In today’s day and age, it is paramount that a band have a content strategy or is at least planning to have one and align it with their SEO strategy. Content strategy can be in the form of videos, audio, books, blogs, websites, gamification etc.
Customers are continuously scouring the internet for information about brands. what are they searching for? It could be information, reviews, products & services etc. Whatever it is that they are searching for under a broader scope it falls under content. Why has having a content strategy become so important for brands these days? I will illustrate by using an example from Dell.
Dell had serious issues with its customer service. Customers started giving negative feedback online and it spread like wildfire. So how did Dell deal with this? They listened to what their customers were saying about their brand online. They understood that there has to be a better way to connect with their customers by turning into a customer-centric brand.
Now, look at where they are. They have their forums where users help other customers with issues related to Dell laptops. Dell only had to facilitate a platform for this. It was an ingenious idea and it also led to user-generated content. I define User-generated content as information generated by users of a product or service which is available to other end users.
We can see how powerful content is when it comes to brands. Content generation has become so important these days that brands are investing in generating content that they can own. Customers love brand stories and also follow brands online because they love their products and services and also because they have interesting brand stories.
Brands can engage customers in many ways. It depends on their content strategy. One type of content strategy I would like to talk about it is Gamification.
Gamification: A points or reward system is put in place for a game designed by the brand. They have leadership boards that show the progress of each participant in the game.
Here is an example for Gamification. Mercedes-Benz Tweet Race, which happened a while back. There were leadership boards where participants could check how they fare against others and people started following and supporting them. Here is the link to that video. Do watch it.
- Another example is the food aggregator Zomato. They reward users with points when they give feedback. Each user gets assigned a level based on their points. The higher your level the more trustworthy you are.
Let us look at How Search Engine Optimization Fits In Here.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” organic,” or “earned” results. Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization
Your content no matter how good, has to have certain features to rank high on search engines. Two prominent features which most industry experts would agree with are
- It should be very relevant
- It shouldn’t be a duplicate.
Interesting fact: the average attention span of humans has come down to less than 9’s. If your content doesn’t appeal to the audience in the first 9s then it is going to be pretty darn hard to grab their attention as time passes.
- There are two ways of getting yourself to the top spot on a search engine. The first being organic growth and the other paid growth. So you can have good original content online along with user-generated content to get displayed at the top or you can pay for it and be put on top for a certain amount of time.
- A well maintained and regularly updated blog will bring traffic to the website. That is not the only criteria, it should be followed up with good content and a content strategy.
To make things a bit easier I have divided the visitors into two broad categories.
- The ones that visit your website because they like what you have to say and who have the patience to read through than most.
- The other type that comes via referrals.
- If you can capture that kind of information, i.e., the reason as to why they visit and the source of their visit to your website, then I would say that you are moving in the right direction.
How to drive traffic?
- Know your audience, find out where they are active, what are their likes and wants, why should they visit your website or blog.
- Build a schedule for the next three months at least.
- Try to get constant feedback from your followers.
- Develop ways to engage with them.
Now you have to figure out what Social media channels are relevant to your brand. Blogs, podcasting, networking sites etc.
Then optimize your website. Make it easy to use, navigate without putting in too much info. Keep it plain and simple and make sure that visitors don’t get lost or confused. Do not use heavy customizations on your website. It takes time to load.
It will take a lot of patience, energy and time to get the strategy to work for you. Especially linking your content strategy to SEO. This is why Content Strategy and SEO are a match made in heaven. One completes the other.
Some of my personal favourite quotes in the field of content marketing are
- Good content marketing makes a person stop, read, think, and behave differently.”― Joe Pulizzi,
- Content is the reason search began in the first place. ~Lee Odden