Content rules the web and social media - it defines anything and everything your trying to convey about your brand, company, products, services, etc. Our powerful strategies for content marketing based on twenty plus years of experience.
Use the Right Content Platform
It’s amazing to see the number of sites today using staid web platforms based on proprietary code and technology. Nothing against Microsoft Products (we use and recommend many), but the absolute best Platform for your Content is WordPress.
WordPress is a powerful accelerator for maximizing content; search engines rank content on WordPress sites faster than any other platform, there’s a wealth (tens of thousands) of plugins that can be used to extend your content across the Social Web, enhance your SEO capabilities and much more. It’s a no brainer to use this platform - to not do so means your wasting money, time and minimizing search rankings for your content.
Update Your Content Frequently
Search Engines (including Google, Yahoo and Bing) rank sites much more faster if they are updated frequently. Clients as me/us all the time “what’s frequently” - there is no simple or perfect answer, the more updates you add to your site the better in most cases. Also, Google looks for “authority sites” - those that have lots of content typically will be considered “authority sites.” Be patient, won’t happen overnight.
Optimize Your Content for the Web
People don’t read online like they do the Wall St. Journal or Rolling Stone - they graze and scan content. Look at the structure of this Blog as an example. The content is typically comprised of short paragraphs, with only 2-3 sentences at most, surrounded by images, to break up the text and make it visually appealing (also helps with search engine rankings) and we use Headers to drive the reader’s interest into the text.
Integrate Keywords with Content
You don’t need to get crazy and keyword stuff your content. When you are writing the content take a look at Google’s Free Keyword Tool to come up with some ideas. Then, try to intelligently add these Keywords to your content - we’ll Italicize or Bold keywords in some posts or pages, sending a signal to Search Engines these words are important. This helps to get these Keyword ranked. Use your primary Keywords in your Headings: “Integrate Keywords with Content” is a good example in this paragraph of keyword usage.
Cross Promote Your Content
Don’t write content and use it once on a Blog or web site - when we are setting up Content Strategy for clients we strive to reproduce the content at a minimum of five times across the social web. For example: Blog post should be pushed out via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Plurk, Posterous and or Tumblr.
Posterous and Tumblr are what we would call “light blogging” services - both have automated tools that enable you to easily submit content. But, be aware, both have models based on your interacting with their communities.
Utilize Social Media to Drive Content Search Rankings
Google and Bing this week announced that they are now incorporating social media, conversations and interactions to enhance the credibility of a page via Danny Sullivan’s (Search Engine Land) interview with both. The basic takeaway is that both search engines (using Twitter as an example) consider “authoritative” people on Twitter to lend authority to pages that they Tweet out.
So, sending out links to your own Blog or others is a great way to let search engines know these URLs are important, provided you have a Following on Twitter and are established.
I believe and am counseling my clients to embrace social media marketing now, as I believe moving forward that a company’s or individual’s “social influence” is going to have a large impact on how their online content is valued. Klout is a good example of one of many social scoring sites that gives you a quick snapshot of your social influence.
Sidebar: companies are starting to incorporate a Klout score for an individual when they are dealing with customer service issues or giving them some type of a reward - makes sense and drives social conversation.
How to Develop a Content Strategy
Many of us in the social media marketing business use Google Reader to stay on top of a never ending flow of content that we need to stay on top of. Set up a Google Reader account, then click on the RSS Feed logo on any web site to add that site’s content to your account.
Once this is done you have a ready resource of articles from thought leaders, news sites, Blogs, etc. that should give you ideas for content development. Another tip, once your account is setup you can use a third party app for Twitter like Social Oomph (well worth the cost) and then feed the content right into your Twitter account.
Once you have content sources in place then take the time to sit down and map out your content strategy with a spreadsheet. Integrate keywords with your overall strategy - this may sound very basic (it is) but I find that many clients have no meaningful content sourcing and editorial calendar place at all.
Hope these powerful strategies for content marketing have been helpful to you - you might want to read this recent Blog post on the “Power of Words” - which will give you a deeper dive into utilizing the right words for your content.