Earlier this year Kapost’s CEO, Toby Murdock, introduced How To Build And Operate A Content Marketing Machine. Recently, Kapost co-published an eBook with Marketo detailing the 7 steps it takes to successfully run this content machine at your organization. The following is an excerpt from the eBook, discussing step 5: audience development.
So you’re publishing content now! Your machine is up and running! Congratulations!However, creating the content is just half of your task. The other half is getting visitors to that content, which is the Audience Development component of the Content Marketing Machine. Audience Development breaks down into 4 major buckets:
Influencers. Influencers are the most important component of Audience Development. Begin by identifying the influencers in your space: the individuals and organizations in your topic that have lots of visitors to their sites, followers to their Twitter accounts, etc. In other words, these are the places on the web where the prospects who you want to read your content hang out.Your objective is to win links from these Influencers to your content. Get started by building relationships. Retweet their tweets. Comment on their blogs. Get into a dialog.Once you’ve gotten on the influencer’s radar and are crafting content with the end objective of the Influencer link in mind, ask yourself: what content would be of enough interest to this Influencer that they would want to share it with their audience? Or try to bring the Influencer into the process from the start: tell them that you are working on a piece of content and would appreciate their feedback or a quote. Each piece of content should have its own “mini marketing campaign” that looks to gain traffic-generating links from relevant Influencers.
Search. Winning these Influencer links is the key to getting referral traffic to your content. It is also the biggest way that you can improve in the second bucket in Audience Development: search traffic. In the past, SEO was a “black hat” game where technical tricks won high rankings. No more. Now you must win links from authoritative influencers, and then the Search Engines will improve your rank, driving more traffic.
To succeed in search, monitor how your content efforts move the search needle. First, identify the search keywords that your personas will search for. Be sure to target and optimize your content for the appropriate keywords. Then monitor keyword by keyword how your content efforts–both content produced and quality links earned–are affecting your search ranking and your search traffic.
Paid. Despite all of the inbound, organic goodness that Content Marketing centers on, paid traffic does have a place in the mix. Whether it is SEM, Facebook ads, sponsored Tweets, or paid Email newsletter distribution, using paid tactics to drive traffic is part of the Content Marketing Machine. What’s interesting to note however, is how Content Marketers are using paid to drive traffic to their content pages (about the prospect’s interests) instead of their product pages (about the marketer’s products). The process of developing a relationship with a prospect built on informative content is so powerful that marketers are using their media dollars to increasingly drive traffic to their content.
Syndication. Finally, the content you produce need not be limited to your own properties, whether your site, YouTube account, Slideshare account, etc. The most straightforward way to earn a link from a site where your prospects frequent is to get your own content published on that site. Be sure to insert a link or two in your content that links back to your own site. But beyond links, syndicated content also begins to develop a relationship between you and your prospects before they have ever visited your site. Particularly at the beginning, others sites may have a lot more traffic than yours does, so syndicating content is a great way to get your traffic off the ground.
To learn more about audience development, listen to this 6 minute clip from Kapost and Marketo’s webinar: How To Build And Operate A Content Marketing Machine.