Today, anyone that posts content on their website and simply expects people to find it there is delusional.
More than ever, there is so much noise, nonsense and distraction clamoring for internet users attention, that it’s increasingly difficult for any really good content to stand out, get noticed or get found.
Like it or not, just about any business must now confront a new reality if they want to market their product or service online. Because whatever business you’re in today, you’re now must also figure out how you’ll also be in both the publishing and media business as well. What does that have to do with me? Well, everything.
To succeed these days, you’re going to have offer prospects and customers more than your product or service. As leading authority, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of the new book Epic Content Marketing points out, defining, creating and deploying content that your prospects and customers will find relevant, educational or entertaining is now required on top of providing a product or service to your customers.
Be forewarned. Stepping up to meet this requirement is no small undertaking. And if you approach this requirement with a structured Content Marketing strategy to tell your story, chances are you’re headed in the right direction to succeed. Yet, publishing is only half of the story. It’s a fact that plenty of organizations still aren’t sure how to distribute the expensive content they create or what to even say on their social media accounts.
Authors, writers, and artists understand that storytelling is much more than just a pile of sentences strung together with a few arresting headlines. Your story (if you’ve invested in developing one) becomes engaging by taking people on a journey in which characters and content reflects our lives, desires and aspirations.
If great content built around your story online is the new bait, then social media is one of the many channels that can attract people to it. But make no mistake, social media is competing with email, pay-per-click ads, search results and even traditional media as one of the ever growing list of channels available for distributing your message — and value.
According to a recent content marketing survey by the UK’s Direct Marketing Association and CMI, 90% of marketers use social media outlets other than blogs as a content distribution channel. Interestingly, 78% do use blogs and another 52% rely on publishing white papers on their websites.
Social media and consistent content creation work hand in hand to provide the people you’re trying to influence or inform with a reason to follow you in the first place. It also provides an opportunity to develop an online personality and voice with a low-friction means of engaging easily with people and connecting them with your story. Social media can also be a great way of discovering topics that your customers and prospects want to hear about.
SEO also works alongside social media and must be strategically aligned and integrated with it. As search engines continue to refine and modify their algorithms, old-school techniques like back-linking and keyword stuffing are becoming much less effective. So once you’ve invested all of the effort to create great content, you need to do all that you can to ensure that it will get found.
If you spend hours writing your latest blog post and then hit ‘upload’ and forget it, you’re wasting precious opportunities to leverage your value and distribute your message. You goal should be to map a plan for distribution before you publish. Because when you expose your story in a different channel, it improves the opportunity for others to notice it, share it or respond to it.
If you’ve invested in creating lots of valuable content, make sure that you make the biggest impact with it. Because content publishing without a plan to expand its reach won’t make it worth very much.
Do you start content creation with a structured distribution plan? How are you faring? Please share.