Continuous improvement should be one of the guiding principles for any business that uses content as a marketing tool. If you keep learning and adding new techniques to your repertoire, you can get better results from your search engine optimization, thought leadership and other efforts.
Fortunately, experienced professionals throughout the worlds of content marketing and SEO are eager to share what they’ve learned. If you look around, you can find insights that will point your business in the right direction, or at least give your marketing teams some food for thought.
Of course, content marketing and SEO are multifaceted fields, with a lot of proverbial moving parts. This means getting different perspectives and expert insights from every corner of the marketing space is a much better approach to improving your company’s efforts than simply picking one source of information – or worse yet, not taking the time to learn at all.
The following are three recent examples of subject-matter experts giving hints about how to succeed in their particular marketing niches. By taking time to internalize these lessons and others like them, you can give your content creation, SEO and social media efforts an infusion of new ideas.
While working for a company with the globe-scanning scale of SAP means some of Chief Marketing Officer Alicia Tillman’s observations apply only to the top tier of companies, she also shared some universal marketing hints in her recent interview with Forbes. For instance, marketers and customer experience experts will have to find ways to use consumer data without violating their audience’s trust.
“We operate in a marketplace where there’s a tremendous trust deficit. Consumer trust is at an all-time low, and a big part of what has driven that trust deficit is misuse of data.”
Tillman stated why companies have to use data in marketing. Namely, businesses think their customer experiences are better than they are, and analyzing information from consumers is the way to get in touch with reality.
The figure Tillman quoted comes from Gartner: While 80% of CEOs think the experience of dealing with their companies is exceptional, a mere 8% of audiences agree.
Consumers are willing to hand over their data to make reality match corporate perception – but there’s a catch. When data collection isn’t transparent and clear, people may feel worse about the companies they’re dealing with, rather than better. Tillman urged marketers to not just get into compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation and similar laws, but put major focus on transparency, data security and disclosure.
There are two seemingly incompatible truths at the heart of effective modern marketing:
First, companies need a solid base of tech tools they can use for years to come, to create continuity and value. Second, these businesses have to plan to deal with shifting and evolving conditions.
How can they find tech that will keep working for them as the tides turn? That’s what Conductor co-founder Stephan Bajaio explained in his Content Marketing Institute article.
“Vendors will sell you short-term solutions. But product features come and go, and your needs as a business will change, too. A true partnership means aligning and contributing to the vision of the product.”
The constant need to look ahead and future-proof operations means that companies shouldn’t fall in love with an SEO product or service’s current capabilities, according to Bajaio. Selecting a solution that both enhances today’s SEO performance and points toward future goals is a more sustainable approach than going with a stopgap option.
Bajaio added that good connections between content marketing and SEO partners, and the organizations they serve are very symbiotic, at least when all parties are looking to the future instead of just the moment. He recommended that businesses auditioning potential third parties gain knowledge of the overall plan about how the technology will be implemented and supported, not just a list of features.
The PhocusWire interview with Lindsay Nelson, CMO of TripAdvisor, raised an interesting and unique content marketing question – what should a brand do about promoting itself on a platform or channel that is actively working against it?
TripAdvisor uses Google for search marketing, but hasn’t committed as many resources to the search giant as some other companies. This is because Google is pushing its own travel deals, “siphoning off quality traffic that would otherwise find TripAdvisor,” in Nelson’s words.
In cases where a platform such as Google search results or Facebook advertising becomes unsuitable, it may behoove companies to find another place to push their content. Nelson noted that some brands have recommitted to advertising themselves through TripAdvisor, to avoid the Google-Facebook duopoly.
“You have to accept there are currents outside of your control, while not getting paralyzed by the uncertainty. The silver lining is that the opportunity for transformation is high, because standing still is not an option.”
As for its own carefully-targeted content, Nelson explained that her inspiration in recent years has come from SoulCycle. The exercise company has made itself into a household name by becoming more of a lifestyle than a product or service-based company. Nelson noted that SoulCycle even has its own XM radio station, a truly out-of-the-box marketing channel.
While your company may not be ready to cut out the Google middleman or start a radio station, we hope these experts’ insights have given you plenty to think about until next week.