It all started with Panda, followed by the Page Layout algorithm in January 2012 and Penguin in April, completed by the Exact Match Domain algorithm update in September. 2012 severely changed online marketing, punishing those using “dirty” tricks to manipulate Google search results. Not all marketers have been using these techniques, but above updates affected the whole industry. Content became King, as marketing jargon puts it.
The process of creating and distributing content is called content marketing. However, it is essential to create valuable, high quality content that results in meaningful engagement. Good quality content placed in the right context is being reposted, quoted and shared on social media networks building credibility, trust and authority. It is also a straight way to the top of search engine rankings.
While there are loads of tricks (such as adding hyperlinks under the article leading to the author’s G+ account to boost SEO), it is essential to follow a simple set of rules:
1. Published content is more likely to be shared if it is written by experts, professionals or enthusiasts – anyone, who knows what they are writing about.
2. Interesting, relevant and useful articles and posts will encourage more readers to recommend it to their friends. Adding funny comments, guidelines or controversial facts and statements would all work in an author’s favor.
3. Grammatical and spelling mistakes will make content less readable or even annoying. It is important to double-check every post or even to ask someone to read an article before publishing it.
4. Adding pictures or charts will make content more searchable and easier to share on social media.
As Deanna Brown, CEO of Federated Media Publishing, said: “Content, in the right context, is ultimately king.” Understanding the audience is crucial for creating content that should target and engage the right people. Content marketing is about presenting yourself as an expert that can provide relevant solutions, therefore knowing the audience is the natural foundation. According to the definition, context marketing is a process of “delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time”. Knowing the audience means being aware of their favourite type of content, the channels of communication that they prefer or any other information that could help with the creation of highly targeted and personalised content.
Social Media’s Role
According to a study mentioned by Matthew O’Brien in his article What’s Next for Social Media and Content Marketing in 2013? “65% of British consumers surveyed say that they would stop using a brand that upset or irritated them as a result of their social media behavior”. Therefore, it’s important to take care with the social media strategy. Aligning social media channels along with the whole content marketing strategy would help to create or maintain the desired image. After all, the same rules for content marketing apply to social media strategies. One personalised and interesting message, posted at the right time in the right place is worth more than 10 posts published one by one that might not only be ignored, but even irritate the audience.
However, content (or context) marketing and social media are not the same thing. Social media’s role in content marketing is to distribute links leading audiences to the content. Where content marketing educates people, social media builds relationships with them. They are just two parts of the same game.
If content is king, social media is its sceptre .