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If you’re a businessperson, then you have undoubtedly depended on content marketing to gain more visibility. Whether the quality of your content is good or bad is another question.
When we view content from the SEO perspective, things change a bit. Google uses algorithms to weed out websites based on their content to form their search engine ranking.
If you’re not adhering to ethical SEO practices, you can expect a penalty. Google Penguin penalizes websites that use black-hat linking or spam tactics, whereas Google Panda degrades sites displaying low-quality content.Gone are the days when content marketing was all about keywords. Today, the quality of content is a top priority.
About.com and Ezine.com are perfect examples for this. How often do you find these websites appearing in your search results today? That’s because they didn’t keep with the changes in the content marketing industry.
Compare them to the authenticated, genuine information displayed on Wikipedia and you’ll see the difference. In simple words, creating engaging and useful content that readers want now reigns supreme.
It’s best to refrain from playing games and manipulating the search engines to avoid being hit. So, then how can you leverage content marketing? Before we delve into that, let’s understand what content marketing is.
Content Marketing: Understanding The Concept
When you make quality content a top priority and follow Google’s guidelines to the letter, can you rest assured that your site will rank well?
The answer is no, unless people find your content interesting enough to click. The only way to increase your website traffic is to focus on your content marketing efforts.
You wouldn’t want to target members of PETA to market content about crossbows in hunting season, would you? So, the first step of content marketing is to know your audience.
Once you know who you want to reach, you need to find ways to do it. One of the best ways to increase your visibility is through SEO. In addition to this, you should publish posts on topics that your audience will want to read about.
Experiment with the kind of content you’re creating. Publish social media posts, podcasts, blog posts, videos, case studies, and more. There are no set rules in content marketing. It’s a lot of trial and error.
After you create content, the next part of content marketing is to devise a plan for distribution. Choose the right platform for your content based on your target audience and where they spend most of their time. However, sharing and scheduling posts on social media is like scratching only the tip of the iceberg.
With the increased popularity of social media, content marketing has evolved. Instead of partnering with celebrities, brands are looking to collaborate with social media influencers.
Influencer marketing can accelerate your content marketing efforts. Before we get into the details, let’s first understand the concept of influencer marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Every business has a specific market. There are always experts in each market that influence the perfection of the entire group.
Influencer marketing is all about targeting these key people for your own benefit. It involves identifying these industry giants and turning them into paying customers or even brand promoters.
Influencers already have a huge fan following that you can capitalize on yourself. An influencer can be anyone from a journalist to a businessman or industry analyst. The most vital and often challenging step is identifying your influencer.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing Programs
A lot of your company’s advertising and marketing efforts will be nothing without content distribution. You need to either blatantly market your products and services through print, digital, and traditional media or impart information about them.
There’s a limit to how much you can impact potential buyers through these avenues though. Having influencers in your arsenal will take your marketing campaigns to the next level. This is mainly because people in your market are more receptive to their public opinions.
Here are a few specific reasons why you should include influencer marketing as a part of your content marketing plan:
Build a Shining Reputation
Influencer marketing can put the spotlight on your brand in a matter of a few hours or days. It’s a great strategy when you want to create a buzz about your business.
The reason why it works is that influencers already have thousands of followers who look up to them. When they recommend or mention a product, it’s bound to garner their interest.
As a marketer, you can leverage influencer marketing to strengthen your overall content marketing strategy. It can help brands boost brand awareness and increase their authority.
For inspiration, look at the influencer marketing campaign from Dunkin’ Donuts. To spread awareness about National Donut Day, they collaborated with eight influencers for a social media takeover. For more than 24 hours, influencers posted content on the brand’s Snapchat profile.
Image via Instagram
The campaign, which reached more than 3 million people, was a huge success. It generated 40K engagements. Along with it, it gave the brand a lot of credibility because so many popular names were backing them.
Reach Potential Customers Beyond Media
Think of all the brand bombardment were subjected to daily. From TV commercials to emails, promotions are everywhere. How many of these actually make an impact on your buying habits? Probably little to none.
However, a word through an influencer can go beyond traditional modes of brand communication. Customers are more likely to pay attention when you’re supported by a well-known name. You’ll indirectly start connecting with a larger audience that follows your influencer and converting them into sales.
When you look at the success stories of influencer marketing campaigns, you’ll find they all have one thing in common. For a campaign to be successful, you need to pick the right influencers.
When you’re looking for influencers to partner with, look for someone in your niche. The ideal scenario is when their value system aligns with yours. This way, their target audience is more likely to be interested in your products or services.
