Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the Brighton SEO event, full of avid marketers eager to share and present their thoughts on how to best achieve success.
Despite the rain destroying the possibility of chips by the seaside, the day was full to the brim with fascinating insights and key takeaways on how best to market your products and services.
So after sifting through my notes and various scribbles, I’ve provided an overview on a few of the talks I listened to in the hope that for those of you who weren’t able to attend, the tips may prove useful for your own marketing strategies.
First up, Stacey MacNaught with ‘Your Content is Awesome – Now What?’
Stacey’s talk focused primarily upon the importance of content and its promotion; too often, content is created with very little investment in both time and money to drive engagement and ensure your hard work gets noticed.
Therefore always keep front of mind, what does success look like for my piece of content?
In order to define this and set realistic goals, you must firstly understand your target audience.
So what do they read?
Stacey recommends using Facebook Insights (if relevant to your audience), to analyse what content your target audience is interested in, and Google display planner to see what websites they regularly visit.
As well as this, it’s also helpful to engage with specific contacts to strengthen your research and provide strong avenues for content promotion; this normally works in a tiered approach:
Tier 1 – Major influencers
Tier 2 – Mid weight influencers
Tier 3 – Small publications
For Tier 1, remember to get buy-in early; according to the psychology of persuasion, if you do something for them they’ll do something in return, even if they didn’t originally need it.
Create convincing headlines
Stacey read out a fascinating stat that ‘1.7 million people do not care that the headline makes no sense’.
Clickbait headlines are very successful over Facebook, despite the fact that the content is often pointless and completely irrelevant.
This highlights the importance of headlines and our need to ensure that they actually support the quality of our content.
And as opposed to clickbait, our content actually needs to deliver.
So during the research stage, make sure you take the time to compare headlines using different surveys and email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp; also remember that headlines may differ across a range of social platforms depending on audience type.
3 Recommended books to sell your Content:
The following books were also recommended during Stacey’s talk…
Stacey next addressed the importance of having a balance of outreach and promotion in order to receive the desired results from your content; these work to support one another and ensure that you don’t just concentrate on links, but the entire process as a whole.
In order to meet your goals, it’s important to note that you will have to pay for successful PR distribution and social, particularly for Facebook.
And finally, treat content like you’d treat a product or service page; you need to form a strategic campaign around each piece of content to ensure that it not only gets noticed and drives engagement, but actually converts prospects into leads.
For more information on this topic, have a read of ‘Content, Shares and Links’ by Buzzsumo and Moz.
The full presentation can also be viewed here.
Next up was Christopher Cemper on ‘how to measure success’.
Christopher emphasized the importance of initiating clear goals from the beginning in order to measure success in the long run; however content marketing should always be driven with the overriding objective to educate your customers.
Christopher discussed how social signals, despite being great at measuring distribution, should not soley be used for measuring engagement.
They only serve to reflect one side of the coin within the measurement process and may not be relevant to all content types; what is more, ‘Tweets’ and social engagement can be easy to buy and fake.
And even when they are genuine, just as Stacey explained, people seem to share and like any piece of content these days regardless of its purpose, whereas content marketing should always be created with ‘long-term success’ in mind.
Success should be measured by actions that require more effort from the customer, such as links, comments and downloads. These take longer than a few seconds to complete for the customer and are also difficult to fake.
Remember that the measurement of success should be two-dimensional; it should involve both Buzz (distribution) and Impact (long-term success), or as described by Stacey, outreach and promotion.
One cannot work without the other – low impact results in a lack of distribution, and so using the two together is the only way of understanding the true value of your content.
For in-depth analysis of your influencers, video and content marketing, take a look at Impactana.
Charlie Williams – ‘Understanding the audience, agile thinking & our content’
Charlie similarly discussed the importance of creating content that educates our audience – particularly now more than ever – due to Google’s recent algorithm change to rank content based on this factor.
In order to educate your audience, great content should answer questions. As stated by Google, ‘A question is the most powerful force in the world’.
Therefore use Google analytics and organic traffic to find out what these questions are; at what point are people leaving the site, and why? What are they trying to find out?
