Let’s be honest: content marketing can be expensive. And it can involve a lot of effort. But if you were to ask my opinion, as a marketing professional who has been working in this industry for many years, if it’s worthwhile? My answer would be unequivocally “yes”.
So, if you’re going to be spending significant money and time and content marketing, how can you make sure it really delivers? Here’s our top tips on how to consistently produce good content, and how to get the biggest SEO bang for your buck, as it were.
Forget everything you thought you knew about duplicate content
Almost every single company and brand I talk to is still under the impression that duplicate content is harmful for SEO. For some brands, it brings to mind Google penalties and being banished from search pages forever. However, Google itself has issued a statement which dismisses the “Duplicate Content Myth”: “duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results”. (source: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en) When you’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth so to speak, there’s not much room left for doubt!
In fact, using “other people’s content” is a great way to start and maintain a blog or site with a small budget. With the author’s permission, you can syndicate content to build traffic and a following, until you have the resource and authority in a certain area to start creating owned or paid content. Some of the biggest websites in the world publish stories and images from sources like Getty, Associated Press and Reuters.
While we’re at it, let’s dispel the paid social distribution myth
Contrary to popular belief, paid social distribution of your content marketing efforts is not a shortcut to boost your search efforts. It can help, but it shouldn’t be your main focus. It’s essential to start with great content, and simply use paid social promotion to reach as large an audience as possible.
Take the time to build search authority
For a lot of brands, the purpose of content marketing is to start ranking for certain search terms and build authority in a particular area. Many forget that to do this, and to do it well, takes time. Generally speaking, it should take around six months for your organic traffic to reach the 30% mark when you start publishing content. To get the most SEO benefit out of your content marketing, you need to be prepared for and accept the fact that the true results will take time. But they’ll be worth it when they do arrive.
Understand the “rule of thirds”
The rule of thirds when it comes to content marketing goes a bit like this: one third of your content should be original, the next third should be licensed (or syndicated) and the last third should be generated by your community. While this exact formula might not be identical for every single brand, it does represent the right balance between what content costs and its effectiveness.
Using this basic framework as a guide allows you to test and adjust according to what works for you and is also within your budget. There’s not really a “wrong” combination – as all of these forms of content tend to support each other when it comes to organic traffic.
Focusing on quality: the three V’s of content marketing
You don’t need me to tell you that when it comes to digital content marketing, there’s a lot of noise. To stand out, you need to focus on the quality of your content. Thinking of the three V’s can help you make sure you content is as good as it can be: value, volume and variety. Let’s look at this in a bit more detail.
Value – why should a reader read your article instead of the thousands or other posts written on the same topic? You need to create the very best possible answer to their question on the topics you’ve chosen. While long-form content should definitely be a part of your strategy, every article you publish doesn’t need to be 2000 words plus to be valuable. It just needs to be well written and well researched.
Volume – to give yourself the best chance of ranking for your specific search terms, you need to start off your content marketing efforts with the largest volume of content possible. It’s only this way that you’ll become known as an authority on this topic (both in eyes of search engines and of your readers). So how often is often enough? Essentially, you just need to be publishing more frequently than your competitors.
Variety – but it isn’t enough to keep churning out blogposts and hope for the best. Search engines favour results in a variety of forms – video, images, web pages, news and more. You need to offer a broad spectrum of content to be deemed an authority.
So, in conclusion…
Want to maximise the SEO potential of your content marketing? You need a balance of owned and licensed content- a balance which also fits into your budget constraints. Some preconceived myths need to be challenged; but at the same time it’s important to work out the unique combination that works for your business.