October 31, 2012

How to use content communities to expand your brand’s reach

Use targeted content to take your business to the next level

This is the first of a two-part series. Coming next:
• Build links to your site with video content

Guest post by Julianne Staino
Distilled

“Content is king!” Ah, the wonderfully overused statement that makes me want to throw my monitor at the wall and then hang my head in shame because it’s actually true. I feel like I can safely assume that we can all agree on the increasing importance of awesome content. Recently, it seems like everyone is championing for companies to evolve the way in which they approach creating content. (e.g. Coca-Cola’s 2020 content strategy. If you haven’t watched these videos, I’d highly recommend investing 20 minutes in order to see how big brands are changing the way they think about a cohesive marketing strategy.)

Besides the obvious SEO benefits to having original content, engaging material also helps your customers remember your brand. So having things people find interesting on your site makes it more likely for them to come back.

What if you don’t have a huge fan base to rely on or a marketing budget that has a lot of zeroes?

However, what if you’re not Coke and don’t have a huge fan or customer base to rely on along with a marketing budget that has a lot of zeroes? All this amazing content you’re producing is falling on deaf ears. Of course you’ll most likely push the content through all the various social channels to hopefully gain some traction, but again this will mainly reach people that already know about your brand.

So how do you create excellent pieces of content that attracts a new audience and spreads your brand reach?

Well, if you are a company that doesn’t have time or resources to invest heavily into outreach, you can create content for specific content niche communities. Typically, before I begin working on a creative piece or kick off linkbuilding or produce any form of content for a client, I think:

“Who would want to read/watch/listen to this” and “What 5 sites would link to this?”

By doing this, I’m ensuring that I have a clear understanding of why I’m producing this content. So, by creating content specifically for certain communities, you are targeting a new audience that has an interest in a specific form.

Below I will outline some content communities where you should be targeting to either create content for or place pre-existing awe-inspiring content!

Why I chose these communities

I did not try and form a comprehensive list for each specific niche. I did, however, choose platforms where you can upload your own unique content. By doing this, I tried to cut down on some outreach time while still allowing you to gain brand exposure.

Video

Video content is like the new sliced bread. Where were we before it? Video content is becoming increasingly more important through blended searches and allows brands to break up walls of text. However, when I refer to video content, I’m not referring to basic Q&A video content or testimonials. I’m suggesting you create non-promotional video content that is aesthetically creative (gasp!). The key to video communities (and why most fail) is that they’re too self-serving and brand boosting. Resist the urge!

Who does it well: The Desperados Experience

Vimeo

Dailymotion

YouTube 

I couldn’t talk about video communities without including YouTube! If you have any type of videos, make sure you create a brand channel and upload all of your videos.

Data visualization

Although infographics are great when you have a story to tell, I’ll be focusing on data visualization. If you have market/customer data at your disposal, turn it into something! Whether it’s static, animated or interactive, you should put all that research to good use and get it in front of a data-loving audience.

Who does it well: Uber

Visual.ly

Visualizing.org

Images

Big, high-res images are all the rage and I have to say, I’m a fan! I’ve been seeing ecommerce sites and blogs transitioning from regular thumbnail images to huge images taking up some prime above-the fold real-estate. If you‘re looking to get people talking, linking, and sharing your images, invest in some photography.

Who does it well: Fab

Pinterest 

Tumblr

Long-form

What happened to the good old days when you’d sit down with the paper and read a multi-page piece? Although those instances are becoming few and far between, the resurgence of long-form content is on the rise. People may like getting to the point quickly, but if a story warrants a deep dive don’t be afraid to go there and go all in.

Who does it well: The New Yorker 

Longreads 

Longform

Find a specific audience for your content, outside of your site

By looking to target different audiences for a certain type of content, you are actively pushing your brands exposure and not resting on what you already have. In order to gain new customers you have to be thinking about new opportunities and how you can penetrate different markets. To do this, creating content specific materials is key.

Create content that provides value for that content community

Once you identify a new market, you have to create something of value. If your material offers little value to your new community, you’ll be burning your new-found bridge. Produce something people will actually care about.

Have fun with it!

Not everything should (or needs to be) a sales pitch. Make sure your content falls in line with the tone & feel of previously posted content. If your content sticks out like a sore thumb, you most likely won’t get any traction. Although you might get the urge, or internal pressure, to plaster your company’s name everywhere – don’t. Branding too much will appear as if you’re trying to get something out it (which is not well-received).

Don’t half a** it

If your content stinks and you put it out to a community who is passionate for long-form, they’ll call you out, and you don’t want that sort of attention. Like everything your produce, you should be confident and proud of what you’re putting out. If you’re not, go back and try harder.

Don’t rest on your brand’s laurels

Push your content outside of your company’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and don’t rely on them to do all the work. If you want to grow your audience and your brand, then move outside of what you normally do. Your brand is only as strong as you make it.

Julianne Staino is an SEO consultant at Distilled in New York. You can find her on Twitter at @JulianneStaino. This article originally appeared at SEOmozSEOmoz is not affil­i­ated with Socialmedia.biz. SEO­moz pro­vides the Web’s best SEO tools and resources.