If you were to see a publication date on this post older than 90 days, would you still read it? If you saw more than 2,500 words sprawled in front of you – would your eyes be enthralled or glazed? And perhaps just as importantly, would you still consider this post useful if you had to dig deep through search and social results to find it?
All questions above, of course, can be taken as subjective – adding another wrinkle entirely to the subject of content marketing to other online marketers. Speaking as an online marketer, what I look for in content may not match exactly what you are seeking in terms of length, format, tone or design. That said, my experience working with numerous clients that are themselves, online marketers, within this space has led me to believe that there are at least five constants that should be adhered to in order to successfully attract and engage:
1. Be As Evergreen As Possible
Evergreen content marketing is a tall feat in an online marketing world seemingly defined by change – whether it be a new social measurement tool that you are asked to become intimately familiar with overnight – or another blasted Google Algorithm update impacting “less than 1% of searches.”
But the one constant that will stand up in the face of it all is compelling, engaging and original content. Relevant content is the one thing that will never be punished – and the one thing that every online marketer will seek for insight on how they can do it better.
So while the latest “Penguin Survival” blog post will only be as current as Google’s whims, your posts sharing timeless tips for linkbuilidng or keyword usage will likely always have resonance. This is provided, of course, that the tips are timeless. (If the crux of your blog post centers on the creation of engaging, compelling and original content – you’re probably doing OK.)
2. Be Concise
Why belabor this point?
3. Be Easily Digestible
Looking at Google Analytics for our blogs at TopRank and for the many marketing industry client blogs we’re involved with, there is a definite tendency among visitors to gravitate towards lists or infographics posts. The similarity in both formats is that they don’t have to be read – only to be viewed – in order for them to be absorbed. And at the end of the day, despite comments to the contrary, online marketers will actually read very little. (If you take issue with this statement, jump ahead to number 5.)
4. Be Found
There is a reason content marketing pieces sharing tips on proper keyword usage or inkbuilding will always have a certain timeless aspect. From now until the end of marketing as we know it, a blog post intended to convey a particular message to a certain audience with intended outcomes in mind, must be discoverable in order to be successful. And ensuring a post is found can mean everything from optimization for search with the proper keywords, outfitted with social sharing capabilities, and put in front of the right audience that will share it with their own networks.
5. Be Opinionated
Do online marketers really not read? My blunt opinion on this matter is that it takes a lot. With the amount of information we are expected to absorb within a short amount of time, and the amount of content marketing pieces out there that are truly not worth our time, we need to be very selective. And this means searching, looking and skimming – but very rarely reading in-depth.
This is not meant to be taken as an elitist swipe – this is meant to be taken as opinion. And it’s OK to share opinions in your blog posts.
For instance, is it your opinion that Google Panda and Penguin were deployed with far too little forethought and no clear understanding of their actual impact – and that this is probably why they need to refresh seemingly every other week? Go ahead and say it – the worst that someone can do is disagree. And these disagreements can become the comment threads that transform your content marketing piece that was published in August to a conversation that stretches for months – with each new piece offering a bit of new information that can help your post achieve rarified evergreen status.
It is my opinion that these five constants are the key to marketing with content to other online marketers. I’d be happy to see this list expanded upon – or disagreed with – in any ensuing comments or reactions below.