This approach to search engine optimisation is more akin to a typical PR campaign than a traditional SEO campaign — and the former, in my opinion, is the way that most digital agencies should be positioning themselves.
Yes, I’m gonna say it: content marketing is the way forward.
Now that I’ve got that buzzword out of my system, we can move on.
Creating truly engaging, fun, linkable content may not seem that daunting when you’re an exciting B2C company that has a quirky product behind it. Just look at the likes of Red Bull and their Stratos project or Oreo’s Daily Twist campaign. These were genius ideas that have already become iconic content marketing examples.
But it’s not always easy when you don’t have the kind of brand value or creative positioning that those companies have.
Around 90% of the companies that I work with operate within what you would typically classify as “boring” industries — I’m talking businesses that manufacture special valves to go within specific types of machinery.
There’s not the same kind of scope to do some of the more exciting product-related marketing activities, and these businesses are often incredibly brand-conscious. Plus, proposing to drop a bloke from space doesn’t always fill my clients with confidence in our work, let alone our sanity!
There is a solution, though — and it’s something that we’ve been executing to great effect for a number of our clients.
Positioning Your Clients As Thought Leaders
One of the approaches from which we’ve seen fantastic results involves positioning our clients as thought leaders within their fields. This works really well within B2B industries, especially when their product/service is very niche.
The idea behind the thought leadership is to develop some key members of staff within the organisation as experts within their field and have them featured across a number of top-tier publications (both online and offline), then use the reputation that we’ve built to bring in leads. This could be through search, social, offline or a number of other channels, but it all stems around the content we create.
Here’s a typical approach:
Identify key members within the organisation that we can run some thought leadership pieces around.Develop the message and story that we’re looking to position around the individual that falls in line with the values of the brand.Optimise their online presence to reflect the image that we’re trying to convey. This includes scripting their LinkedIn profiles, Twitter bios, etc. and ensuring that all of their online and offline presence falls in line with the message we’re conveying. In some cases there has been a personal blog set up for the individual to further amplify their image.Identify the top-tier publications that we’re going to target in order to get some coverage for the individual and wider brand.Develop a content roadmap that covers the major topics that we’re going to focus on and collate this against major industry topics, events and wider company news/campaigns.Work on a reputation catalyst to give us some credibility when pitching to the top-tier publications. What I mean by this is that we look to get a profile piece on a respected industry publication so that we can use this as a catalyst for further placements in the future.Identify industry influencers, journalists and major content producers so that we can work on building relationships with them.Get to work!
As I mentioned, content is at the heart of all this. This is where we will develop in-depth white papers surrounding the latest topics within the industry and work on some more visually appealing content that will appeal to some of the publications we’re targeting.