With the SEO world shuddering over the recent Google Update Penguin 2.0 many link builders now fear for their livelihood. Among Penguin 2.0’s targets are websites that appear to be partaking in questionably link building practices. The Google algorithm update will spend the summer slithering through the web identifying unnatural backlinks and stripping participating websites of their Page Rank.
The act of purchasing links on directories (especially ones not related to the industry of client website), trading links, buying online advertorials, and even guest posting anchor text heavy articles on submission sites will get you gonged off the stage. So what is a hapless website to do?
My advice? Create link bait. In essence, link bait refers to content that is interesting and engaging enough that it will be shared by others online (thus linking back to the original source – your website) without embarking on an extensive outward link building campaign. The backlinks to a website that come from offering link bait are natural links – the kind of backlinks that Google LOVES and rewards websites for achieving.
Allow me to vent for a second. It’s been two weeks since the passing of New Year’s Day and in the last 14 days I have read every imaginable article on 2013 trends in internet marketing and social media. Today I clicked open yet another from a very reputable author on the matter and saw “Content Marketing” once again being referred to as a trend. The exact quote was “Content Marketing is being touted as the next big thing.” Color me irritated.
Someone in your office will have to wear this hat as you prepare your Content Marketing strategy for 2013
Brand Journalism is the solution to your content creation woes in 2013. Brand journalism gained momentum last year as the content consumption habits of an online public lost the taste for advertorials attempting to take the place of real stories about a product, service, or industry. Brands scrambled to find ways to publish content about their brand without resorting to traditional paid online ads – something that was, and is, losing its effectiveness in engaging consumers. A few savvy businesses with an arsenal of content creators started resorting to, God forbid, actual journalism. McDonald’s, who’s CMO Larry Light coined the phrase, has seen great success over the last few years by adopting this philosophy.
Brand journalism, while related to a business, is still rooted in story. To be effective it must communicate timely, factual and transparent consumer driven information about your brand through a variety of media channels all the while telling a story in an engaging manner and encouraging feedback from the “reader”. If journalism reports on the world as a whole, brand journalism makes your business the world and with that you can better understand how to proceed with creating content for this new concept.
It may seem to Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) that brand journalism only applies to big corporations that have both the means and expansive day to day operations to embark upon such a content driven campaign but in fact any mom & pop shop with an online presence can benefit from the philosophy. SMBs can even draw upon more personal experiences for brand stories which may otherwise be frowned upon for big business.
Since brand journalism borrows from traditional journalism, I thought I’d break down a few typical newspaper/broadcast segments that will help you identify where the story is for your business on any given day. They won’t all be headlines but each one will appeal to your customers in some manner and will ultimately serve to build a persona for your brand better than any pay-per-click campaign. All you need to get started is a website, blog, social network, and someone to create the content.
5 Examples of Where to Find Stories for Your Website’s Brand Journalism Strategy:
Businesses also need to do their own homework when it comes to content marketing
I had the same conversation with more than a few clients recently. Some of them had inquired about outsourcing content (blogs, press releases, social media postings, etc…) from foreign countries. Some of them already were. While there are many gray areas and debatable topics in the industry of content marketing, the response to this one topic is clear – outsourcing overseas (or the like) content is a bad idea.
I’m not even going to dive into the socio-economic considerations by painting exaggerated pictures of rows of carpal tunnel afflicted elderly in the Philippines plucking away endlessly on MacBook Pros instead of Singer sewing machines. This article touches only upon the immediate – your website, your internet marketing strategy, your business.
Why businesses should put a lid on outsourcing content marketing overseas and find local solutions:
Content is the driving force behind Google’s continuous wave of algorithm changes and ultimately the success (or failure) of your business’ website. This content must be useful (for consumers), original (in your own words), optimized (for Google), and updated often.
Those managing a business’ website operations (onsite and on social networks) by now are aware of this fact. However, mistakes are frequently made by those that are attempting to deliver useful, original, optimized, and updated content that ultimately end up backfiring. Regardless if you, as the manager of a company website, are creating this content or are seeking the services of content provider, you need to be sure that the work adheres to the best practices.
In an effort to ensure that you “check yourself” when creating content or avoid securing the services of Google maligned “content farms” I’m providing you with 7 Ways to Identify Cheap Content: