Category Archives: Content Marketing

What is data driven content marketing and how to use it to grow your business

Data driven content marketing strategy

Data driven content marketing strategy

Content marketing in its current avatar is not considered very scientific. It works on perception, experience, sometimes even guesswork, and mostly estimation.

Data driven content marketing on the other hand, can be more precise and more scientific. Data, as they say, does not lie.

What is data driven content marketing?

What do you understand by data? Data is information in the form of numbers. If you say that out of every 100 visitors that come to your website 2 buy from you, that is data.

If you know that out of every 500 visitors to your website every day, 245 enter your website via your services web page and out of these 245, 10 do business with you, and then you try to create content to replicate the success of your services web page and then try to promote that content to the sort of people that enter through your services web page, that’s data driven content marketing.

When you depend on data to create content and distribute it, you are no longer guessing.

Data driven content marketing means knowing exactly what your audience is looking for using all the available web analytics tools, and then tailoring, formatting, and timing your content accordingly.

The easiest real-world example that comes to my mind is the way modern email marketing services allow you to create segments based on the behavior of your email recipients.

One day you send an email campaign to all your recipients.

Then you wait for a week. MailChimp (I use MailChimp, you might be using another service) tells you how many people opened your message from your entire mailing list.

You send a new message to only those people who opened your previous message, the new message completely tailored according to the previous message read by them.

This is data driven marketing.

Analyze data to improve content marketing strategy

Analyze data to improve content marketing strategy

How to use data driven content marketing to grow your business

Before we proceed, let me be clear: data in itself means nothing. Data in itself is just a collection of numbers.

It is when you analyze the data and draw intelligence out of fit, it begins to have some meaning for you.

So, basically, the actual form of content marketing that you should be focusing on is, intelligence-driven content marketing, but, since all this intelligence is derived from data, let’s just stick to data driven content marketing.

Data is everywhere. Google Search Console gives you a treasure trove of data. Twitter gives lots of data. You can get good data from LinkedIn. Facebook, sure. Most of the contemporary email marketing services. There are numerous third-party tools that can go through your existing content and tell you what sort of people are mostly consuming your content.

So, how does data driven content marketing help you grow your business better than the usual, haphazard content marketing?

Data driven content marketing helps you channelize your efforts and cost towards a more productive and meaningful exercise.

Creating and publishing quality content takes effort and money, right? Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what content to publish rather than simply go on publishing whatever comes to your mind and then hoping that some of it will generate business for you?

You feel bad that you publish 50 blog posts and only 5 of them get you the results that you seek.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you become stingy when publishing content. You cannot start gathering data from the word go. It may take you many months before you have some decent data to analyze. And, this data cannot be gathered if you don’t have enough content to analyze.

Initially, you will have to depend on your intuition, on guesswork, on research that is not data-based, but, as you publish greater amount of content and as that content generates greater amount of user feedback, you will have plenty of data to play around with.

Data driven content marketing isn’t as “nerdy” as it may seem initially. In its simplest form, it means using the intelligence that you can derive out of the data that you have, to create, publish, and distribute your content.

Why publish content for people who are never going to appreciate it?

Why not publish lots of content for people who have a use for it, who are looking for it, or who may need it in the near future without even realizing it? And the good thing is, you have access to that needed intelligence.

Even if you are simply using Google analytics you can get lots of information about the people who search for your content on Google and social networking platforms.

The Google Search Console also tells you what sort of devices people use to access your content and where most of your visitors are situated.

Data driven content marketing primarily has two stages:

  1. Post-publishing-distribution content effectiveness metrics/data
  2. Publishing-distribution of new content based on the metrics/data gathered above

Gathering and analyzing data after you have published and distributed content

How do you know the effectiveness of your content?

To know the effectiveness of your content you need to have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve.

Suppose you have published a new case study on your website. You want people to download your case study. Since it contains valuable, useful information, you want people to first sign up for your newsletter and then download the case study.

Many people sign up for your newsletter and then download your case study.

What was the purpose of publishing the case study? Was it to encourage more people to sign up for your newsletter updates? Or was it to convince people into doing business with you?

