June 12, 2013

Content marketing: The secret to getting discovered in search

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Or: Why organizations need to tell their stories

Target audience: Marketing professionals, brands, businesses, SEO specialists, social media strategists.

JD LasicaContent marketing — a term that would have drawn blank stares just a few years ago — is now becoming recognized as a principal way for any small business, mid-size company or large corporation to get its message out.

Done right, content marketing can help an organization tell its story, directly and without filters. And for brand marketers, content marketing has become a key component of today’s marketing toolkit. How better to get discovered in a Google search than to create highly relevant content relevant to that niche audience?

I was interviewed, along with marketer Greg Jordan, about content marketing for organizations at a new podcast from the Content Marketing Examiner moderated by publisher Martin van der Roest. And while some of the discussion centers on nonprofits, it’s applicable to any kind of organization or business.

Here’s our conversation:

Play

To get discovered online, you must create fresh content

Some highlights from the podcast:

• Don’t be put off by the term “content marketing.” The marketing landscape has evolved with the realization that all nonprofits and businesses are media entities now. If you have a business with an online presence, guess what? You’re a media publisher. For people to find you through search, you have to create content. The webinars I give for CharityHowTo cover search engine marketing in part and explain why keywords are critical to your nonprofit or business.

• Content comes in many forms, from blog posts and Facebook updates to Pinterest pins and Twitter tweets (I’ve never liked the term “micro-blogging” so won’t use it here).

Before you begin, start with identifying your business goals

• Don’t get hung up on crafting perfect content. Don’t get frozen by writer’s block. As my colleague John Haydon likes to say, Done beats perfect.

• Greg Jordan made an important point: Before you begin, start with identifying your business goals. Write them down, make them something that’s attainable, realistic and worth achieving. And measure them, little by little.

• I suggested trying to find individuals who represent your brand. Ask if they’d be willing to share their stories. Have someone inside your organization, or a contractor, come in and capture those stories on video, on audio or in text. By bringing your story down to the individual level, you make it universal.

• Greg reminded us that it’s not just about creating your own content. It’s about sharing others’ content and updates.

What would you add about storytelling or content marketing for businesses?
JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

  • jdlasica

    I just heard my partner David Spark @dspark give a talk at our Social Media Breakfast, and he repeated his preference for the term “brand journalism” over “content marketing,” making the distinction that the former is about storytelling and the latter suggests a bit of sleight of hand. Interesting distinction.

  • znmeb

    “What would you add about storytelling or content marketing for businesses?”
    1. Unless you’re a huge business, your focus probably needs to be on “conventional” sales rather than “inbound marketing” or SEO or content marketing or brand journalism, etc. Unless your sales process – prospecting, qualifying, objection handling, closing, lost sale analysis and post-sale support – is solid, the complicated and labor-intensive stuff most likely is a waste of time.
    2. It’s getting harder and harder every day to distinguish “content marketing” from spam. People instinctively know when they’re not qualified prospects for your product or service and will unsubscribe when they’ve learned everything they can from you without buying anything.