When it comes to marketing, there are a number of cogs that go into the wheel to make it all work. It can be overwhelming to sort through it all and even more so to put it all into place.
The reality is, though; it really all fits together. Each element of digital marketing fits seamlessly with, and is sometimes a key ingredient of, every other element that makes up the whole of your marketing strategy.
Content, it might be safe to say, is the most important of all aspects of marketing, regardless of whether you are doing traditional marketing such as direct mail, media advertisements, or outbound sales calls, or you are conducting all of your marketing efforts on the web, which is sometimes referred to as “digital marketing”, “inbound marketing”, or “online marketing”.
For the sake of this article, the 3rd in our series on digital marketing for the travel industry of East Africa, Online Marketing in 5 Easy Steps, we are going to address the subject of content as it relates to digital marketing; how to plan it, how to create it, where to use it and why.
Fundamentally, content marketing is creating and publishing valuable, relevant content in the interest of developing relationships with your target market. Content comes in many forms, including but certainly not limited to:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media posts
- White Papers
- Press releases
The biggest difference between content marketing, and content creation for traditional marketing, is that content marketing is very rarely promotional and almost never speaks directly to the target market about the product, service, or organization; content marketing is more centred on providing something of interest and value to prospective and existing customers, thus enticing them to come to you to find out more or seek out your goods or services.
Types of Content Marketing:
Some content marketers create content that demonstrates their brand’s expertise on subject matters that are of importance to their audience. This kind of content is typically produced and published in the form of research reports, white papers, guest posts or guest-authored articles, and in-house blog posts or articles.
This kind of content includes videos, photos, infographics, graphs, illustrations and other types of visuals.
Long-Form and Short-Form:
Long-form content generally comes in multi-page deliverables such as white papers, research reports, or eBooks.
Short-form content, on the other hand, is brief and easily digestible; blog posts, short articles that generally are fewer than 1500 or 2000 words, social media posts, short videos, press releases and infographics,
Content for PR: The Press Release and Public Relations:
The use of the press release is a common vehicle in the practice of public relations.
Terrific content can be used in pitches to the media, as well as influencers or thought leaders in your industry. Content delivered via the press release and syndicated across the web through press release portals such as PR Reach, Newswire, or PR Log can be a powerful way to generate brand recognition as well as to boost your SEO efforts.
Strategy and Logistics:
It is essential to put in place a good content strategy from the beginning so that your team can make informed decisions about its overall marketing strategy.
- Types of content to create
- Keyword focus
- Subject areas and topics
- Content distribution platforms that are most likely to engage your target market
Having a system in place for planning and tracking your content creation efforts is a must if you want to stay organized and maintain your peace of mind. A regular excel spreadsheet will do, though there are more professional systems that come with a cost, of course.
Key elements for your editorial calendar are the following:
- Publishing Author
- Writer (this person may be a ghost writer for the official “author” of the piece)
- Keyword focus
- Topic or subject
- Link strategies
- Publication date
- Publication channel
- Target audience
- CTA if indicated (this is often non-existent or extremely subtle)
The E’s are Essential
Let’s face it: there is a lot of bad content out there. In the face of a content-centric marketing world, it is imperative that you stand out in the crowd. Make sure your content is engaging, educational or entertaining if not all three.
Linking is limited and natural
Make sure your anchor text is varied and natural, as well as limited. You don’t want to pepper your content with so many links that it clearly becomes a marketing piece, nor do you want to distract from the natural flow of your message. Every editorial department or guest guideline has its own protocol, but a good rule of thumb if you don’t have guidance is no more than one link per 300 words and even that can be excessive for longer pieces.
Don’t overdo it with your keywords and phrases
Limit your use of keywords and phrases to once in your title, once in your headline and 2 to 4 times throughout the body of your content, again depending on length, while also putting into place latent semantic indexing (LSI) whenever possible.
Lynette Garet is a copywriter with over 20 years of experience and proficiency in traditional marketing, digital marketing, copywriting, editing, optimized content creation, SEO, project management, voice-over work, narration, scriptwriting, and production.