In today’s customer-centric world, this level of communication is essential for any ecommerce company that wants to deliver a great experience and grow revenue at the same time. This infographic shows you 10 email programs that can help you achieve it.Reblogged 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com
We love this statistics infographic by Every Cloud, which shows you just how effective good email marketing can be for your business.
Want to read more on how you can improve the performance of your email marketing? Check out our resources library, which has oodles of free downloadable cheatsheets, guides and whitepapers.Reblogged 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com
Columnist Marcus Miller shares tips, advice and an infographic on creating highly optimized, high-converting landing pages for local SEO.
The post The perfect local SEO landing page appeared first on Search Engine Land.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Reblogged 3 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com
Posted by Cyrus-Shepard
Recently, Moz announced the results of our biennial Ranking Factors study. Today, we’d like to explore one of the most vital elements of the study: the Ranking Factors survey.
Every two years, Moz surveys the brightest minds in SEO and search marketing with a comprehensive set of questions meant to gauge the current workings of Google’s search algorithm. This year’s panel of experts possesses a truly unique set of knowledge and perspectives. We’re thankful on behalf of the entire community for their contribution.
In addition to asking the participants about what does and doesn’t work in Google’s ranking algorithm today, one of the most illuminating group of questions asks the panel to predict the future of search – how the features of Google’s algorithm are expected to change over the next 12 months.
Amazingly, almost all of the factors that are expected to increase in influence revolved around user experience, including:
- Perceived value
- …and more
The experts predicted that more traditional ranking signals, such as those around links and URL structures, would largely remain the same, while the more manipulative aspects of SEO, like paid links and anchor text (which is subject to manipulation), would largely decrease in influence.
The survey also asks respondents to weight the importance of various factors within Google’s current ranking algorithm (on a scale of 1-10). Understanding these areas of importance helps to inform webmasters and marketers where to invest time and energy in working to improve the search presence of their websites.
On-page keyword features
These features describe use of the keyword term/phrase in particular parts of the HTML code on the page (title element, H1s, alt attributes, etc).
Highest influence: Keyword present in title element, 8.34
Lowest influence: Keyword present in specific HTML elements (bold/italic/li/a/etc), 4.16
Titles are still very powerful. Overall, it’s about focus and matching query syntax. If your post is about airplane propellers but you go on a three paragraph rant about gorillas, you’re going to have a problem ranking for airplane propellers.
Keyword usage is vital to making the cut, but we don’t always see it correlate with ranking, because we’re only looking at what already made the cut. The page has to be relevant to appear for a query, IMO, but when it comes to how high the page ranks once it’s relevant, I think keywords have less impact than they once did. So, it’s a necessary but not sufficient condition to ranking.
In my experience, most of problems with organic visibility are related to on-page factors. When I look for an opportunity, I try to check for 2 strong things: presence of keyword in the title and in the main content. Having both can speed up your visibility, especially on long-tail queries.
Domain-level keyword features
These features cover how keywords are used in the root or subdomain name, and how much impact this might have on search engine rankings.
Highest influence: Keyword is the exact match root domain name, 5.83
Lowest influence: Keyword is the domain extension, 2.55
The only domain/keyword factor I’ve seen really influence rankings is an exact match. Subdomains, partial match, and others appear to have little or no effect.
There’s no direct influence, but an exact match root domain name can definitely lead to a higher CTR within the SERPs and therefore a better ranking in the long term.
It’s very easy to link keyword-rich domains with their success in Google’s results for the given keyword. I’m always mindful about other signals that align with domain name which may have contributed to its success. These includes inbound links, mentions, and local citations.
Page-level link-based features
These features describe link metrics for the individual ranking page (such as number of links, PageRank, etc).
Highest influence: Raw quantity of links from high-authority sites, 7.78
Lowest influence: Sentiment of the external links pointing to the page, 3.85
High-quality links still rule rankings. The way a brand can earn links has become more important over the years, whereas link schemes can hurt a site more than ever before. There is a lot of FUD slinging in this respect!
Similar to my thoughts on content, I suspect link-based metrics are going to be used increasingly with a focus on verisimilitude (whether content is actually true or not) and relationships between nodes in Knowledge Graph. Google’s recent issues with things, such as the snippet results for “evolution,” highlight the importance of them only pulling things that are factually correct for featured parts of a SERP. Thus, just counting traditional link metrics won’t cut it anymore.
While anchor text is still a powerful ranking factor, using targeted anchor text carries a significant amount of risk and can easily wipe out your previous success.
Domain-level brand features
These features describe elements that indicate qualities of branding and brand metrics.
Highest influence: Search volume for the brand/domain, 6.54
Lowest influence: Popularity of business’s official social media profiles, 3.99
This is clearly on deck to change very soon with the reintegration of Twitter into Google’s Real-Time Results. It will be interesting to see how this affects the “Breaking News” box and trending topics. Social influencers, quality and quantity of followers, RTs, and favorites will all be a factor. And what’s this?! Hashtags will be important again?! Have mercy!
Google has to give the people what they want, and if most of the time they are searching for a brand, Google is going to give them that brand. Google doesn’t have a brand bias, we do.
It’s already noticeable; brands are more prominently displayed in search results for both informational and commercial queries. I’m expecting Google will be paying more attention to brand-related metrics from now on (and certainly more initiatives to encourage site owners to optimize for better entity detection).
Page-level social features
These features relate to third-party metrics from social media sources (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc) for the ranking page.
Highest influence: Engagement with content/URL on social networks, 3.87
Lowest influence: Upvotes for the page on social sites, 2.7
Social ranking factors are important in a revamped Query Deserves Freshness algorithm. Essentially, if your content gets a lot of natural tweets, shares, and likes, it will rank prominently for a short period of time, until larger and more authoritative sites catch up.
Social popularity has several factors to consider: (1) Years ago, Google and Bing said they take into account the authority of a social profile sharing a link and the popularity of the link being shared (retweets/reshares), and there was more complexity to social signals that was never revealed even back then. (2) My experience has been that social links and shares have more power for newsy/fresh-type content. For example, a lot of social shares for a dentist’s office website wouldn’t be nearly as powerful (or relevant to consider) as a lot of social shares for an article on a site with a constant flow of fresh content.
Honestly, I do not think that the so-called “social signals” have any direct influence on the Google Algorithm (that does not mean that a correlation doesn’t exist, though). My only doubt is related to Twitter, because of the renewed contract between Google and Twitter itself. That said, as of now I do not consider Twitter to offer any ranking signals, except for very specific niches related to news and “news-able” content, where QDF plays a fundamental role.
Page-level keyword-agnostic features
These elements describe non-keyword-usage, non-link-metrics features of individual pages (such as length of the page, load speed, etc).
