Content marketing, otherwise known as article marketing is an attractive online strategy for small business owners because it involves organic (free) marketing tactics.
Here are a few fundamental rules of online marketing, specifically involving content, that virtually never change and are extremely helpful to know:
1. Mix It Up
It’s always a smart thing to have a diversified online marketing mix. Take a look at your online marketing plan like a pie, and each slice is a tactical allocation for both organic and ‘paid for’ strategies. As with your retirement planning, it’s always safer to diversify than put all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for your online marketing plan. Mix it up and keep it diversified. Some allocations may be smaller than others, based on budget, objective, target audience, and other variables. But it’s good to spread your efforts out across many online marketing channels such as search engine marketing, paid search, social media, online PR, content marketing, online classifieds, etc. Then if one tactic is not producing as well and others are leaders, it all balances out in the end. This also helps compensate for algorithmic bumps in the road that may temporarily affect your search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) efforts.
2. Doing It ‘Right’ Can’t Be Wrong
Google and other search engines often change their algorithms so as to keep search results relevant and fresh to related queries, as well as impact unscrupulous ‘black hat’ marketers who use no-no tactics such as gateway pages, keyword stuffing, link baiting, link farming, content farming and more. These are the folks that link to irrelevant sites with low quality content, which is the equivalent of ‘content spamming’. For compliant content marketers the core strategy is to leverage high-quality, useful, content through synchronized, synergistic and relevant online distribution channels. Content marketing, when implemented correctly, include ‘white hat’ SEO principles. And if you’re using quality, original content with either of those marketing tactics and distributing your content to targeted relevant sites, you really can’t go wrong.
3. Quality And Relevance Are Key!
According to Webpronews.com, when Google released their official statement about the algorithm change in 2011, the Farmer/Panda update was aimed to help more quality websites be higher in the search results versus content farms with irrelevant, unbeneficial content based on the keywords being searched. Article directories may have initially been stuck in the cross-hairs losing some initial value, but again, if you are putting out ‘UVA’ (useful, valuable, actionable) content into numerous organic online channels, the diversity and balance will offset any temporary side affects which may occur versus doing article directory marketing by itself. If you push out quality, original content in several places including article directories, your articles should appear in pages 1-5 of Google search results once the pages get indexed. And with Google’s latest ‘freshness’ update, the most timely and relevant content should appear in descending order by date from the top of the search results. Quality and relevance are key.
4. Targeted Link-Building
Links, whether it’s one way back link or a reciprocal back link, are still links. Quality links help SEO, and that is indisputable. But again, there are some ground rules that are right (best practices) … and wrong. Links should be quality links, and by that I mean on sites that have relevant content and a synergistic audience as to your own. It should also be a site with a good traffic rank, as determined by sites like Alexa.com, Quantcast.com, or Compete.com. Link building gets best results when done manually and strategically. Research sites that are synergistic in all ways to the site you’re working with (albeit one-way or reciprocal links). Doing it manually allows for more targeted selection and control over where you want your links to go. Manual selection and distribution can also lead to other opportunities down the road with those sites you’re building relationships with including cross-marketing or editorial efforts such as editorial contributions, revenue shares and more. In my view, this approach is both link building and relationship building.
5. Location, Location, Location
Where you link to is important. When doing content marketing, you should always deep link, that is, not just link to the home page — which doesn’t make any sense anyway, as there’s too many distractions on a home page. Readers need a simple, direct call to action. Keep them focused. It’s always smarter to link to your source article, which should be on one of your sub-pages, such as the newsletter archive page or press release page. Now you have a connection — the article/content excerpt you pushed out and is appearing in the SERPs (search engine result pages) and its redirect links to the full version on your archive or press page. You’ve satisfied the searches expectations by not doing a `bait and switch’. There’s relevance and continuity. And to help monetize that traffic, that newsletter archive or press webpage (which you’re driving the traffic to), the background should contain fixed elements to ‘harness’ the traffic it will be getting for list growth and cross-selling such as fixed lead gen boxes, text ads, banner ads, editorial notes, and more. These elements should blend with your overall format, not being to obnoxious, but being easily seen.
6. Catalyst Content
It’s always important to make sure you publish the content on your website first before you push it out on the web. I call this your ‘catalyst content’. This is the driving source which all other inbound marketing will occur and be focused around. Your website articles should be dated and be formatted similar to a news feed or blog. Also, posting timely press releases will work favorable as they will be viewed by Google and human readers as the latest news (again favorable to Google’s latest freshness update). At the same time, send your content out via email (i.e. ezine) to your in-house list before external marketing channels see it. This helps from an SEO standpoint, but also helps with credibility and bonding with your subscribers and regular website visitors, as they should get your information before the masses.
Content is king, and when you have strong editorial, along with being a ‘creatively strategic’ thinker, you don’t need to engage in ‘black hat’ or questionable SEO/SEM practices. Algorithms are always changing. It’s good to be aware of the latest news, trends and techniques, but also not to put all your eggs in one basket and build your entire online marketing strategy based on the current algorithms. Using solid content, analyzing your website’s visitor and usage patterns and keeping general best practices in mind, are staple components that will always play an important role in content marketing.
And, strong content is what AAA Phone On Hold provides for your message on hold system. We work with you to develop and maintain an on hold marketing strategy which includes timely message updates, as well as relevant content specific to YOUR business, not just your industry.