Sometimes businesses publish e-books and case studies just to use them as an incentive for their email subscription.

If this is not the case and you have published the case study to reach out to more people and explain how you deliver your product or service, you can try something else.

After a couple of months, you allow people to download your case study directly without having to sign up for your newsletter.

What do you observe after two months?

Are lesser number of people subscribing to your email updates? Are more people downloading your case study? Are more people contacting you for work than previously?

The data will tell you and then accordingly you can publish your subsequent case studies and decide whether you want to offer your next case study as an incentive for email subscription or you directly want to allow people to download it.

A sidenote observation by the way: I discourage my clients from using an incentive for subscription. People should download your case study, e-book or white paper simply because they want to access the information. In the same vein, people should subscribe to your updates not because they want to download your case study, e-book or white paper but simply for the valuable information that you will be giving them.

Coming back to the topic, you can use a keyword research tool to know whether the keywords and search terms you are trying to target are actually used by your target audience or not.

Often my clients demand content for which there is no demand. They waste time, money and effort on chasing shadows.

Even if you don’t want to use a third-party tool, you can use the Google Search Console to know which keywords and search terms are driving traffic to your website or blog the most, and then tailor your content accordingly.

The study and data analytics of your existing content can tell you about:

  • How many people visit your blog or website?
  • What is your bounce rate?
  • How much time on an average your visitors spend on your individual blog posts and web pages?
  • How many comments do your blog posts attract?
  • How many times people share your content on their social networking profiles?
  • How many inbound links your content attracts?
  • How many leads content generates within a particular time frame?
  • What is its conversion rate?

Publishing and distributing content according to the data you have been able to gather and analyze so far

Remember the key to a successful content marketing strategy is providing the right content to the right audience at the right time using the right channel. Yes, lots of “right”.

Your data will be able to tell you what content your audience prefers.

It tells you what format is most suitable to the needs of your audience.

The data will tell you on which days of the week your content is accessed the most.

The data will also tell you through what channels (your blog, search engines, website, external websites, social networking platforms, mobile apps) people access your content the most.

For example, my content analytics tell me that most of my traffic comes from search engines with occasional spikes from LinkedIn. Almost zero traffic from Twitter and Facebook.

Does it mean I should try harder to improve my search engine rankings further and create more visibility on LinkedIn, or should I ignore these channels and focus more on Twitter and Facebook from where my traction is almost nil?

Depends on what I want to achieve, but this bit of information can certainly help me decide and carry on my content marketing accordingly.

What sort of data you should pay attention to for a successful data driven content marketing strategy?

Here are a few things you can look out for when trying to figure out what sort of content you should publish and how you should market it.

  • How do customers react to your existing content?
  • What format of content – blog posts, web pages, case studies, newsletter updates, images, videos, white papers, e-books, social media updates – is preferred by your target audience?
  • How do people mostly discover your content?
  • What keywords and search terms people use when they are able to find the content that you have? Or the content you are planning to publish?
  • What sort of content your competitors are publishing and what is the degree of success?
  • How does your content perform vis-à-vis generating leads and more business?
  • What changes do you notice when you alter the way you publish your content?
  • Does your audience prefer long content or short content?
  • Particularly for your business, does quantity work or quality?
  • Do people access your content mostly on desktop or mobile?
  • Should you focus more on paid media, owned media or earned media?

Frankly, these are just random questions that come to my mind when I’m writing this. Every business has its own unique data and user behavior patter.

It’s not that suddenly you have to change your content marketing strategy and start worrying about data. If you pay close attention to a few metrics and then try to create content accordingly, you are already using data driven content marketing for your business. If not, you should perhaps, from now onwards, start paying close attention to at least the Google Analytics data to know what sort of traffic your content is attracting.

How to get past ad blockers with effective content marketing

Getting past ad blockers with effective content marketing

Getting past ad blockers with effective content marketing

Why do you think content marketing became such a hit on the Internet?

It’s always been around.

One way or the other businesses have always used content to build broadcasting platforms and then use these platforms to promote their products and services.

Take for instance niche magazines and tabloids. The sorts published by the food industry, the travel industry, even school magazines. Or religious publications. These are all age-old examples of content marketing. Build an audience, and once you have built an audience, use the platform to pitch your offer.

