The Black Hole of Content!

The internet has become a massive black hole of content.

Sadly, huge investments are being made in content that is just not being consumed. Beautifully created content is getting lost in cyberspace—dropped off on the side of the road in the most remote areas of the information superhighway, with no one around for light years. If you are developing content without a plan to promote it, this is exactly what you are doing: dumping your content into a black hole. Here are some tips to help shine a light on your content and avoid feeding the black hole with your wasted time, energy, and money.

Start by developing great content, then promote it.

 That means content that provides value and a unique perspective for your audience. Subpar content will disappear quickly into the black hole even if you promote it. But, having great content can get you only so far. After developing your content, you must take necessary steps to both gain some love from the search engines and to get it in front of the right people by promoting it across multiple channels. With over 88% of B2B marketers in North America cranking out new content as part of their marketing programs (Source: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs), it is essential to have a strong game plan to get your content seen, and avoid getting lost in the informational abyss.

Here are 10 keys to keep your content from getting lost in space:

1. Wave to the Bots! Give yourself a shot with the search engine bots. Conduct keyword research to understand what your audience is searching for related to your topic. Make sure your page is visible and attractive to Googlebot and the other search engine crawlers by setting up on-page SEO with the appropriate title tags, headings, meta descriptions, and image alt attributes for your content. While there are a lot of factors that play into effective, modern SEO, it is still important to have a solid foundation of basic metadata for your content to help you get discovered online and keep the bots happy, so to speak.

2. Sell it in the SERPs. Create compelling, creative, and inviting page titles and meta descriptions to maximize your click-through rate on the search engine results page (SERPs). This is the copy that will show up for the user on the SERPs when the user is trying to decide which search result to click on. Think of the meta description as the ad copy for your page. Describe your page in a way that sells the content to the “customer”—which, in this case, is the search engine user that is looking for information related to your content topic.

3. Don’t be afraid to repeat your tweet. If you are posting a link to your content via Twitter you will want to schedule multiple tweets to promote your content since all of your followers will not be online at the same time. You can vary these posts with a different focus featuring a key quote, statistic, or question addressed in the content. Use the following posting schedule for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook as a general rule of thumb.

  • LinkedIn:
    • Same day as post
  • Twitter:
    • On publish – Share Title/Topic, Link
    • Same day as post – Provide an interesting quote or stat related to the blog
    • Day after post – Pose a key, teasing question that is answered in the article
    • Week after post
    • Month after post
  • Facebook:
    • On publish
    • Month after Post

4. Pay to play. Unfortunately, the social media landscape is quickly becoming a pay-to-play venue. As algorithms continue to evolve it is increasingly difficult to get a lot of eyeballs on your info without paying to promote a post (even if you have a large following). Invest in boosted posts in a way that will get people to your content AND will also increase your future ORGANIC POWER. In other words, use boosted posts on Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter to drive people to your content but also with a goal of increasing the followers and email subscribers. This is a marathon, not a sprint, but with consistent contributions you can continue to build a following and leverage their individual networks to expand your organic reach.

5. Images = Everything. To increase the “shareability” of your content, be sure to include engaging visual elements. Use quality custom images both in the content pieces as well as the social media posts promoting that content. There is a lot of visual noise in social media feeds, so consider what type of images will stand out and catch the eye of your audience.

6. Use network multipliers. Utilize networks of key team members in your organization as appropriate to expand your reach by sharing your content via social media, especially if your company presence on social media is young and immature. Encourage your team members to like and share your content only if part of their network would fall into your target audience. Also use hashtags (only a couple) in social posts that will help mark the content by relevant topic or event to expand your audience reach beyond your existing followers.

7. Go serial. Leverage the power of “To Be Continued” and create episodic, multi-part content to get return visits. Combine these parts and pieces to build powerful long-form content that will promote referral links from 3rd party sites.

8. Click-to-Tweet. Make your share-worthy content easier to share. Include appropriate/relevant social share buttons on your blog post page, and make it easy for those who want to share tasty bites of content, like a key quote or statistic from your article with in-context click-to-tweet buttons. You can find a number of “Click-to-Tweet” plug-ins available to make this easy to setup.

9. Keep your troops in the loop. Make sure you keep your loyal email subscribers up-to-date with your latest content. This is a group that raised their hand to say they are interested in what you have to say, so don’t leave them hanging. This may seem obvious, but it can get overlooked.

10. Captivate your captive audience. In addition to your email audience, keep your current website audience engaged by cross-linking between related content on your site. Feature new content with links on your home page, and provide cross-links to new content from related blogs, product pages, and service pages. Make this new content easy to discover for your website visitors. Connecting the content dots across your site will help get more views and shares on the new stuff, as well as provide an SEO boost with increased engagement on your site overall.

If you create beautiful, valuable content, give it a chance to survive out in cyberspace.

Strap some jet packs on those blog posts, infographics, and videos to make sure you get that valuable content in front of the audiences that need it, and avoid the black hole.

If you have any questions about how best to strap jet packs to your content, please give us a shout. We keep rocket fuel in the office.

Google Gives Primacy to Expertly Written Content

Though the all-knowing algorithm remains under lock and key, Google’s Search Quality Guidelines were released less than 6 months ago. A cursory reading of these guidelines shows that Google now gives primacy to content written with higher levels of expertise. In short, the internet’s most powerful force is now behind skillful, authoritative writing that helps people more easily find the information they want. This is especially true in sensitive areas like medicine, finance, and healthcare, where the stakes for misinformation are higher.

More Expert Content

This is great news for us as internet users because we’re exposed to better and better content from more qualified sources. But no dynamic change is without resistance. Content farms—known for paying writers measly sums to generate loads of chiefly insufferable material—were undermined greatly by this change. It was also met with ire by flimsy organizations like Anti-Vaccine Movement, The Flat Earth Society, and Ken Ham’s Creation Museum, all of which claimed their voices were being stifled. Yet overall, Google’s new guidelines make for a better web experience with more respected voices now separated from the masses of chaff.

