Branded Content vs Content Brand
The distinction between creating content and being a content creator seems like a semantic one, but it?s not at all.
Just creating content puts you right in line with the scores of other digital marketing teams. Everyone?s finally seen where the field is headed and realized that the only way to see traction with digital marketing is to build it around content.
Marketers who make content aren?t doing bad job per se, but in my experience they?re missing a big piece of the puzzle. They?re missing purpose.
Brands just building content for the sake of building content are only writing, tweeting and sharing to be seen and heard. This might achieve visibility, but people can read the lack of heart from a mile away, and they?re not very likely to care about whatever it is you?re really trying to get them to do.
On the other hand, really strong brands that are content creators by extension of their mission, goals and purpose tend to not only achieve great visibility, but that exposure is much more likely to inspire action.
Create content with purpose as a natural extension of your brand and you?ll go far. If you simply ?do content? you?ll just be another face in the crowd.
Your favourite content generation/marketing tools
There are a lot of tools I use on a daily basis when it comes to creating and spreading my content.
-Google News search has a feature (underneath search tools) that allows you to look for blogs writing about a given topic. This is a great way to tap into the zeitgeist of your field.
?Google Keyword Planner allows me to see exactly how much traffic is being directed towards a given keyword. This will guide my writing towards popular search terms.
-Spritz is a little piece of code to aid in ?speed reading.? It displays text in rapid succession in a small window, thereby forcing you to read at a certain pace. The tool is a bit scary at first, but really works. I read a lot before writing (10 words, for each word I write), so being able to read quickly is key.
-WordPress is hands down my favorite content management and blogging software. It?s user-friendly, SEO-friendly, and also doesn?t have many bells and whistles that distract me from writing. It auto-saves, allows others to collaborate as well as write under their own byline and supports countless plug-ins. WordPress is awesome!
-Google+ although there has been much angst about this platform?s future, two things are clear? it?s sticking around for the immediate future and it has high SEO value. Whenever I write a post, I create a complimentary summary in G+
-Pinterest to complement my Google+ summary I create a ?pin it for later? option linking to an optimized pin. These two work in tandem to provide long-term visibility on search.
-Twitter especially for certain fields, Twitter is still king when it comes to drumming up visibility, interest and credibility with your content. I make sure my tweet is short and includes a CTA + an image.
-LinkedIn has quickly grown into a robust and mature blogging platform. I always share my original article on LinkedIn, then a week or so later I will republish the content in full to LinkedIn pulse to give it a second wave of life. This has worked very well thus far.
#1 Social media channel for content marketing
In my eyes Facebook is the absolute elephant in the room for a few reasons.
First, they?re absolutely crushing it with their mobile strategy. They?ve not only created apps that people use en masse, but they?ve also cracked the code of monetizing them effectively. This makes them a key player.
Secondly (and most importantly), they?ve figured out mobile-optimized content and have not even fully implemented their findings yet.
Facebook video has proved a hit overall, but has seriously edged out the competition on mobile. YouTube should be worried, because mobile is where their next decade of growth lies and Facebook has been eating their lunch.
Facebook?s Instant Articles is another ace up their sleeve. They realize that people care much more about the content rather than where it?s coming from and Facebook plans on delivering this content effectively by keeping you in their ecosystem. When this feature rolls out, I expect it to take off in a big way.
Long detailed vs short snackable content
This is, in my eyes, not a conflict at all. The preference for different kinds of content has much more to do with your purpose, industry, audience and goals than it has to do with the internet as a whole.
It?s become trendy to claim that either ?the internet is ruining our ability to read,? or that ?the internet is making us all super-researchers.? These two claims cancel each other out, and are both misleading.
Certain people use the internet as a diversion, whereas others log on seeking immersion. Both are valid and both desires exist.
For brands the hard part is deciding which types of content (and in what proportion) match the overall profile of your audience.
The future of the Content-SEO pair
SEO used to be the science of understanding Google?s robots and trying to trick them into thinking your page was cooler than it actually was.
Now, Google?s algorithms have gotten so sophisticated that they?re almost impossible to trick. So no more link farms, keyword stuffing or other Grey/Black-hat SEO. Those days are over.
What companies need to do today is align their interest with those of search engines and what search engines want is to direct people towards the most relevant, highest quality content.
This means that now SEO and content marketing are essentially one-in-the-same. Sure there are certain strategic moves you can make to bolster your content in the eyes of search engines, but each successive algorithm upgrade will filter out these techniques and just seek out quality.
Good SEO is already good content marketing, because creating quality relevant content is the only way to align your interest with those of the Google bots.