Highest influence: Uniqueness of the content on the page, 7.85
Lowest influence: Page contains Open Graph data and/or Twitter cards, 3.64
By branching mobile search off of Google’s core ranking algorithm, having a “mobile-friendly” website is probably now less important for desktop search rankings. Our clients are seeing an ever-increasing percentage of organic search traffic coming from mobile devices, though (particularly in retail), so this is certainly not an excuse to ignore responsive design – the opposite, in fact. Click-through rate from the SERPs has been an important ranking signal for a long time and continues to be, flagging irrelevant or poor-quality search listings.
I believe many of these will be measured within the ecosystem, rather than absolutely. For example, the effect of bounce rate (or rather, bounce speed) on a site will be relative to the bounce speeds on other pages in similar positions for similar terms.
I want to answer these a certain way because, while I have been told by Google what matters to them, what I see in the SERPs does not back up what Google claims they want. There are a lot of sites out there with horrible UX that rank in the top three. While I believe it’s really important for conversion and to bring customers back, I don’t feel as though Google is all that concerned, based on the sites that rank highly. Additionally, Google practically screams “unique content,” yet sites that more or less steal and republish content from other sites are still ranking highly. What I think should matter to Google doesn’t seem to matter to them, based on the results they give me.
Domain-level link authority features
These features describe link metrics about the domain hosting the page.
Highest influence: Quantity of unique linking domains to the domain, 7.45
Lowest influence: Sentiment of the external links pointing to the site, 3.91
Quantity and quality of unique linking domains at the domain level is still among the most significant factors in determining how a domain will perform as a whole in the organic search results, and is among the best SEO “spot checks” for determining if a site will be successful relative to other competitor sites with similar content and selling points.
Throughout this survey, when I say “no direct influence,” this is interchangeable with “no direct positive influence.” For example, I’ve marked exact match domain as low numbers, while their actual influence may be higher – though negatively.
Topical relevancy has, in my opinion, gained much ground as a relevant ranking factor. Although I find it most at play when at page level, I am seeing significant shifts at overall domain relevancy, by long-tail growth or by topically-relevant domains linking to sites. One way I judge such movements is the growth of the long-tail relevant to the subject or ranking, when neither anchor text (exact match or synonyms) nor exact phrase is used in a site’s content, yet it still ranks very highly for long-tail and mid-tail synonyms.
Domain-level keyword-agnostic features
These features relate to the entire root domain, but don’t directly describe link- or keyword-based elements. Instead, they relate to things like the length of the domain name in characters.
Highest influence: Uniqueness of content across the whole site, 7.52
Lowest influence: Length of time until domain name expires, 2.45
Character length of domain name is another correlative yet not causative factor, in my opinion. They don’t need to rule these out – it just so happens that longer domain names get clicked on, so they get ruled out quickly.
A few points: Google’s document inception date patents describe how Google might handle freshness and maturity of content for a query. The “trust signal” pages sound like a site quality metric that Google might use to score a page on the basis of site quality. Some white papers from Microsoft on web spam signals identified multiple hyphens in subdomains as evidence of web spam. The length of time until the domain expires was cited as a potential signal in Google’s patent on information retrieval through historic data, and was refuted by Matt Cutts after domain sellers started trying to use that information to sell domain extensions to “help the SEO” of a site.
I think that page speed only becomes a factor when it is significantly slow. I think that having error pages on the site doesn’t matter, unless there are so many that it greatly impacts Google’s ability to crawl.
The future of search
To bring it back to the beginning, we asked the experts if they had any comments or alternative signals they think will become more or less important over the next 12 months.
While I expect that static factors, such as incoming links and anchor text, will remain influential, I think the power of these will be mediated by the presence or absence of engagement factors.
The app world and webpage world are getting lumped together. If you have the more popular app relative to your competitors, expect Google to notice.
Mobile will continue to increase, with directly-related factors increasing as well. Structured data will increase, along with more data partners and user segmentation/personalization of SERPs to match query intent, localization, and device-specific need states.
User location may have more influence in mobile SERPs as (a) more connected devices like cars and watches allow voice search, and (b) sites evolve accordingly to make such signals more accurate.
I really think that over the next 12-18 months we are going to see a larger impact of structured data in the SERPs. In fact, we are already seeing this. Google has teams that focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. They are studying “relationships of interest” and, at the heart of what they are doing, are still looking to provide the most relevant result in the quickest fashion. Things like schema that help “educate” the search engines as to a given topic or entity are only going to become more important as a result.
For more data, check out the complete Ranking Factors Survey results.
Finally, we leave you with this infographic created by Kevin Engle which shows the relative weighting of broad areas of Google’s algorithm, according to the experts.
What’s your opinion on the future of search and SEO? Let us know in the comments below.
Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!
Reblogged 4 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it
Posted by Alan_Coleman
The trick most content marketers are missing
Creating great content is the first half of success in content marketing. Getting quality content read by, and amplified to, a relevant audience is the oft overlooked second half of success. Facebook can be a content marketer’s best friend for this challenge. For reach, relevance and amplification potential, Facebook is unrivaled.
- Reach: 1 in 6 mobile minutes on planet earth is somebody reading something on Facebook.
- Relevance: Facebook is a lean mean interest and demo targeting machine. There is no online or offline media that owns as much juicy interest and demographic information on its audience and certainly no media has allowed advertisers to utilise this information as effectively as Facebook has.
- Amplification: Facebook is literally built to encourage sharing. Here’s the first 10 words from their mission statement: “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share…”, Enough said!
Because of these three digital marketing truths, if a content marketer gets their paid promotion* right on Facebook, the battle for eyeballs and amplification is already won.
For this reason it’s crucial that content marketers keep a close eye on Facebook advertising innovations and seek out ways to use them in new and creative ways.
In this post I will share with you eight ways we’ve hacked a new Facebook ad format to deliver content marketing success.
Multi-Product Ads (MPAs)
In 2014, Facebook unveiled multi-product ads (MPAs) for US advertisers, we got them in Europe earlier this year. They allow retailers to show multiple products in a carousel-type ad unit.
They look like this:
If the user clicks on the featured product, they are guided directly to the landing page for that specific product, from where they can make a purchase.
You could say MPAs are Facebook’s answer to Google Shopping.
Facebook’s mistake is a content marketer’s gain
I believe Facebook has misunderstood how people want to use their social network and the transaction-focused format is OK at best for selling products. People aren’t really on Facebook to hit the “buy now” button. I’m a daily Facebook user and I can’t recall a time this year where I have gone directly from Facebook to an e-commerce website and transacted. Can you remember a recent time when you did?
So, this isn’t an innovation that removes a layer of friction from something that we are all doing online already (as the most effective innovations do). Instead, it’s a bit of a “hit and hope” that, by providing this functionality, Facebook would encourage people to try to buy online in a way they never have before.
The Wolfgang crew felt the MPA format would be much more useful to marketers and users if they were leveraging Facebook for the behaviour we all demonstrate on the platform every day, guiding users to relevant content. We attempted to see if Facebook Ads Manager would accept MPAs promoting content rather than products. We plugged in the images, copy and landing pages, hit “place order”, and lo and behold the ads became active. We’re happy to say that the engagement rates, and more importantly the amplification rates, are fantastic!
