More Than Just SEO: Running Content Departments Like Newsrooms - Search Engine Journal

More Than Just SEO: Running Content Departments Like Newsrooms - Search Engine Journal

This post was sponsored by Aimclear.

Brands repeatedly invest in content creation for the sole purpose of SEO. This sometimes-myopic approach fails to generate journalistic content that can supercharge a company’s customer retention, reputation management, PR, and brand tone. Sure, great content can drive great SEO, but it can do so much more in support of product launches, refining brand personas, and driving sales at the same time.

With paid social farm-to-table journalistic capabilities, brands would be wise to create their own brand journalism platforms that serve as an SEO powerhouse weapon while fulfilling a myriad of marketing goals.

To execute a brand journalism strategy that meets strategic KPIs, marketers and SEOs need to get on the same page. Content is much more than keywords and simply “words on a page.” Content is one of the most powerful tools to enrich customers’ lives so they a.) notice your brand, and b.) stick around.

Let’s say you’re a startup eager to sell your product with an overall business goal to clearly drive revenue. Trouble is, sales almost always require trust. In this case, the content/brand journo goals should be to establish yourself as a trusted source for news/tips/features stories.

Promote that same content via psychographic targeting directly to qualified potential customers and influencers to establish your brand as a vertical source.

Still, please, don’t stop there.

Consider how content can be distributed for reputation management (whether you think you need it or not) and how it can evolve to meet sales and customer retention KPIs.

This is the fun part! Generating story ideas that speak to consumers’ concerns and interests directly related to your product is downright exciting. Don’t think like a sales person — think like a reporter covering your industry’s beat. Break outside the lines and give consumers content they’d seek in any reputable publication.

Think, behave, and look like a publication. Take the time to structure your blog (or whatever you choose to call it) to mimic a news site. Make it user-friendly, easily noting sections and serving visitors with an easy, helpful experience.

Once the publication is created, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed thinking about how to keep content flowing. An in-depth editorial calendar includes brainstorming topic ideas and organizing them based on business objectives and seasonal considerations. It also connects all marketing — digital, social, and SEO — for the entire marketing team.

Feel overwhelmed by content idea generation? Sure, it might seem daunting, but we promise there are no shortages of stories and angles related to your product. Products solve a problem or indulge a desire. There are great stories in virtually every product/service known to humankind.

Don a reporter hat and start talking to customers. Understand their interests and what intrigues them. Start obsessing about your vertical and uncovering story angles that customers (past, future, and present) sincerely care about.

As stated above, creating a publication without utilizing content as a means to drive customers back to a site is a bit of a waste. Such an approach might be great for pure SEO, but misses the mark on so many other opportunities.

Utilize psychographic targeting to create personas for a variety of your publication’s targets. This process will not only help you promote content, but also better understand your audience. Data will prove to you who your audience is, what they crave, and what they hate. Utilize psychographics to fine-tune your editorial calendar and hone in on your audience sweet spot.

Creating a publication people actually want to read gives brands the honor of collecting user information. Create news-based mailing lists (for top-of-funnel campaigns) and provide simple opportunities to join. Companies that think and operate like a newsroom do a fantastic job of this — if you’re into DIY home projects, house hunting, or financing tips, you’d have no problem signing up for Zillow’s email list — and with optimal placement, signing up is intuitive and easy to do.

All too often organizations look at what they’re self publishing (blogs, white papers, etc.) purely in terms of SEO. Trouble is, when they do that, the blog sucks and nobody knows where to find it anyway. A lot of time, effort, and energy down the drain.

A broader content strategy that ties to all relevant goals (customer retention, thought leadership, psychographic promotion, etc.) benefits overall marketing strategies and can actually deliver on ever-elusive SEO KPIs.

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