In the age of ad fatigue, content is king; so goes the thinking behind content marketing, a strategy for winning the trust of ad-weary web users by serving them content that’s timely, relevant, and valuable.
It’s a long-term approach to building loyal brand advocates, one retweet at a time. Put another way, content marketing is about earning your audience, not buying them.
The brands who are best at content marketing speak to this idea. Sure, Rolex sells watches; but that’s not what motivates its army of Instagram followers to fawn over beautiful photos of Rolexes with their friends (#goals). Nor would Apple be the music streaming giant it is today if not for the free music festivals and star-studded radio shows it’s been curating for years.
Done properly, content marketing is a great way to get people thinking and talking about your company, without being self-promotional or ‘salesy’ about it. Unfortunately, many companies don’t do it properly, because they don’t have a documented content marketing strategy.
Social Media Monitoring
Ever wanted to know what people said about you when you’re not around?
Social media monitoring is the process of listening to what customers, prospects and the general public are saying about your brand online.
Somewhat confusingly, the term ‘social media monitoring’ doesn’t refer exclusively to monitoring social media. You can use social media monitoring tools to trawl e-commerce sites, news and review publications, blogs, forums and social media platforms for mentions of your brand.
You’ll hear most people use the terms ‘social listening’ and ‘social media monitoring’ interchangeably. Rest easy - both mean more or less the same thing.
Most brands lack a clear strategy for social media monitoring, which is why only 11% of social messages sent to brands ever get a response.
▶ Read more: What Exactly is ‘Social Listening’?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Also known as pay-per-click (PPC), search engine marketing (SEM) is all about - you guessed it - using search engines to connect with your customers. First off, PPC professionals analyze Google data about users’ search queries (called ‘keywords’) to identify things your target audience are looking for. If the data shows your product or service doesn’t quite serve an existing need (i.e. a chocolate fire extinguisher), you go back to the drawing board.
If, however, you find lots of search volume for relevant keywords, the next step is to ‘bid’ for your website to appear at the very top of Google’s search results pages for those keywords. Essentially, you’re bidding against your competitors to be seen by your prospective customers.
Naturally, with such a great prize on the line, auctions can get pretty competitive – the skill lies in knowing what keywords to bid on, and how much to bid. Experienced PPC marketers know exactly how to strike this balance to keep your company’s margins intact.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of making sure your website is poised to draw visitors from Google. SEO experts focus on beating your competitors to the top of Google’s organic search results (just below the paid results your PPC prodigies are fighting for). It’s a vital function, given that your website’s ranking has a huge impact on your bottom line. If you don’t even appear on the first page, you can forget about redesigning your website - no one will see it.
For smaller websites, it’s easy enough to carry out on-page SEO checks in-house. However, as your site swells in size, a job done properly becomes a job done professionally. Investing in outside SEO expertise is key to make sure your site gets the attention it deserves.
▶ Read more: How to Do an SEO Content Audit of Your Website
Display advertising refers to any graphic or text-based ads that appear while you’re browsing the web. It’s actually gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years - the notion that people don’t click on banner ads anymore is so well-trodden, we’re surprised there’s still a path.
Some people put it down to the idea that millennials’ attention spans are shorter than the next sentence; but is that fair?
Hardly. They’re probably just tired of being treated like click fodder by lazy marketers:
Quality display advertising does still exist, thanks to top digital marketing firms. Their tireless work, along with advancements in audience tracking technology, can produce more highly-targeted display ads today than were possible even five years ago. They have the skills to pay the display advertising bills and generate a healthy ROI.