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The digital age that we live in demands flexibility and adaptability. For those working in content marketing, this means that they need to be so much more than simply a great writer. A team can produce the best content known to man, but if it doesn’t feed back into the sales channels of the website it’s published on its value is immediately limited.

Calls to Action (or CTAs) are the tool that link great writing back to a great product; the article interests and engages the reader and the CTA shows them how to take their interest further with some real action.

CTAs are actually pretty straightforward little phrases or snippets of content but sometimes, when you’re in the midst of creativity, it helps to have a some extra ideas to come up with the right sales hook.

We’ve rounded up five of the most effective calls to action below and explored ways in which they can help with the sales process to give you and your team a starting point for inspiration.

1. Try it free for a week

This doesn’t have to be a ‘week’, it could be a fortnight, 30 days or three months. The time on offer will depend on your business plan but the point is to encourage people to start thinking seriously about your service and giving it a go. Getting hold of their contact details is also a clear driver here.

2. Learn more

The way in which you enable your visitor to learn more could be with a full ebook, a price list or simply another page with a bit more data on it. But whatever the means, this CTA is about providing a break in the visitors’ journey at which point you can request their details.

3. Start your free trial subscription now

This one’s simple really, the word ‘free’ still entices people and once they’ve started using your product you’ve moved them one step closer to conversion.

4. Get started now

If you’ve understood your audience well you will know at which point in their path through your website they will be ready to give your service a go. At this point you simply need to make it as easy as possible for them to convert. Adding the word ‘now’ in connects with their sense of ‘yup, I’m ready’ and urges them to keep moving forward.

5. Contact us / Talk to us

There’s a trend among digital marketers to avoid using basic business terms like ‘contact us’ and instead shift towards more human terms like ‘talk to us’. You’ll need to assess your own audience to decide which one is for your business but don’t be obliged to follow trend without testing different language with your visitors. This CTA is simply about offering a simple route to enquiry. Your sales team might also be able to pick up contact details while they’re advising.

And on that note … do contact us if you’d like to receive more information about our content marketing services!

Whether you’re publishing news articles, blogs or features on your website, headlines have the power to make all the difference to your content marketing.

Research from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism this year confirmed that headlines are the biggest driver of engagement in online articles. The study, which looked at US online readers, found that 51 per cent of people claim a compelling headline is what makes them click on an article.

The quality of an article’s source accounted for just 37 per cent of clicks, so clearly headlines are a good area to be focusing on to improve engagement with your audience.

With this in mind, it’s great to see so many ideas doing the rounds about how to write better headlines.

Here’s a fantastic infographic from the team over at CoSchedule which looks at ‘How To Write A Headline That Will Get The Best Results’.

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To summarise, here are three quick actionable ideas to write better headlines:

  1. Don’t sit on the fence. Very positive or very negative headlines get more attention.
  2. Focus on the beginning and end of your headline. This is where the greatest impact lies.
  3. Tweak your headline using Google search suggestions.

Two of the online marketing world’s biggest operators have implemented a pretty interesting test to determine whether quality of quantity matters most when publishing content.

There are two clear schools of thought on the matter. Firstly, the assumption that publishing more content will increase the potential number of visitors as you simply have more opportunities to connect with your audience. Secondly, the quality school of thought notes that if this content is churned out with little or not thought then too many of those opportunities will be wasted when there is nothing engaging, original or well-written to keep them interested.

Moz and HubSpot both implemented tests to see what really happened when they changed their frequency of blog posts.

Moz

Starting with SEO kings Moz and their team found that dropping their publishing volume to half its normal level resulted in an average drop of 5.6 per cent in unique pageviews base on their daily average.

They did see some impact on average traffic, although the changes were not as noticeable as expected. You can see the impact in the analysis below:

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Interestingly, however, when the team doubled their publishing volume, there was essentially no impact on the number of unique pageviews.

Moz concluded that their results showed content marketing might take a while to get up to speed but “once it’s spinning, its massive inertia means that it isn’t easily affected by relatively small changes”.