We’ve re-invented the MPA format for multi-advertisers in multi-ways, eight ways to be exact! Here’s eight MPA Hacks that have worked well for us. All eight hacks use the MPA format to promote content rather than promote products.
Hack #1: Multi-Package Ads
Our first variation wasn’t a million miles away from multi-product ads; we were promoting the various packages offered by a travel operator.
By looking at the number of likes, comments, and shares (in blue below the ads) you can see the ads were a hit with Facebook users and they earned lots of free engagement and amplification.
NB: If you have selected “clicks to website” as your advertising objective, all those likes, comments and shares are free!
The ad sparked plenty of conversation amongst Facebook friends in the comments section.
Hack #2: Multi-Offer Ads
Everybody knows the Internet loves a bargain. So we decided to try another variation moving away from specific packages, focusing instead on deals for a different travel operator.
Here’s how the ads looked:
These ads got valuable amplification beyond the share. In the comments section, you can see people tagging specific friends. This led to the MPAs receiving further amplification, and a very targeted and personalised form of amplification to boot.
Word of mouth referrals have been a trader’s best friend since the stone age. These “personalised” word of mouth referrals en masse are a powerful marketing proposition. It’s worth mentioning again that those engagements are free!
Hack #3: Multi-Locations Ads
Putting the Lo in SOLOMO.
This multi-product feed ad was hacked to promote numerous locations of a waterpark. “Where to go?” is among the first questions somebody asks when researching a holiday. In creating this top of funnel content, we can communicate with our target audience at the very beginning of their research process. A simple truth of digital marketing is: the more interactions you have with your target market on their journey to purchase, the more likely they are to seal the deal with you when it comes time to hit the “buy now” button. Starting your relationship early gives you an advantage over those competitors who are hanging around the bottom of the purchase funnel hoping to make a quick and easy conversion.
What was surprising here, was that because we expected to reach people at the very beginning of their research journey, we expected the booking enquiries to be some time away. What actually happened was these ads sparked an enquiry frenzy as Facebook users could see other people enquiring and the holidays selling out in real time.
In fact nearly all of the 35 comments on this ad were booking enquiries. This means what we were measuring as an “engagement” was actually a cold hard “conversion”! You don’t need me to tell you a booking enquiry is far closer to the money than a Facebook like.
The three examples outlined so far are for travel companies. Travel is a great fit for Facebook as it sits naturally in the Facebook feed, my Facebook feed is full of envy-inducing friends’ holiday pictures right now. Another interesting reason why travel is a great fit for Facebook ads is because typically there are multiple parties to a travel purchase. What happened here is the comments section actually became a very visible and measurable forum for discussion between friends and family before becoming a stampede inducing medium of enquiry.
So, stepping outside of the travel industry, how do other industries fare with hacked MPAs?
Hack #3a: Multi-Location Ads (combined with location targeting)
Location, location, location. For a property listings website, we applied location targeting and repeated our Multi-Location Ad format to advertise properties for sale to people in and around that location.
Hack #4: Multi-Big Content Ad
“The future of big content is multi platform”
– Cyrus Shepard
The same property website had produced a report and an accompanying infographic to provide their audience with unique and up-to-the-minute market information via their blog. We used the MPA format to promote the report, the infographic and the search rentals page of the website. This brought their big content piece to a larger audience via a new platform.
Hack #5: Multi-Episode Ad
This MPA hack was for an online TV player. As you can see we advertised the most recent episodes of a TV show set in a fictional Dublin police station, Red Rock.
Engagement was high, opinion was divided.
Hack #6: Multi-People Ads
In the cosmetic surgery world, past patients’ stories are valuable marketing material. Particularly when the past patients are celebrities. We recycled some previously published stories from celebrity patients using multi-people ads and targeted them to a very specific audience.
Hack #7: Multi-UGC Ads
Have you witnessed the power of user generated content (UGC) in your marketing yet? We’ve found interaction rates with authentic UGC images can be up to 10 fold of those of the usual stylised images. In order to encourage further UGC, we posted a number of customer’s images in our Multi-UGC Ads.
The CTR on the above ads was 6% (2% is the average CTR for Facebook News feed ads according to our study). Strong CTRs earn you more traffic for your budget. Facebook’s relevancy score lowers your CPC as your CTR increases.
When it comes to the conversion, UGC is a power player, we’ve learned that “customers attracting new customers” is a powerful acquisition tool.
Hack #8: Target past customers for amplification
“Who will support and amplify this content and why?”
– Rand Fishkin
Your happy customers Rand, that’s the who and the why! Check out these Multi-Package Ads targeted to past customers via custom audiences. The Camino walkers have already told all their friends about their great trip, now allow them to share their great experiences on Facebook and connect the tour operator with their Facebook friends via a valuable word of mouth referral. Just look at the ratio of share:likes and shares:comments. Astonishingly sharable ads!
Targeting past converters in an intelligent manner is a super smart way to find an audience ready to share your content.
How will hacking Multi-Product Ads work for you?
People don’t share ads, but they do share great content. So why not hack MPAs to promote your content and reap the rewards of the world’s greatest content sharing machine: Facebook.
MPAs allow you to tell a richer story by allowing you to promote multiple pieces of content simultaneously. So consider which pieces of content you have that will work well as “content bundles” and who the relevant audience for each “content bundle” is.
As Hack #8 above illustrates, the big wins come when you match a smart use of the format with the clever and relevant targeting Facebook allows. We’re massive fans of custom audiences so if you aren’t sure where to start, I’d suggest starting there.
So ponder your upcoming content pieces, consider your older content you’d like to breathe some new life into and perhaps you could become a Facebook Ads Hacker.
I’d love to hear about your ideas for turning Multi-Product Ads into Multi-Content Ads in the comments section below.
We could even take the conversation offline at Mozcon!
*Yes I did say paid promotion, it’s no secret that Facebook’s organic reach continues to dwindle. The cold commercial reality is you need to pay to play on FB. The good news is that if you select ‘website clicks’ as your objective you only pay for website traffic and engagement while amplification by likes, comments, and shares are free! Those website clicks you pay for are typically substantially cheaper than Adwords, Taboola, Outbrain, Twitter or LinkedIn. How does it compare to display? It doesn’t. Paying for clicks is always preferable to paying for impressions. If you are spending money on display advertising I’d urge you to fling a few spondoolas towards Facebook ads and compare results. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!
Posted by Hannah_Smith
Most frequently, the content we create at Distilled is designed to attract press coverage, social shares, and exposure (and links) on sites our clients’ target audience reads. That’s a tall order.
Over the years we’ve had our hits and misses, and through this we’ve recognised the value of learning about what makes a piece of content successful. Coming up with a great idea is difficult, and it can be tough to figure out where to begin. Today, rather than leaping headlong into brainstorming sessions, we start with creative content research.
