This interview with David Waterman of The Search Agency is part of the Convirza Webinar Series.The following is the Q&A portion of the interview.
McKay: So we’ve got a few questions coming in, if you’ve got a moment to answer some questions for 10, 15 minutes, David. Does that work?
McKay: Awesome. So, first question, and this is a question that I think everybody asks about content marketing, it’s like, “Okay, I can…” And we’ll talk more about the creation of content in a moment, but in terms of distributing content you talk about a few tactics, but it seems like distribution of content is the biggest problem. People feel sometimes like they’re producing this content writing, or whatever, into sort of a black hole that nobody ever sees. Any sort of general strategies or even specific tactics on distribution that you could share with us, or maybe areas where people that are doing it wrong, or however you want to frame it?
David: Sure. And I agree. I mean, that is definitely the biggest issue because they may have all the ability to actually create a lot of great content, but actually getting it to be seen and pushing it out to the people that you want to can be a little bit tough. I think the bottom line of this, of course, you want to make sure that you have social profiles tied into the blog in terms of being able to kind of push this content. If it is a blog or kind of being able push this new content to your followers online to people who are already following you as a brand, that may not entail actually having to have both a Twitter following or a Twitter profile or a Facebook profile or a Pinterest profile.
It definitely kind of ties more back into who is your target audience and where do they tend to socialize online. Maybe they may be more Twitter-based, they may be more Pinterest if it’s something where the majority of your content is kind of image- based content, then you absolutely want to kind of make sure you’ve got a Pinterest profile. That’s the easiest way to start to get that content out there, off your site and into the eyeballs that you definitely want to have this content in front of.
But in terms of generating new followers or just new traffic to the site, a lot of the times it does start with some kind of a paid campaign. It may involve actually making [inaudible 00:37:18] for kind of a micro campaign or smaller campaign with Google AdWords where you’re kind of specifically trying to target select pieces of content that you know are great pieces that you feel will resonate well with people and they just need to kind of see it. So if you create a great three-part video series, you may want to spend a couple of dollars to really kind of try to drive some paid traffic to that just to build awareness.
But there’s also a lot of other sites up there that allow for a little bit more visibility through paid means. I know this is a side that doesn’t necessarily blend well with all brands or all industries, but I know Reddit has some kind of paid visibility opportunities where, same thing, it’s like a, I think it’s a pay-per-click, that tend to be fairly affordable kind of [inaudible 00:38:02] in addition to what average can be. But I know there’s some paid StumbleUpon opportunities as well. Like I mentioned, Outbrain is a way that a lot of people are using. There’s a couple of other different platforms similar to Outbrain where it’s basically there’s like websites agree to kind of have this widget within their site, and then that’s just an opportunity for you guys to kind of push this content. So it’s actually kind of just promoted on other people’s websites. No, direct SEO value, but, like I said, for me it’s a way to be or kind of get visibility around it.
And then, finally, I think, even on a newsletter, honestly, if it’s something where you have prospects or you’ve got basically a list of leads and they’ve got email addresses, which is, I’m sure for the most part, a lot of your leads do have email addresses. You know, email marketing is something that still has some legs to it if it’s done appropriately. You don’t want to start, again, like I said before, you don’t want to shove content into your website, and you definitely don’t want to shove emails at your prospects. You want to have kind of a strategy separate for that as well. But that’s definitely one way to start building awareness, this kind of leverage the people who are already tied into your brand or given you a lead before because they may be people that are like, “Oh, this is a great content,” and may introduce them or kind of breathe more life into those leads and it could also help with kind of referral in terms of they may start talking to other friends about this great content that that you’re providing, or they may just share it on their own social profile, so it’s definitely all about kind of pushing it out there and, like I was saying before, looking at some of your paid options is definitely one way to at least start to get some eyeballs at this content.
McKay: Yeah, I think you’re right there in terms of the avenues for paid. The other question that a lot of people ask is, and again you touched on this a little bit, but the actual SEO benefits of social sharing and content, it’s seems like we’re hearing more and more that sharing people sharing content on Google Plus, on Facebook, etc., actually impacts SEO pretty dramatically. A) do you see that, and B) I guess that’s just a matter of creating good content that people want to share, but is that true and how do we get people to share that stuff?