Not just niche publications. Even general, current affairs magazines and newspapers are examples of blogs. Many bloggers make money by showing ads on their blogs once they have built an audience. The same happens with conventional publications. They keep on publishing content and once many people begin to subscribe to them, they use these publications to sell ads, and even ideologies.

So, what is different on the web? Why is it becoming increasingly difficult to use ads to promote your business?

People use ad blockers.

Initially you had to use browser extensions and plug-ins to be able to block ads on web pages. These days the browsers come with native ad blockers.

Firefox has a native ad blocker. Safari has one. Even Google is reluctantly incorporating an ad blocker but since most of its revenue depends on publishing ads on the Google search engine, it doesn’t seem to be able to make up its mind. But even if the Chrome browser doesn’t give you native ad blocking features, you can easily get numerous ad blocking extensions.

On the Internet, the problem isn’t just ad blocking. It’s very easy to commit frauds on the Internet because what sort of ads you pass on to your audience can be manipulated any time. This causes financial loss not just to the target audience, but even companies like Google that manage ads.

When you access ads, or rather, when you are exposed to ads in the conventional publishing media, your privacy isn’t being violated, which is the case, a norm, on the Internet.

Although you cannot avoid seeing those ads because they are intermingled with the content that you want to consume, there is no mechanism to track what sort of ads you watch more and how much time you spend reading what in a magazine or a newspaper.

This is a big reason why people have started using ad blockers – they are concerned about their privacy.

Anyway, whatever is the reason, on the Internet people don’t like coming across ads and if they can, they try to block them.

So, if they are so averse to seeing ads, how do you promote your business? How do you let them know that you have something valuable to offer?

Through effective content marketing.

Using effective content marketing to get past ad blockers

Although I have no grudge to grind against conventional advertising, content marketing is more effective, and also, more economical.

Technology these days makes advertising quite precise. Take for example Facebook; the data accuracy that Facebook owns is unprecedented. They know practically everything about you.

Google goes a step further. It doesn’t just know everything about you through its interface, if you keep yourself logged into your Google account, whatever you do on the web, whichever website you visit, whichever video you watch, whatsoever comment you leave, everything is being quietly noted by Google and then it is being passed on to advertisers to enable them to target their ads accordingly. There is nothing wrong in that as long as all this is done ethically and with your knowledge.

Advertising is transient. You have to be constantly in front of your audience to remind them of your business. This makes it very costly.

Suppose you advertise using the Google AdWords program. If you have used it, you know that you have to pay for every click that Google sends your way. This sort of PPC program is offered by every platform including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

These ads may work for businesses with big advertising and marketing budgets because they can afford to show you ads over a long period of time. Even if you don’t click those ads, even if you don’t do business with them through those ads, they don’t mind spending money just for brand visibility.

But, for a small business, commercial advertising and marketing can prove to be very expensive even if you forget about ad blocking, rampant among browsers these days.

A better alternative is content marketing. Once your proverbial wheel starts rolling, it pretty much powers itself.

Whereas in conventional advertising, the more you advertise, the more you pay, in content marketing, it depends on your strategy and innovation.

More content marketing doesn’t always mean more spend. In fact, the more effective your content marketing is, the less you have to spend on it.

Why content marketing is more effective than ads is because it builds relationships instead of simply urging people to do business with you.

Why should they do business with you if there is no connection? Why should they trust you? Why should they suddenly spend money on your product or service when there are so many other options available to them? What is so special about your business?

They won’t have such quandaries if you constantly provide value to them through your quality content. When they are constantly exposed to your quality content, they begin to trust you. They know that you know your stuff and you can be trusted with their business. They don’t mind spending their money on your product or service.

What sort of content marketing helps you get past ad blockers?

When you provide valuable content to your prospective customers and clients, they want to keep in touch on their own.

Whether you make them laugh, whether you entertain them or whether you give them useful information that they can use to grow their business or enrich their personal lives, they wouldn’t like to miss out on good stuff.

They make sure that they subscribe to your updates (if you publish a daily or weekly newsletter). They follow you on social media and social networking platforms. They engage with you.

