Managing a successful content marketing campaign in 2020 is more challenging than it was in the past. Now, you have to consider a multitude of factors, including search algorithms, personalisation, buyer behaviour, content formats, mobile optimisation and social media management.
With so much to optimise, you probably need a helping hand to move in the right direction. These five advanced insights from leading experts in the industry will hopefully go some way to inspiring new ideas and supporting the right strategy for your business.
Consider more passive mobile channels
A laser focus on return on investment can lead to brands forgetting about the slow-burn benefits of interacting on a range of mobile marketing channels. In the current climate, consumers are feeling more isolated and disconnected compared to the start of the year and will react positively to creative content and community-oriented campaigns.
While engaging with a smaller, niche group of followers in this way may not drive any tangible, financial benefits in the short term, it can work out in the long run by boosting retention and engagement. Any content that is clear, easy to read and personable will meet the demands of audiences who are craving a more immediate, social touch to communications amid disruption in their own lives.
MobileMoxie CEO Cindy Krum notes: “The volatility of the current health situation has pushed the differences in mobile content marketing into higher relief.” She recommends updating webpages for mobile and ‘My Business’ information in Google to make it easier for consumers to access important content on smartphones.
Understand and match query intent
The latest Google core algorithm update has hammered home previous lessons for SEO, including the need to understand the intent of searchers and match articles to it, to optimise for user experience, and to be succinct and not write filler content to fill out word counts.
A study by SEMrush found that sites that failed to adhere to this criteria saw a 30%+ dip in organic search traffic following a similar core algorithm change in late 2019. Meanwhile, those able to overhaul campaigns to address these problems were rewarded with a spike in traffic when the May update went live.
If you want to tackle similar issues, the best place to start is with user intent. You want to be able to understand what a searcher intends to do when they enter a query and the potential steps they will take afterwards. Considering the bigger picture and a customer’s entire journey can really help you to come up with content ideas that will engage people wherever they are in the cycle.
To do this, take a look at your website and pick out the pages that users will click through to based on their initial query and intent. Doing a bit of analysis on keywords that are linked to this phase should throw up pages that are performing well in this regard. You can also run a competitive research tool to see what other companies are ranking for.
Use more long-form video
Short-form video has been the dominant format on social media in recent years. The focus on snackable, bite-size content for audiences that are easily distracted does have its merits as it allows for a repeated number of touch points across digital platforms. However, marketing expert Phil Nottingham believes that something more substantial is now required.
He advises marketers to think beyond traditional social and advertising strategies that are catered towards getting content being viewed by the most number of people. Instead, brands should try to use videos as part of a brand-building exercise with a group of actively engaged followers, even if this base is relatively small.
This tactic requires the publication of longer-form video that is measured for success by the time each customer engages with it rather than its reach. With video marketing pivoting away from shorter ad spots towards content that can replace TV shows, clips with longer runtimes are more likely to win over consumers.
Nottingham notes: “You can’t succeed just by paying to get your content in front of people.” This is also a heads-up to larger companies that have been used to managing huge traditional ad budgets and campaigns. More in-depth and useful content will be more warmly received by people who want to spend with your brand than a short ad that will offer them little value.
Focus on differentiation
SEO-driven web copy is often based on ticking boxes for a minimum number of keywords, but Siege Media CEO Ross Hudgens has urged marketers to focus efforts on differentiation and being unique rather than running down a checklist of best practices.
Hudgens says that it is important to cover the basics but that marketers should move on to putting a “unique spin” on specific topics. Getting creative with content formats is one way to do this.
He recommends, for example, using an interactive quiz to test readers after they have inputted a question-based query into Google. Trying to come up with something that is more memorable can make you stand out from competitors.
Use link building wisely
Organic link building is important as Google’s algorithm makes use of links to recommend content to users, but SEO expert Marie Haynes says that brands that become too enamoured with this strategy can get burnt eventually. Google has warned SEOs in the past that websites will be penalised if they are using content marketing primarily to gain links.
The search giant says that it “does not encourage” link-based articles if they inform users, but strictly advised against the stuffing of keyword-rich links as this is a red flag that the strategy is being misused.
Haynes follows this up by urging SEOs to end the practice of sinking time and money into building links that are generally ineffective. Google is also making huge strides in understanding the intent of searchers and what is most relevant to them, so links are likely to become even less important in the future.