David: That’s a good point. Good question there. Yeah, it’s still, to kind of go with what Google’s definition is of how do you optimize your websites. It’s basically they say write great content and they will come, but it is kind of leveraging social in a way and it is also having kind of those secondary SEO elements kind of tied into your content. A lot of how we kind of talk about SEOs more or leveraging traditional marketing from an online perspective, even from an offline perspective, but also tying in those specific kind of like hooks that have some secondary value to it. So, for example, if you’re pushing out a piece of content, having kind of strategic links to specific parts that you’re upset that you’re wanting to actually promote, you’re going to drive more visibility around.
So if you have a great article that talking about blue widgets, you want to make sure you’re actually do link back to your specific blue widget category where you obviously talking about your specific product. That’s a page that ends up starting to get value out of visibility. You can get a lot of value, link value push back that way. Specific to Google Plus, it’s one of those things where it is almost necessary to actually have your content pushed through Google Plus because obviously that’s Google’s social profiles. Google say it’s much more than just a social network and that’s where it comes back to really authorship. The more you can kind of associate authorship with your content, the easier to kind of tie it in within the larger group of Plus kind of area and you do…
It’s one of those things where you always want to kind of find out where our audience kind of likes to interacts or communicates online, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and or maybe Google Plus, but even if it’s not Google Plus, you still want to have it push through Google Plus because, like I said, that’s kind of more tied into Google as a search engine and they definitely reward people that have authorship associated with their content because you get a better surf view and the thought around authorship is basically their real use. They’re going to probably start to use that to get a sense, from an individual, not necessarily from a website perspective, but from an individual perspective who are the authorities online within specific topics, and what’s the content associated with those people that are better candidates to rank for specific search queries because they’re associated with an authority online. So it’s definitely crucial to leverage Google Plus as much as possible.
But, yeah, in terms of kind of like how does it really help them in the SEO perspective? It’s really making sure, like I said, that you’ve got title tags and descriptions and your content, number one, has content that can be crawled and identified and indexed and is unique to your site, and also has some of those kind of hooks where it’s like if you want to be able to kind of like pass some value within your site, that you strategically kind of interlinking together and then even if you’re pushing content offline, then make sure that you do have the appropriate links back to your website.
McKay: That’s awesome. That makes a lot of sense. The other question with content marketing that we’ve asked a lot in our company, for example, and I know a lot of people who are asking today is, as you create, what’s the best way to put it, as you create useful content how long… I mean, how do you measure success, I guess, ultimately with content marketing? Is it a traffic game? Is it a shares? How do you gauge whether your content marketing efforts have been successful or not?
David: That’s a very good question and it’s really going to differ because I think for some people they don’t really care about social stairs or followers onto Facebook or Twitter because for them it’s just not a channel where they can get a lot of sales. Ultimately, I think the end game is that people will either want more traffic to the website or they want more sales because some people say like, “Well, I just want more traffic because I know I’ve got a lot of ad buys and stuff so I get paid based on page views.” Some people are like, “Well, the traffic’s great, but it doesn’t actually result in sales, then I don’t really want anything to do with that traffic.” So it is going to be different based on your company, based on your industry, so I would say, yeah, it definitely varies, but you definitely need to have an idea of what you, as an individual, as a… really the ultimately want [inaudible 00:44:50] take time. It does take a lot of effort and ultimately it takes money. So you want to make sure that if you’re going to spend the money that it’s going to be something that you do see a return on investment.
Now I can tell you just based kind of the experience I’ve had in the past with content marketing is that it’s more difficult to leverage content marketing to results in a sale of a product, or that it’s more successful in terms of introducing your brand to new people, getting them to, at least, kind of become a lead before they become they become an actual customer, and even, like I said, it might be kind of creating micro conversions in terms of, “All right. Well, first I want to make sure that they at least like my content or start to follow me from a social perspective,” and then once you’ve got them to follow you, then you can start to push specific content to people that’s within specific social channels. [inaudible 00:45:48] Those KPIs are definitely going to be different, but I think one piece of advice I can give is you might want to have some micro conversions. Although, ultimately, you don’t want to make money through your content marketing. It may be a couple of steps in the middle to actually get the people you acquire through your content marketing efforts to become true customers.
