“It’s never been easier to create content, it’s never been harder to reach your customer” Steve Rayson. Brighton SEO, April 2018.
Those of us who attended some of the content strategy talks at Brighton SEO in April arrived there with one big question on their minds: with the web so saturated with all types of contents, how do you stand out? We may have come home with different takeaways, but with one certainty: this is the single biggest content marketing challenge of our times.
Everyone we spoke to encouraged us to concentrate on the networks that work for us, to be niche and focus on our audiences. They recommended using content which is referenceable, engaging and insightful so that readers will want to like it and share it.
Based on a sample of 100 million posts published in 2017, Buzzsumo have released content trends for 2018. Some of them are listed below.
- Average sharing of content on social networks is falling due to increased competition, a rise in private sharing and Facebook algorithm changes.
- The volume of content published continues to increase, and new topic areas get rapidly saturated with content.
- In this new world of content saturation and falling social shares, the big winners are sites that have built a strong reputation for original, authoritative content.
- The majority of content gets zero backlinks but authoritative research and reference content continues to gain links. In particular, authoritative evergreen content consistently gains shares and links over time.
- There has been a growth in content sharing on LinkedIn and many publishers are seeing steady increases in content engagement on the platform albeit from a relatively small base.
So, how do you gain thought leader status in this scenario?
First and foremost, know your audiences.
Who are they? Where are they? Which social media do they use? What outcomes do they care about? What frustrates them in their efforts to reach those outcomes? How can you help them with the outcomes they really care for? Ask the right questions, because the success of your content marketing campaign will depend on the questions it starts from.
Craft your messages accordingly.
Say something which will resonate with your audiences; offer them real value in a way that they can relate to. Now you know what they care for or what keeps them up at night; give them something that will answer their search queries in the morning on their way to work, coming out of a frustrating sales meeting or in whatever situation your audiences might be day after day.
Don’t forget why you are speaking.
The purpose of your content strategy is to offer real value; you must become someone your audience turns to, when they need advice; don’t forget to tell them why are you doing what you are doing. Show belief, purpose, consistency and direction. Give people real quality; an increasing number of searches now are problem-based or question-based. When people start searching, they are looking for answers, recommendations, tips and solutions; forget your ego and talk about your audiences.
Reference what you say.
This gives you authority and credibility. Always reference your data: a good piece of real evidence convinces more than great eloquence.
Inform your audiences.
Tell them of any developments in their sector, they ought to be aware of; tell them the risks they run if they do not act quickly; a new piece of legislation, a new product, a change in Google algorithms…..
Make people feel.
People will always remember how you make them feel: make them feel happy they have found someone who talks about their problems in a knowledgeable way and can offer real value. If I am looking for a resort for my holidays, I don’t want to know how beautiful your hotel is, but how happy I will feel while I stay at your hotel.
Interactive material performs incredibly well if it’s immediate, easy to use, live and quick. Live videos get 600% more interactions on Facebook (Search Engine Journal); chat systems are quickly turning into a powerful conversion tool. There is only one condition: be human. AI is great for marketing automation but nobody likes to talk to a machine.
If you don’t have interactive or live material on your website or social media, find other ways to engage your audience: give them a chance to comment, react to your audience’s comments, show your appreciation for the best ones; this will encourage more people to comment and share.
The place of SEO
The conference was closed by John Mueller, Google’s Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst with a keynote session in the main auditorium. Most of the questions he received were about the role of SEO in an increasingly mobile-first, service-orientated landscape. The age of Crawl Budget and Mobile First is upon us already and it is only going to get stronger, but this is nothing else than SEO once again having to deal with people’s behaviour and preferences, and the purpose of SEO nowadays has become to serve the right content to the right audience so that they will notice it and want to read and share it. This is what will bring traffic and ranking.
“SEO will never die!”
was the proud battle cry at Brighton this April; and it is true. SEO is a very fast-changing landscape and one which requires flexibility and readiness to change your mind and strategy. It changes quickly because people are always searching different things in different ways; search engine algorithms adapt to these changes and SEO must follow. In spite of the image of SEO’s being enveloped in our little geeky tech world, SEO – in the end- is about people and what people are searching for, and this is why it will always have to be part of a successful integrated marketing strategy. This is perhaps the biggest evolution of SEO; that it is now as much about people than it is about websites and search engines.
What challenges do you find in creating content that your audiences will like and share? Is your content marketing strategy audience-based? Let us know your thoughts.
If you would like to talk about your digital marketing strategy or how Broadley Speaking can help you generate leads through content marketing, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org