Content marketers: Tricks get you only so far
This is the second of a three-part series. Also see:
• Part one: With social media, you need to do more than forage
• Part three: Hunting the big game of long-term clients
Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, social media strategists, businesses.
Ibelieve that all social media marketing campaigns should probably start with foraging (as I discussed Monday) — but as you grow, you need to evolve, especially if you need to bring home more and more food. Social media trappers have figured out how to use hashtags as well as how to generate compelling content with the express purpose of sharing content that is somewhere else, content that doesn’t live on a social network but, rather, lives on a branded website, corporate site, blog, or microsite.
All roads lead to branded content that both highlights capabilities, products, services, case studies, and the mad talent therein via explicit linkbacks, allowing social media trappers to lure their followers and people in their professional or social media space to not only be discovered but to also link away from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and even Tumblr back to where the source content lives.
Most trappers these days call themselves “content marketers” and what they do is “content marketing.”
And, if they’re doing their jobs well enough, their goal is to both set their own traps but also to make these traps “contagious” enough that this content is shared, retweeted, reshared, liked, and favorited — essentially like a floor entirely festooned with mousetraps to the point where setting off just one would have the effect of setting them all off.
While most social media trappers, aka content marketers, write content that is meaningful to them personally, professionally, or in relation to their work experience, many tend to surf trends.
They’ll figure out what they want to catch in their trap and then create content — also known as bait — that is most compelling to that audience. The vertical’s catnip, if you will. While this can surely be an authentic pursuit where you use your continued knowledge and understanding of your clientele to create better and better traps — the elusive better mousetrap — this sort of trend-surfing can also be “abused” by ginning up the appeal based on what’s going on in the news, on reddit, on Buzzfeed, or what’s trending on Twitter or Google at the time.
The most successful trappers who are really better at attracting and driving traffic than they are at building long-term trust relationships tend to be the best social media hijackers. They do things such as mis-tagging their social content via mis-categorization or by using hashtags or keywords that are much more popular and timely than they are accurate.
Even though the old reliable “keyword stuffing” from the nascent days of SEO are pretty much deceased, the strategy is still popular with social media trappers.
Even more, the content-creation for content marketing can trend-surf as well.
Following timely trends helps, but it’s not nearly enough
Since blogs began, there has been an entire economy of bloggers who work to create content as quickly as possible in response to breaking news — this is just the natural extension of it. It required fast-and-dirty writing and the willingness to get something out there first and maybe do some editing after.
It always benefits a social media trapper if they can secure a place on Google News, the trendiest of all news aggregators on the Web.
At the end of the day, however, content marketing is not good enough on its own and neither is trend surfing. Ultimately, all of these things are just more and more elaborate and compelling lures — it’s all baiting the trap.
Maybe a catch-and-release cage trap — non-lethal (but you need that meat!). Maybe a glue trap, then. Well, you obviously don’t want to literally trap your prospects, do you? But what is the figurative marketing trap? The email list, of course, a Feedburner RSS subscription, or maybe signing up for a free whitepaper, a sign-up form, or even just a contact form.
Otherwise, everything’s ephemeral. More like signing up for a safari in Africa and bringing your Nikon in lieu of digging elephant-sized holes and covering them up or — better — bringing a .470 Nitro Express elephant gun; however, that’ll take us to hunting and this is about trapping.
One of the downsides of trapping is that most game is too smart for traps; another issue is that traps are mostly good for small- to medium-size varmints; you’ll also only just get what you get. Finally, the trap doesn’t always hold or you might not be able to rush around making sure all your traps are freshly-baited and attended to — it really is a full-time job.