Content marketing has the power to produce more than just links – it can enhance your brand image and build relationships with key brand advocates who are sure to get you even more links and exposure than you ever could without a content-based strategy.
It may sound counter-productive, but focusing less on link building can actually gain more links.
The four content marketing benefits below can all come with the additional side effect of natural links. Craft your content strategy with these core benefits in mind, and you can spend less (or even zero) time on link acquisition.
1. Generate High Volumes of Targeted Traffic
When you produce amazing content that gets syndicated on major sites, you can gain massive exposure through visitors and unique page views. Creating content that is relevant to your audience and then placing it on a high authority site with an audience that matches your target, the greater chance you’ll see a surge of traffic - and from the right people.
Post-Penguin, links with long-term value are those that drive targeted traffic to your site and/or increase your exposure to your target audience.
How to do this:
- First, you need to understand what an authority site looks like these days.
- When evaluating a site, consider their audience. Pay close attention to metrics like Alexa score, RSS subscribers, and social proof. If people are consistently sharing and commenting on their content, it’s a good sign they’re a trusted authority.
- Begin the outreach process before you begin creating content. Working collaboratively with publishers is key to creating content specifically for their audience, and increases the likelihood of that content being successful with their audience.
- To really increase your content’s chances of success, aim to work with the most influential writers on a site (they will often have their own loyal audience within the site’s audience).
2. Engage Social Audiences
One of the fastest (and easiest) ways to connect and convert is through social media. Social networks not only help share your content widely, but also have the ability to filter and modify it to meet the needs of many sub communities you may not have even thought to target. If your content achieves repeated sharing, it can also help solidify the trustworthiness and perceived potential value of your business.
How to do this:
- Optimize your content for social sharing by doing the following:
- Always place the appropriate social buttons on your content. But don’t overdo it – only give a few options (focus on social networks where your target demographic hangs out).
- Think of how content will appear in users’ social streams. Craft enticing titles and meta descriptions to yield the highest possible click through rates.
- In line with the above, include attention-grabbing visuals, since most social networks also pull in an image.
- Consider buying social ads to get your content in front of targeted social users.
3. Initiate Immediate Conversion Events
Content can help deliver a positive message about your brand or your business and result in immediate conversions. Therefore, a content marketing strategy can increase lead flow, sales, email signups, social media followers, and RSS subscribers.
How to do this:
- With every piece of content, always present an opportunity to connect closer with your brand:
- On your blog, be sure you make it easy to sign up for your email and/or subscribe to your RSS feed.
- Collect email addresses as the barrier to entry for more exclusive content (or anything downloadable).
- You can even include calls-to-action within your visual content. Place a call-to-action at the end of your infographics. With videos, include one in the last few frames.
4. Encourage Brand Advocacy
Each piece of content you create is an opportunity to hook new people and grow your long-term audience. As this audience grows, you’ll have an even bigger base of people willing to share your content.
When someone repeatedly shares and engages with your content, they’re not only vouching for your content, but your brand as well. This opens up more and more potential customers to your company.
How to do this:
- Do more than just listen. Always respond to comments and feedback from your community, even if it’s just to say “thanks.”
- Make it easy to participate. Don’t require people to fill out long forms to leave comments on your blog or sign up for your email list.
- Get your community involved as much as possible in content creation. If they feel invested in your content, they’ll be more eager to help spread it. Are they not outright saying what type of content they’d like? Ask them.
- Highlight customer-generated content (product reviews, testimonials, etc.) as often as possible across a range of content mediums.
Sustainable Marketing for the Long Term
Instead of launching reactionary linking campaigns that may fall out of favor after a few months or possibly be detrimental to the value of your site, build a sustainable marketing strategy that is built to last. If you want a digital marketing strategy that produces more than just links; consider content marketing. The main goal of marketing that will never change is making yourself stand out to your customers (and differentiate your company from your competitors).
Creating highly unique and valuable content can create widespread brand awareness and really set one brand apart from the next. The potential leads and opportunities for your brand are vast and can be extremely beneficial to the long-term success of any business.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!