The site also monitored engagement and, as they expected, found that when more posts were published the engagement levels dropped per post, indicating that people only had so much time to spend and would spread that more thinly if given more content to engage with.

As for quality, Moz hypothesised that posting fewer times a week will give them more time and that they will be “better able to focus on the quality of the posts” published, while publishing more frequently will result in the quality of each post suffering.

What they found was that they largely kept quality consistent (although they acknowledged this is hard to measure) and instead used the extra time when publishing at half their normal rate to invest in other projects, leaving them more productive and positive as a team than when they were rushing to deliver more content.

HubSpot

HubSpot had a clearer editorial focus behind their mission. They had previously reviewed their editorial setup to establish their ‘optimum’ publishing frequency and wanted to use the experiment to do so again in light of the developments within their company and the market as a whole.

The team focused on their Marketing Blog in particular, which usually publishes between three and give blog posts on a week day and one post on each weekend day, resulting in between 20 and 25 posts a week.

But, the majority (92 per cent) of the company’s leads in a given month come from posts published prior to that month – an interesting side note to bear in mind for company’s consider their own content strategy. So the experiment focused on the effects of new posts.

To summarise, HubSpot found that posting blogs at a low volume but with high comprehensiveness (that is to say high quality articles that required particularly large amounts of research to create) resulted in nearly 32 per cent less traffic than their benchmark. When posted at high volume but with low comprehensiveness, there was a five per cent increase in traffic. This is visualised in the graphic below, where LVHC = low volume high comprehensiveness and HVLC = high volume low comprehensiveness.

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Much like Moz, the Hubspot team concluded that there is “only so much content our readers can consume”.

Both studies are well worth a closer read for anyone looking to ascertain their perfect publishing frequency and focus of their editorial strategy.

Check out the HubSpot study here.

View the Moz study here.

Image: Majunkz
Image: Majunkz

If you want your content marketing to achieve the goals and ROI your team have set out, you need to be thinking about more than just the words of your article and consider also the structure you slot them into.

Great Expectations

What you say should enlighten your audience or inform them of a something new. But the way in which you say it should not require them to make any extra effort in order to understand your message.

When people look for content for their website they are generally have an expectation of what the established verticals are.

1. Online News

2. Blogs

3. Landing Pages

4. FAQs

5. Newsletters

6. Interviews

This is just a quick list of some of the most common enquiries that Newsvend gets on a regular basis as a content agency, there are of course others. The key here is that these are the types of content that audiences expect to find online and as such they tend to be the most easily digestible.

By ensuring your content conforms to an expected format, you remove one extra barrier and help your audience to engage with you and your business. So if possible see if your content can slot into a common template. If you’re unsure about this or would like to see some examples, please get in touch for some samples.

White Space

Whatever form your content takes, white space is important. Don’t even think about hitting publish on that 1,000 word essay formatted into just three paragraphs. Break it up using pictures, bullet points and paragraphs and give it some structure!

Use Text Tools to Highlight Important Points

Use the tools you have at your disposal such as underlining, italics and bold text options. These simple formatting tools help ensure you can still engage with skim readers. For example, bold text on important sentences allow someone to skip through the article and still gather the meaning.

Clear Calls to Action

And finally, make it easy for someone to find your call to action. Don’t hide it away but equally don’t let it interfere with the message your content is delivering. Simple, clear and direct will do the trick.

For too long there has been a perception that big marketing investments are only available to the biggest businesses with endless budgets. Content marketing breaks this trend and is in fact one of the most accessible forms of marketing out there, one that is being used more and more by start-ups and SMEs across the country.

We’re taking a look at three of the most affordable ways to get started in content marketing, proving that what you need to succeed in this game is great ideas and a clever strategy and not an endless pot of gold.

1. Careful Planning

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If we could offer one top tip to keep costs down for content marketing it would be plan everything! Obviously you’re going to do this with all areas of your business and marketing when possible, but there is a tendency to view content marketing from the creative angle and refrain from over-planning matters.

