This December, we launched a fresh SEMrush initiative: Online SEMrush Meetup (OSM). Our pilot OSM’16 was dedicated to discussions around Content Marketing. Why specifically Content Marketing? We believe that 2017 will be the year when content marketing gains its rightful place not merely among digital marketers, but also among a wider range of C-level executives, who will shift and put more attention on content marketing strategies when investing in the digital marketing realm.
In fact, SEMrush itself is taking action to establish itself as the tool for a whole plethora of digital marketing activities, including content marketing.
We want to share a brief recap of OSM’16 to outline some key takeaways from our guests’ presentations!
We kicked off our event with Arnie Kuenn, the CEO at Vertical Measures:
“From Failure to Success with Content Marketing” Arnie Kuenn
At first, Arnie has put us all at ease, claiming that disappointments are an integral part of any content marketing strategy, especially for those who are new to the subject matter. 5-12 months are not enough to feel rewarded for your content marketing efforts.
- Define your content’s main purpose as to inform rather than sell or pitch your product
- Take ownership of your content, create it yourself, bring content marketing activities in-house; it’s game-changing
- Don’t ever guess: research is your true friend when it comes to IDEATION; use Google, find the most popular searches but look for the gaps to produce content
Jennifer Slegg, the Founder and Editor of the SEMPost, took up the conversation on content marketing and provided a fantastic insight into Panda!
“Panda Proofing Your Content”Jennifer Slegg
If you haven’t followed Jennifer’s speech, you’ve missed out on her sharing personal insights she got from Google’s Gary Illes and some tips on measuring quality of your content. Once you find out what a Sniff Test is, you will completely change your whole editorial process.
So what do you do with content that hasn’t passed the Sniff Test? Improve vs. Remove - the ultimate question. Jennifer advises us to improve.
Also, when it comes to evaluation of your content in terms of traffic it attracts, don’t just look at Google; it’s certainly authoritative, but your content might be popular on Bing, Pinterest or across social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).
And most importantly, Jennifer revealed some Panda myths.
Well, don’t confuse Panda with other Google animals!
Larry Kim, the founder of Wordstream, has continued to elaborate on the quality factor of your content with his presentation.
“How To Make Content Go Viral With PPC” Larry Kim
Content marketing in 2017, according to Larry Kim, feels like a suicide mission. Look at these numbers:
99.9% of your content goes nowhere; that’s what he calls Donkey content
50% of content gets zero social engagement
Typical conversion rate via Internet is less than 1%
Just 1-2% of your content is good content - Unicorn content
Well, so what do we have here? Just say no to sending donkeys into space! Only your top-performing content (organically) will make it and will be able to go viral! You have to be picky when it comes to PPC since there is actual cost involved!
Or, Larry added, as an accelerant to make bigger explosions by increasing the budget once you notice that your PPC campaign is really taking off.
Here are some lifehacks from Larry Kim to help your content skyrocket:
Add audience targeting, it turns Ok ads into unicorns
If people see your ad and don’t take action right away, they still become biased towards your company/product over the competition
Content visibility impacts brand affinity, which, in its part, impacts conversion
Before you move on to promotion of your content via paid ads, you certainly should check how it performs organically. Andrea D’Ottavio, the Founder and CEO of Webing, has shared his thoughts on promoting your content via Social Media.
“How to Amplify content with Social Media” Andrea D’Ottavio
We cannot resist sharing Andrea’s comparison of marketers with playboys! Apparently, we share a lot in common: since it is our reputation that is at stake here,we chase consumers (at least, marketers do) by following a funnel:
Attract -> Engage -> Convert
Unfortunately, very few of us marketers can afford to skip steps of the funnel (well, unless you are Jack Nicholson). Thus, the first step is attraction. To be attractive, you need content that’s engaging and it will eventually help you get these conversion rates right. At first, content doesn’t have to provide any value, just be appealing enough. Afterwards, you can share your premium content; that’s when you can ask your potential customers for something in return.
