More and more businesses today concentrate on content marketing in their efforts to convert prospects and deliver sales.
And why shouldn't they? Publishing helpful information online has several advantages that traditional advertising is missing: it offers the chance to explore new marketing methods that people don't surf away from, it educates prospects in different niches, and (most important) it provides new interaction opportunities.
In this article, I will focus on choosing the channels where you can cast your content, and preparing the actual publishing process. Along the way, I will point out some online resources that I find helpful in implementing broadcasting strategies for content marketing.
Play the Broadcasting Manager
I confess I really love this game! A few years ago I worked with broadcast management systems, and much of what I learned back then can be applied successfully in publishing content online.
What's a broadcasting manager? Well, it's someone who oversees everything that goes in the playlist and then gets casted across the network. That's not very different from what a content strategist is supposed to do :).
A broadcasting strategy in a TV network contains three key elements:
The Automation Machine
Let's go over them one by one and see how they fit in content marketing:
Broadcasting networks include different types of channels: analog and digital, physical and virtual, linear and non-linear and so on.
The same goes for content marketing. Online channels come from different platforms and feature different characteristics, each providing unique advantages for your content.
Here are some types of channels that you should implement in your broadcasting strategy:
This channel type gives you the chance to publish thorough "how-to" information and share insights about your business in a detailed manner. You can also boost your audience' interest by combining quality text with images and videos.
These benefits are reflected in the increasing trend to use blogs as a content marketing tactic. According to a Content Marketing Institute Report, the use of blogs has increased in 2011 by 27%, from the previous year.
To cast the content that you push through these articles, you definitely need to have your own business blog. For more visibility and a wider audience, it is important to post also on other blogs in your industry, that accept guest articles. Each of the blogs you post on will represent a separate channel.
Video sharing sites
The main advantage in implementing these channels is that video content is the most "digestible" for people online. This happens because watching presentations, webinars and "how to" videos is much more engaging than reading plain text, from the audience's perspective.
Also, the fact that more and more mobile devices integrate support for video content contributes to the growing importance of video sharing sites in online marketing.
In choosing the most effective video channels, you should consider their visits market share for the region you are targeting.
Below, I have prepared a short list with the most popular international video sites, where you can share your content:
YouTube (76% online video visits market share in US, 2011)
Youku (39.1% online video visits market share in China, 2011)
RuTube(30% online video advertising market share in Russia, 2011)
Social media networks
Integrating social media channels is a necessity, without a doubt. These channels are like the pistons in an engine, making the entire content marketing strategy work.
The articles, videos and other events that you promote on social media have the best chances to be spread globally and contribute to building your online authority.
But it's not enough to share only posts that have already been casted on other channels. Unique content published on social profiles can be highly popular and trigger a great number of reactions, as it happened with Rand Fishkin’s unique post on Google+.
In choosing the social channels, you should consider the platforms with the strongest market share concerning the number of visits. Below you have a short list with of the social networks with the highest market share of visits in US, calculated for December 2011:
Another way to cast valuable content is via emails. The main advantage from the previous channels is that here you have the ability to know exactly and filter your audience, sending out the emails only to prospects or customers that meet certain criteria.
An interesting stats fact is that in 2011 the use of webmail and mobile mail has reached to 44%, and 23%, respectively. Also, 44% of email recipients have been converted into placing at least one purchase.
In setting up an effective email marketing plan, you can approach several types of emails:
Active participation in conferences
Although the presence at major conferences involves high costs, the opportunities for your business are amazing. Introducing breakthrough ideas in a quality presentation gives you an excellent chance to do content marketing at conferences and share your expertise on the subjects that matter most.
The content that you produce of this occasion gives you a huge exposure online, being spread rapidly across social networks.
For each industry there are several conferences organized each year. Before deciding to attend any of them, you should consider three evaluation criteria:
Cost effectiveness - estimate how much you will invest in traveling and actual participation and what you will gain from this event
Exposure - research how many participants usually attend the event and how many talk about it afterwards
Being a speaker - this possibility has a major influence on the benefits that you might gain later on from participating at the event
All these channels are connected with one another, like TV channels in a broadcasting network. The content you cast on one channel can easily be promoted on the others.
For example, when you publish a new blog article, you should post the information also on your social media profiles, or when you create a new series of video tutorials, you can write a short blog post about the event.
Before publishing any content, there is one more step you need to take. And that is to schedule the articles, videos, emails and social media posts that you have prepared.
Scheduling your content in time helps you keep a close eye on the frequency of your publishing process. This way, you can easily spot long gaps between posts, or prevent cases where articles or shares are published too quickly one after the other, leaving good content buried too deep on the channel.
You can schedule your content by creating a playlist with all the items you have prepared.
The old fashion way is to set up an Excel sheet (this is what I did) with channels on columns and publishing dates on rows.
This may not look much like a TV playlist (it doesn’t have a start, end time and duration of the items to be casted), but it’s good enough for content marketing, since the "airtime" management here is a lot more flexible.
As you publish the items, you can set up a color code to mark the remaining content in the playlist. For example, you could use green for "published" and red for "scheduled". If you also want to keep track of your authors, you can use a different color code to mark the titles of their posts.
When scheduling and posting the content are not done by the same person, you need to make sure that the items added to the playlist already have the content and the media support ready for broadcast. Otherwise, there is a risk that unfinished article drafts get broadcasted.
The Automation Machine
In television, the automation machine is the system that broadcasts the material contained in the playlist. The workflow looks pretty simple from the user’s point of view: you feed the playlist with all the programs and spots that you want to broadcast and the system will “know” what material to play and when to play it.
This is great for TV channels with 24/7 casting. But when it comes to content marketing, things get a little more complicated. With the technology today (that I know of), setting up a unified automatic workflow for broadcasting scheduled content on all types of channels (blogs, video and social sites) is not possible yet.
So, what is there to do for channels where the great majority of your audience is on a different time zone?
Well, for now you can use the automatic publishing settings that each content marketing channel provides on its own.
For example if your blog is built on a WordPress platform, once you’ve done preparing the draft, you can easily use the posts scheduling feature so that the new article is published at a date and time of your choice. Just as well, for video content on YouTube you can use the scheduled uploads feature. This will publish the video material you’ve uploaded even when you are offline.
You can publish content automatically at a scheduled time also on some social medial channels. For example, for Twitter you can use the TweetDeck to schedule tweets for followers from different time zones.
Fresh online information is published everyday, making content marketing a very challenging process. But the success it brings, building strong, authority based relationships, and growing online visibility is what makes it worth all efforts.
And the good news is that this success can be determined in detail, with a great number of efficient search engine optimization metrics.
I hope you have enjoyed my broadcasting manager game :). It'd be interesting to learn what other channels you use to cast the content you produce, and how you keep track of it's success. I'm looking forward to reading your suggestions in the comments box below.
Aura Dozescu was a Customer Care Specialist for AWR. Passionate about Internet Marketing and SEO technologies, she worked closely with SEO software developers to implement the feedback received from customers.
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