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February 12, 2016
We have now entered 2016 and front and center of marketing chatter is content marketing.
There are many components to content marketing that include your social media content, blog content, press release content, website content and many other types. Some might ask, "Is content marketing a strategy or a gimmick to boost search engine rankings?" If you are writing it simply to increase your search engine rankings, you had better re-think your strategy.
At 24-7 Press Release Newswire (press release distribution service), I received a call today from an individual inquiring about our press release distribution services. As I listened to and answered his questions, I realized that he didn't seem to have any goal in mind as far as reaching the media. So I asked, "What is your objective? Are you trying to submit your press release to enhance your rankings, or reach the media for a story?" I then advised him that he should consider other objectives for his press release.
The big tip off was when he asked, "How many links can I add to the body of my press release?" This was a tremendous red flag. This individual explained to me that he was trying to enhance his company's content marketing strategy with a press release and wanted the same press release distributed multiple times. He thought that by getting the story out multiple times, it would rank higher in search engine results. I had to let him know this would be an incredible huge mistake and not to go down that road.
This is typically what an advertising campaign does--repeat the advertisement or commercial so that it will be noticed and its message absorbed by the audience. But this is NOT how search engines value content. Search engines value new, original, well-written content that has not been posted before. So repeating the exact same message and having it come from the same source is not going to accomplish much in the SEO department.
Content marketing is about telling the same story in different ways through different avenues, but making sure that your key branding messages are included in everything. It is about your brand and telling a story to your audience in a way that is beneficial, engaging and to some degree, novel. Think of your content marketing strategy like that of a theme party. Your focus is on one main idea but you communicate it and showcase it in different ways. For example, if you are having a car-themed party, you might want to use images of cars, toy cars, old car brochures, vintage TV commercials about cars, plates and napkins with cars, and ask guests to bring car-related gag gifts. Everything is about cars, because that is the theme, but your party showcases them in different ways.
Another way to put it is that you want to keep your messaging uniform or else your messaging may come across as scattered. You could have your website focused on the car enthusiast's lifestyle, a blog talking about how to maintain cars, a press release about aftermarket embellishments for cars, and social media site that talks about great routes for road trips. They are different aspects of the car enthusiast's lifestyle but they are all tied together by a common theme.
Ensure that the information you are providing to your audience is related to them and keeps them engaged, wanting to read more and continue reading your posts. It should be useful information that your audience finds valuable and relevant. It also demonstrates that you are an expert in your particular topic and builds trust with them. People want to purchase from someone they trust.
Good content marketing also builds word of mouth and creates a sense of community among your readers.
Map out your strategy and don't just "wing it." This way, you will have a road map of what you want to accomplish. Part of your road map may include what and how often you will be posting to what social media channels and writing blog posts. It should also include a schedule of when you will distribute press releases to the media and what the content of those press releases will be.
Check out our section on "Keeping Mindful of the Purpose of a Press Release - Think Before You Distribute Your Press Release" for more information to help you with this.
Having a plan of action and mapping out your strategy, combined with some good old fashioned patience, will go a long way in your content marketing strategy. Remember, Rome was not built overnight and there is something to be said for consistency.