This post will help you zero in on what distribution channels make the most sense for your goals, and how to create content that will perform well in them. Musts for Syndicated Content: A catchy headline A timely topic 1,000 words or less Links in the content back to relevant content on your site 2. So many different types of content can work for paid advertising. There’s no better way to know how something will perform in paid marketing than through testing, but it’s important your content has these primary components: A catchy, keyword-aligned headline Standout images or video Content that supports your hyper-target audience and keywords Goal: Organic acquisition Organic traffic is often an appealing distribution method because prospects qualify themselves through their relevant search queries. Blog posts Blog posts are among the most common ways to rank well in organic search and acquire featured snippets. This original data came from a survey of 700 marketers, and it worked. Musts for original research: An original take with supporting data A solid research methodology (explained in the content) An outreach strategy with custom pitches Goal: Lead generation If generating leads is your goal, your content will need to be compelling enough for a prospect to give you their contact information. Musts for whitepapers and e-books: An original take with compelling data specifically targeting prospective leads A solid methodology (explained in the content) Enticing content that leads users to the lead gen download Minimal contact information required to download 7. Each product, no matter how similar, should have a unique product name and description to keep you clear of duplicate content issues. Common trust signals include reviews, a customer quote, or a statistic about how the product helps customers.
There’s a lot to consider when creating a content strategy in 2019. Not only is there more competition than ever online, but there are so many types of content and ways to reach your target audience. Do you start a blog? Do you podcast? Should you focus on research studies or whitepapers? How do you really know what to do?
But before you do anything else, you need to define what goals you want to accomplish with your content.
I’ve written previously about the importance of having an audience-focused content strategy before — and it’s still relevant. Every single piece of content you create needs to be mapped to a goal, otherwise, it’ll leave your audience wondering why they should care and what to do next, assuming it even reaches your target audience at all.
But the work doesn’t stop there. Once you have your goals and your brand’s unique angle nailed down, you’ll also need to prioritize your means of content distribution. This is especially important if you’re just starting out — you should zero in on a few key distribution channels and master those before you expand into others, or you risk spreading yourself too thin and sabotage your chances of success in any of them.
This post will help you zero in on what distribution channels make the most sense for your goals, and how to create content that will perform well in them.
Content goal: Brand awareness
If you’re a new brand or a lesser-known brand in your vertical, it’s crucial to expose your audience to your brand and demonstrate how it can solve their problems. There are many distribution options for brand awareness, and they all involve using external platforms in some way to help you connect to a larger audience of people.
If your brand publishes a large volume of daily content that covers broader, news-worthy topics, content syndication can be an effective way to get your brand in front of a new audience.
I work for a new affiliate marketing venture called The Ascent by The Motley Fool, and our coverage of broad, personal finance topics makes us a natural fit for content syndication. From Flipboard to Google News, major news outlets are always looking for money and finance-related content. Even though the SEO value is limited for content syndication, as links are typically no-followed, this is still an effective way for us to fulfill our brand awareness goal of reaching a wider, qualified audience. Just be sure any syndication partners will provide a canonical tag back to your site to ensure you don’t end up with duplicate content issues. The Fractl team did an impressive piece about understanding the networks of news syndication if you want to learn more.
Content created for syndication typically has a timely slant to it, as that’s what major news outlets are looking for from syndication partners. Whether it’s a finance topic related to an upcoming holiday (i.e. 7 Personal Finance Lessons Learned in 2018) or something happening in the news (i.e. How to Financially Prepare for the Government Shutdown), it needs to be a gripping headline with information valuable to a reader today. It also needs to be quality content, free of errors, and not miles long.
Answer the headline entirely, but eliminate the fluff. And don’t forget to include relevant links back to your site, so you can get this larger audience to visit your website.
Musts for Syndicated Content:
- A catchy headline
- A timely topic
- 1,000 words or less
- Links in the content back to relevant content on your site
2. Sponsored content or guest posts
If your own website doesn’t have a great following, engaging in sponsored content on a more prominent website can be valuable for building brand awareness. The type of sponsored content I’m referring to here is online advertorials or articles that look like normal articles, but are tagged as “sponsored content,” typically.
BuzzFeed is a prominent platform for brands. Here’s an example of one of their finest:
At the bottom, there’s a pitch for Wendy’s with a link:
Because visitors can see that this content is “sponsored,” they are naturally more skeptical of it — and rightfully so. To create a quality native advertising piece, you’ll want it to be genuinely helpful and not overly promotional. It’s already clear it’s a promotion for your brand, so the content doesn’t need to reinforce that further.
This above example clearly does not take itself seriously. It provides a quiz that is on-brand with what a BuzzFeed visitor would expect and want to see. There’s no overt promotional play for Wendy’s in the quiz.
If you don’t want to pay for a sponsored content spot on another website, you could also look for relevant sites that take guest posts. This post you are currently reading is an example of that: I’m not paying, nor am I getting paid to publish this post with Moz. But, I am getting more brand exposure for my team and myself. And Moz is getting unique content with a fresh perspective.
It’s a win-win!
If you do pitch a site for a guest post, make sure it’s compelling and in line with what their audience wants. Keep it helpful and not promotional. You will need to establish trust with this new audience.
Musts for Sponsored Content or Guest Posts:
- A budget (for sponsored content)
- Content is not promotional, but helpful or entertaining
- A pitch and link to your site at the end of the content
3. Paid advertising
One of the big advantages of utilizing paid advertising is that you can see results right away and get your content in front of a qualified audience, whereas, organic takes longer to see growth.
To get your content to perform well in paid search, it’ll need to be more niche and targeted to the keywords you’re bidding on, otherwise, your quality score will suffer. Google, Bing, and Yahoo all have their own forms of a quality score that takes into account a number of factors, including your expected CTR, landing page quality and relevance to your ad, and ad text relevance. This might mean you’ll need to develop more landing pages to cover your topics than you would for a page created for organic search. That’s not an issue from an SEO perspective as long as you no-index your landing pages.
For example, the query “podcast software” gave me a really relevant ad for Buzzsprout.com, not only using my keyword in the ad but also providing relevant extended links below.
Once on the landing page, it also gives me exactly what I’m looking for. The language varies slightly to “podcast hosting,” but it clearly answers my intent.
Similarly, both Facebook and Twitter have a ‘relevancy score’ that acts as the quality score. These social platforms are measuring your expected engagement rate with an ad, which indicates how well your content matches the needs and interests of the audience you’re targeting.
What this means is that, like with paid search, your content needs to be more niche and customized to your audience for higher performance.
So many different types of content can work for paid advertising. Visual content can be incredibly powerful for paid advertising — whether it’s through video or images. There’s no better way to know how something will perform in paid marketing than through testing, but it’s important…