Is Your Digital Content King or Court Jester?

content marketing digital marketing
Content marketing and social media for small business – why and how

 
Having worked in the PR & Marketing Communications field for more than 20 years (eek!), I find this growing love (and fear) of content marketing amusing.  Public relations, marketing and selling have always been about content and delivering the right story on the right platform. Content’s “renaissance” is largely due to search and social media - and all its platforms.  To be “found” on search, Google has tweaked its algorithms so the emphasis on quality, relevant and authoritative content has never been greater.  To further analyze content quality and subject matter expertise, Google uses social media engagement as confirmation that searchers really like what you say and, therefore, your web page(s) should ascend in the ranking.

So, what the devil is Content Marketing and what should small businesses pay attention to?

Simply put, content marketing is creating and distributing uniquely appropriate web content for the purpose of building credibility as a subject matter expert; marketing a product or service or promoting a brand.  Its goal is to attract potential customers, build meaningful relationships, generate leads, and convert those leads into paying customers.

Making the Search + Social Connection
We are at a point where search engine optimization has shifted and content is at the center.  Technical SEOs are finding it increasingly difficult to chase Google’s algorithms and tech their way out of delivering original, well written, expert content, which demonstrates value and, more importantly, passes the social litmus test – spurring engagement: comments, +1’s, likes, shares and retweets.  After prospects find you on Google, BING, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al, you need to get them to your site and inspire them to engage – take your call to action, interact on social; comment on your blog; share your site on Pinterest – you get the picture.

Content marketing is an ongoing process with many important facets that work synergistically so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Here are three key elements to help you harmonize your content marketing efforts:

 

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, clever digital marketers always want to know how prospects are searching for their given product, service or topic.  Researching search volume, competition and variations of your core keyword terms will pay off when you start planning your content in an editorial calendar.

Not only will you be creating great content, but being mindful of higher volume variations of terms that describe the “widget” you are featuring, will help you customize your posts more effectively for readers and search engines.

2. Public Relations & Social Media – First of all, Social Media is a PR platform and should be integrated, accordingly. For example, if your company is announcing news via press release, that content, in addition to distribution over a “PR Wire” and email to journalists, should be posted to your website and then promoted via your social media outlets where engagement, sharing, etc., can flourish.

Any and all positive editorial digital content that is by you or about you, should be shared with your social followers and include links back to your website whenever possible. Keeping the PR and Social pump primed builds and sustains your reputation in your sector with authoritative media links and engagement that creates SEO juice to strengthen your position on search engines.

3. Storytelling – What type of information does your audience need from you? What can you teach your audience to convince them that you are the ‘go to’ person in your industry? Storytelling can be in the form of blog posts, white papers, teleseminars or webinars, podcasts and videos. The key to content marketing is to provide useful and valuable information that your audience can use. But how?

Make them think about your product, service, industry or expertise in a new or different way; entertain, enlighten, be visual, use humor and don’t be afraid to be a non-conformist once in a while. Don’t just parrot what the mobs are preaching. Add your own twist to it and share your experiences to build trust.

Next: Let’s break down a basic approach into three steps

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About the author

Lisa Kaslyn

Lisa Kaslyn has served as communications counselor to business leaders and executives at both small and large corporations, including Autism on the Seas, Barnes & Noble, Canon USA, ExpertFlyer, GettingHired.com, Kraft, Kodak, and Nielsen, among others. A former PR & Executive Communications lead for IBM, Lisa Kaslyn has worked with high level executives to help them define their message, develop compelling presentations and ensure delivery is passionate, relevant and engaging. Lisa is also a business writer and frequent speaker on a broad range of trends related to public relations and marketing communications in a search and social world. Her company, Prosper Communications, specializes in integrated search optimized communications, including PR, Social Media, Blogging, Video and other SEO and traditional Content Development strategies. ProsperComm.com

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