Yes, successful content marketing has a very strong creative element to it, but if you allow it to happen as and when the mood takes you or your team, you will reduce your chances of success and increase your costs.

2. Regular Content

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Part of keeping content marketing affordable is ensuring that what you do spend has as a strong return on investment (ROI). Without this, you risk spending more to try and reach goals you could have reached with a lower investment. So if you need to maximise your ROI, after planning, the next best thing you can do is to maintain a regular stream of content updates.

If you can only afford to deliver on one form of content marketing and you can only afford to update it twice a week, that’s fine, just make sure you keep doing it twice a week for at least three months instead of three times a week for the first month and then once a month from then on.

3. Analysis

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Analysis in this context simply means don’t spend money you don’t need to spend. Check what is and isn’t working for you on a regular basis and review your approach to refocus spending on revenue-generating verticals and stop wasting cash on other forms of content that just don’t work for your particular audience.

 

Content marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, but to do it successfully on a small budget requires everything to be thought through and accounted for.

Writing a blog is broadly acknowledged as something that businesses should be doing, but in reality it can be a waste of time if not carefully maintained and set-up.

With this in mind, we’ve broken down the 8 simple things that you need to be doing to run an effective blog as part of your content marketing campaign.

1. Subheadings

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It sounds simple but subheadings matter in blogs. Not only do they offer a helpful way of getting some extra points for your keywords, but they help the reader. It’s unlikely your readers are the kind of people who are willing to read an essay online, but they will be happy to jump into a well structured article if you break things up with subheadings.

2. Bullet points and paragraphs

Bullet points and paragraphs serve a similar purpose to subheadings: they help break things up for your readership. Attention spans are much shorter when people read online than if they were to sit down with a newspaper, magazine or book, so keep this in mind and cater to them by breaking up your content into easily digestible chunks with clever paragraphs and bullet points.

3. Images

Images are an important visual aid in telling your story, employ them carefully when blogging and you will boost engagement from your audience and encourage them to share your message. Get creative if possible, don’t stick to stock photos. If you have the time and ability to take a quick shot of whatever it is you’re blogging about on your smartphone then why not do it?

4. Use language that suits your audience

If you’re writing a blog that is read by people in the professional sectors, it’s probably not a good idea to use too much slang. Equally, if you’re trying to engage people with a sports fashion brand targeted at under-25s you will most likely want to avoid too much stuffy serious language.

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This should already be part of your broader marketing approach, but make sure you don’t forget it when it comes to blogging and content marketing: know who you’re aiming to engage and talk to them in their language.

5. Internal Linking

Why are you blogging? Sure, one reason should be to get your message out to a wider audience and connect with readers. But is another not to increase conversions and awareness of your services or products? If so, put some intelligent linking in your posts to direct readers back to conversion pages or pages with more information about whatever it may be you’re writing about.

6. External Linking

External linking is more about good practice; it’s good manners to point back to any sources that proved useful in creating your blog.

But it also provides a useful link to your audience if they would like to research what you’re discussing and, of course, it ensures your own credibility by being upfront about where you have found your information.

7. Sharing buttons

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If you want to spread your message online then you better make sure it’s easy for your audience to help! The majority of people read quickly online, if you’ve managed to write a blog that has connected with one of your readers, you don’t have long to get them to spread your message so make sure it’s easy for them to share your blog post with their followers of Twitter or Facebook, or to email the article to a contact.

AddThis offers a useful set-up to feature a bar of buttons connecting pretty much all the major social networks.

8. Speak from the heart

This final point is connected to the above, essentially, we’re saying nobody likes to have the wool pulled over their eyes so don’t write a blog and try and come across as something you’re not. You will be found out and it will be embarrassing for you and your brand.

Instead, be honest, be yourself! People recognise and appreciate sincerity.

If we could predict the future of content marketing we’d all be laughing right? Unfortunately it’s not as easy as X+Y = success. But we can take a closer look at what the industry itself thinks is going to happen.