Native Cold Pressed, an American company that makes juices, smoothies, and other healthy food got this influencer marketing strategy right. They collaborated with Lauren Blake, an influencer who believes in healthy eating. Such a collaboration is likely to help you gain more traction as it seems more genuine.
Image via Instagram
Go with the Modern Marketing Tide
Marketing today is all about “keeping it real.” An article in Social Media Today says that it’s vital to have industry influencers so that you can build social following through them.
The article also points out that 74 percent of marketers believe that Facebook is a major aspect of their marketing strategy. By combining these two statements, you’ll see that most organizations recognize the importance of social media.
Now, whose statement is more reliable on social media – yours or the influencers? You know the answer. Make certain you’re riding the tide of this new and highly effective marketing trend.
Meet Your Marketing Goals
Marketing plans are mere bridges that connect your products and your goals. If you don’t have a proper plan, the bridge will lead to a dead end. It’s essential that you set marketing goals before you begin strategizing.
Setting the right objectives for brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, sales, and customer retention will take your strategy a long way. Influencer marketing is a great pathway to draw in the website traffic that turns goals into realities.
Improve Brand Awareness
The most obvious benefit that comes from influencer marketing strategies is better brand awareness. Without brand recognition, all of your other advertising efforts will go in vain.
Let your brand be readily apparent with each communication through your influencer. Influencers will attract more attention to your brand and make sure it registers well in the minds of potential buyers.
Generate and Nurture Leads
Last but certainly not least, lead generation is another advantage of using influencer marketing tactics. Influencers are useful for sparking interest in buyers who otherwise may not have been interested in your products or services.
Using influencer marketing, you can showcase your content to a broader audience. With the help of influencers, you can generate thousands of leads per day. But that’s not enough.
Generating leads is only one step in the right direction. After that, you need to ideate strategies to nurture these leads so they can become conversions. Influencers can definitely speed the process of lead generation for you, but ultimately, pushing the consumer towards a sale is your responsibility.
Measuring ROI for Influencer Marketing
Like all marketing channels, influencer marketing usually comes at a price too. Your goal is to maintain a positive return on investment (ROI) through this effort.
Put scales in place that can measure the sales generated specifically from your brand influencer. Take into consideration customer retention rates and on-going sales when you measure ROI. Up-selling and cross-selling should also be taken into account.
Another way to look at it is in terms of the content created. Reviews, testimonials, videos and social media posts that influencers create can help improve your overall brand image.
So don’t forget to take content into consideration when you are calculating the ROI of your influencer marketing campaign.
Tools for Finding The Top Influencers
We’ve spoken enough about what influencers can do for you, but you’re probably still a bit foggy on how to find an influencer. Since the most effective interactions can be held through social media, here’s a few tools created to identify influencers.
- BuzzSumo – This tool allows you to find authors on a particular subject who’ve been shared and backlinked the most.
- FollowerWonk – Using Twitter analytics, this Moz app enables you to connect with new influencers in your niche by finding the most influential handles in cyberspace.
- Topsy – As a social analytics monitoring tool, Topsy is helpful for determining the influencer who originally shared a particular piece of epic content.
- PeerIndex – This tool goes a step ahead to establish the authority of influencers on particular subjects to avoid promoting your brand to an unrelated market.
Case Study to Drive Home the Point
The electronics giant, Royal Philips, was in a particular situation a couple of years ago when there was a steady decline in traditional marketing results. Television commercials, print ads, and trade shows weren’t working.
Here’s a case study that delineates how the company got out of this lurch. Damien Cummings entered the scene as CEO. Having worked for tech companies like Dell and Samsung, he understood the importance of social engagement.
Damien immediately looked at influencer marketing. He set up an infrastructure comprised of product advocates and influencers.
All of these groups worked in tandem for programmed interactions. Royal Philips ensured an on-going relationship with top media houses too.
The influencers became featured in documentary-like pieces focused on Philips products. Then, there was shorter content published in quick videos and slides.
Snippets on social media channels like Twitter also helped influencers engage with potential customers too. This influencer marketing strategy was so successful that Philips now plans to implement it globally.
The company set a target for 2016 to place all of its marketing activities in digital platforms. At the present time, the strategy has only been implemented in the ASEAN region.
Every marketer should look at content marketing and influencer marketing as channels to increase sales conversions and branding awareness. Influencer marketing is cost-effective compared to other means and more convenient for tracking the ROI.
Most importantly, it creates brand loyalty for retaining customers, bringing referrals, and having repeat sales. Have more questions and comments on content marketing or influencer marketing? Tell me in the comments section below.