How to Scale Content Marketing

by Jason Acidre on August 6, 2013 · 34 comments · Content, Search


Content marketing has grown its importance over the past couple of years in the online marketing realm. And one of the most evident factors of why brands and online marketers have started to embrace this marketing practice is the constant changes (algorithm updates) occurring in the search space.

This branch of marketing has proven its efficiency, especially in demonstrating thought-leadership and the approach’s ability to improve a business’ lead generation process.

I’ve revisited Dr. Pete Meyers’ mind blowing MozCon 2013 presentation about the future of ranking a few days ago. And I’ve come to realize that almost all of the factors (that he has mentioned on the last part of his presentation) – which a brand needs to succeed online are achievable when implementing a scalable content marketing campaign:

dr pete's factors

So below are few tips on how you can scale your content marketing efforts.

Create things that are hard to do

Creating content that’s really hard to replicate is definitely one of the best ways to standout as an authority/expert in your industry. Many of the successful content publishers on the web have taken this route – and perhaps the best sample of this is BuzzFeed’s content strategy.

Some of the core elements of a hard to implement/replicate content are:

  • Comprehensive
  • Data-driven
  • Visually appealing
  • Added functions (interactive content, tools, etc…)
  • Contain solid and unique ideas and insights based on experience or internal case studies.

Invest on continuous creation of evergreen content assets – that are useful, actionable and frequently searched by your target audience. It’s the best way to semi-automate your brand’s marketing and lead generation process.

Optimize content assets for search

It’s undeniable that search is still the most effective medium to constantly attract new traffic and potential customers to a website.

Make it easier for people to find the information you provide by helping search engines better understand your content (check out my comprehensive guide to content optimization).

Improve both owned and earned media

Strengthening both owned and earned media is very vital in content marketing. These channels simply allow publishers to scale the “marketing” in content marketing.

tumblr_inline_mn62nihTLW1qz4rgp

Continuously grow your brand’s readership and following by making it easy and simple for people to subscribe to your email list and feed, as well as to follow you on social networks. You can do this by making this calls-to-action very visible on your site’s high-traffic pages (or placing these CTAs highly visible areas).

You can also check these other comprehensive guides on how to effectively grow your email lists and social follower base:

Tie in these goals with your content efforts. As along the process of building a strong following on both medium (social and email) will eventually help you semi-automate your content promotion.

Scaling Content Discovery

There are many other ways to ensure that your content assets are getting found by people who’re really seeking for them, such as:

  • Build internal links to them or promote through your site’s newer content or pages on your site that’s constantly receiving traffic.
  • Acquiring links/visibility from topically relevant pages/discussions that are getting constant traffic (pages ranking for relevant search terms).
  • Building solid content distribution channels – such as regular columns on other industry publications, guest blogs that will be able to generate constant traffic, and repurposed content on UGC sites such as Slideshare or YouTube.
  • Establishing your brand as an authority on community sites (like Inbound.org, industry forums, subreddits, etc…).

The main point is to get more visibility for your content assets from pages that have higher potentials of ranking better on search results.

Relationships

Everyone knows in this industry how impactful relationships are, specifically with the role it plays in marketing and customer acquisition.

Connect and engage with other influencers and content publishers in your online space, as well as with your own readers.

Having industry peers that will really voluntarily share your piece every time you publish a new content is one of the best ways to amplify the reach of your brand.

Pro tip: In engaging industry influencers, instead of doing an interview of them at the start of your campaign, why not just get insights from them and include them on your posts (along with your own takeaways and ideas).  That way, they’ll be more interested to share the content and connect with you further.

Every content asset is a landing page

A content is far more stronger if it has its own goals. Like landing pages, it’s important for your content assets to become helpful in achieving your business’ short and long-term goals.

Every content that you publish and promote should aim for people visiting it to take actions (subscribing to your newsletter, sharing or following you on social networks, etc…).

Use conversion-oriented approaches to make certain that your content assets will drive results, such as:

  • Optimizing your content’s CTAs.
  • Internally linking to other useful content of the site, to make visitors stay longer.
  • Encouraging discussions/interactions.

Author’s personal branding

Invest on building a strong author portfolio and brand. Having well-recognize authors on board make everything else very easy, may it be in terms of doing outreach, attracting ton of links/brand mentions, and acquiring customers.