Charlie also recommended the following tools:
Ahrefs – what has earned your audience’s interest?
Buzzsumo – whose been sharing your content and at what point?
Topsy – what is your audience talking about?
Keyword kiwi – how, why, what, who? This is a tool that allows you to search for specific questions.
“Every search is a question, those who answer them best get the most credit! Find questions an audience is asking
The full presentation can be viewed here.
Moving on from content to social, Kristal Ireland next discussed ‘What is social now?’
She stressed that the main challenge with social is ‘consumer fatigue’; nowadays your target audience has seen it all. Therefore finding a way to be different and experimental on our platforms is the only way to standout and re-engage those tired prospects.
And accompanying this fatigue is the recent notion that Facebook is dead, when it’s simply changing. The sharp decline in 2014 in organic reach over Facebook can be explained by the recent need to pay for targeted advertising. Despite this change, it’s important to note that Facebook is still the most successful platform, followed closely behind by Twitter. So rather than being afraid of using it, jump in and enjoy it.
Fully engaging with Facebook means not separating ‘paid’ from campaigns; nowadays you need to be willing to spend a little more in order to achieve the highest results.
Kristal also recommended dropping the term ‘social’ from media, and thinking of ourselves as media buyers or planners instead; the huge difference with online platforms now is that we must think like advertisers.
And however much we’re reliant on pay, and however much it has changed the way we view social media, it’s important to remain creative in what we do in order to step away from this consumer fatigue.
For example, Facebook’s ‘artificial intelligence investment’, as explained by Mark Zuckerberg, will attempt to analyse the meaning behind what people share.
But according to Kristal, this will not determine human emotion more than ourselves, and it is this step away from emotional content and a move towards technology that can be quite disengaging in itself.
It’ll prevent social from having that personal element that can drive viral debates, such as the recent trend #refugeeswelcome.
So how much power should we actually be giving these platforms?
Despite these technological changes, providing sentimental value will always be the most effective way to drive engagement and enliven our audience.
So to summarise, what is social now?
Jes Stiles – ‘How to win fans and reach people’
Jes Stiles continued Kristal’s Facebook discussion with her tips on engaging fans.
First off, do not think about buying Facebook likes.
Inititally, they look great, but after a while this results in decreased organic reach.
Ultimately, spending money buying ‘likes’ leads to less website traffic at almost double the cost per session.
Instead, focus on engaging and clickable posts by figuring out why people are using Facebook in the first place.
Ultimately, they want to feel entertained and feel a connection; so play on feelings. Great emotional topics tend to be nostalgia, nationalism and culture. Work out an emotion you can tap into specifically for your target audience.
Also take a look at Edgerank; a useful tool for defining your company’s exposure across Facebook.
So now you have reach – what about clicks? What is more clickable? Interestingly, Jes stated that products don’t work best, category posts do.
Why? Because people aren’t there to buy – people typically use Facebook to browse.
In terms of promoting blog articles, these can be clickable and engaging but they may not serve as the best conversions; bounce rates can be high so ensure that you don’t rely heavily on them.
She also emphasized the importance of using emails to encourage engagement, such as order confirmations and newsletter subscriptions. Use your confirmation pages to the best of your ability in order to create a good return on investment; this will keep them engaged after the conversion flow by guiding them towards the next step.
Do social differently by carefully measuring and tracking each and everything you do, and for consumers try to post 4-6 times a day. Use UTM tags to track replies to assess the impact of a blog post, and SEO Facebook page visits. Jess Stiles saw an increase from 640 fans to 1,760 after implementing SEO into her Facebook pages.
Most importantly, establish a posting calendar to organize your distribution of content to Facebook; be prepared for this to change weekly depending on your reach and engagement from previous posts.
All in all, we can takeaway atleast 3 crucial tips from the above presentations:
- Ensure that educating your target audience is always first priority
- Form structured campaigns around each piece of content for effective distrubution and promotion
- Use sentiments to engage your audience across social platforms and accept the possibility of paying for particular services
To find out more about producing effective, measurable content for construction download our Content Marketing E-book here, or for help on implementing a successful social strategy, download our Social Media E-book.