What is creative content research?
Creative content research enables you to answer the questions:
“What are websites publishing, and what are people sharing?”
From this, you’ll then have a clearer view on what might be successful for your client.
A few years ago this required quite an amount of work to figure out. Today, happily, it’s much quicker and easier. In this post I’ll share the process and tools we use.
Whoa there… Why do I need to do this?
I think that the value in this sort of activity lies in a couple of directions:
a) You can learn a lot by deconstructing the success of others…
I’ve been taking stuff apart to try to figure out how it works for about as long as I can remember, so applying this process to content research felt pretty natural to me. Perhaps more importantly though, I think that deconstructing content is actually easier when it isn’t your own. You’re not involved, invested, or in love with the piece so viewing it objectively and learning from it is much easier.
b) Your research will give you a clear overview of the competitive landscape…
As soon as a company elects to start creating content, they gain a whole raft of new competitors. In addition to their commercial competitors (i.e. those who offer similar products or services), the company also gains content competitors. For example, if you’re a sports betting company and plan to create content related to the sports events that you’re offering betting markets on; then you’re competing not just with other betting companies, but every other publisher who creates content about these events. That means major news outlets, sports news site, fan sites, etc. To make matters even more complicated, it’s likely that you’ll actually be seeking coverage from those same content competitors. As such, you need to understand what’s already being created in the space before creating content of your own.
c) You’re giving yourself the data to create a more compelling pitch…
At some point you’re going to need to pitch your ideas to your client (or your boss if you’re working in-house). At Distilled, we’ve found that getting ideas signed off can be really tough. Ultimately, a great idea is worthless if we can’t persuade our client to give us the green light. This research can be used to make a more compelling case to your client and get those ideas signed off. (Incidentally, if getting ideas signed off is proving to be an issue you might find this framework for pitching creative ideas useful).
Where to start
Good ideas start with a good brief, however it can be tough to pin clients down to get answers to a long list of questions.
As a minimum you’ll need to know the following:
- Who are they looking to target?
- Age, sex, demographic
- What’s their core focus? What do they care about? What problems are they looking to solve?
- Who influences them?
- What else are they interested in?
- Where do they shop and which brands do they buy?
- What do they read?
- What do they watch on TV?
- Where do they spend their time online?
- Where do they want to get coverage?
- We typically ask our clients to give us a wishlist of 10 or so sites they’d love to get coverage on
- Which topics are they comfortable covering?
- This question is often the toughest, particularly if a client hasn’t created content specifically for links and shares before. Often clients are uncomfortable about drifting too far away from their core business—for example, if they sell insurance, they’ll typically say that they really want to create a piece of content about insurance. Whilst this is understandable from the clients’ perspective it can severely limit their chances of success. It’s definitely worth offering up a gentle challenge at this stage—I’ll often cite Red Bull, who are a great example of a company who create content based on what their consumers love, not what they sell (i.e. Red Bull sell soft drinks, but create content about extreme sports because that’s the sort of content their audience love to consume). It’s worth planting this idea early, but don’t get dragged into a fierce debate at this stage—you’ll be able to make a far more compelling argument once you’ve done your research and are pitching concrete ideas.
Processes, useful tools and sites
Now you have your brief, it’s time to begin your research.
Given that we’re looking to uncover “what websites are publishing and what’s being shared,” It won’t surprise you to learn that I pay particular attention to pieces of content and the coverage they receive. For each piece that I think is interesting I’ll note down the following:
- The title/headline
- A link to the coverage (and to the original piece if applicable)
- How many social shares the coverage earned (and the original piece earned)
- The number of linking root domains the original piece earned
- Some notes about the piece itself: why it’s interesting, why I think it got shares/coverage
- Any gaps in the content, whether or not it’s been executed well
- How we might do something similar (if applicable)
Whilst I’m doing this I’ll also make a note of specific sites I see being frequently shared (I tend to check these out separately later on), any interesting bits of research (particularly if I think there might be an opportunity to do something different with the data), interesting threads on forums etc.
When it comes to kicking off your research, you can start wherever you like, but I’d recommend that you cover off each of the areas below:
What does your target audience share?
Whilst this activity might not uncover specific pieces of successful content, it’s a great way of getting a clearer understanding of your target audience, and getting a handle on the sites they read and the topics which interest them.
- Review social profiles / feeds
- If the company you’re working for has a Facebook page, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find some people who’ve liked the company page and have a public profile. It’s even easier on Twitter where most profiles are public. Whilst this won’t give you quantitative data, it does put a human face to your audience data and gives you a feel for what these people care about and share. In addition to uncovering specific pieces of content, this can also provide inspiration in terms of other sites you might want to investigate further and ideas for topics you might want to explore.
- Demographics Pro
- This service infers demographic data from your clients’ Twitter followers. I find it particularly useful if the client doesn’t know too much about their audience. In addition to demographic data, you get a breakdown of professions, interests, brand affiliations, and the other Twitter accounts they follow and who they’re most influenced by. This is a paid-for service, but there are pay-as-you-go options in addition to pay monthly plans.
Finding successful pieces of content on specific sites
If you’ve a list of sites you know your target audience read, and/or you know your client wants to get coverage on, there are a bunch of ways you can uncover interesting content:
- Using your link research tool of choice (e.g. Open Site Explorer, Majestic, ahrefs) you can run a domain level report to see which pages have attracted the most links. This can also be useful if you want to check out commercial competitors to see which pieces of content they’ve created have attracted the most links.
- There are also tools which enable you to uncover the most shared content on individual sites. You can use Buzzsumo to run content analysis reports on individual domains which provide data on average social shares per post, social shares by network, and social shares by content type.
- If you just want to see the most shared content for a given domain you can run a simple search on Buzzsumo using the domain; and there’s also the option to refine by topic. For example a search like [guardian.com big data] will return the most shared content on the Guardian related to big data. You can also run similar reports using ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool.
Both Buzzsumo and ahrefs are paid tools, but both offer free trials. If you need to explore the most shared content without using a paid tool, there are other alternatives. Check out Social Crawlytics which will crawl domains and return social share data, or alternatively, you can crawl a site (or section of a site) and then run the URLs through SharedCount‘s bulk upload feature.
Finding successful pieces of content by topic
When searching by topic, I find it best to begin with a broad search and then drill down into more specific areas. For example, if I had a client in the financial services space, I’d start out looking at a broad topic like “money” rather than shooting straight to topics like loans or credit cards.
As mentioned above, both Buzzsumo and ahrefs allow you to search for the most shared content by topic and both offer advanced search options.
There are also several sites I like to look at for inspiration. Whilst these sites don’t give you a great steer on whether or not a particular piece of content was actually successful, with a little digging you can quickly find the original source and pull link and social share data:
- Visually has a community area where users can upload creative content. You can search by topic to uncover examples.
