In keeping up with the search engine updates, we have heard it, “Content is King!”. Enough already!
While it seemed to be more of guru-speak over the last two years, in 2014, it seems that the time for content to actually rule has really begun.
The latest Google update i.e. the Hummingbird, represents the shift to conversational and even related searches. Google is intent on delivering the best results to searchers, and it does this by trying to understand the intent behind a searchers’ keywords. Its now aiming to return search results that fully answer a searchers query.
Content marketing is the buzzword for 2014, and for good reason too.
Did you know that over 20 million pieces of content are shared daily? This cuts across huge global brands, mom and pop stores, all the way down to affiliate marketers. Think about it, that is 312 pieces of content being produced and shared every second, every 24 hours. That is a LOT of content.
The acquisition of yet another AI company by Google shows their move towards allowing searchers almost having a conversation with the web (A Siri and Google mashup soon?). Apart from returning more targeted searches, Google is able to discern a piece of content’s actual popularity via social signals among other things. This makes it infinitely more difficult to foist unmerited and rubbish content on the search results.
So, how do you create this great content and still get it to rank? It goes without saying that your first step is to know your audience. Know what makes them tick, what are their fears and hopes? Only then should you attempt to create content that resonates with them.
Content done? Use these ideas to make your content creation further.
1. Have a content plan – Major publishers call it an editorial calendar; but it is simply laying out a weekly plan of the content you will create. Tie it in with relevant holidays. Ensure you stay flexible enough to be able to relate your content with national and global events. You can also choose to use a monthly content theme. Either way, having a plan gives you a direction to head.
2. Create and maintain an active blog – With over 10 million people reading blog posts every day, why wouldn’t you grab a slice of this traffic? The shocking statistic that companies with active blogs are getting 60% more leads than those that don’t have one, should be a wake up call. Big businesses are investing in maintaining a staff of bloggers to take advantage of this.
3. Use more than words – Exploring new content channels may just be the elixir for your waning sales and social presence. Podcasts, webinars, creating videos, LinkedIn sponsored posts, Slideshare presentations are great outlets to use original and even re-purposed content.
4. SEO still works – While you shouldn’t rely 100% on only SEO, optimizing all your content, is necessary for it to be found. The search engine spiders are still machines programs that can only ‘read’ your content if it is optimized. Note that you should make sue you are writing for the readers first.
5. Tie in social media – Depending on your niche or industry, you may find that different social media channels may work better for you. It is disastrous to attempt to use ALL of them 100% of the time. Test and see which ones give you the most response. Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media, thus social media should be part of your content marketing in 2014.
2014 is the year content marketing finally takes off. Marketers and brands have discovered, the hard way, that spamming and creating content for the SERPS isn’t a viable long term business strategy. Create content that is helpful in your industry and let Search and More help you spread the word about how awesome your brand is.