Since, you are always interacting with them, sharing with them your thoughts on your business, you are constantly reminding them, without being intrusive or obstructive, what business you are in and what sort of help you can provide in case that help is needed.

You become a pleasant part of their daily lives. They look forward to hearing from you or getting your update or coming across your content somewhere. You are not one of those shady marketers constantly trying to sell them something or hoodwink them into buying something they don’t need.

Through content marketing you keep them informed. You update them regularly.

For example, if you sell an app, instead of constantly urging them to buy the app or subscribe to it, you tell them how they can use the app to improve their work. You share with them stories about people who have benefited from your app. You talk about the various problems that your app solves. You share tips with them to maximize their benefit in case they decide to use your app.

Effective content marketing improves your SEO

Another benefit of effectively using content marketing is, due to its nature, it organically improves your search engine rankings.

What does a search engine like Google need? It needs quality content.

The more valuable content you publish, the more valuable content it gets to crawl, index and rank.

Since you are constantly writing on your topic, you are handling its various aspects, you are constantly covering all your keywords, or your search terms, and their various combinations. Your website or your blog becomes rich with information about your profession or your expertise. You become an information hub about your topic or your profession. This gives Google more content to index. This improves your organic SEO.

More people link to you because of your quality content. More people share your content on their social media and social networking profiles. More people react to your content. This further improves your organic SEO.

Since your rankings improve naturally, you don’t have to spend money on a program like Google AdWords.

Since anyway people are interacting with your content on social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you don’t have to spend money on these platforms to highlight your content. This job is being done by your contacts, by your followers and by your friends.

Influencers in your industry or in related industries promote your content on their own.

Now that you don’t have to depend on advertising, due to content marketing, you don’t need to worry about getting past ad blockers anyway.

Blurring the lines between content marketing and SEO

Blurring the lines between content marketing and SEO

Blurring the lines between content marketing and SEO

If you want to spend money, if you need to allocate budget, what do you do? Do you invest in content marketing or SEO? Or both?

Frankly, the lines between content marketing and SEO are constantly blurring and a greater number of SEO companies are focusing more on content and less on the conventional “SEO tactics”.

Read How content marketing actually improves your SEO

What is SEO these days?

After the various source code optimizations have been implemented, there is nothing much an SEO company can do on your website. After the on-site optimization process, 99% of SEO work involves getting you high-quality links.

So, conventional SEO has pretty much turned into getting you high-quality links. Of course, these companies have their own sources from which they can get you good links and if you try it on your own, it will be very difficult.

SEO also involves keyword research. An SEO expert can use various tools at his or her disposal to tell you which keywords and search terms you should target for.

Through ongoing SEO analytics, he or she will also tell you which of your keywords are performing better and which need more focus.

Content marketing and SEO are two sides of the same coin

Content marketing and SEO: two sides of the same coin

Content marketing and SEO: two sides of the same coin

A big difference between content marketing and SEO is that content marketing doesn’t always focus on search engines.

SEO, on the other hand, means “search engine optimization” so the entire essence of SEO is to improve your search engine rankings.

Content marketing gets you quality traffic from different sources. You can totally ignore search engines and still do well on the web by driving traffic from other websites, email marketing, and blogs and social media and social networking platforms.

In that sense, although SEO completely depends on content marketing, content marketing doesn’t necessarily depend on SEO. But that’s just an academic topic.

We need to be realistic.

Everybody needs search engine traffic.

In fact, 99% of our clients hire our services because they want to improve their search engine rankings.

Why they want to partner with a content marketing and content writing service rather than a full-fledged SEO company is based on the fact that more and more people are realizing that it’s primarily the content that has the greatest impact on SEO.

If, theoretically, content marketing can totally sidestep SEO, then why do I say that they are both two sides of the same coin?

Because just as SEO depends on content marketing, content marketing too has to apply the principles of SEO to be effective.

The changes in the Google algorithm in the past 5-10 years have been constantly shifting their focus on content quality and content relevance. Your search engines depend a lot on the quality of your content, and the sort of experience people have when they access your content.

Even your CTR can have an impact on your existing search engine rankings. Your current search engine rankings of your particular links can move up or down based on how many people click your search engine listings.