Handcrafted Content

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Let’s start with the argument for ‘handcrafted content’ from Chief Content Officer Magazine, a publication produced by the excellent Content Marketing Institute. An article in the June 2015 edition explored the debate between “machines and handcrafted content”.

Jay Acunzo, VP of platform and content at NextView Ventures, argued the case for handcrafted content, although he conceded that the future of content creation is most likely to be a “powerful blend of technology and technique”.

He said that organisations will start to acknowledge the fact that cutting corners doesn’t work and can in fact risk damaging their reputation. Instead of looking for a quick fix, he suggested that more and more people will look to “hire, train and promote individuals capable of being creatively brilliant and prolific”.

The core of Mr Acunzo’s message is that great writers and content producers matter as much as they ever did, despite the rapid evolution of the supporting technology.

Automated Content Marketing

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Arguing the case for more technology in content marketing, is Ann Rockley, chief executive of The Rockley Group, Inc and one of the top five ranked most influential content strategists in 2010.

Ms Rockley’s points focus on automation. “The future of content creation lies with intelligent content,” she told the Chief Content Officer Magazine.

She explained that clever content strategies can enable small companies to have big footprints in the content marketing world thanks to the scalability that they deliver.

The key piece of advice she gave is to structure and tag everything that is produced, once this is complete “the main work is done; everything else can be automated” through systems that can extract questions and answers automatically or store videos for future access or post samples of content out to social media networks automatically.

The debate between the value of automation vs human input comes with the release of the State of Enterprise Content Marketing Report. One strong point we can take from the report is the youth of the industry and the fact that businesses are still to become fully aware of the extent to which content plays a part across their entire business.

Content marketing, particularly when used in an online context, has evolved from traditional media and traditional marketing to become far more than the sum of its parts, but in looking to the future of content marketing, it is flexibility that comes up again and again. Yes, we need the core skills from excellent content producers and solid innovative technology, but what we do with those skills and technology will define our industry, as will the speed with which we respond.

You can view the full SlideShare of the State of Enterprise Content Marketing Report below, but we wanted to highlight the two snippets below to underline the continued emphasis on evolution and adaptation:

“Successful businesses will no longer have a singular view of content as fuel to support marketing campaigns. Instead, they will evolve and begin looking at changing marketing into a function that increasingly supports the fluid use of content to create and support better customer experiences.”

“The successful plan of tomorrow will be powered by an ability to constantly reconfigure efforts and manage a portfolio of content-driven experiences. When a particular experience is no longer advantageous to business, the team will not lean on a “that’s-the-way-it’s-always-been-done” mentality, but will healthily disengage and dismantle the outmoded experience.”

Evergreen Content

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Fresh, regular news is a given, but to get long-term value out of your content strategy complementing regular news output with evergreen insights and analysis is the obvious approach.

What to write about will depend on your industry and goals. But if you’re struggling for evergreen topics, look back at your Google Analytics and assess which pages are already performing well over a longer period. There’s your inspiration.

Bear in mind that evergreen content doesn’t have to do quite what it says on the tin – it can last three or six months and still have a different level of value in comparison to an update that has lost its relevance within the week.

If you’re really on the ball, consider implementing a plan to check on your evergreen pieces periodically and ensure that they maintain value.

Focus on Sharing

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‘Shareable content’ is a clunky content marketing phrase; given that words are our tools we really ought to do better. But shareable content gets to the point. Some content can be easily digested, its message gleaned and banked and its relevance decided within the space of minutes if not seconds. Other content requires a decent chunk of free time for its reader to sit down and digest what’s being said. By the time they’ve got to the end of it that ‘spark’ moment that entices someone to share their revelation with someone else has gone, they’re too busy processing the large amounts of information they’ve just consumed.

Keeping this human trait in mind when you’re looking at content you want to be shared.

However, if you want long-term value you need to take things a bit further and remember to draw attention to your content on a long-term basis. Have a think about some different options for your social media strategy because you’re going to have to do a bit more than send out posts upon initial publication.