Lousy Content Brings Lousy Results

These changes confirm what Red Letter Marketing has stood for all along: valuable content that makes a difference for target audiences. There is still a plethora of false prophets in this territory, ready to sell you cheap and easy solutions to content marketing. Some have even recommended hiring a college student on the cheap to churn out blogs to keep your website content fresh. But the fact is, this won’t work, and is even less viable now than when it actually had some—albeit slight—impact.

The New Standard

Though more vital in fields like finance and healthcare, no industry is exempt from Google’s new E-A-T standard. This is the acronym for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. If you’re looking for information on air movement, Google is more likely to drive you to reputable sources like Dyson, Boeing, or Big Ass Fans. Though each of these companies operate in distinct industries, they have expertise in the realm of air flow.

Offering Valuable Content, Interestingly

What’s the lesson in all of this? Chiefly, you need to have an expert writer to produce your content, especially if content marketing is a main artery in your business development strategy. But industry expertise alone won’t cut it. You need to present that information in a way that inspires engagement. Hierarchy of information, scanability, and relevance all become significant elements in the presentation of content. You need to keep a reader interested, even excited about the content. Valuable information that’s poorly presented will drive visitors away faster than a toupee in a hurricane. It’s vital to keep your readers… well—reading. They want to leave the page feeling that you’ve provided something useful and accessible. If you’ve succeeded, they’ll remember, and are more likely to come back. If not, they may end up at a competitor’s site.

As marketers, we take content quality seriously. To do anything less is to disrespect readers, and consequently, customers. Because Google is now reviewing websites using the E-A-T standard, your site ranking is affected by the quality of your content. If you’re wondering how to create effective content marketing that gets the attention of both Google and customers, let’s talk.

RLM Fast Forward: Social Media Edition

Welcome to the first installment of the RLM Fast Forward – our look at the latest trending topics and articles in the world of marketing that we think are worthy of forwarding to our colleagues and clients.  This edition will focus on the fast-changing world of social media as we highlight 5 recent articles that caught our eye.

  1. A map for the minefield. Common Small Business Social Media Mistakes to AvoidFor small business owners, social media is a playing field that can result in a lot of wasted time and energy if not approached in the right manner.  This article provides great advice addressing some of the most common missteps and how to avoid them as you begin your waltz through the social media minefield.  One of my top picks on the list – Mistake #9, Failing to Establish Social Media Metrics – you must ensure that you have a plan to evaluate your effectiveness.Read more here:
    10 Social Media Mistakes That Small Business Owners Make
  2. Does size really matter? Quality vs Quantity of Followers on Social MediaThis short but insightful podcast ponders the question of quantity versus quality when it comes to your following on social channels. The focus is now shifting from accumulating larger and larger numbers of followers to cultivating a truly engaged and passionate audience that will help amplify your content. The podcast also discusses what does (and does not) make for a potentially valuable, influential follower.Listen to the podcast here (Runtime: 3 minutes 33 secs):
    How Do You Measure Passion? Figuring The Value Of Social Media Followers
  3. Let’s get visual. Tools for Creating Quick Visuals for Social MediaAdding relevant custom images to your social posts can greatly boost engagement.  Content with images get 94% more views than content without images (Source:  jeffbullas.com).  So having the right resources to quickly and effectively develop visual content is critical to social media success. This article is titled 20 Killer Blogging Tools for Customizing Your Content but it is every bit as useful for social media content as it is for blogging. The piece offers a nice list of tools for quickly developing custom images to use in social media posts.  Tools, such as Canva, a free, easy-to-use graphics tool that offers templates specific to several types of social media posts and profile page images.There are some great tools here, however, do proceed with caution. There is potential to do more harm than good if the quality of your graphics is low.  Don’t just unleash any member of your team with this easy-to-use arsenal of graphic weapons or you may suffer injury from some friendly fire.  In other words, these tools can make it very easy for design-illiterate team members to design something that does not reflect well on your brand.  These tools should not be considered a replacement for graphic design expertise but rather a tool to better support your graphically-inclined team members.

    See the full list of tools here:
    20 Killer Blogging Tools for Customizing Your Content

  4. Tweet first, ask questions later (strike that, reverse it). Creating a Social Media PlanOne of the biggest issues that we see with clients dabbling in social media is that there is no method to the madness.  Sporadic communications with no clear target or objective won’t get you very far on social.  Before jumping in, take an extra second to aim.  It is important to first define who you are talking to, where they are hanging out (what social channels), what message you want to convey, and what action you want your audience to take. This article will help make sure you are asking all the right questions as you formulate your plan to infiltrate the social airwaves.Check out the full article here:
    6 Steps to Create a Bare Bones and Profitable Social Media Plan
  5. Numbers speak louder than words. The Statistical State of Social Media. If you are trying to drum up some support from decision makers to invest in social media or just trying to make some informed decisions for yourself, you may need to call for a little statistical back-up to help make your case.  The impressive stack of stats provided here can help build a better understanding of the current size and opportunity available across the social channels.This article covers a wide span of statistical information related to the current state of social media – for example, 70% of the US population now holds at least one social networking profile!  Social statistics are provided in a variety of areas, including:
    • Current and projected social media usage in the US and worldwide
    • Demographics of social media users
    • Social media metrics and measurement
    • Social media advertising
    • Social media use by large enterprises

    Get more great social stats here:
    47 Superb Social Media Marketing Stats and Facts

Thinking about ramping up your social efforts? Learn more about our social media services or contact us with any questions you may have about how best to tackle social media for your business.