September 1, 2011: KoMarketing Associates has been writing about the value in content marketing quite a bit this year, and it is reassuring to read that other industry colleagues share a similar perspective.
Junta42 defines content marketing as, “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.“
“Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. … The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”
For B2B organizations, we feel it is an essential piece of the puzzle for supporting SEO, social media, and lead generation efforts.
Content Marketing & SEO
Content marketing fits hand-in-hand with SEO because marketers invested in a content strategy understand the long term benefits it may bring. Results happen over time, as an audience gains trust in an organizations expertise and value provided within their respective space.
However it is easy to focus so intensely on the creation of a quality content asset that the marketing team fails in recognizing how to distribute content in a manner most effective with SEO (and now social media strategy).
Building the Distribution Channel
Content marketing initiatives lose steam (or fail entirely) because the development of the necessary channels for distribution are not identified or built during the creation process.
For SEO and content marketing, this often means the distribution paths that lead to inbound links, either through manual outreach or passive link acquisition.
Examples of distribution channels for SEO content marketing initiatives might include:
- Curating and Building Relationships via Twitter (Twitter Lists)
- Blogger Outreach & Communications
- LinkedIn Group Participation
- Online Forum Participation
- Profile Development Across Publisher Sites
- Social News and Bookmarking Contribution
Building the distribution channel is the secret ingredient to successful SEO content marketing initiatives. It takes time to build but provides the unique competitive advantage for gaining visibility.
The Social Side of SEO Strategy
Content marketing is not necessarily a new concept. However the way we (SEO’s and marketers) are able to provide visibility for content assets has changed dramatically with social media. Spreadsheets and databases of contact information morph into contact lists via social networking sites and online communication tools (doubtful the spreadsheet will ever go away though).
Social media provides a much more accessible way to reach a target audience for link building outreach and general content distribution. However these social networking connections still need consistent attention, like an prospecting database requires a lead management program.
Basic Recommendations for Getting Started
It would not be possible to provide recommendations for all of distribution channels listed above in one post. Each opportunity has its own unique challenges and nuances. However some basic recommendations remain constant:
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with one or two channels and build out as time and resources allow.
- Understand the need to maintain consistency in communication and participation.
- Set small production goals first, with dates and milestones in mind.
- Document successes (and failures) in an effort to learn and improve over time.
There is more to SEO content marketing than just content creation. Successful content marketers recognize the need and work to building channels for sharing and distributing valuable content assets.
What successes or obstacles in the content marketing process have you encountered? I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback via the comments below.