- TrendHunter have a searchable archive of creative ideas, they feature products, creative campaigns, marketing campaigns, advertising and more. It’s best to keep your searches broad if you’re looking at this site.
- Check out Niice (a moodboard app) which also has a searchable archive of handpicked design inspiration.
- Searching Pinterest can allow you to unearth some interesting bits and pieces as can Google image searches and regular Google searches around particular topics.
- Reviewing relevant sections of discussion sites like Quora can provide insight into what people are asking about particular topics which may spark a creative idea.
Moving from data to insight
By this point you’ve (hopefully) got a long list of content examples. Whilst this is a great start, effectively what you’ve got here is just data, now you need to convert this to insight.
Remember, we’re trying to answer the questions: “What are websites publishing, and what are people sharing?”
Ordinarily as I go through the creative content research process, I start to see patterns or themes emerge. For example, across a variety of topics areas you’ll see that the most shared content tends to be news. Whilst this is good to know, it’s not necessarily something that’s going to be particularly actionable. You’ll need to dig a little deeper—what else (aside from news) is given coverage? Can you split those things into categories or themes?
This is tough to explain in the abstract, so let me give you an example. We’d identified a set of music sites (e.g. Rolling Stone, NME, CoS, Stereogum, Pitchfork) as target publishers for a client.
Here’s a summary of what I concluded following my research:
The most-shared content on these music publications is news: album launches, new singles, videos of performances etc. As such, if we can work a news hook into whatever we create, this could positively influence our chances of gaining coverage.
Aside from news, the content which gains traction tends to fall into one of the following categories:
- Proving or debunking myths: Smart people listen to Radiohead, dumb people listen to Beyonce & Mashup illustrates how country music sounds the same
- Creative stuff like this: Albums covers extended to reveal background action & Christopher Walken dancing – 50 films mashed up & 99 Red Balloons played only using red balloons
- Artist-centric stuff like this: Why Eminem is one of the most impressive lyricists ever
- Science! (Actually not science): Why we love the music we heard as teenagers & What the internet has done to your love of music
Earlier in this post I mentioned that it can be particularly tough to create content which attracts coverage and shares if clients feel strongly that they want to do something directly related to their product or service. The example I gave at the outset was a client who sold insurance and was really keen to create something about insurance. You’re now in a great position to win an argument with data, as thanks to your research you’ll be able to cite several pieces of insurance-related content which have struggled to gain traction. But it’s not all bad news as you’ll also be able to cite other topics which are relevant to the client’s target audience and stand a better chance of gaining coverage and shares.
Avoiding the pitfalls
There are potential pitfalls when it comes to creative content research in that it’s easy to leap to erroneous conclusions. Here’s some things to watch out for:
Make sure you’re identifying outliers…
When seeking out successful pieces of content you need to be certain that what you’re looking at is actually an outlier. For example, the average post on BuzzFeed gets over 30k social shares. As such, that post you found with just 10k shares is not an outlier. It’s done significantly worse than average. It’s therefore not the best post to be holding up as a fabulous example of what to create to get shares.
Don’t get distracted by formats…
Pay more attention to the idea than the format. For example, the folks at Mashable, kindly covered an infographic about Instagram which we created for a client. However, the takeaway here is not that Instagram infographics get coverage on Mashable. Mashable didn’t cover this because we created an infographic. They covered the piece because it told a story in a compelling and unusual way.
You probably shouldn’t create a listicle…
This point is related to the point above. In my experience, unless you’re a publisher with a huge, engaged social following, that listicle of yours is unlikely to gain traction. Listicles on huge publisher sites get shares, listicles on client sites typically don’t. This is doubly important if you’re also seeking coverage, as listicles on clients sites don’t typically get links or coverage on other sites.
How we use the research to inform our ideation process
At Distilled, we typically take a creative brief and complete creative content research and then move into the ideation process. A summary of the research is included within the creative brief, and this, along with a copy of the full creative content research is shared with the team.
The research acts as inspiration and direction and is particularly useful in terms of identifying potential topics to explore but doesn’t mean team members don’t still do further research of their own.
This process by no means acts as a silver bullet, but it definitely helps us come up with ideas.
Thanks for sticking with me to the end!
I’d love to hear more about your creative content research processes and any tips you have for finding inspirational content. Do let me know via the comments.
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Reblogged 4 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it
Posted by KelseyLibert
As the efficacy of outbound marketing continues to wane, more and more marketers are considering native advertising and content marketing as viable alternatives. According to our survey, 72% of clients have asked their content marketing agencies about native advertising.
While these two strategies have many similarities, one of their major differences is cost. Based on new exclusive research conducted by Fractl and Moz, these top-tier publishers require the following minimum spend to produce native advertising campaigns for brands:
The goal of our research was to take a data-driven approach to comparing the efficacy of native advertising versus content marketing. For the first part of our study, we created a 14-question survey for content marketing providers which explored everything from the cost of their services to the reach of their campaigns. Our friends at Relevance were kind enough to offer the raw data on their native advertising cost research as well, allowing us to focus on gathering additional cost data from the top-tier publishers we maintain relationships with. After we received the survey responses from over 30 different content marketing agencies and cost data from close to 600 digital publishers, we began our analysis.
I. Identifying marketing objectives and challenges in the digital age
Before we dive into our findings, it’s important to know the collective objectives and challenges of the inbound marketing age. Since Fractl and Moz spearheaded this study, we wanted to use an authoritative third-party source to support our research and set the stage for our discussion.
For that, we’ll refer to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2014–2015 Report. The four graphs below shed light on marketing’s key objectives, challenges, and wins.
1. The top 60% of marketing objectives focus on increasing leads, converting customers, and reaching relevant audiences.
2. The number one challenge marketers report is proving the ROI of their marketing activities.
3. SEO is the number one lead-generating source reported by inbound marketing professionals.
4. The companies with the highest ROI focus on blogging, organic search, and content amplification.
Right out of the gate we see that content, organic search, and content amplification are leading the way for marketers, priming content providers and promoters for exponential growth.
So how does content marketing compare to native advertising?
II. The landscape of content marketing and native advertising opportunities
The bullhorn of radio, television, print, and other one-way interruptive marketing approaches are quickly losing efficacy, allowing content marketing and native advertising to step in and solve the following problems:
- Banner blindness: The average click-through rate (CTR) of display ads is 0.1%.
- Eroding email engagement rates: Industry CTRs range from 1.5%–4.79%.
- Skipped pre-roll ads: 94% of people hit the skip button.
- Fragmented consumer attention: 77% of people watch TV while using another device.
- Inability to track outbound marketing ROI: Marketers can easily track content performance and conversion with inbound.
- High cost-per-lead for outbound marketing: Inbound leads are more cost-effective, with over 2x the marketers citing inbound (45%) as their primary source of leads versus outbound (22%) in 2014.
- Low brand engagement: While outbound marketing interrupts consumers, inbound marketing attracts and engages prospects in an organic way.
