If you’re building a brand, you’ve almost certainly heard you need a content marketing strategy, too. Which usually means a blog, which means you need content to put on that blog. But the important question you should be asking yourself is “WHY do I need a content marketing strategy?”
In this week’s episode, I get Blogs For Brands founder Yoon Kim to answer, provide strategies for developing the right kind of content marketing that increases sales and awareness, and other things to consider when planning your branded storytelling. We dive pretty deep, and I throw a lot of questions at him at once, but by the end of this podcast, you’ll know how to develop your own content marketing strategy based on your goals and with performance metrics you can measure!
- 01:45 – Intro and BfB’s elevator pitch
- 03:20 – Why can’t I click on anything on his website? What’s THEIR content strategy?
- 08:15 – How do they find new business?
- 11:15 – Who needs a content marketing strategy and why?
- 23:10 – Content strategy for going viral
- 29:00 – How often should you create content?
- 30:40 – Paid editorial versus in-house blogging
- 38:30 – Here’s a business idea for you…
- 40:50 – Keeping it consistent across all your channels
- 46:20 – Don’t compete with real content producers
- 56:35 – Should you pay to boost your content?
POST GAME ANALYSIS
“It doesn’t start with the content. It starts with the business goals.”
That quote sums up what you need to know about creating a content marketing strategy. Don’t waste your time creating content if you don’t know why you’re doing it. Or how, specifically, it will benefit you. What are you trying to accomplish? Before you start writing, answer these three questions first:
- Why? What are your goals?
- What metric will you measure success with?
- How will you achieve those goals?
Yoon says there are four main goals for content marketing:
#1 – Using Content Marketing to Improve SEO
This is a long term strategy. Writing posts around keywords and search phrases that you want to get traffic for can take months and years to build up. We discuss how if you’re trying to drive traffic for, say, Halloween
#2 – Using Content Marketing to Drive Sales
Here, you’re writing content specifically to drive sales of a specific product or for a specific time frame (think Black Friday sales). This content will have a specific message and call to action, promote a certain product’s features, or otherwise have a clear message around driving a specific type of sale. Keep reading to see why you also need to consider the medium on which you publish this type of content, too.
#3 – Using Content Marketing to Build Brand Awareness & Authority
Long form, educational content is a good way to build brand awareness and authority. Brand authority could also be considered Brand Credibility. Are your customers thinking of you as the top brand in your space? If not, providing category and product knowledge that’s specific to your space, but not always specifically about your products, helps instill confidence when people are making their buying decisions. Sometimes this content only needs to live on your product pages, but it can also be peppered through your social media channels and blogs.
#4 – Using Content Marketing to Go Viral
Viral content is not an SEO play, it’s more of a brand building play. You’re providing a service to people by creating or curating good content, which draws them in. Its short lifespan means it’s not going to provide long term search benefits, but it could go viral and drive a lot of traffic in a short amount of time. Keep doing this and people will view your brand favorably because you’re providing a valuable service.
How often should you write new content?
Yoon says it depends on your goals. If your goal is to boost pageviews, then you need to write as much as it takes to meet your page view goals. If it’s to improve SEO, you may not need more posts, just better posts targeted to specific keywords and search phrases. And if it’s to promote a sale for a specific time period, then you only need to write it at those times, though you should be aware of the lead times each type of outlet needs. Keep reading…
Using an Editorial Calendar to define your Content Strategy
Different mediums have different timelines for driving a response. Press releases and stories take time to pitch to editors, who then take time to write their stories, which then take time to garner eyeballs and search juice. Email newsletters and Social Media is instant. Creating a calendar based on the timeline of each outlet helps ensure you’re getting your message out there at the right time to be most effective.
How to get your Branded Content “PR” picked up by the Media
Provide value. And build a relationship with the media outlet so your story fits with their audience. Some media outlets offer “sponsored post” opportunities that let you pay to have your story run (sometimes completely unedited) in their publication. But the chances of their readers actually reading it or sharing it is slim to none, unless it’s written specifically to provide some value for their audience.
Another way to get your story “on” major media sites would be to pay to place it through Taboola or Outbrain, which are those awful, tabloid-content “Recommended Content” sections you see on so many major news websites. I should mention that your content would be in the company of tabloid gossip clickbait and that I won’t run these on my own websites, but you might get a trickle of clicks from it.
Design Your Content so you Don’t Compete with the Winners
If you’re trying to write the same content as the New York Times, you’ll lose. They have authority, audience and reach that will ensure their content wins over yours in search. Instead, use Google and the other tools mentioned below to see what the common search inquiries are on your topic, then tweak it to be just different enough from what the major media outlets are ranking for. For example, if you’re selling cat stuff, don’t write “Top 10 Halloween Costumes” because other sites will dominate on this search. Instead, write “Top 10 Halloween costumes for cat lovers” and build in likely search phrases like “best feline makeup” and “dressing up like a cat for Halloween”. Make it specific to your content such that it stands out from more generalized, which helps it get found and rank higher in ways that benefit you.
Likewise, when you find something that works, 10x it. Using their own gear website as a test bed, they found that a handful of articles were delivering the bulk of their search traffic. They found the commonalities on those stories and then created an editorial strategy around those and created more similar content to milk it. And then they paid to boost that content because the ROI outstripped the spend.
One thing that stands out about Yoon’s philosophy is that he’s not afraid to give away their secrets. Why? Because he knows it’s all about execution. What they do takes a lot of hard work to succeed. He wouldn’t talk about his pricing with me on-air because that’s part of their secret sauce, but he’s more than willing to share strategy because they know how hard it is to recreate it.
LINKS & RESOURCES
- Find them on Facebook, Twitter and check their promo video on YouTube
- Outdoor Blogger Summit is Yoon’s conference for content creators
- Gearographer.com is their own gear site, which doubles as a sales tool and test lab for client strategy.
- Yoon’s team uses SEMrush and Google’s Webmaster and Adwords tools, both of which were also recommended by Tyler Bishop from Ezoic. Check that podcast’s blog page for more SEO tools. And check out this killer guide for using these tools from Credo.
- They use Reddit to follow key topics and find viral content early.