Andrea has elaborated on various strategies that will lead you to people across Facebook and Instagram stumbling upon precisely your content!
The issue of conversion from content has been described in greater detail by Talia Wolf, the Founder of Conversion Optimization Consulting & Training. Let’s see what she had to say on the subject matter.
“Make Your Content Convert with a Proper CRO Strategy” Talia Wolf
A persistent notion among content marketers is that “People don’t read on the web!”. Period. In fact, as Talia has emphasised, people don’t read because you are not giving them a reason to read your content.
The latter point has to do with a state-of-mind issue: we are impatient and don’t want to wait, so be aware you only have about 3 seconds to gain someone’s attention, 1 second delay and...nothing - no pageviews, no conversion!
In order to overcome the challenges associated with conversion from content, Talia demonstrated her own Emotional Targeting methodology, which helps you understand your customers’ decision-making process.
“If you knew what makes your customers convert, wouldn’t you go and do that?”
Why do people buy stuff? The real reason people buy stuff or read your content: they are buying better versions of themselves, buying a promise
That WHY is the promise! The WHY is what gets you these conversions!
Later on, Matthew Barby, the global head of Growth and SEO at HubSpot, has provocatively claimed that quality is not the only soupe du jour when it comes to content marketing strategy!
“Great Content Isn't Enough” Matthew Barby
Matthew started with some mythbusting around the idea of great content!
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good something is - if you don’t have the right distribution strategy, you haven’t thought about what story you’re actually telling, and it’s all going to come down to zero outcome.
Content - Promotion = Failure
Content + Architecture Design + User Experience + Promotion = Success
Matthew’s presentation launched a discussion on the trends aspect of content marketing. Other speakers have looked into that in more detail, so let’s see what we had there.
“Getting Found via Voice Search” Purna Virji
While losing her own voice, Purna, the senior PPC training manager at Microsoft, has given us a great in-depth analysis of Voice Search, its realities and its future.
According to Purna, voice search and voice commands are going to become a part of our everyday lives: the language in search is expanding and the new search will be human-driven! Why aren’t we using voice search currently all the time? Purna claims that once speech recognition accuracy goes up to 99%, we will all be hooked on voice search.
The future of Search is going to be based on three P’s:
- pervasive (search is coming to you)
- personalized (results tailored to our needs)
Another trend has been touched upon by the co-chief at State of Digital, Barry Adams - AMP!
“Insight in to Google AMP” Barry Adams
You’d have to be hiding under a rock for the last year or so to not know that AMP is on the scene. But the biggest takeaway from Barry’s speech was a clarification on what Google is trying to achieve with widespread implementation of AMPs:
Where does the risk lie? Google is building its platform on the web and not via apps, thus pushing web pages rather than app usage in order to remain the preferred player on smart phones. AMPs are Google’s way of implementing an ever-fiercer competition with mobile apps!
“YouTube tricks that will make your content rank ultra-fast” Alex Navarro
Alex has given a live presentation: no slides, no powerpoint, he went straight to Google and YouTube and immersed us into the world of YouTube ranking!
In this session, he explained some simple, yet very effective tricks that can always be implemented in order to rank your videos in less than 10 minutes in both Google and YouTube.
For the dessert, we’ve had Kevin Richard, co-creator of SEObserver, add a SEO touch to our content marketing discussion.
“Stranger Linking Things: How to Get Links in Odd Ways to Your Website” Kevin Richard
Kevin has taught us creative and unusual ways to create backlinks!
He revealed three techniques to acquire backlinks in a legitimate (White SEO) way and odd way (think darker shades).
In Kevin’s definition, Penguin was an extension of Google, called Googlegorgon!
All in all, we had a great time and heard some amazing expert insights into content marketing! If you are keen on discovering more and hearing professional opinions and advice from the truly top digital marketers, tune in and watch the full OSM’16 conference! Furthermore, don’t forget to join us next year for OSM’17!
Happy Content Marketing!