But what are the major differentiating factors between content marketing and native advertising?
Both content marketing and native advertising can be used to generate brand awareness and engagement. While top-tier publishers sell themselves on their large, built-in reach, sponsored content doesn’t guarantee engagement. Below, we created a Buzzsumo analysis of 38 BuzzFeed native advertising campaigns in comparison to 58 Fractl content marketing campaigns. The BuzzFeed campaigns were calculated using all of the posts on a “Brand Publisher’s” page (e.g. Kindle); while the Fractl campaigns were calculated using all of the campaigns executed for each of our client’s during 2014.
At Fractl, we’ve earned an average of 90 links and 10,000 social shares per campaign, across 140 different campaigns executed between 2013 and 2015. In comparison, with native advertising, you’re often just paying for the ability to publish content solely on the site you’re partnering with. Although BuzzFeed boasts monthly traffic numbers in the multi-millions, this doesn’t guarantee social engagement nor syndication of a campaign, as seen above.
Further into our research, you’ll see that that content marketing agencies are doing the additional legwork with influencer marketing to amplify their content, which creates a larger reach than most top-tier publishers offering native advertising.
Furthermore, content marketing results directly impact a client’s organic search positioning, whereas native advertising is limited by Google’s guidelines:
- Content Marketing: ROI can be tracked through increased organic rankings as a direct result of earning a diverse, high-quality link portfolio.
- Native Advertising: Reach is limited to the number of paid publisher partnerships, and “sponsored links” are not allowed to pass value.
Has the cost of native advertising been inflated as a means of recovering revenue, or is it truly worth the tens of thousands of dollars that top-tier publishers are charging?
Let’s dig further into the numbers to find out.
III. Cost analysis of the native advertising industry
Based on HubSpot’s report, 93% of companies with an annual marketing budget between $1 and $5 million are practicing inbound.
Estimates from BI Intelligence show that spending on native ads will reach $7.9 billion in 2015 and grow to $21 billion in 2018, rising from just $4.7 billion in 2013.
But can most businesses afford the exorbitant costs for native advertising on top-tier publishers? Is the ROI worth it? Using native advertising cost data gathered by Relevance and Fractl, we analyzed the cost of native advertising on general news publishers with a domain authority (DA) greater than 80 and a social following greater than 100,000 – highly sought after placements for most brands.
The average cost of launching a native advertising program with a top-tier news publisher was $54,014.29. The highest cost was $200,000.
When we expanded our analysis to include all publishers who have a DA greater than 80, we found the average cost of launching a native advertising program was $35,482.50*.
*Average value derived from original cost totals and not the averages displayed in the image above.
When we evaluate all publishers and blogs below a DA of 80, we see the less valuable publishers (lower reach) offer a significantly reduced cost. For sites with a DA less than 80, the highest cost was $20,000 and the lowest cost was $10.
As outlined above, native advertising cost is largely associated with authority and reach. However, since engagement isn’t a guarantee and the costs can be exorbitant for most brands, there’s a need for other options that leverage and amplify content.
IV. Analysis of the efficacy of content marketing
Through our exclusive survey of over 30 content marketing agencies, we discovered how the content marketing landscape compares to native advertising.
1. 70% of content marketing agencies offer monthly retainers.
The industry is largely dominated by retainer packages, which often include production on multiple campaigns, influencer marketing, and on-site/overall strategy consultation. As represented in this pie chart, the pay-per-word structure is quickly eroding, and more comprehensive inbound marketing strategies are taking its place.
2. Retainers tend to fall into four buckets: $1,000–$5,000, $5,000–$10,000, $10,000–$50,000, and $50,000–$100,000.
Of all of our questions, this answer had one of the most evenly balanced responses, which demonstrates that there is a content marketing package that almost every business can afford. Similar to the native advertising scale, content marketing costs largely relate to the scope of the projects being produced (e.g., press releases versus interactive graphics) and their reach (e.g., influencer marketing versus no outreach).
3. On average, 65% of agencies produce between 1 and 10 campaigns per month for each client.
With content marketing campaigns, success is largely determined by a portfolio of executions: it’s natural to have some campaigns flop for reasons outside of your control (i.e., poor publisher headlines, trending stories monopolize news, etc.), but over a portfolio of executions (i.e., three- to six-month retainers), most agencies can guarantee a base level of success.
4. Articles and infographics represent almost 60% of production, with case studies, interactive graphics, and videos accounting for close to 30% of production.
Based on our previous survey of 500 top-tier publishers, we found that articles and infographics were the most sought after content formats, so it’s good to see most agencies are producing what’s in-line with the publishers that will give them the largest reach.
5. Excluding outliers, the average content marketing campaign earns 27 links.
Across 38 native advertising campaigns produced by BuzzFeed, only eight backlinks were earned – an average of 0.18 backlinks per campaign. If you include the BuzzFeed article itself as a pickup (like we did in section II), you’ll get an average number of campaign pickups of 1.18.
6. The average for each agency’s “most successful campaign” is 422 links and the median is 150 links.
Again, we see a fairly even split with this response, likely relating back to the even split we saw with the monthly retainer.
7. Does agency cost correlate to performance?
Here, we see the sweet spot for success comes from agencies that are given the budget to produce larger-scope campaigns and invest in influencer marketing – those charging $5,000 to $50,000 per content marketing campaign or retainer.
8. 48% of clients measure content marketing success by the number of leads, high-quality links, and total social shares generated by each campaign.
Remember, marketing professionals listed two top objectives: increasing the number of leads and reaching the relevant audience. With content marketing, this translates directly into the number of leads generated from high-quality links/placements, and reaching the relevant audience translates into total social shares/engagement on a targeted campaign.
9. 39% use DA to evaluate the authority of a link.
While 39% of agencies use DA to evaluate the authority of a link, an almost equal number of agencies (35.7%) aren’t tracking link authority. This is interesting, considering high-quality links were reported as the number two metric for content marketing success; however, high-quality links only accounted for 14.3% of the total pie, so DA might only be tracked by the agencies that have the budget to produce campaigns that earn high-quality links.
V. The ROI of content marketing vs. native advertising
As we saw in Section I, proving ROI is a marketer’s biggest challenge. In fact, 20% of inbound marketers aren’t measuring ROI. However, those who are measuring ROI have been able to prove that inbound unlocks ROI and ROI unlocks budget.
So, how do you prove ROI? And which tactic is best for your brand?
As a starting point, we’ll refer to Neil Patel’s estimates for content marketing by the numbers:
Using these metrics, we came up with a beta content ROI calculator which determines campaign ROI by analyzing traffic, social shares, links, and major placements:
Now, let’s perform the same analysis for Intel’s most successful BuzzFeed native advertising campaign “15 Things We Did At School That Future Students Will Never Understand,” which earned 109,020 social shares and 1 backlink generated from BuzzFeed itself. Since there’s no way for us to determine traffic data as an outsider, we’ll assume this post made it to BuzzFeed’s “top posts this week section.” Out of the 20 top posts from this past week, the average view count was 989,332, which we’ll use as our guesstimate for their traffic number.
