“Create great content! Create great content!” Are you sick of hearing this catchphrase yet? Well, it’s probably going to be a while before this one goes away, because it’s getting harder and harder to do SEO without having “great content” to leverage in the process.
Luckily, there are many paths to content greatness, and with some creative thinking, you can create compelling stuff no matter how boring your niche seems. If you’re lost and don’t know where to start, narrow down the possibilities by figuring out what your goals for content marketing are, then proceed from there. Defining your goals will help you help you figure out what approach to take with your content.
One of those content goals might be media coverage, whether you’re looking primarily for links from big publications in your industry or coverage in the news media. If so, here are three tips for creating content that is more likely to get talked about. (And remember, if you want media coverage, always create a press release to go along with your content!)
Cover Big Brands
In SEO, we love to tear on Google for always favoring brands in the search results, but the truth is, everyone is interested in brands, whether we love them or just love to hate them. A good way to ensure that people will take an interest in your content—even if they’re not interested in your brand, yet—is to cover big brands.
One way to do this is to create a case study about a big brand. If you’re lucky enough to have a really big-name brand in your company’s client roster, ask them if you can feature them in a case study. But you can also write a case study about a brand that you’re not technically affiliated with in any way, from an outsider’s perspective. Or you could do a comparative study of two big brands in the same space (Pandora vs. Spotify, for example) or create a beautiful infographic with information on one or more big brands.
- A printer supply company called Cartridge Save created an infographic called “If You Printed Twitter,”connecting their own teensy, not-very-sexy brand with a big popular brand. That’s smart marketing!
- Google wrote a case study on how the American Red Cross uses the Google Search Appliance (an enterprise application) to “improve information ‘findability’ for internal and external users.” This a great vote of confidence. Companies that are considering using Google Apps for Business are looking for evidence that other big brands have been satisfied with their experience. (Google itself is a big brand, of course, but its apps aren’t necessarily trusted for business use yet, as much as something like Microsoft.)
Get Experts Involved
Big-name experts in your field are similar to brands—people are naturally drawn to them and love talking about them. Your content will get more coverage and links if you feature expert names and opinions. Here are a few ways to get industry experts involved in your content:
- Get a quote. If you’re writing a news-type article or covering some kind of trend, it’s a good idea to get a quote from an expert or two to lend extra depth and credence to your analysis.
- Do an interview. Bring attention to your site by interviewing someone more famous than you!
- Use “egobait.” Interview multiple experts in a group-style interview or create a list of must-follow experts in a given area.
- Kristi Hines recently put together a list of “75 Must Read Marketing Blogs to Make Your RSS Reader Epic.” Not only is this a nicely curated list that is really helpful for beginner marketers who are thirsty for information, but everyone whose blog is named on the list will be anxious to share it, too, giving it extra-wide reach.
- Scholastic, a publisher and distributor of books for children (remember those book fairs from grade school? Good times!), recently published an interview with child star Jake Short.
Connect the Dots
Journalists are always looking for a story, and they don’t necessarily want to cook up that story from scratch. If you’re sitting on some interesting data, don’t just present the data and leave it up to your audience to figure out what it all means. Do the hard work and develop a narrative that makes sense of that data.
- We got a huge amount of coverage for our infographic comparing the Google Display Network to Facebook advertising, partially because we timed it to coincide with the Facebook IPO, and partially because we got lucky and GM decided to pull millions of dollars’ worth of Facebook advertising that week. Journalists were looking for an explanation to fill out their stories, and we supplied it by quickly changing the name of the infographic and writing a press release that completed the story (GM pulled the ad campaign because Facebook’s advertising options leave a lot to be desired). Larry wrote more about how and why this worked in a case study on SEOmoz (“Oops! I Ruined the Facebook IPO”).
- Speaking of SEOmoz, when Dr. Pete reported that the Google SERP had shrunk to just seven results for almost 1/5 of queries, he didn’t just drop that data on us and call it a day. He dug in to find out what types of queries are returning fewer results (mostly branded terms and searches that return sitelinks) and what we can do about it (nothing).
What methods have you found for getting more media coverage for your content marketing efforts?