Further, how much time people spend on your website after finding your link on Google also has a direct impact on your future rankings.

Suppose you have good rankings now, but when people find your link, click it, go to your website, and then immediately come back to carry on with the same search, your rankings are degraded because Google takes it as an indication that you don’t have the right information for the search term your link is currently ranking for.

So, no matter what route you take, ultimately you reach content marketing.

How content marketing improves your search engine rankings

Importance of content marketing in SEO

Importance of content marketing in SEO

Let me explain it in points:

  • Google gives lots of importance to quality, relevance, and context of your content.
  • Although its ranking algorithms can analyze the keywords and phrases that you have used when writing your content, they cannot analyze the intent and the relevance of your content.
  • This is why the Google ranking algorithm depends on the human feedback that your content gets.
  • If more people share your content from their social media and social networking profiles, Google thinks that your content is valuable, useful, or relevant.
  • If more people are linking to your content, then your content must be good.
  • If, after finding your content in search results, people go to your website, stay there, and explore your website further, the Google algorithm thinks that you satisfy the search intent (why people are searching for that particular phrase?) and hence the keyword for which your content is currently ranking, is relevant, and consequently, may further improve your rankings.
  • In fact, Google attaches so much importance to the human reaction to your content that even in its Google AdWords program, if your advertisement draws more clicks, you pay less, per click.
  • The more content you publish, the more frequently Google’s crawlers crawl and index your content, sometimes featuring your content in the search results within seconds.
  • If you publish your content using multiple platforms (guest posts, social media and social networking updates, news websites, other niche websites and portals) it becomes easier for Google to find your link and through that, reach your website.

I have used “Google” for every search engine.

You can see that for every SEO aspect, you need content.

Not just content, you need to market that content. You need to make sure that people are able to find your content, and not just find it, but, react to your content.

In some way it should change people’s behavior, only then Google thinks it’s good quality content.

SEO principles, when you fully apply them, make you implement a good content marketing strategy.

Content marketing principles, when you fully apply them, make you implement good SEO strategy.

What do you rely on then, content marketing or SEO?

What to use? Content marketing or SEO?

What to use? Content marketing or SEO?

I’m not advising you to pick one thing in favor of the other, but by the end of the day, if you have your content marketing strategy in order, your SEO is automatically taken care of.

Follow the fundamental SEO rules of thumb when creating and distributing content:

  • Creatively use your keywords and targeted search terms in the title of your web page or blog post.
  • Use your keywords and targeted search terms within the first 100 words of the body text.
  • Use your keywords and targeted search terms after every 150-200 words, as exact expression or as individual parts (for example, “content marketing”, and then somewhere “content” and somewhere, “marketing”).
  • Once or twice use your keywords within headings and subheadings – <h2> or <h3> tags (the <h1> tag should be used just once, for the main heading of your web page or blog post).
  • At least once, use your keywords within the hypertext, linking to another relevant and related blog post or web page, from within the body content of your current blog post or web page.
  • Try to use an image after every 300-400 words.
  • Try to make every web page or blog post at least 1100 words.
  • Use your keywords in the last 100 words.

All these steps are within your hand. You are in total control. You can keep these tips in mind and implement them when you are writing or creating content for your website or blog.

After you have created optimized content, you need to market it, distribute using all the available channels.

You can use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ to showcase your content in front of your followers and friends.

You can use your mailing list to send an update to your subscribers that you have published new content or when you have updated your existing content.

You can repurpose your existing content by creating slides, PDFs, videos and infographics, and short-form social media updates.

Also network with your other industry influencers so that they can easily discovered your good quality content and share it on their own timelines and even from their own blogs.

When you follow these fundamental content marketing steps, your search engine rankings automatically improve, and you don’t have to do your SEO separately.

How to build a big business out of a small business with content marketing

Grow your business with content marketing

Grow your business with content marketing

Here is a nice article in the Forbes magazine that explains how as small business, especially as a start-up, you can use content marketing to grow a big business.

Even if you don’t believe in the various studies available on the Internet that prove that advertising no longer remains as effective as it used to be (it was never effective, there was no other alternative), use your personal experience.