As a starting point, checkout the upcoming calendar of events in your sector and ask if your evergreen post coincides with any of them, set a reminder, tweak your hashtags, stand back and admire the beginnings of your new higher value, long-term social strategy.

Take Action and Make Connections

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It’s so easy to tell your team to build their network and then wonder why you haven’t got a network in place six months later.

So when the perfect opportunity presents itself and you have a piece of content ready to publish that you KNOW is of interest to your network, make sure your team actually getting it out there and that they’re aware of the ways in which they can continue to promote and reference it moving forward.

Social media, email, forums, timing, demographics, ACTION. Keep everyone informed of what’s coming out and make sure they’re following through on the great ideas you’ve all been building and getting them out to the eyes and ears that you want to reach.

What's the perfect online length?

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Before you start reading, quickly check the time …

 

One issue we are tackling with increasing regularity – both ourselves and with clients – is how to decide how long our online content should be. It’s one of the simplest questions posed in an online content marketing strategy, but it seems to be one of the trickiest to answer.

Print journalists have had centuries to research exactly what captures readers’ attentions. Headlines, style and layout have all been studied carefully to create a successful formula, while time and experience have also helped to establish text length and image sizes as standard.

Things aren’t so simple for those writing online content. The internet is just a fraction of the age of the age of print media, but the scope and potential audience of online content are at least ten times as great. We have a growing bank of research into the best lengths and layouts for articles and online news but the ever-changing nature of the beast makes it impossible to provide a definitive answer.

What we can do is look at guidelines and case studies to determine what works in certain cases. While each piece of content is (hopefully!) unique, comparing it against existing successes in similar situations can at least provide a gauge in terms of what works where.

 

Headlines

Headlines are perhaps the easiest places to start as the overarching message is actually the same as with print: keep it short and catchy. Exactly how short will depend on the space you have to work with, but research from KISSmetrics has found that people’s tendency to scan content means that readers only really absorb the first three words and the last three words of a headline. Taking this to its logical conclusion would suggest that the perfect headline length for an online article is six words if you want to grab people’s attention and convey as much information as possible.

Breaking things down further, the traditional advice when it came to writing headlines for SEO was always to keep to the limit of 70 characters. This is due to how Google displayed headlines on its SERPs, with anything longer than this likely to be cut off by the search engine’s layout.

However, the search engine has delivered a series of updates, layout alterations and font changes over the years and this advice no longer strictly applies. A fresh debate is underway to determine exactly what the perfect headline length for Google is. Efforts here are seen as particularly important due to the relevance of headlines in terms of SEO because the search engines give a lot of weight to keywords in headlines.

In reality, tight constraints in headline length can be hard to achieve, particularly if the article is tackling a very technical or sensitive topic. With this in mind, the best guidance when it comes to headlines is simply: make every word count.

 

Articles

While headlines might pop up in a huge variety of contexts online, they are generally being read with similar intentions: either by an individual looking to gauge whether or not the article is of interest or by a search engine determining the relevance of the content to a key search term.

Things aren’t quite so straightforward when it comes to looking at articles themselves due to the variation in the way people read different pieces of work. A quick news article needs to be long enough to give some insight into a situation, but short enough to be read in its entirety before the audience gets bored and clicks away. Meanwhile a blog post or in-depth article needs to have something more to offer and will generally be read by someone with a bit more time on their hands who has already decided that they want to know more about the topic the article is addressing.

According to research from Medium, the ideal in-depth blog post is one that takes about seven minutes to read. After this point, readers get distracted and might drift off before they’ve reached the crucial parts of an article. Reading time is different for everyone and the layout of an article – if it includes a lot of images for example – will clearly have an effect, but Medium’s formula equated seven minutes of reading time to around 1,600 words of content.

That said, if the content is worth the time and effort, people will stick around for longer than the seven minute cut-off, so bear in mind that this is just another guideline. Further consideration needs to be put in place for the type of audience being written for and the kind of information they are looking for.