McKay: Okay. That makes a lot of sense. I think you’re right. It does depend on what people are trying to accomplish with their content marketing. Well, awesome. That’s great stuff, David.
What last words before we close do you have for people. Maybe if they’re starting or maybe they’ve been doing content marketing for some time and they’re not seeing results yet. Give us some encouragement or final words of advice before we conclude.
David: Well, I think one thing that I can leave everybody with is… let me think here, well, one thing I really didn’t touch on, but I think makes a lot sense and I think actually is the reason why I’m even here today giving this presentation is partnering. Partnerships are a great way to either generate content, to kind of make connections in terms of where you can at least start to kind of get ideas for content. It could be a way that you could start to push content. Ultimately, this is a webinar that we created that basically The Search Agency can at least kind of benefit from as well as a lot of my calls. So partnering defined the right way to kind of generate content is definitely an opportunity you may want to look into because a lot of people are like, “Well, shoot, I’m like a three-man shop. I’ve got nobody in-house I can really truly say is going to be able to write me some great content.”
Don’t be afraid to look out there and say, “Well, who’s out there that’s, of course, not a direct competitor, but they’re in the same space [inaudible 00:47:45] definitely a benefit to be had for both people involved, especially if you’re like, say, I want to create a blog and you come up with that and you want to kind of have some kind of ongoing content, there is a lot of people out there who either have their own blogs that are basically trying to kind of start up and you may want to kind of write some content for them so that you can least kind of build awareness for your brand. So another thing in terms of patterning would be when you create content don’t be afraid to create content for maybe another website. It’s something where you always want to have your own content going on, but maybe once a month you go and say, “Well, I want to become like contributor to this other blog and other website,” because, number one, they may already have an existing following that you can definitely benefit from in terms of introducing your brand to.
And, number two, if your writing content, ultimately, you want to make sure you can also promote your own brand within that, so that ultimately results in, of course, at least a back link back to your website. So definitely don’t be afraid to look outside of just creating content for your own website. You want to kind of see what partnerships can you leverage to get either them to generate content for you because ultimately if you have somebody who’s going to be creating content for you, they probably have a following, they can push it out for you. It’s how you can tap into the other networks, get your content to be pushed out there as far as possible.
So don’t live in a bubble in terms of, “I need to write all the content, I’m just going to push through my social channels and send an email out.” Look at partnerships. It’s something you never know what can actually come with partnering with another website in terms of increasing your overall audience and ultimately getting your content to have longer legs than you would ever have if you didn’t actually make these types of partnerships.
McKay: Perfect. That makes sense. David, thank you for your wisdom and your time today. We appreciate it. Everybody, thank you for attending. As usual this webinar is being recorded and we’re going to send out an email tomorrow morning that will have the webinar recording associated with it so you can log in, or not even log in, you can actually just click on the link and the recording will start. Requires no form to fill out or anything, so feel free to share that on social media far and wide. And, again, we have a couple of webinars next week. We encourage you to attend them. We’re going to take a couple of weeks for Labor Day. I can’t believe we are already at Labor Day nearly. So, yeah, we’ll have webinars next week, and then following that we have a couple weeks we’re not doing webinars. So we encourage you to come to our webinars next week.
And, David, thank you again. We really appreciate it. I think we met David at SMX West. Does that sound familiar, David?
David: Yeah, I think it was earlier this year in San Jose. I was actually speaking around content, not necessarily content marketing, but more similar about like specifically with content. If you’re going to create content you just basically have a plan, so. Yep.
McKay: That’s awesome. So we met David there and we heard really things about The Search Agency so we encourage you to check those guys out. And, again, David, thank you very much. Everybody have a wonderful day and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
David: Thank you very much.