In part one, we looked at how to use search insights to supercharge your content production strategy. In this concluding part, we'll examine how to boost your content discovery and promotion strategies in more detail.
How to supercharge your content discovery
As search algorithms become more sophisticated to mimic human thought processes, keywords carry less weight as a single ranking factor. As well as findable, content must meet the high-standards of traditional editorial teams; to be relevant, digestible and engaging. In short, it has to be authentic; and this is where deeper analysis of user data signals and quantitative audits help fill in the blanks.
Identify the content that’s attracting social engagement, backlinks, high click-through and low bounce-rates then tackle trends in topic, format and structure.
If Google rewards publishers who cover a subject comprehensively, exactly what detail should you include? Here, keyword research is much more powerful when supercharged with engagement insights and editorial analysis. From top-level strategy – where can you win; what subjects can you own; and how can you offer something uniquely valuable? Right down to the nitty-gritty – what sub-topics should your content cover; who should you interview or quote; what type of visuals and interactive elements are most appropriate and where should you link to?
Dig deep in discovery and you’ve done the lion’s share of the work to create killer briefs; complete with best-practice examples, resources and leads to inspire quality content with a strong point of difference.
But most importantly, you now have much more than the wishful content shopping lists most marketers labour over. You’ve brought home the ingredients of a strategy that will help you balance opportunity with expected investment and make smart decisions on production priorities.
How to use search insights to shape your promotion strategy
Successful publishers don’t just go live and hope for the best – they wouldn’t be able to justify the business and advertising investment. To secure yours, demand even more from your discovery. Use it to identify the channels on which your content is most likely to pull users in and the engagement triggers – search and social listening trends – that can help frame promotional push messages.
As the search landscape has expanded, so have the opportunities for your content to be found organically. Voice search is on the rise; Cortana ships with every Windows 10 machine, Siri remains the personal assistant to beat, while both Amazon’s Alexa and Google Mini were top gifts for Christmas 2017. Cisco predicts that IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016. And image platforms have become the go-to for people searching for ideas; particularly in the visual spheres of fashion, homeware, food, crafts and travel.
Combining detailed keyword research with platform-specific variations (suggested searches are a solid starting point) will give your content a better chance of being seen and a greater incremental return on your investment; weeks, months and years into the future. Because as any authentic publisher will attest, if nurtured – catalogued, audited and regularly checked and updated – the value of quality content can and will grow over time. Search experts know it, too: Research by SEO toolset Ahrefs shows that to rank 1st across 2 million top search terms, your content had to be live over on average 940 days. So the fact that only 29% of leading marketers systematically reuse and repurpose content may go some way to explaining those disappointing engagement stats.
Evergreen guides, life-stage creative with transient audiences and seasonal showpieces are just a few examples of media that act as magnets for incremental engagement. Look after your most valuable content and your channel strategists can pull the right levers to keep it working hard: Excluding users through paid social, targeting new groups by interest and lookalikes or building personalised journeys through email.
If you’re going to invest in content marketing in 2018, take a deep breath and throw yourself in. Consumers, users – let’s just call them people – they know a toe-dipper when they see one.
Jo-ann Fortune is head of content at iCrossing