Having recently launched a content marketing agency, Quaturo, BuzzStream kindly invited me to write about how build a blogger outreach team.
“Content marketing is evolutionary, not revolutionary”
Apologies for the cheesy quote, but I think it’s clear that the SEO game is changing and it has evolved heavily towards rewarding great content.
The concept of marketing via content isn’t new at all, even if content/inbound marketing is a relatively new term. Just look at some of the magazine headlines from the 1950s as an example – they still have some of the best examples of content marketing out there today:
Why make the shift to content marketing?
During the last 12 months especially, we found that we were getting the best results for SEO projects by content marketing. I did some research back in May for a presentation at SMX London, with the goal being to review the impact of Google+ towards SEO.
This showed that websites who were heavily using Google+ were seeing a significant uplift in traffic – a 42.6% rise over a 3-month period, to be precise.
Was it a direct correlation? No. But interestingly, what it did show was that these sites were benefiting in large increases to organic search traffic and they all had one thing in common – they were actively using social media and doing content marketing!
So with Google clamping down harder than ever on unnatural links, it’s no surprise that content marketing is outperforming traditional link building.
So what did we change?
Having had a small team (initially four people), we decided that we couldn’t do it all. So rather than trying to impact all things search, we decided to focus on:
a) What we found works best in client campaigns, and
b) The part that our team enjoys working on the most and gets the best out of their individual skills.
But this didn’t mean that previous skillsets were lost – in fact, not at all, they just became more focused and put to better use.
SEO/Keyword Research = Content strategist
For Gillian at Quaturo, the transition from SEO to content strategy was quite an easy one. Her skillset and strengths in keyword research fits in very well and ensures that she can consider the SEO impact that is made from content at the point it is being planned.
Having an SEO skillset means that you already do lots of similar tasks – for example:
- SEO audit = content audit – this just means that you take a more in-depth look at how a websites content is performing. How much traffic does it generate? Where does it come from? How many links/social shares are attracted? Etc…
- Competitor & marketplace analysis – here you would review the gaps in content between competitors. If you’re getting beat by your competitors in Google, there’s a very strong chance it’s because they’ve a) got more links than you, or b) got better content than you. So focus on what really makes an impact and create great content which attracts natural links!
- Tools – SEOs use lots of research tools. Content marketers are no different – we’ll use keyword research tools such as Google Trends, UberSuggest and the Content Strategy Generator Tool to name just a few. We’ll still look at link and social metrics too – but with the main intention of building a content plan and a list of target placement sites for outreach – using BuzzStream of course!
Link building & Social Media = Blogger Outreach Specialist
Obviously a large percentage of any SEO campaign over the last 5+ years has been heavily weighted towards link building. This makes sense, it’s the single strongest factor and signal to Google over a website’s reputation and trust.
As with the study – we found that after in-depth SEO audits and competitor analysis, we normally reached a similar conclusion. The client needs more content – and they need more links! It doesn’t matter how much research you do, these two things are always essential.
And with Google’s panda/penguin updates – it means it’s becoming harder too. Google are getting much better at spotting unnatural link profiles and a shift towards building content-based links is an obvious step forward.
So for Quaturo, we quickly changed Pak Hou’s job role from a link builder with good social media experience, into a blogger outreach specialist. Making good use of his link building skills to focus on content placement – and using his social media background to build relationships with influencers in terms of promoting content.
Client/Project Managers = Community Managers
Previously when Chelsea headed up the SEO team – she would have to ensure that all aspects of an SEO campaign were addressed and on track.
To a certain extent this hasn’t changed hugely, but by having a clearer focus on content strategy, development and promotion, this makes it a much simpler process to manage. So how rather than having to worry about all aspects of a campaign – we can look to ensure that we’re all on track with delivery of content against the editorial calendar.
This also helps to ensure that we all have our individual parts to play within a project – so we’re working better as a team. And plus it allows us to know when we’re expected to be involved at a particular stage.
Copywriters = Expert Bloggers & Graphic Designers
The role of copywriters has also evolved a lot during the last 12 months in my opinion. With Google authorship becoming so important, the days of relying on copywriting services and ghost writers are becoming less and less effective.
- Find influencers/expert bloggers - Being knowledgeable within a niche and having a reputation online for doing so is valued much more highly valued in Google now, and rightly so. Now it’s all about the personal profile behind the content. If you’re an influential author for a number of authority websites in your niche, then of course Google are going to trust your writing more.
- Quality beats quantity - we’re now finding that quality beats quantity almost every time in Google– so rather than creating 100 articles based around your target keywords, write one instead! Become an ultimate resource on a particular subject and you’ll naturally generate links/social shares – getting rewarded by Google as a result. It certainly didn’t do Wikipedia any harm!
- Mix it up! Not all content has to be written. Still create blog content and in-depth articles, but don’t just leave it there. Try creating videos, infographics, ebooks, whitepapers, video typography, HTML5 – find what your audience likes and give it to them. It’s not difficult!
All online brands have to be a publisher
The transition from SEO to content marketing is actually very natural, so providing you have a talented team – that progression doesn’t need to be too difficult.
And let’s be honest – you should have been doing it anyway! If you look at the brands that are winning from panda, they’ve been doing content marketing for a long time – so it’s no coincidence that the likes of OkCupid, Mint.com, MoneySupermarket etc are benefiting from an increase in organic search visibility. They’re great online brands – so of course Google are going to reward them!