A medical professional, for example, would be willing to spend a fair amount of time on a pharmaceutical hub carefully considering the details of a much longer article about the uses of a new drug than, say, a consumer just looking for a broader news update would. That’s not to say the pharmaceutical hub should not run short articles (i.e. news items); it’s just that there will very likely be a demand for at least some longer articles that can adequately convey the right depth of information.

This variety in not only topic, but also length and style of articles is worth thinking about when drawing up a content strategy. It’s often more interesting for readers to receive a range of different types and lengths of content, something that is also picked up by search engines who tend to reward a more natural mix of content.

 

Social Media

It is quite likely that the debate regarding the relevance of social media will rage until the end of time. But whichever side of the fence you fall on, the fact remains that social media matters now. Sharing content with targeted followers boosts audiences and offers a simple way of engaging with clientele through a means that’s more personal than most marketing techniques.

The ways in which people and companies use social media differs to such an extent that it’s very difficult to pinpoint exactly how long a post should be on each network. But research has started to suggest that there may be some guidelines marketers can follow to increase their chances of engaging audiences and customers.

With tweets limited to 140 characters, at first glance it doesn’t seem plausible that there could be an ‘ideal tweet length’ within such a tight constraint on Twitter. But the network’s own best practice guidelines reference a study conducted by Buddy Media which found that tweets shorter than 100 characters have a 17 per cent higher engagement rate. These findings were backed up by another study by Track Social which claimed that the “perfect tweet length” is around 100 characters.

Surprisingly, given the opportunity for much longer posts, the ideal Facebook post is actually shorter than the ideal Twitter update. A study from Jeff Bulllas found that posts of around 40 characters had the best engagement rate in his study, while Facebook’s best practices advise users to go for posts with 80 characters or less as these receive 66 per cent higher engagement levels.

Newcomer to the social media arena Google+ lies somewhere in the middle, and it appears that issues with this network are more to do with layout than actual length. Google recently changed the way in which its site displays posts so that users only see the first three lines of the original post before the ‘read more’ link cuts off the rest of the post, although it is possible to opt to expand it. This has meant that headlines are particularly important if you are sharing content on Google+.

With this in mind, the ideal headline for encouraging engagement and shares is one of 60 characters or less, any longer and the layout of the post will will start to look messier. However, research has shown that while engagement levels tend to trail off with longer posts on Twitter and Facebook, this isn’t necessarily the case on Google+ where longer posts can still attract a lot of readers. Headlines are really key with Google+, other than that users are free to explore using different lengths of post without risking too much impact on their levels of engagement.

 

There are some cases where the length of online content is crucial; for example if you’re automatically sending headlines into social media accounts, or you want to increase your chances of being approved and listed in Google News (FYI aim for a minimum of 300 words and you’ll need to be posting daily news articles).

But within reason, online content does not need to have the same restrictions as printed content. If it’s worth reading, watching or sharing, it will be read, watched and shared so while word limits offer a great guideline when building your content marketing strategy, there is no definitive answer.

 

Stop clock watching. Did we hit the seven minute target?

 

Traditional search engine optimisation is something of an oxymoron. The industry is so relatively young and so inherently dynamic that it seems almost impossible for it to have any tradition.

But there are established ways of doing things and there are alternative and innovative practices within the business. As Google’s new algorithms continue to strengthen the bias towards sites with a lot of unique, interesting and well-written content, could it be that old school SEO just can’t cut it anymore? Is a new skill set stepping up to take its place?

Search engine optimisation grew out of a need to be found online. To begin with it was as simple as meeting a set of simple technical requirements that would allow Google and other search engines to crawl your site and know what it was about. Meta keyword tags, for example, were originally designed to indicate that a site included information about the terms being searched for and have therefore been included as ranking factors.

For Google in particular, external links have played a vital role in traditional SEO. The search engine’s success has largely been thanks to the linking aspect of its original PageRank algorithm, which checked backlinks to determine a site’s importance. The technology analysed incoming links and made the assumption that sites with a lot of links from important and relevant websites were more likely to be important themselves.

