Originally I wrote this information for clients who may be overwhelmed by digital technologies, content marketing, SEO and internet communications. I wanted to take a bare bones approach to the basics of content marketing so they might feel less intimidated.
I realized there are plenty of other people who would find this useful—
- Whether you’ve have spent 20 years in the marketing/PR field and are pushing against the need to get up to speed with social, or
- You’re a youngster on Facebook and thinking there’s more you can do with social than get popular
- You’ve got a new business idea and you want to learn how to market it online
- You’re a business owner who hired a content marketing person and you don’t want to appear uninformed
- You need to hire a content marketing expert but need to know what you’re looking for
…the list goes on.
Before giving up on yourself, remember: you once learned to read by starting with the alphabet. Then you combined letters to make sounds, and then you learned to read strings of words. The process was pretty amazing. You can learn anything. Becoming familiar with the language of content marketing is a good starting point. If you read these definitions and do a little more research on each of them, you’ll reach a level of understanding and competency you never thought possible. Here’s a list of terms you can start with:
Content: Any communication you are making available to your audience. This can be text, video, photos, and infographics. Today, content often refers to what you communicate through your website, blog, and social platforms. But remember that a strategic communications plan will communicate the same message in different ways, and across all avenues of communication.
One message will have varying formats depending on the platform you are using. In other words, your message, “I make the best widgets and you should buy them from me,” will look very different on a You Tube video vs. a tweet, vs. a print article—but the underlying intent of your message is still, “I make the best widgets and you should buy them from me”.
Going a step further–selling your widgets via social platforms will require you to spend time listening to what your connections are talking about and offering helpful information to them—certainly when they need a really fine widget, but also when your widget is not their best choice. Here, being honest and pointing them to someone else’s more appropriate widget will earn their respect.
Original content: Obviously this is your own content; it originates with you and comes from your knowledge base.
Curated content: Other people’s posts, whether text or graphic, that you are sharing and giving due credit for.
Note: Original and curated content are both useful for a successful marketing campaign. You’ll need to determine the best percentage of each for your particular goals.
Social: Communicating across online platforms such as You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest etc. What’s unique and somewhat frustrating to old-schoolers is that social platforms REQUIRE two-way conversation that offers useful information to your connections. It’s not the one-way messaging that used to be called marketing. It’s got to be real, thoughtful, helpful and interactive. It’s work to learn and it takes time to carry through. Take some time to consider what your goals are and how much time, effort and money you really need to sink into this.
Search: How you make your website visible to people searching for information on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Keywords: The words people will use on search engines to find your services/products. You need to determine your own set of keywords and use them strategically and honestly in all of your content.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization. This is truly a moving target, because of the constantly changing algorithms Google and other search engines are now using. Today you can’t fool search engines by inserting your keywords like machine gun bullets all over your web pages. (This was done in the past.) Now, you need to use keywords in your content in a way that makes sense. Hiring an SEO genius is definitely worth your dollars, because this is something not everyone has time to fully understand and implement.
SEM: Search Engine Marketing. This can include SEO as well as pay-per-click, ad words, web analytics and any other tool that helps you market your business over the internet.
Stay tuned for our next blog, where we’ll continue defining useful marketing terms in Part 2 of Content 2013….