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Like a soothing, catchy rhythm that holds your attention, it was quite easy to lend an ear to the wealth of insights presented at this year’s virtual MozCon 2020.
Throughout the two-day virtual marketing conference, it was inspiring to hear the collaboration and mix of thoughts, strategies, and conclusions from fellow thought leaders in the digital marketing space. As a team, we were able to take away an abundance of information, but what stood out to us most were the sessions about content marketing.
Image Source: Dr. Pete Meyers, Behind the Scenes at MozCon Virtual
Content Creation & Content Optimization
If you have any knowledge of SEO or digital marketing, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase , “content is king.” While there are many different aspects of SEO that are factored into Google’s ranking algorithm, the quality of a website’s content is most certainly prioritized.
At MozCon Virtual, Ross Simmonds, CEO and Founder of Foundation Marketing, proposed a new way for digital strategists to process and approach content. He said content should not be viewed as a status of royalty we use to compete against other marketers to gain achievement but rather as the foundation of our culture, both as a user and as an internal marketing organization.
“Content is, without question, the foundation of our culture.”
Ross Simmonds, CEO/Founder of Foundation Marketing
Because there is so much content that now exists - good content, for that matter - having the mindset of “content is king” is no longer enough. Creating and optimizing content for search engines used to be the competitive advantage. Today, it is the baseline - the minimum standard of content marketing. As search engines and online platforms have become saturated with excessive amounts of content in recent years, the discussion that content marketing needs to appeal to the user as much as, if not more than, the search engine itself, is not new.
However, Simmonds’ notion of viewing content marketing as a unifying part of our culture, rather than a directive to connect with users, was not only astute, but inspiring. Viewing content as a contribution to societal development rather than a numbered position on the SERP allows ways to see past what we quantify as digital marketing, and see into the realm of what our digital world really is today - a cultural experience.
“This is a mistake that a lot of SEOs and marketers make. We rely so heavily on our tools that we no longer are able to think outside of them.”
Ross Simmonds, CEO/Founder of Foundation Marketing
This is not to say that you should throw out all your SEO techniques, tips, and tools. As aforementioned, the skill set you already have is valuable in that it is your foundation. But when it comes to creating content that serves the continuous development of our culture, you have to do more.
Here are 4 ways you can create new or optimize existing content in an impactful way:
Remixing content is the process of taking an existing idea or asset and recreating it into a new piece of content. One of the most successful organizations at remixing content is Disney. Not only do they remix content from other entities, but they then re-remix their own remixes. For instance, the storyline of Disney’s The Lion King is essentially a remix of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. They took a successful play created centuries earlier and used (remixed) that content to produce a movie featuring characters and situations that appealed to their audience. Disney then takes it a step further and remixes their remixed movie into even more pieces of content. They produced The Lion King children’s books, CD soundtracks, toys, a Broadway musical and the list goes on. All this to say, successful content doesn’t always have to be 100 percent original, but it has to be inspired.
Revising content is what many refer to as “repurposing.” It is the process of taking an existing piece of content that has already shown success or potential and updating the information with more relevant knowledge and recent trends and adding a current date/timestamp. This form of content creation is simple in that it utilizes an asset’s existing equity and reintroduces it into our culture. Referring back to the example of The Lion King’s remixes, the newest 2019 The Lion King featuring CGI is just The Lion King revised.
Not every piece of content will stick. Even after revising or remixing, sometimes, for a variety of reasons, certain assets won’t gain the traffic, backlinks, or brand awareness you were looking and hoping for. An important part of being a content creator is also knowing when it’s time to say goodbye to content that is slowing your content engine down rather than speeding it up.
On the flip side, maybe you have a piece of content that isn’t getting a ton of traffic, but scored lots of great backlinks for your website. You don’t want to remove this page entirely and lose backlinks that are difficult to earn in and of itself, however you want to put more SEO juice into pages that are performing well in terms of traffic to try to boost their rankings. This is a perfect example of when redirecting a piece of content to another relevant page makes the most sense in terms of optimizing your content portfolio.
Creating content is easy, but getting people to see your content is another story...or should we say blog?
According to WordPress, users produce 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments each month. That means every single day, there are around 2 million newly introduced blog posts. That breaks down to an estimated 83,000 blogs an hour or around 1,380 blogs a minute. Here is the additional kicker: these numbers are solely based on WordPress and doesn’t include all of the many other content management systems out there along with YouTube videos, Podcasts and social posts. So in 4 years, you’re competing against 47% more content, every single day!
“We analyzed 912 million blog posts and found that 94% of blog posts get zero links and only 2.2% get more then one link. ”
Brian Dean, Founder of Backlinko, Co-Founder of Exploding Topics
Even if you know how to write, and the content is great, once you publish your finalized piece of content, you are hoping people will see and and share your content.
Chances are quite low in the clutter of new content constantly being posted that someone will come across what you published. If you don’t execute and dedicate time towards content marketing, you're already lost before you can be found.
We need to shift our thought process from what is routinely put into practice and that’s spending 90% of your time writing content and 10% promoting the content.
Here are some content distribution rules to abide by:
Publish new content every 6-8 weeks. This timeline makes the task more realistic.
Update Existing Content
Update historic content that already exists on your site with new and relevant information.
Research your competitors' best content that targets your niche. Look at their pages and content with the most referring domains and uncover what makes people want to link to it. This helps you learn what worked for them and how to create your own piece based on their success.
Spend more time on content promotion
You should spend about 90% of your content marketing time on content distribution and only 10% on content creation.
Content marketing is perhaps one of the most competitive, and therefore rewarding, aspects of digital marketing and SEO. Unlike performing site audits or adding schema, there is less guidance available on what the structure of successful content marketing should look like. These new techniques gave our team a new level of inspiration on content marketing, from creation to distribution, and how to harness the significant effect it can have on an entire marketing strategy.