This is thought to tie in well with the way in which a human brain works. If a topic or idea is often referenced and linked to by other areas of the brain, the stronger the connection/synapse and the more important the information is to us. This could be part of the secret as to why Google has overwhelmingly been the most successful search engine: It’s the one that most closely mimics our natural behaviour, so using it is simple.

But Google started life as a Stanford University research project. Its early versions were excellent technical developments, but they weren’t designed to organise the sheer volume of websites that exist now. There are hundreds of millions of websites that need to be ranked and Google handles around 100 billion search queries every month – a mammoth task by anyone’s standards. Of course as the number of sites grew, so did competition between them. Tactics and ideas emerged about how Google’s PageRank worked and so SEO as a business was born out of an essential need to rank above other sites in order to increase web traffic. From the turn of the millennium, Google has been dealing with the ongoing evolution of the internet, playing cat and mouse with SEO experts, who monitor and attempt to predict the search engine’s algorithm changes. The problem for Google is that, particularly in competitive industries, website owners were all carrying out very similar technical optimisation.

This included site structure, setting a ratio of keywords to copy, meta-tags, labeling of images and, of course, link-building. Many webmasters had created link-building programmes that were a sophisticated mix of automated and human requests. The combination of a hugely expanding index and a commitment to SEO techniques by millions of website owners meant that Google’s search accuracy at the top of its listings was being blunted.

It was no surprise then to witness Google’s latest manoeuvre in this ongoing battle: the introduction of several major algorithm updates that shifted the focus heavily onto the quality and quantity of website content. Overnight, owners of websites that were packed full of duplicate content, over-embellished with keywords or holding hundreds of pages of skeletal product information found their sites’ Google search positions plummeting. Sites with adequate content but no social media presence were also suffering. No community equals no authority.

These updates have moved the emphasis away from traditional SEO techniques towards the creation and curation of truly relevant and engaging content that feeds the market’s informational requirements. Certainly, many basic SEO tenets still apply today, but on their own they are impotent.

To build search rankings, it is becoming obvious that a new type of ‘SEOer’ is needed. The skill sets that are now required are significantly different from those of SEO practitioners that worked (and continue to work) on the principles set in place ten, five or even two years ago.

Moreover, search rankings themselves are no longer the single goal of the online marketer.

Those that have taken a holistic approach to the discipline have generally subscribed to the belief that content in context is king. By this we mean that simply producing great content is not enough – it needs to fall within the sphere of the audience’s interests and, if you really want to be noticed, you need to know what to do with the content.

Listen to your market. Find out what your audience needs and address the disconnect between this and your current user experience.

Currently there are still too many teams working independently on the technical side of SEO, social media, PPC, editorial or public relations. As the boundaries between these areas become blurred, as search engines change their ranking criteria and as online discovery has broadened to encompass Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social channels, it is necessary to tie these different aspects of online marketing together. Content has become the common binding agent.

Fortunately, increasing numbers of online marketers are embracing this holistic approach. The need for integrated campaigns is uniting marketing departments with IT and PR departments, thus bringing some very different skills together in order to achieve optimum online exposure.

For information to flow freely, communication channels need to be opened and widened. Everyone must work towards the same marketing objectives, and have access to a shared, collaborative content calendar.

Without marketing, public relations, and social media, content would have no distribution channels and be rendered useless. Without good content – be it in the form of industry news, blog commentary, press release, video, independent research or a white paper – the PR and marketing departments have little of interest to share and discuss with potential clients and customers.

As consumers become increasingly demanding of their informational requirements, and search engines become more adept at directing this information, high quality content is becoming more of a focal point.

If you are in the market for ‘SEO’ expertise, make sure you select people with the right combination of skill sets to deliver the best content possible, instead of relying on traditional SEOers who have picked up their creative skills out of necessity rather than out of a passion for communicating through content.