Why Engagement Isn’t Enough in Content Marketing

By the end of his session at Interactive Day San Diego*, Ronell Smith of Moz had convinced an audience of content and digital marketing professionals that their traditional focus on creating “engaging content” is not enough to move the needle.  Why? Because creating content isn’t a one and done effort. It hinges on creating a vibrant community – and that takes time and effort.

Organik SEO had the pleasure of covering Interactive Day San Diego, a popular digital marketing conference, this year. Stay tuned for more tips and strategies from the conference on our blog and social channels. 

Think of Engagement Differently

Smith says that engagement should be a goal, but not THE goal. It’s essential to consider what your brand wants to stand for and what you want it to be known for. For most brands, the focus is on simply getting more engagement, more shares and more link juice. But once you have engagement, what do you do with it? What’s the end goal? This, says Smith, is what content marketing professionals have to move past. 

“Engaging content is a horrible goal. It just means someone took an action. But will it move the needle?” @RonellSmith of @Moz #IDSD

Get People to Talk About Your Brand Positively

If you aren’t thinking about reviews and positive interactions as a part of your content marketing strategy, perhaps you should. This includes answering questions on Quora, being there for your customers on social media and developing a review strategy. Think outside the box and be a resource to your online community. Content marketing is about more than writing blog posts, it’s about conversations. 

Humanize Your Brand

Consider choosing a spokesperson to be a visual representation of your brand. Smith says one of the biggest impediments to content marketing success is brands’ unwillingness to try something new. But new can be good – very good! Take, for example, one of my favorite examples of content marketing success – which, coincidentally, I learned is one of Smith’s favorite examples – Blendtec. The company recorded the CEO using Blendtec blenders to crush, pulverize and smoothie-fie everything from cellphones to Justin Bieber CDs in their ‘Will It Blend?’ series. He’s no award-winning actor (which oddly makes the videos even better) but he brings personality and fun to the company through his humor. These videos were widely popular and proved that these blenders can, indeed, blend almost anything. 

Make Trust Work for Your Brand

Smith encourages brands to share weekly videos from their companies. These videos could be about what your team has learned this week, a team member’s insight into a recent topic of interest or, really, anything that could be of interest to your audience. Smith also suggests podcasting. Podcasting is a powerful way to get your brand’s name out there and engage with influencers (hello, interviews). These visual mediums create trust and expose consumers to a more ‘real’ side of the company. 

Think Differently About Links

This one’s for the SEOs. “If we think about producing and sharing great content, the links happen organically,” says Smith. The old way of thinking is building links to content. Instead, Smith says we need to focus on sharing content to relevant social streams. This means no more chasing links and creates the potential for an engaged, excited social media audience. Everyone wins! 

How Loyal is Your Audience?

If you have a loyal audience, only then will your content marketing strategy work. Moz, for example, has amazing content sharing because they’ve developed a powerful community. The people who are coming back consistently to websites want to see content above the fold on websites, not testimonials, not design. Play with various types of content (blog, video, photography) and see what works. And remember,

“Go beyond using content to build an audience. Build a community.” @RonellSmith of @moz  at #IDSD

Bonus Round: Tools to Assist in Content Marketing Success

The tools Smith suggests help with creation of effective blogs, inform influencer outreach campaigns and assist with keyword research.

OpenSiteExplorer
BuzzSumo
Moz Content (allows you to conduct audits)

Bonus, Bonus Round: Brands Smith Loves for Their Content Marketing Efforts

The following brands are using blogging, social media and multimedia to enhance their presence, engage with customers and create community online.

GE
Lowe’s
Clorox

Will you take Smith’s challenge? “Will you work hard enough and consistently enough to be successful?” Content marketing takes time! @RonellSmith of @moz  at #IDSD

Learn more about Interactive Day San Diego here: Interactive Day San Diego information.

Find out how Organik SEO can help you move past engagement and to build an engaged following online through SEO, content and social media: Organik SEO – Our Process.