Here are few tips on how to build a strong personal brand for authors/bloggers:

  • Get interview opportunities (find bloggers who do interviews and pitch your brand’s authors).
  • Collaborate with other known authors in your field to create shareable content.
  • Implement authorship markups on all of the author’s works (on and off the site).
  • Apply to become a columnist or a regular contributor on popular industry blogs.
  • Establish trust and expertise through interactions (ex: social networking, forum and comment marketing).

The more you set yourself as a credible author in your industry, the more natural mentions you can get to your site’s content.

Serve better content display for mobile devices

Mobile search is growing very fast, and it will never stop. It’s best to analyze how much traffic you’re getting from mobile devices.

mobile search

If it’s a substantial portion of your total traffic, then you might want to start using responsive web design or launching a mobile version/app of your site to improve site usage and user-engagement.

Optimize or create content for local search (if appropriate)

Given that search results are getting more location-based (particularly in mobile), optimizing some of your content to target geo-specific audience can perhaps be a good addition to your content strategy.

Mathew Hunt recently wrote a great piece on doing on-page optimization for local SEO, which I highly recommend for you guys to check out. That post also included a visual sample of an optimized local page:

perfectly-optimized-local-page

Turn successful evergreen blog posts into pages

Pages have higher ranking power than blog posts. Google’s Freshness filters are somehow favoring newer content on search results (on many verticals). Making a lot of older, but evergreen, blog posts become less visible on SERPs.

So if you have evergreen blog posts that have managed to attract good amount of natural links and social shares in the past, then moving them to a page might be a viable approach to sustain and increase its search rankings.

Develop a solid content team and process

People and process are the two main factors that can genuinely scale content marketing.

workflow

Kyra Kuik of Distilled wrote an amazing piece on creating and maintaining a structured content team. The post also includes tips on how to develop a solid process that a team can work around to have scalable content campaigns.

I highly suggest reading that post.

Identify what’s working and do more of them

Content helps brands shape their identities (or the way people perceive the brand – brand perception).

Identify niches, topic areas and/or content formats in which you are getting traction with. Focus on these areas by doing more of them – seeing as you’re achieving better results from them.

In gauging the types of content that have high consumption from your audience:

  • Identify those that have high engagement rate (high % of new traffic, low bounce rates, and have high time spent on page).
  • Have good amount of social shares.
  • Content assets that are generating conversions.

The more you know the topic areas that are helping you achieve your goals, the more you can establish your brand as a thought-leader in those spaces.

Bonus: Scaling Creative Content Marketing

Lee Odden’s slide deck from SES last March on scaling creative content marketing was gold. You might want to check this one out.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

John Gibb August 6, 2013 at 1:57 pm

hi Jason

you’ve killed with this one here… and you’ve shared a slideshare bonus at the bottom of your article, it’s amazing!

thank you!

P.S. I’d have to wade through the many links and tips before I get to ask any questions, so please bear with me… I will more than probably get back with some q’s…

Reply

Tariehk Geter August 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Hey Jason, great post on content marketing. I just wrote a blog post about the best 50 content marketing tools at:

http://www.osiaffiliate.com/blog/2013/08/05/the-best-tools-to-enhance-your-content-marketing/

I think using tools is especially important for small businesses because it can even the playing field with big businesses because having the right content marketing tools gives small businesses some of the same functionality that big business is using and what is great is today, there are a lot of saas products, so to get these tools you just have to pay a small monthly fee.

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Jordan J. Caron@Victoria BC SEO August 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Jason,

Within two minutes of reading this post I found something extremely helpful.

Pro tip: In engaging industry influencers, instead of doing an interview of them at the start of your campaign, why not just get insights from them and include them on your posts (along with your own takeaways and ideas). That way, they’ll be more interested to share the content and connect with you further.

This is a great way to link bait and get some traffic. I’m going to add this idea into my blogging.

Thanks as always for your help and inspiration!

Reply

Ryan August 7, 2013 at 7:45 am

Agreed! This is definitely a different angle to take that I have not considered yet.

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shakaib August 7, 2013 at 10:10 am

Content marketing via email marketing is an old technique now, because promotional emails are normally dropped to spam by gmail, yahoo and hotmail and its time wasting to send emails to unknown people. But if the email is sent to subscriber then it would be definitely useful. Also social sharing is my favorite technique for content marketing.

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Spook SEO August 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm

More than just providing value, you also need to make sure that your valuable content is unique. There are tons of valuable content that just isn’t unique and sad to say that there are also tons of unique content that has NO VALUE AT ALL.

You rarely find contents that are both valuable and unique at the same time. It’s these kinds of contents that rings a bell to the users.