How much attention do you pay to advertisements on the net, or even on TV? Given a chance, don’t you fast forward advertisements especially when you are watching your favorite program? Don’t you switch to the premium version of your mobile app so that you can get rid of the advertisements? I do.

On the Internet people devise various ways to avoid coming across ads. Millions of people have installed browser add-ons that let them block ads.

To be fair, advertising is a big business. Google has made billions selling ads through its search engine. Facebook is selling ads. Twitter is trying to sell ads. LinkedIn is constantly encouraging you to advertise on their platform. Ads are being sold on Instagram.

So, if advertising is so great, why you are being constantly told that you should embrace content marketing instead of conventional marketing and advertising?

The big difference is, advertising is about selling, content marketing is about building relationships.

Through advertising, people may come across your promotional message, buy from you or not, and then move on.

With content marketing, you are constantly in touch with your prospective customers and clients through providing them valuable content.

Advertising isn’t cheap, especially when you have many competitors who are doing well and are ready to spend more than you can.

Even if you want to promote your business using Google AdWords, you will need to bid on individual clicks based on how much your competitors are bidding.

Your business name and your brand are in front of your prospective customers and clients only till you advertise.

In advertising, “out of sight out of mind” prevails in its truest sense simply because there are scores of other businesses that are constantly vying for the attention of your customers and clients.

Content marketing on the other hand, leaves an imprint in the minds of your prospects. This is because instead of telling them to buy from you, you are giving them useful information that helps them work better, or sleep better, or entertain themselves better, or do something else better. You are enriching their lives.

When you enrich their lives, they remember you.

The author of the above Forbes article rightly says that content marketing is not about explicitly selling products or services, but getting everyone interested in what is being offered.

People these days want to make their own decisions, and this is why in-your-face marketing doesn’t work.

Building a big business out of a small business with content marketing

The biggest upside of content marketing is that it easily scales according to the size of your business. If you are a small business, you can use content marketing at a lower scale and as the size of your business increases, you can also raise the scale of your content marketing.

In simple terms, the purpose of your content marketing should be:

  • Reaching out to people who may need the product or service you can offer
  • Keeping them aware that you offer that particular product or service
  • Keeping them interested in your product or service
  • Constantly telling them the benefits of using your product or service
  • Educating them so that it becomes very easy for them to use your product or service
  • Constantly keeping them engaged even when they have purchased your product or service for further word-of-mouth marketing and customer loyalty

This can be achieved even by publishing a simple blog and sharing your knowledge through it.

Here are a few reasons why content marketing can work wonders with your small business and then help it grow into big business

  • Starting a blog is very easy
  • You can either start your blog on your own or you can pay someone a small amount to set it up for you
  • Once your blog is set up, if you are already hosting your domain, there is no extra cost for running your blog
  • Getting quality content for your blog is easy
  • You can either create content for your blog on your own or you can hire someone, like a content writer, to do the job
  • You can start building a mailing list
  • Almost all the email marketing services on the web allow you to set up your initial campaigns for free
  • Whenever you publish content on your blog, you can broadcast it to your mailing list
  • Use social networking platforms like LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter to further promote your content
  • You can also repurpose your existing content and create slides, images and small animations and then again promote the repurposed content

Suppose, you are spending $100 every day on advertising. A decent content writing service can deliver you two good quality articles or blog posts in the same amount. Even if you want a lengthier blog post or article, it can be easily prepared for $100-150.

Even if you publish two blog posts every business day by the end of the month you are going to have 40 odd blog posts covering your major keywords and search terms.

In three months you are going to have 120 blog posts.

These 120 blog posts are going to get you traffic from search engines and other sources continuously as long as you maintain your momentum.

Whether you are getting 10 people from search engines, 100 people, 1000 people or 10,000 people, you are not paying extra.

Unlike advertising, the growth with content marketing is not linear.

Assuming you are spending $100 every day on advertising, you will go on spending $3000 every month for a long period, and as soon as you stop spending these $3000, your business comes to a halt.

