Content marketing is an over-used, under analyzed, ethereal KPI buzzword phrase in marketing which has gone to its logical conclusion, business owners blogging about uninteresting topics in order to connect or to keep their website fresh.
Content is Not a Means to an End
Years ago Google loved to rank larger websites with more content. This lead to bloggers, affiliates, and business owners churning out mediocre content ad nauseam, with the expected promise of future Google returns, traffic.
Now, the algorithm favors user experience as evidence by the rise of SERPs being heavily influenced by user engagement such as CTR (click through rate), Bounce Rate (if someone leaves your website right away), and Dwell Time (average time on site/page). This shift has caused mass hysteria and confusion among the content farms and zombie bloggers who feel more content is the answer to solving their inbound marketing and traffic woes, as they double down in a sunk-cost fallacy on creating even more content, in an act of insanity and futility.
Tell a Story That Doesn’t Suck: Content for Conversions
Grandpa can tell the same story around a campfire because his timing and delivery is perfected. A good story commands the audience's attention and speaks directly to their interest, which is an obvious, yet under-utilized tactic; what’s in it for the listener? A basic blog post or content piece about an old recipe is not going to elicit a spike in a baker’s sales, just as a long-winded post on accounting law isn’t going to win any corporate clients.
Information, or education as content marketing is the wrong approach. In fact, we are in information overload, with 339 miles stacked full of iPads couldn’t even hold the world wide web in 2010, and the amount of data is exponentially increasing each year. The numbers show why outdated tactics of attempting to educate or inform the public is content marketing suicide. A better approach is speaking to a prospect's pain and proving you can help him or her to resolve it, or at the very least mitigate their problem.
Affiliates, Brand Ambassadors, and Customer Experiences
When Dan Anton first began online marketing he understood the principles of Og Mandino, to multiply one's value you must multiply your efforts, and what better way than to have others promoting your goods or services? Known as affiliates or brand ambassadors, these customers are loyal because you solved their problem, and exceeded their expectations. Of course, most will want to be financially compensated for their own promotion of your products or services which is why platforms such as JVzoo, Clickbank, Amazon, and others exist to give financial incentive to those seeking to promote a quality good or service.
In order to get others to promote your product it needs to a) work b) have profit margins to support a “sales” force. Internet marketers began creating their own case studies, showing how the various SaaS (software as a service) products solved their problem – primarily online marketing. Now, instead of just the original case study by Dan and his team, there were literally hundreds of others talking, discussing and promoting the brand. Even if Dan decided to create 10,000 blog posts about online traffic generation, it wouldn’t amount to the real world customer signups and sales from creating a solid product, and leveraging case studies from trusted, top internet marketing experts.
As of now there are over 15,300 results in Google for BacklinksIndexer Review, and over 4,500,000 for Crowd Search Me Review. It’s important to note the original case study was the catalyst, giving impetus to others chronicling their own case studies, followed by testimonials on popular forums such as WarriorForum, BlackhatWorld, and individuals such as Terry Kyle and Jon Leger. An example video and screen shot below:
Gossip, Hype and Future Content Opportunities
No one wants to discuss something that is seen as old, boring, or useless. People are attracted to winners and winning scenarios. The first phase of turning Dan’s product from an average internet product was client storytelling in the form of case studies, or the weakest form, testimonials, which gave rise to affiliates and others promoting it. The second phase is gathering enough momentum to capitalize on the hype. Interest and momentum are critical to reach a large demographic, as seen by the Shark Tank effect, where contestants see a large uptick in sales and other investor interest just by being associated with the TV show.
Also known as PR, or Public Relations, it’s always easier to acquire press, when you have press, which is an ironic catch 22. Top communities and experts such as Semantic Mastery, Mike From Maine, and Carl Radley all requested interviews with Dan to discuss his products exponential rise in demand, grossing over 7 figures annually.
Real World Application of Repeating Dan Anton’s SEO Success
Not all businesses have the luxury of leveraging affiliates or brand ambassadors. If you sell cookies, teeth whitening or lawyer services chances are you have a referral fee at best, or are simply on an island against the competition. The principles of how Dan was able to scale quickly can be applied to any business model, albeit with more emphasis on customer reviews, and case studies.
Word of mouth has been usurped by digital reviews, allowing the customer’s words and experience to live on and influence others forever. It’s not simply enough to have reviews, as the competition most likely has them; you have to tell a story through a compelling case study. Meet Bob, he had yellow teeth and didn’t go out on a date in 5 years, and now here he is with his brand new smile, and just met the love of his life after flashing his pearly whites at her. Of course, this implies you are actually helping enough people to acquire real case studies, as savvy humans can spot a lie 90% of the time. Now a review is transformed into a relatable story. Sally had a large church gathering and needed 500 cookies by Monday, and no other bakery in the area was willing to help her, until she contact us “X” bakery. As long as you legitimately helped a customer, and exceeded their expectations they will most likely allow your public case study as long as you treat them with respect and fairness. Now, the business with the same amount of “reviews” can not connect on a deeper, human level because they are simply a 5 star law firm, whereas you helped Joe get money to help pay his mounting medical expenses.
Personalized Content: View Our KnowledgeBase Helpdesk is Outdated
In a world where most people are solely focused on not being taken advantage of, jaded individuals, by no fault of their own want assurances to know you as the business owner care about genuinely solving their problem, not just lightening their wallets.
Answering an array of telephone prompts just to hang up in frustration shows the attempt to dehumanize the sales process and customer service experience. It is the companies who decide to go the opposite approach, hyperpersonal, which are earning the trust and business of today’s educated and empowered consumer.
This lead to one of Dan Anton’s client facing digital marketing ventures, Atlanta SEO, where each client receives a personalized video consultation, 1 to 1. It’s a private video, only created for one individual. This piece of “content” takes up to 2 hours to create, and is completely free. The idea of showing a business owner everything upfront without payment or a contract scares most marketing agencies, as the “secret” is revealed and they will no longer need you, leading to a loss of business, and a waste of time.
Reality has proved just the opposite. Reciprocity principle shows when you explicitly and unapologetically show, not just say, how you can improve the prospects life on an individual level, conversion rate and content consumption increases. Image below is a snapshot of time spent viewing a few consultations, along with one generic video. Notice the average time viewing is much larger than the industry standard 4 minutes and 12 seconds.
The combination of the personal consultation, social proof through case studies, and rationale for the marketing plan/budget has lead to higher conversion rate, and at least a 150% increase in content consumption when compared to the industry average view duration time.
Humanity as Content: People do Business with People
Most business owners are afraid to put their face or state their value proposition, on why they want to earn a prospect's business. The ones that do are rewarded, as evidenced by lead conversion going up 500% by adding an exit video on the Atlanta SEO digital marketing agency website, from 1 lead a day to 5, with the same level and quality of traffic. Connecting, even on a superficial level, gives you the opportunity to eventually earn their trust and business through actions, not empty promises. The same traffic pre-video, pre-human connection, was exiting the agency without taking any action, due to fear, uncertainty, or even apathy. Lastly, content needs to be leveraged as a call to action.
5 Tips to Increase Traffic to Your Bakery Website is an antiquated way to execute content marketing. Generic blog posts have been replaced with reviews, storytelling (case studies), brand ambassadors (affiliates), press, personalization (consultation), and humanity (stating your value proposition as if they were a trusted friend or family member). This is how Dan Anton grew from a one-man software company to hiring dozens of top experts across the world and servicing thousands of clients, earning over 7 figures annually. If you believe in what you do, content is your vehicle to separate you from the herd of mediocrity.