At the $100K level a brand gets 3 custom pieces of content from BuzzFeed, meaning this single campaign cost $33,333.33. When we put the max value for links and major placements, and Neil Patel’s highest estimated value for visitor and share, we find Intel’s campaign ROI was:
This puts the high-performing campaign ROI for BuzzFeed at 720.53% and Fractl at 2,942%.
Based on all of the above, we know that the average content marketing campaign can deliver the same if not better KPIs than most native advertising campaigns. While some companies have the budget to invest in both tactics, others have to focus on the tactics driving the highest ROI. So, which tactic is right for your brand?
Whether you go with content marketing or native advertising, you’ll always need to refine your processes to increase your content ROI. To do this, download our research bundle and leverage data-driven insights on content creation and pitching best practices.
In closing, we want to give a special thanks to Relevance for providing us with the raw native advertising cost data from over 500 publishers.
We’d also like to give a shout out to the 32 agencies that participated in our study and generously provided their sensitive data to produce our report.
What do you think about the value of native advertising versus content marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Reblogged 4 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it
Posted by NiftyMarketing
This is my Grandma.
She helped raised me and I love her dearly. That chunky baby with the Gerber cheeks is
me. The scarlet letter “A” means nothing… I hope.
This is a rolled up newspaper.
When I was growing up, I was the king of mischief and had a hard time following parental guidelines. To ensure the lessons she wanted me to learn “sunk in” my grandma would give me a soft whack with a rolled up newspaper and would say,
“Mike, you like to learn the hard way.”
She was right. I have
spent my life and career learning things the hard way.
Local content has been no different. I started out my career creating duplicate local doorway pages using “find and replace” with city names. After getting whacked by the figurative newspaper a few times, I decided there had to be a better way. To save others from the struggles I experienced, I hope that the hard lessons I have learned about local content strategy and marketing help to save you fearing a rolled newspaper the same way I do.
Lesson one: Local content doesn’t just mean the written word
Content is everything around you. It all tells a story. If you don’t have a plan for how that story is being told, then you might not like how it turns out. In the local world, even your brick and mortar building is a piece of content. It speaks about your brand, your values, your appreciation of customers and employees, and can be used to attract organic visitors if it is positioned well and provides a good user experience. If you just try to make the front of a building look good, but don’t back up the inside inch by inch with the same quality, people will literally say, “Hey man, this place sucks… let’s bounce.”
I had this experience proved to me recently while conducting an interview at
Nifty for our law division. Our office is a beautifully designed brick, mustache, animal on the wall, leg lamp in the center of the room, piece of work you would expect for a creative company.
Anywho, for our little town of Burley, Idaho it is a unique space, and helps to set apart our business in our community. But, the conference room has a fluorescent ballast light system that can buzz so loudly that you literally can’t carry on a proper conversation at times, and in the recent interviews I literally had to conduct them in the dark because it was so bad.
I’m cheap and slow to spend money, so I haven’t got it fixed yet. The problem is I have two more interviews this week and I am so embarrassed by the experience in that room, I am thinking of holding them offsite to ensure that we don’t product a bad content experience. What I need to do is just fix the light but I will end up spending weeks going back and forth with the landlord on whose responsibility it is.
Meanwhile, the content experience suffers. Like I said, I like to learn the hard way.
Start thinking about everything in the frame of content and you will find that you make better decisions and less costly mistakes.
Lesson two: Scalable does not mean fast and easy growth
In every sales conversation I have had about local content, the question of scalability comes up. Usually, people want two things:
- Extremely Fast Production
- Extremely Low Cost
While these two things would be great for every project, I have come to find that there are rare cases where quality can be achieved if you are optimizing for fast production and low cost. A better way to look at scale is as follows:
The rate of growth in revenue/traffic is greater than the cost of continued content creation.
A good local content strategy at scale will create a model that looks like this:
Lesson three: You need a continuous local content strategy
This is where the difference between local content marketing and content strategy kicks in. Creating a single piece of content that does well is fairly easy to achieve. Building a true scalable machine that continually puts out great local content and consistently tells your story is not. This is a graph I created outlining the process behind creating and maintaining a local content strategy:
This process is not a one-time thing. It is not a box to be checked off. It is a structure that should become the foundation of your marketing program and will need to be revisited, re-tweaked, and replicated over and over again.
1. Identify your local audience
Most of you reading this will already have a service or product and hopefully local customers. Do you have personas developed for attracting and retaining more of them? Here are some helpful tools available to give you an idea of how many people fit your personas in any given market.
Pretend for a minute that you live in the unique market of Utah and have a custom wedding dress line. You focus on selling modest wedding dresses. It is a definite niche product, but one that shows the idea of personas very well.
You have interviewed your customer base and found a few interests that your customer base share. Taking that information and putting it into Facebook insights will give you a plethora of data to help you build out your understanding of a local persona.
We are able to see from the interests of our customers there are roughly 6k-7k current engaged woman in Utah who have similar interests to our customer base.
The location tab gives us a break down of the specific cities and, understandably, Salt Lake City has the highest percentage with Provo (home of BYU) in second place. You can also see pages this group would like, activity levels on Facebook, and household income with spending habits. If you wanted to find more potential locations for future growth you can open up the search to a region or country.
From this data it’s apparent that Arizona would be a great expansion opportunity after Utah.
Neilson offers a free and extremely useful tool for local persona research called Zip Code Lookup that allows you to identify pre-determined personas in a given market.
Here is a look at my hometown and the personas they have developed are dead on.
Each persona can be expanded to learn more about the traits, income level, and areas across the country with other high concentrations of the same persona group.
You can also use the segment explorer to get a better idea of pre-determined persona lists and can work backwards to determine the locations with the highest density of a given persona.
The keyword tool is fantastic for local research. Using our same Facebook Insight data above we can match keyword search volume against the audience size to determine how active our persona is in product research and purchasing. In the case of engaged woman looking for dresses, it is a very active group with a potential of 20-30% actively searching online for a dress.
2. Create goals and rules
I think the most important idea for creating the goals and rules around your local content is the following from the must read book Content Strategy for the Web.
You also need to ensure that everyone who will be working on things even remotely related to content has access to style and brand guides and, ultimately, understands the core purpose for what, why, and how everything is happening.
3. Audit and analyze your current local content
The point of this step is to determine how the current content you have stacks up against the goals and rules you established, and determine the value of current pages on your site. With tools like Siteliner (for finding duplicate content) and ScreamingFrog (identifying page titles, word count, error codes and many other things) you can grab a lot of information very fast. Beyond that, there are a few tools that deserve a more in-depth look.