In content marketing, once you have gained traction, you can reduce your content marketing budget. Once your brand is known through quality content, you can come down to one blog post every day instead of two. You can even publish 2-3 good quality blog posts every week instead of posting one post every day.

Remember that Marcus Sheridan example I referred to in my blog post 6 indisputable benefits of content marketing?

Before content marketing his fibreglass swimming pools company was spending $250,000 per year on conventional advertising and marketing. After two years of content marketing, the company was spending $40,000 per year on content marketing and it had become the biggest fiberglass swimming pool company in North America.

How do you create a space for your small business with content marketing?

Doing business with big brands has its own charm, but people prefer to do business with companies and agencies they can relate to, trust, and rely on.

Normally, if you’re a small business and you don’t have the budget to hire an expert content marketing team, you are pretty much clueless about where to start.

Even when you know that content marketing can pay big dividends, you don’t know exactly what to do.

Start exploring other blogs and websites in your niche. What are the publishing? How does their audience respond? What are the topics that they talk about?

Most important: is there a gap you can fill?

Can you write or publish content the others are not publishing? Is there a demand for such content? Are there some topics that would be useful to your audience, but they cannot be easily found on the web?

This, is where you can start.

Start covering topics that are not being covered by the others. This way you will quickly start drawing attention from people who really want content on these topics, but they are not getting.

You will also get higher rankings on search engines for phrases that are not easy to find.

You can create a space for your small business with content marketing by covering less-competitive topics and then, as your rankings improve and as people begin to recognize you as an authority, you can gauge up your topic competitiveness and aim for more competitive topics.

Do’s and don’ts of republishing your content on Medium and LinkedIn

dos-and-donts-of-republishing-content-on-Medium-and-LinkedIn

Here is a nice online forum thread on the do’s and don’ts of republishing your content on Medium and LinkedIn.

A long time back I had written a blog post on whether you should use the Medium blog publishing platform for content marketing and publishing your content.

As long as you stick to the basic tenets of content quality, I think on the web, when it comes to creating sources for inbound traffic, the more is the proverbial merrier.

Although there are pros and cons for using your own as well as external publishing platforms, every platform and content channel has its own advantages.

The biggest benefit of publishing on websites like Medium and LinkedIn is that they already have a ready-made audience. Even your first blog post over there can go viral. These websites already enjoy better search engine rankings.

With limited budget it is not possible to publish unique content on every major platform, including your own blog and website. This is why, sometimes you have to republish your content – what you have published on your own blog you also publish on Medium and LinkedIn. This is called content republishing.

But then what about the duplicate content penalty?

Google doesn’t like crawling, indexing and ranking the same content again and again. This is why, it’s algorithm frowns upon duplicate content.

So, if the same blog post exists on your own blog, on Medium and also on LinkedIn, it can end up annoying the Google algorithm.

As mentioned by Rand Fishkin in the above thread, even if Google doesn’t penalize you for publishing duplicate content, your traffic may get diluted because instead of ranking your link higher, Google may end up ranking the Medium or the LinkedIn link higher. All the traffic due to your high-quality content will be lapped up by these publishing platforms.

The benefit would be that may be your link never had a chance anyway, so your content wouldn’t have gotten so much attention if it hadn’t been published on Medium and LinkedIn. A valid point.

What would you prefer? 3000 views on Medium or 30 views on your own blog? Decide on your own.

These days I am republishing my content on Medium. How do I do it? Why do I do it?

How do I do it without running the risk of getting into the “duplicate content” penalty?

I use the canonical tag in the original blog post.

Insert image of the canonical link

When you use the canonical tag within your web page or blog post you tell Google that the link containing this canonical tag is the original link, the original source of the content and wherever else the same content appears, it shouldn’t be considered for search engine rankings.

It’s a good practice that whenever you republish, in the end, link to the original content and specify it that the original content exists somewhere else.

These days I am republishing some of my blog posts on Medium for the reason mentioned above. The exposure that I may get on Medium can be exponential.

I don’t hope to get business from Medium although, it cannot be totally ruled out. My main attraction is the newsletter signup form that I include with every post. If one of my posts begins to get lots of traffic many visitors are bound to subscribe to my email updates. This is what I’m targeting for by republishing my content on Medium.