~ “You have to market your marketing.” C.C. Chapman ~
Content marketing used to be simple. All you needed was some decent content, a little SEO know-how, and voila! You would be well on your way to establishing ranking high in the search results. Nowadays, however, things are a little more complex.
Now, your content needs to tell a super-compelling story; it must be long-form, yet easy to read; it has to be easily digested, scannable, non-salesy, problem solving, fun, professional, specific to a particular reader, and, of course optimized for search engines. And all that just to meet standard requirements.
To stand out and build a memorable brand these days, nothing short of great content will do. But, that is not the end. Once you have this great content in your hands, you must use it wisely.
Creating Attraction Content
A Copyblogger working definition of Attraction content goes as follows:
“Attraction content is freely available on the web for social sharing and for search engines to index. Your goal for this content is for people to consume it and spread it.”
The last part of that definition is particularly pertinent. However, getting people to consume and share content is a challenge. Despite the fact that everyone is consuming more content, the supply far outweighs the demand. As a result, audiences have become extremely finicky.
Attraction content is geared towards the lifestyle needs of modern content consumers. It includes things like infographics, list articles, and interesting downloadable assets – content that’s easy to digest and compellingly shareable.
Creating this type of content is the first step towards getting your brand’s voice heard in a sea of content noise.
Going Outside the Blog
Having a business blog is a must. It provides a home for the awesome Attraction content and has other important benefits, including SEO. But, a blog alone will not satisfy your content marketing needs. To paraphrase a quote from Brian Solis, if a piece of content is published and no one shares it, does it even exist?
On average, people spend 20 hours a day consuming content. However, they are not, for the most part, visiting blogs or going directly to the media sources. They are using social media, receiving content in their email inbox, and looking at things recommended by their peers.
That means it is unlikely that they will accidentally discover your brilliant new blog posts. No one will share your content if they do not know about it. That is why it is so important to think beyond the blog; Think sharing on social media, niche relevant forums – all the places where your target audience show up.
Distribution is now just as important as content creation.
Focus on Distribution
In the old days (less than five years ago in internet terms), the primary objective was to “build your audience.” The main focus was on creating the most awesome content for your business website, driving people to that site, and convincing them to stick around.
Nowadays, things are a little different. People have so many choices that it is almost impossible to convince them to stay loyal to one content source, yours. And so now the focus needs to shift to distribution. You need to put your content everywhere that your audience is hanging out.
That means distribution to multiple platforms – platforms such as Medium, the brainchild of Twitter co-creators Biz Stone and Evan Williams, which receives some 17 million users per month.
An omnichannel publishing strategy will allow you to reach a much wider audience than you would ever hope to with just your blog; even if you are publishing the Mona Lisa of blog posts.
Understanding Social Media’s Role
Social media plays a major role in the content distribution game. As well as the usual facilities for sharing short updates and links back to your website, platforms like LinkedIn Pulse, Facebook Instant Articles, and Google’s AMP enable the publishing of long-form content.
That means greater opportunities for brand exposure, authority building, and customer development. However, it also now means that social media has to take increased precedence in your content marketing strategy.
They already have the majority of people stuck in their eco-system, and now social media platforms are all set to become even more sticky.
The old strategy of trying to tempt users away from a social media platform and onto your website will not be as effective anymore. You can, however, utilise these native publishing platforms to quickly get your content in front of a large audience.
Content Promotion is Key
For the past five years, the message has been to focus on creating quality content. That directive still stands. In the content marketing game, you can’t even step up to swing without quality content. But that is just the start.
Nowadays the success of a content marketing strategy will be decided by how the content is promoted, where it is promoted, and to who it is promoted.