There’s so much noise on the internet. It can be deafening, yet at the same time, say very little indeed.
Search for a recent news story on Google and you’ll find article after article on the subject. Most articles will either regurgitate the story, rewrite it in its own style, copy and paste from a press release, or other.
Which is the site’s prerogative, of course! If they feel posting an article on a specific topic will be beneficial to its audience and it gets them the right traffic then fantastic.
An email I received last week from Ashton Haywood at Software Advice though pointed out to me that the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) says that 81 percent of B2B content marketers write articles to reach their audience.
And I think that’s where a lot of the noise is coming from.
Content for the sake of it?
Ashton’s statistics, which were written up by his colleague Derek Singleton, came from the CMI’s B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America survey.
You’ll see that it says last year 91 per cent of B2B marketers said they used content marketing.
Only 9 per cent said their efforts were very effective. 33 per cent said the medium was effective.
There’s still a long way to go, the medium is still relatively new as an addition to SEO (which STILL isn’t dead, by the way).
But I feel that so many marketers are misunderstanding the intention of content marketing and just producing articles for the sake of it, because they’ve seen or heard that Google likes ‘fresh content’.
Advice: you can have the best writers in the world on your content team, but they won’t be able to do anything of note if they’re restricted to a boring strategy that stifles their creativity.
How do you handle your articles? Do you incorporate them into your marketing mix, and if so, how? Let me know in the comments below.
Data and primary research
Whether it’s a small business with a new website or a large brand with plenty of footfall, data is everywhere.
But it’s how you use it and combine it with primary research investment that matters when it comes to search success.
I touched upon this at the start of the month when I underlined how guest blogging will need a smattering of data and PR to be useful and build organic links.
But I want to expand on that point a bit more because I often hear from people how hard it can be for them to get creative – especially when most of their time revolves around running a business.
There isn’t just one way of being creative. I believe that everyone can be creative, especially when it comes to data.
Clever thinking with primary research
The example I used in my guest blogging post revolved around how MoneySuperMarket had compiled some of its captured data into an interesting, relevant story that they could market to the press.
It’s tempting to say that online marketers should think like a journalist, especially by questioning everything with a who, what, where, when, and why mentality.
But that’s quite a narrow term, and quite a lot of people don’t like journalists! So a better way of putting it is to be creative and clever with your data.
You shouldn’t define creativity with the arts, though. People can be creative with anything – their time, their money, their work…
But how to be creative with your data? Simple. Primary research. Strip it down and ask questions of it.
Do you analyse your data when producing content? What’s your strategy for creating the perfect article? Let me know below!
Back to the MoneySuperMarket example. They’ve got thousands of customers, you might say, with access to huge amounts of data so of course they’re going to have stories popping up in The Daily Mail.
Nonsense. It’s the team looked at the data, spotted an angle, created a story and distributed it that led to attention from news sites, blogs, social media, and created lots of lovely healthy links.
That whole process is a creative one that anyone can do. So, how do you do it with your data?
1: Simplify and categorise
Selling stock through your website? Set dates throughout the year (monthly, quarterly, etc) and filter the information down into digestible and easy-to-read statistics. Did a certain piece of clothing sell more than the rest of your stock over a certain time period? Is a certain DVD more popular than others?
2: Ask questions and research
Having that kind of data at your disposal is essential to producing creative content. Ask questions of it with the five W’s – Why is that piece of clothing selling so well? What factors have made the DVD so popular? Who’s worn that piece of jewellery in the media lately? Social trends like the latter are perfect for creating shareable content.
3: Notice social trends
But having a celebrity-heavy content strategy can be extremely boring at times. Incorporate your solid social media strategy and search for those products. Research. Does a certain age group like the most popular product that’s flying from your virtual shelves? Has one of the films you’re selling achieved cult status online?
4: Create and share
The deeper you dig the more content you can potentially create. Never forget, there’s always an angle to find, especially when creating articles. Those people you were searching for to recognise social trends? Share it with them. Share it with relevant industry influencers. Share it and follow it up with more creative content in the future.
If you’d like to learn more about how a creative content strategy can amplify your site’s reach and help you engage with your audience contact the Webpresence team today!