We work with companies large and small, and in some instances, both types face the same business problem: that of raising awareness of a relatively unknown offering. Companies face this issue for a variety of reasons – it could be a new product initiative, whereby they have to start from scratch and lean on their brand (if they have one) to do some of the lifting. It could be because they operate in a crowded marketplace with longstanding incumbents and tough competition. The problem can also arise because the company simply isn’t good at marketing itself, even if its offerings are good.
In any event, all marketing is saddled with the same task: facilitating the sales process. While never easy, dealing with poor awareness in addition makes this task all the more difficult.
Oftentimes, companies first need to get themselves (or their products) “on the map” before their demand-gen will be effective. By this I mean it’s necessary to create a foundation for brand and product, and associate both with keywords important to your customer base. Doing so isn’t easy, as competitors will also be going after those same words and phrases; it’s doubly difficult if the competition is well-established.
Once on the map, a host of options present themselves.
But first things first: how to create that foundation? Fastest isn’t always most effective; conversely, the best route often isn’t the quickest. We (and the rest of the world) know that advertising is constantly diminishing in efficacy. Owned content fares better, but not by much.
Instead, earning inbound links from third-party properties is both effective and time-saving. Among its many benefits are that it dominates search engine results; is evergreen in nature; and it creates an organic link between your customers and your site, by virtue of the aforementioned keyword association.
Let’s take each of these in turn.
Third-party content is more dynamic (the sites housing it are updated more frequently), more interactive (read: drives greater engagement), and is more frequently cited (meaning, it bears authority vis-à-vis owned content). Third-party content ranks higher on search engine results, thus aiding discovery; and discovery is the first step toward efficacy (per moz.com, >90% of all clicks come from the top 2 pages of google.com).
All this can be summarized by the acronym BLOG = “better listings on google.”
Evergreen content never expires, quite unlike an ad campaign. Admittedly, its cost-benefit profile is more difficult to ascertain, but the proof is clear: just go to your favorite search engine to see the longevity of some articles. Try accomplishing that with advertising — or even owned content.
And finally, the organic keyword association generated by third-party content provides far better ROI because your customers are searching for those terms, and you don’t have to wade into the search engine war of attrition to gain association with them. By earning association with them while also aligning with third parties to broadcast your message, you’re employing a far more efficient strategy to gain that bond.
All of the above lead to the conclusion that aligning your product and brand with content published by third-party influencers represents a strategic shift in your marketing.
Generally, changes in strategy aren’t necessary when one is satisfied with the performance of one’s existing plan. How well does that describe your current marketing plan?
Image credit http://www.discoveryplace.org.