With BuzzSumo you can see social data and incoming links behind important pages on your site. This can you a good idea which locations or areas are getting more promotion than others and identify what some of the causes could be.
Buzzsumo also can give you access to competitors’ information where you might find some new ideas. In the following example you can see that one of Airbnb.com’s most shared pages was a motiongraphic of its impact on Berlin.
This is another great tool for scraping urls for large sites that can return about every type of measurement you could want. For sites with 1000s of pages, this tool could save hours of data gathering and can spit out a lovely formatted CSV document that will allow you to sort by things like word count, page authority, link numbers, social shares, or about anything else you could imagine.
4. Develop local content marketing tactics
This is how most of you look when marketing tactics are brought up.
Let me remind you of something with a picture.
Do not start with tactics. Do the other things first. It will ensure your marketing tactics fall in line with a much bigger organizational movement and process. With the warning out of the way, here are a few tactics that could work for you.
Local landing page content
Our initial concept of local landing pages has stood the test of time. If you are scared to even think about local pages with the upcoming doorway page update then please read this analysis and don’t be too afraid. Here are local landing pages that are done right.
Marriot’s Burley local page is great. They didn’t think about just ensuring they had 500 unique words. They have custom local imagery of the exterior/interior, detailed information about the area’s activities, and even their own review platform that showcases both positive and negative reviews with responses from local management.
If you can’t build your own platform handling reviews like that, might I recommend looking at Get Five Stars as a platform that could help you integrate reviews as part of your continuous content strategy.
I not so secretly have a big crush on Airbnb’s approach to local. These neighborhood guides started it. They only have roughly 21 guides thus far and handle one at a time with Seoul being the most recent addition. The idea is simple, they looked at extremely hot markets for them and built out guides not just for the city, but down to a specific neighborhood.
Here is a look at Hell’s Kitchen in New York by imagery. They hire a local photographer to shoot the area, then they take some of their current popular listing data and reviews and integrate them into the page. This idea would have never flown if they only cared about creating content that could be fast and easy for every market they serve.
Every decently sized city has had a plethora of infographics made about them. People spent the time curating information and coming up with the concept, but a majority just made the image and didn’t think about the crawlability or page title from an SEO standpoint.
Here is an example of an image search for Portland infographics.
Take an infographic and repurpose it into crawlable content with a new twist or timely additions. Usually infographics share their data sources in the footer so you can easily find similar, new, or more information and create some seriously compelling data based content. You can even link to or share the infographic as part of it if you would like.
Become an Upworthy of local content
No one I know does this better than Movoto. Read the link for their own spin on how they did it and then look at these examples and share numbers from their local content.
60k shares in Boise by appealing to that hometown knowledge.
65k shares in Salt Lake following the same formula.
It seems to work with video as well.
Think like a local directory
Directories understand where content should be housed. Not every local piece should be on the blog. Look at where Trip Advisor’s famous “Things to Do” page is listed. Right on the main city page.
Or look at how many timely, fresh, quality pieces of content Yelp is showcasing from their main city page.
The key point to understand is that local content isn’t just about being unique on a landing page. It is about BEING local and useful.
Ideas of things that are local:
- Sports teams
- Local celebrities or heroes
- Groups and events
- Local pride points
- Local pain points
Ideas of things that are useful:
- Favorite local sports
- Granular details only “locals” know
The other point to realize is that in looking at our definition of scale you don’t need to take shortcuts that un-localize the experience for users. Figure and test a location at a time until you have a winning formula and then move forward at a speed that ensures a quality local experience.
5. Create a content calendar
I am not going to get into telling you exactly how or what your content calendar needs to include. That will largely be based on the size and organization of your team and every situation might call for a unique approach. What I will do is explain how we do things at Nifty.
- We follow the steps above.
- We schedule the big projects and timelines first. These could be months out or weeks out.
- We determine the weekly deliverables, checkpoints, and publish times.
- We put all of the information as tasks assigned to individuals or teams in Asana.
The information then can be viewed by individual, team, groups of team, due dates, or any other way you would wish to sort. Repeatable tasks can be scheduled and we can run our entire operation visible to as many people as need access to the information through desktop or mobile devices. That is what works for us.
6. Launch and promote content
My personal favorite way to promote local content (other than the obvious ideas of sharing with your current followers or outreaching to local influencers) is to use Facebook ads to target the specific local personas you are trying to reach. Here is an example:
I just wrapped up playing Harold Hill in our communities production of The Music Man. When you live in a small town like Burley, Idaho you get the opportunity to play a lead role without having too much talent or a glee-based upbringing. You also get the opportunity to do all of the advertising, set design, and costuming yourself and sometime even get to pay for it.
For my advertising responsibilities, I decided to write a few blog posts and drive traffic to them. As any good Harold Hill would do, I used fear tactics.
I then created Facebook ads that had the following stats: Costs of $.06 per click, 12.7% click through rate, and naturally organic sharing that led to thousands of visits in a small Idaho farming community where people still think a phone book is the only way to find local businesses.
Then we did it again.
There was a protestor in Burley for over a year that parked a red pickup with signs saying things like, “I wud not trust Da Mayor” or “Don’t Bank wid Zions”. Basically, you weren’t working hard enough if you name didn’t get on the truck during the year.
Everyone knew that ol’ red pickup as it was parked on the corner of Main and Overland, which is one of the few stoplights in town. Then one day it was gone. We came up with the idea to bring the red truck back, put signs on it that said, “I wud Not Trust Pool Tables” and “Resist Sins n’ Corruption” and other things that were part of The Music Man and wrote another blog complete with pictures.
Then I created another Facebook Ad.
A little under $200 in ad spend resulted in thousands more visits to the site which promoted the play and sold tickets to a generation that might not have been very familiar with the show otherwise.
All of it was local targeting and there was no other way would could have driven that much traffic in a community like Burley without paying Facebook and trying to create click bait ads in hope the promotion led to an organic sharing.
7. Measure and report
This is another very personal step where everyone will have different needs. At Nifty we put together very custom weekly or monthly reports that cover all of the plan, execution, and relevant stats such as traffic to specific content or location, share data, revenue or lead data if available, analysis of what worked and what didn’t, and the plan for the following period.
There is no exact data that needs to be shared. Everyone will want something slightly different, which is why we moved away from automated reporting years ago (when we moved away from auto link building… hehe) and built our report around our clients even if it took added time.
I always said that the product of a SEO or content shop is the report. That is what people buy because it is likely that is all they will see or understand.
8. In conclusion, you must refine and repeat the process
From my point of view, this is by far the most important step and sums everything up nicely. This process model isn’t perfect. There will be things that are missed, things that need tweaked, and ways that you will be able to improve on your local content strategy and marketing all the time. The idea of the cycle is that it is never done. It never sleeps. It never quits. It never surrenders. You just keep perfecting the process until you reach the point that few locally-focused companies ever achieve… where your local content reaches and grows your target audience every time you click the publish button.
Reblogged 4 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it