Reply

rena gamueta August 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm

hello Jason
Good Day!

Thank you for this piece of yours, such a great blog..

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Amelia Joe August 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm

. Thank you for your time and effort to summarize everything for the audience.

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Steffen@billige skibsklokker August 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

What a wonderfull post. The slideshare at the bottom is awesome.
Thank you for all the tips you’re giving here. I must get back in to work… I got many ideas in my head now…

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Nimrod August 9, 2013 at 12:20 am

Lots of good stuff to learn in this article! Some people are selling this kind of info as WSO’s already.. but here, we get to have them for free.

Even though some comments above say that some of the strategies are already outdated, I think they are still applicable and useful until today – particularly email marketing. They don’t go out of style and effectivity as long as people continue to use them.

Thanks for taking the time to share this Jason!

Reply

sleeeze August 10, 2013 at 3:03 am

Thank youf or this great article i am gonna bookmark this page and come back for more information related to this

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Claude Adrian@CodeAngry August 10, 2013 at 8:41 am

You don’t need to turn posts into pages. Why would you do that? You pretty much have these reasons:

Get rid of the date in the link structure (which should not be there anyway). Slap a date on content and you kill it. You need to remove the date from your theme and permalinks if you want your content to seem evergreen. Turning a post with dates into a page will not help with this.
Your Pages widget will get those pages linked and promoted throughout your entire blog this way giving them steady links (this is the real power of pages). Any post in WordPress will have it’s link move slowly in your archive structure so… it does not get to age well.
… might be others.

All these stuff can be technically fixed with plugins and theme modifications. No point in doing anything funny :) You get rid of dates, you make a new widget where you can add random posts that can be side-wide, or use a menu. And you can make a plugin to make posts sticky to the archive pages preventing their links from moving between pages. Like page 1 of any archive shows the stickies, while the actual content follows on page 2.

Technical SEO solves anything :) Think out your theme structure properly and it’ll be smooth sail. The most important are your permalinks. Set that up right and the theme can be changed over time, based on how things pick up… and without redirections. And write plugins for what’s missing. That’s the really nice thing in WordPress… it can be extended easily.

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Kartik Sibal August 11, 2013 at 1:40 am

So much of information in a single place!
Awesome work dude!
Keep up the good work! ;-)

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Steve Xenakis August 14, 2013 at 12:12 am

I was impressed by your epic guide above; you’ve really achieved your goal of sharable, epic content.
Thank you for summarizing everything for us.

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Krish Murali Eswar August 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

Terrific blog. Enjoyed reading it. Found you through my research on backlinks for quicksprout. Your site is sending 4,895 backlinks to QuickSprout. You must be pretty popular with Neil Patel. Good show.

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Muneeb ur rehman August 16, 2013 at 6:51 am

Now Im Going To Post New Post With Your Idea for Content

Reply

Steven August 16, 2013 at 7:53 am

I think it will take me an entire week to digest this gigantic post.. and I’m thrilled to take it step-by-step. This gem goes straight into my VIP bookmarks.

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Maya August 16, 2013 at 10:29 am

The basic idea of content marketing is as simple as effective. To transmit high quality, relevant and valuable information to customers and prospects. Thanks for this informative post.

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Ron Marek August 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm

The importance of revising content twice, of work delegated to other people cannot be stressed enough as this has everything to do with building a brand in terms of how people will come to know you. Content marketing should be planned for and done on a regular to keep the search engines interested.

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Mitch Carson August 26, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Hi Jason,
Great article. Couldn’t agree with you more. Content is King! Thanks for the tips.
Looking forward to your next post.

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Nicky Helmkamp September 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Hey Jason – fantastic article! We added it to our Monthly Resource Roundup for August: http://www.northcutt.com/blog/2013/09/august-best-seo-social-media-content-marketing/.

Reply

Abhijit Gupta January 3, 2014 at 4:51 am

This is absolutely brilliant and really helpful. You gave me a lot of information. Thanks. I’m learning a lot from your articles and your site.

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Stephen Moyers January 6, 2014 at 4:41 am

Great article Jason. I truly believe that content is king and providing authority content frequently will help to contribute in the community as well as brand establishment. We should design our content marketing strategy smarty and such a way that we can get maximum exposure of our content. Check this useful article which will definitely add more knowledge for the same to users.
http://www.spinxdigital.com/blog/online-marketing-tips-what-is-content-marketing/

Thanks,
Stephen

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