Content marketing is at the top of the list for many marketing teams these days. Content creation is only half the battle. The content must then also be proactively marketed. In this three-part series, we explain the basics of content marketing, also known as seeding, and introduce you to the most important channels for successful implementation.
The first part today is about the right channel mix and the basic distinction between “Owned”, “Earned” and “Paid” media. It also deals in detail with the channels on which we market the content. First, we introduce you to the social media and SEO channels. In the second part of the series, we then present the channel’s website, PPC campaigns, email marketing, and blogs.
Choose the right channels for Content Marketing and SEO
Not every marketing channel is suitable for every campaign. Depending on your industry, audience, objective, and other factors, some channels are more appropriate than others. The mix in the marketing of the content must be consistent and carefully selected. Which channels should you use to distribute content?
Basically, the channels can first be differentiated between online and offline channels. If you carry out content marketing across both areas, this is referred to as a multi-channel strategy.
In the context of content or inbound marketing, the channels are often differentiated according to “Owned”, “Earned” and “Paid” media. The distinctions made here are very useful and applicable in practice.
“Owned Media” are the channels that we can control completely (e.g. own website) or mostly (e.g. Facebook account). “Earned media” refers to positive publicity that has been “earned” through good content, not advertising. “Paid media” refers to the measures for which companies pay money to media, platforms, or third parties in order to benefit from their reach.
A typical procedure at the beginning
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for choosing the right channels. But you can sketch a rough timetable, which you can use to orientate yourself at the beginning.
In this typical procedure, you first start with your own channels, i.e. your own social media accounts, the website, the company blog, and the newsletter. Then you try to get friends from your own network, bloggers, journalists, or well-known influencers to promote our content through their channels.
An effective tool, even if you have no direct contact with them, is to write to online magazines or blogs with a wide reach. Many publications publish contributions by guest authors. If the content is high-quality, relevant to the readership, doesn’t contain promotional messages, and hasn’t been published elsewhere, these sites are happy to include an article in their editorial calendars.
Depending on the platform, you can use the author bio to publish information about yourself and your product before, next to, or below the article. Some publications also allow you to place links to your own site in the text, provided they are not too promotional.
In this way, the portals get good content for free. In turn, the content marketer can present himself to a new audience, demonstrate his expertise, and, ideally, direct visitors to his own website. A classic win-win situation.
Ultimately, the option to run paid campaigns remains. While display or banner advertising hardly achieves good campaign results today. There are new formats in the Pay Per Click (PPC) area that, if used correctly, achieve a gratifyingly high ROI.
New advertising products on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn bring movement to the rather antiquated digital advertising market. They also offer content marketers new ways to promote their content.
Paid media usually brings quick visibility and reach. If the budget allows, PPC campaigns are an ideal addition to the channel mix. Ultimately, it is always about choosing the channels that support the previously defined goals in the best possible way. The relationship between revenue (e.g. in the form of contacts, engagement, or leads) and costs (e.g. for adaptation or dissemination) is a key factor here.
Social media play a central role in the marketing process. The posts get traction faster in the social media environment, you can build your own reach more cost-effectively than on other channels.
In addition, you can actually build connections to other social media users via social media – this is where a possible bridge to “earned media” is often made, i.e. the promotion of our content by third parties.
The content for social media must be specially adapted for this channel but can be derived from a blog post, for example. Depending on the channel, you should also include third-party content that has added value for your own followers. Otherwise, blog posts, white papers, infographics, and others can be played out well via social media. The link would then usually lead directly to a dedicated landing page with a content offer, lead form, and a call-to-action (CTA).
Social media also makes sense in the medium term because you get feedback through direct communication with customers, prospects, and employees, which in turn can be useful for creating content. Which channel is best suited for which content cannot be said in general terms? This must be specified individually in the channel strategy. In the B2B environment, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are certainly the most relevant. But YouTube also offers an excellent opportunity to position your own company.
With over 1.19 billion registered users, Facebook is certainly the most important platform for companies, especially in the B2B sector. The latest feature, Instant Articles, could lead to a further improvement in the relationship between Facebook and content creators. While there are some things you can do with the unpaid basics, the trend for commercial brands is towards a “pay-to-play” approach that requires a certain budget. If campaigns are executed correctly (right target group, keywords, etc.), you can achieve a lot with your marketing budget on Facebook today.
In particular, the corporate goals of brand awareness and interaction with potential readers can be implemented well on Facebook. Highly qualified lead generation is much more difficult – so Facebook tends to fill the upper part of the sales funnel.
Companies with business-relevant content meet their target group in the right place. While users are still increasingly opening Facebook when they want to do something private, users on LinkedIn are in business mode. This leads to faster customer relationship building and decision-making. Your own sales team can also use LinkedIn to identify potential advertisers. But this also includes picking them up in the decision-making process and using them directly to build up your own sales pipeline.
Another advantage for companies lies in the fact that users on LinkedIn want to increase their professional image and diligently share relevant and useful knowledge (ideally knowledge from publications from their own publisher!).
Finally, LinkedIn’s paid advertising products offer lower engagement than Facebook. However, the leads are usually much more qualified because you can target advertising to a specific industry or to specific job titles.
When it comes to B2-B vs. B2C, Twitter is somewhere between LinkedIn and Facebook. With a higher number of touch points (posts) and both your own and selected content, Twitter offers the possibility of striving for different marketing goals at the same time. This includes thought leadership in your own industry, engagement, and conversion, customer service, or lead generation.
The high volume and real-time nature of Twitter make the platform an ideal starting point for customer relationships and an effective tool for driving traffic to your inbound content.
No matter which of the three platforms makes the most sense for your own products, it can generally be said that in practice it often makes more sense to concentrate on one or two and use them properly than to only half dance at all weddings. As already mentioned, the decisive question is what the primary corporate goals are.
SEO-side website optimization is one of the most important measures to be successful in content marketing. Many websites still have some catching up to do here.
On-page SEO is about the implementation of relevant keywords on the page. This applies to all texts, but also to page titles, headings, or Metadata.
Off-Page SEO, on the other hand, aims to analyze the “authority” of the website as a whole. This refers, for example, to how many other pages link to your own page. The more “backlinks” generated, the higher the ranking in the search engine.
Both concepts, on-page, and off-page SEO belong to the classic inventory of search engine optimization. However, the content and the exact implementation have changed over the last few years. Modern SEO optimizes for the searchers and not for the search engines.