Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
Previous articles have looked at the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of prioritizing content planning as part of your overall online marketing strategy. After establishing the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of content planning the next important step is to plan your distribution and related linkbuilding activities.
En-mass linkbuilding techniques such as paid listings and cheap bookmarking services in today’s search engine optimisation standards can be paralleled to spam in that the techniques rely on heavy manipulation of external resources and often use low-quality content. Natural linkbuilding requires a lighter touch and starts from great content.
In the context of natural linkbuilding your related content needs to meet a certain goal so make sure you know the purpose of your copy before you start. Writing content purely for linkbuilding purposes is a short-lived approach.
Informing decisions and branding via news/announcements are two common goals of content. Good content not only stems from a particular goal but also thinks about the target audience – usually prospects and customers.
So examples of content types that can be used for natural syndication include:
- Case Studies and product/service usage demonstrations.
- Whitepapers and academic releases
- Event reporting, news and press releases
- How-to Guides
- Tools and templates (think apps and cheat sheets)
- Website content (blog items, opinion pieces, articles)
Mediums may vary from infographics, video, podcasts, traditional written content or a combination of them all.
Natural Platforms for linkbuilding
- Social Sharing and your content
The ‘virality’ of your content will vary from item to item but the initial first point is to make sure you share appropriate content. Whether you choose one platform or many you need to enter with a game plan and use ongoing assessment to see if the content that you are sharing is helping your company. For example rather than monitoring ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ monitor interactions such as shares or ‘retweets’ to gain insight into what sort of content your followers want to consume and share.
- Press Release and NewsPress Release distribution still has its uses but if you really want to build a strong natural link profile you need to consider publication ‘at the source’. Finding strong industry news channels to publish on rather than a free press release directory does take longer and puts the onus on you to write compile truly excellent news pieces. The payoff is higher quality linkbacks with less vulnerability to stricter search engine ranking requirements.
- Get reviewed!Ratings are the often unsung ranking signal that can boost your website’s visibility both in local Search Engines. Good reviews help prospects make decisions while bad/mediocre reviews allow you to improve your services/products or “right-a-wrong” in the eyes of your customers. See our article here on local ratings websites for companies in Ireland. Get your sales staff involved in encouraging customer reviews.
- Forum Commentary marketingForum marketing is only useful if you respect your audience and their reasons for being on a forum. Aggressive promotion of your company interests is not only bad internet etiquette – it is also a clumsy way to handle your company’s ‘online persona’. See our article here on how to bring together forum commenting with search engine optimization. Remember that you could always consider setting up a ‘forum’ style dialog with existing customers on LinkedIn or Facebook. Some forums will also allow you to register as an official from a company to make it easier to communicate directly with the public. Only link back to your company website in a signature or in specific cases where information related to your products or services is requested.
- Sharing other mediaReally take some time out to test creating content in other mediums such as podcasts, videos or infographics. Many sharing websites allow you to create a dedicated account to publish items or make files available to the public. Examples include:
- YouTube.com: video sharing
- Scribd.com: Document sharing, PDF’s etc
- Slideshare.net: Powerpoint presentations
- Photobucket.com; pinterest.com; flickr.com: all image sharing websitesGenerating content in these new formats is time intensive so you want to make sure that you have conversion tracking installed on your Google Analytics account to see which formats work on your website as well as content sharing websites.Remember to consider your typical sales cycle when monitoring conversions and take a look at the ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ tab in Google Analytics to see whether any referral or social network software sources resulted in return traffic conversions. (Goal Conversions typically register the visit when the conversion occurred whilst Multi-channel conversions can give you a bigger picture of how all your channels work together.)
- Creating a useful tool or insightful demonstrationCreating something of use is a double edged sword. You could end up creating a wildly popular tool, application or demonstration but not getting much payoff unless you really consider how the final result will help improve sales. You could be thinking of creating:
- a downloadable tool (like a downloadable excel plugin or software demo),
- an in-browser tool (like an online calculator or graph generator) or
- something that downloads to a device (like a smartphone app).Some tools can be distributed to related website directories for additional linkbuilding or can be promoted via guestblogging or professional reviews. Either way make sure to link back to your company whenever you can. (Make sure that you vary your keyword usage and write unique descriptions if you publish or upload your tool to multiple sources).
- Responding to Online CommentaryIn order to keep on top of any public commentary regarding your company you will need to monitor different information mediums. Apart from running monthly or weekly linkback assessments establish a list of phrases related to your company name and company products that you would like to keep track of. Do frequent hashtag searches on Twitter and setup a Google news alert (http://www.google.com/alerts) for those phrases.Also check comments on your FaceBook page, LinkedIn posts, your blog items, forum posts and any website reviews. Respond to both negative and positive feedback as quickly as possible – this has as much to do with positive online PR as it has to do with good customer service.
Not only is a varied linkbuilding strategy more robust in terms of maintaining your online presence in the wake of search engine algorithm updates it also makes sense in terms of visibility. It is important to be flexible and to assess your strategy frequently.
If you would like advise or assistance with your linkbuilding strategy contact Inspiration Marketing here.