I had the pleasure of meeting Lee Odden and his awesome right-hand lady, Ashley Zeckman, at a marketing conference here in San Diego. Lee has a reputation that precedes him, and for good reason. From search, social to PR and optimization, Lee knows how to breakdown valuable and actionable information whether he is speaking to a crowd of hundreds or taking pen to paper in his book. Enjoy this post from Lee on content marketing, think: “sharable.”
And for more insights be sure to follow him on Twitter @leeodden.
Is Your Content Findable, Engaging & Shareable?
“KISS” is probably the best advice when it comes to giving advice (Keep It Simple Stupid) and for that reason this post is short and sweet on the topic of how to ensure your great content attracts, engages and converts.
Whether your goals are narrowly focused on revenue or more strategic involving branding and community as well as growing the business, the scalability of effective content is essential in today’s competitive marketplace.
No matter how much you invest in content marketing strategy, planning, production, amplification or analytics, there are three key requirements that each content object should satisfy. Great content isn’t great until it’s discovered, consumed and shared.
Findability – A lot of our work involves content development and the way many organizations are structured, content discovery isn’t a driver, but more of an afterthought.
Effective content marketing is about creating information that’s useful for specific audiences and with certain outcomes in mind. While intent and context are often satisfied, the question of findability is usually underestimated. In particular, I’m talking about optimizing for search or social discovery. There are also promotion channels such as email, cross linking from existing content, 3rd party editorial links, news release distribution, social promotions, pay per click advertising and social media advertising.
What good is the great content you’re creating if no one can find it? By ensuring findability through optimization and promotion, the reach and amplification for content can be extended dramatically and for a very long period of time. If you set goals for social and organic search traffic for the content being produced, those involved might become as thoughtful about content optimization as they are about content quality. This isn’t either or, expect both.
Engaging– Competition is tough and as more brands employ content publishing in their mix, it’s important that the content being produced considers engagement. How? Relevance, context and experience are good starters.
Is your content object relevant for the audience that will discover it? Is the information useful? Does it provide utility? Is it thought provoking? Does the information help satisfy the reader’s goals and at the same time, help bring them closer along in the buyer journey?
The notion of engagement can be very subjective so be sure to identify goals for engagement whether it’s a combination of page views, comments and social shares or traffic and conversions. Monitor interactions with content to discern trends so you can optimize future content object performance.
Sharability – A lot of optimization for search and social media performance is about making it easy for buyers to do what you want them to do. Adding social share widgets is part of that. Writing compelling titles that work for short character counts in social sharing situations like Twitter is also a best practice. Content quality and relevance come in to play for sharing as well.
Are you creating content that’s so good, people will want to share it with others? Have you made it easy for them to share? Sharing for sharing’s sake isn’t going to solve any business problems, so make sure you know: Does the act of sharing help fulfill your objectives for the content?
There’s a lot of great brand content and story out there that isn’t getting the exposure that it could, simply because content producers are not tasked or accountable to one or more of these three simple requirements: Findability, Engagement and Shareability. Ensuring these characteristics are present for each content object through a process is a sure way to scale content marketing effectiveness whether your goals are social, PR, customer service or marketing focused.