Content marketing and social media were definitely amongst the most popular marketing buzzwords for 2011, with an enormous volume of opinions, commentary and predications published on how these potential strategies and channels will impact how marketers reach and engage with their audiences.
In a recent poll we carried out via the LinkedIn B2B Marketing Group, we asked;
‘What do you consider the most important element of your online marketing strategy?’
The clear winner of the survey was content marketing, with 44% of voters rating it the vital element of their approach.
Second place went to an integrated strategy, with 30% of voters advocating a joined-up approach using search marketing, content marketing and social media together.
Opinion was tied on the value of search marketing and social media, with each scoring 13%.
We found the results of the survey to be interesting in that it indicates several general views:
- Content marketing is judged to be the most effective strategy for delivering on business objectives (increased market share, customer loyalty and brand awareness)
- Search marketing (SEO, PPC) is not as effective as other channels
- Social media is not really an effective channel for B2B marketing
Despite Vertical Leap being a search company, we can totally understand why 13% of the group think that search is a lesser marketing strategy these days. It’s because traditional SEO and paid search techniques have been rendered obsolete by the changing face of search engines, and the rise of content marketing and social media.
We agree that content marketing is crucial for businesses, but also that you need balance to create the most effective online marketing strategy. We’re with the 30%.
If you are a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that we believe an integrated search, content and social media strategy is the only way to create a brand presence that reaches and dominates every area of the online marketplace. This is why:
To be successful online today, you need more than traditional SEO and paid search marketing.
Content is a hugely significant factor in determining a website’s value to search engines and target markets. Just look at Google’s latest move. Panda decimated poor quality content based websites, Caffeine demonstrated the requirement for regular additions of new content and now ‘Search Plus Your World’ has reinforced the need for high quality, sharable content.
Social media enables brands to publish and promote messages beyond company websites, affecting reputation, awareness and loyalty.
Distil all this and you can very simply check your strategy:
SEO without content or social media = zero!
You need great content to demonstrate your value to the search engines, attain rankings and attract visitors. Social media presence is now definitely a ranking factor, so your content needs to be targeted and sharable to your social audience.
Paid search without content or social media = zilch!
Ads with content that will resonate with your target market will attract and convert clicks. Advertising via social media (LinkedIn, Facebook) is a highly effective channel for many businesses, and can be more profitable than Google AdWords.
Content without SEO, paid search or social media = Sweet Fanny Adams!
You can create all the great, engaging and relevant content in the world, but without channels to deliver it to your audience, it will never reach anyone and languish…unread and unloved.
Search + Content + Social = Winner! Congratulations, you now have a brilliant strategy and are ready to conquer your competitors!
We coined the term ‘Content-driven Search Marketing’ to describe how we work, because businesses need a well optimised website, highly targeted paid advertising and a strong engaging social media voice to fully leverage the benefits of content marketing.