It is well accepted in the SEO community & wider circles that Google is getting better at one of their core objectives, that of discerning quality content for their visitors. Their updates, Panda and Penguin have specifically targeted low quality content. The merits of good quality content do not need highlighting.
At a recent Econsultancy round table the question was posed to all participants “What are the biggest challenges facing your organisation with regard to content marketing”?
The answers ranged from “What is good sharable content”, “What can we possibly say that’s interesting to our audience” (an insurance company), “How do we get our audience to trust our content” (Cosmetics) and most commonly the frustration was raised that the budgets & resources were simply not available to create quality content, (building a business case to support the investment). Also raised was the question on how to structure the management of this process.
Everyone wants killer content but many expect it to appear magically. Content marketing is resource intensive. A very strong parallel was drawn to traditional publishing and editorial management structures. Actual publishers have strict editorial standards to adhere to, structures, systems and processes governing content creation. Without looking to these traditional publishers the task is often daunting and as a result crippling.
Content marketing is not just about producing the content, but also about then owning the content throughout its life. After publication the content needs to be monitored, its shelf life needs to be extended, repackaged and further developed. Most importantly, who is in charge of the content once it has been delivered?
What has become very apparent is the crucial need to have a plan! To have a solid content marketing strategy that has the buy-in of all the stake holders. A couple of core elements make up this plan:
• Define the purpose of the content. Who are the audience and what are their needs? Listen to your customers, don’t simply splurge out information.
• What does the content look like? There are many tried and trusted formats, from buyers guides, top tips, case studies, Q&A’s How-To’s, checklists, technology briefings, webinars & video’s to name the most common.
• Identify the experts – they may not be good writers so make it easy for them. Give them questions to think about and do all the editing, formatting and design for them.
• Who is in charge? Who controls the quality?
• Test, measure and refine. The content has a life cycle, which is not over once published. The content needs to be owned and measured going forwards and this step is often neglected. Take a long hard look at what worked and what didn’t (SEO, traffic, comments, enquiries, acquisitions, shares, etc.) and think about how to do it better next time.
To sum up, where content was king, quality content is the new ruler, and without proper planning and strategy, you may not secure sufficient resource and will struggle to produce the required results.