As marketers we constantly focus on building great content..that has been true for years as it is the content that drives the message and convinces our audience to commit to our brands and products, but today’s digital audience has to find your content among the hundreds of millions of others putting content on the internet so how do we get found and how important is the strategy you use to drive traffic to your domain and all the rich content you develop to tell your brand and product stories. The following article talks to the fact that great content does little good if the eyeballs don’t get to the content to see it.
You’ve Got Great Content–Now What?
by Bill Drolet
SVP Of Video Strategy And Sales
You’ve probably heard the old adage, “If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well, what about, “If you have great content and no one watches it or reads it, does it exist?”
- Having an effective distribution strategy is important to video and content marketing.
- Anticipating what people will both want and need is key to editorial strategy.
- It’s more about how you promote your content than what exactly it is.
In many ways, it may as well not exist–that’s how important having an effective distribution strategy is to video and content marketing. The field itself, still in its infancy, is described by content marketing guru Michael Brenner as “real content created for consumers by people who care about creating quality content.” He emphasizes that the audience needs to be top of mind when creating content. Anticipating what people will both want and need is key to editorial strategy. It is storytelling material that attracts an audience to a brand.
Content For The Right Audience
While Brenner makes a good point about the quality of the content, it is apparent to anyone who has produced content that quality is only half the battle. As we all know, consumers have become inured to a near-constant barrage of information. According to Nielsen’s US 2014 Digital Consumer Report, Americans now own four digital devices on average and spend 60 hours a week consuming content across multiple screens.
Despite those numbers, a study from Microsoft Research shows that users generally stay on a Web page for less than 20 seconds–unless the content is relevant to them and offers a clear value proposition.
So the question now is, how is it possible to ensure that your content is not just seen, but reaches the right audience?
Companies like Red Bull have made the most out of sharing and distributing unique video content. And most recently, Coca-Cola transformed the way content marketing works during real-time events with its World Cup-centered content marketing strategy. The company created and distributed video and editorial content that centered on how soccer (futbol) can be a source of social good and happiness around the world, giving the brand exposure to a worldwide audience.
The company did this by using an innovative strategy that didn’t necessarily push their product, but created goodwill by going on an 88-country tour and making documentary-style short films that portrayed local soccer teams from around the world, tailoring each film to each country. The content was pushed heavily on social media and fans were encouraged to share the content, participate in events, and converse with both the brand and other fans.
That’s just one example of a distribution strategy done right, but the key takeaway from Coca-Cola is that it’s more about how you promote your content than what exactly it is. You just have to be willing to venture outside your comfort zone.
The Importance Of Relevance
It’s no surprise that companies like Facebook, Apple, Hulu, and YouTube are frantically searching for as much contextual data as they can get their hands on. They understand the importance of relevance. In fact, a recent study found that that 74 percent of consumers grow aggravated with irrelevant content, even if it’s quality content.
Think about that for a second. You could have just released a video or posted something you find useful and engaging, but a consumer will actively become upset if it’s irrelevant to that consumer.
An effective content marketing strategy provides value to the end user, so the first crucial step is to target your content based on users’ interests and ensure it’s something that is directly beneficial to them. Angering your audience with irrelevant content means they’re less likely to actually pay attention when you do have something tailored to their interests.
Another key factor to consider are your own marketing goals. What exactly is it that you’re trying to accomplish? Do you want to increase sign-ups to your site or reduce customer complaint calls? Create content that addresses those very issues, since it will also be relevant to your audience.
Remember that going viral doesn’t just happen. It’s planned with a well-thought-out content strategy, answering the question of what’s useful or entertaining in a fresh way that’s coordinated with social media, PR, and paid media strategy.
Location, Location, Location
All right, now you know that your content needs to be engaging and relevant. Where to go from here? Take a hint from the real-estate industry; it’s all about location, location, location. In order to enhance the odds that your content is getting placed in the right locations, you’ll need to move beyond traditional platforms and embrace the idea that you’ll need to post it across multiple platforms multiple times.
This means that your video on “the five best places for Java coffee in Boston” will need to be shared on social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter when your audience may want it–perhaps in the morning? Think about how you can utilize that content across other platforms as well. Could you take a snippet of the video and post to Instagram with relevant hashtags or share with your circle of followers on LinkedIn, asking them for their own recommendations?
Get creative with how and when you post content, and remember that there’s a fine line between offering good content and bombarding your audience with information. According to this handy infographic from SumAll, the most effective time to post to Facebook and Twitter is during the afternoon lull of 1 to 3 p.m. and for LinkedIn, right before the work day begins between 7 and 8:30 a.m. and again after work between 5 and 6 p.m. Don’t just post once or only to one platform.
Share the love and cross-pollinate to where your audience may find it relevant, and post again when it’s relevant. Not everyone will see it the first time or in the first place you post.
Targeting Groups And Subgroups
While demographics and category targeting are important, the ability to target topics, specifically subtopics, is the last and crucial step of creating a solid distribution strategy.
For example, if you know your audience is concerned with car safety, instead of targeting everyone within that umbrella category, create content that targets subgroups with topics like “car safety for families” or “safest cars for the urban-dweller.”
Targeting the interests of the subsets who are most active and who hold the most value to you can be difficult and time consuming, but choosing the right targeting partners and technologies is essential to the success of your distribution strategy. Tailoring content to these subgroups offers a better ROI for the time spent creating the content because you know that these groups are interested and the content is relevant to them.
To help marketers with this problem, emerging targeting technologies and cross-channel marketing strategies have become available in the form of semantic search technology.
Instead of relying solely on traditional keyword tagging, semantic search significantly improves accuracy and relevance by understanding the intent and context behind a query or phrase. The technology “thinks” about what you mean when you search for something, taking into account word variation, location and context of the search, giving you the most relevant and targeted results.
These new technologies can help you pinpoint where your audience is and what they’re looking for. Going back to the earlier example, if you’re creating content about Java coffee, you can be sure you’re targeting people who are searching for the beverage and not the software program or the island of Java.
Additionally, any content marketer should take advantage of paid and social media analytics tools like Hootsuite that can provide a cursory understanding of who and how to target. Audience reach is everything when it comes to deploying an effective distribution strategy. Go beyond just targeting, placement, and location; think about how partnerships for distribution could streamline the process of reaching an audience that normally wouldn’t come to you. This just sets the stage for a more in-depth conversation, but here are some other useful tips to keep in mind:
1. Plan your content ahead of time: Create an extensive (but flexible if necessary) editorial calendar that will help you keep tabs on what you’ll be posting and when. This will also help you stay on target and budget.
2. Remember, content promotion fails when it is trying to sell something: Make this about engagement, which will drive the audience back to your brand without pushing them away with an overt hard pitch.
3. Stay on top of SEO strategy and content tagging: You want your audience to find your content organically as they’re searching for what they need and want:
4. Search is about finding something: Discovery is about becoming aware of related content that matters to you in your search process; make sure you’re discoverable both ways.
Remember, content marketing may be king, but distribution is queen, and she’s the one calling the shots. Get creative with your distribution strategy and make it relevant, put it in the right places, and target the right topics. Your content–and your brand–will thank you.