and is therefore more easily promotable in the first place.