Understanding Content And How It Drives Site Traffic

As I discussed in the first of this series of posts on content strategy, marketers increasingly must think about their jobs in terms of major media companies -- producing constantly updating streams of media that engage, inform, entertain and result in widespread sharing among audience networks.  In future posts, we'll get to how these activities can lead to bottom-line-oriented outcomes, but today I'll focus on the various definitions of "content" and why each is important to your strategy.

Proprietary Content 

This category of content is the most important and will form the basis of SEO, social sharing, and lead- and demand-generation objectives.  It's the stuff your teams produce, completely original and owned exclusively by you. It's the stuff you write for blog posts, press releases, e-books, conference presentations, original research and static Web site copy. It also includes your proprietary video, audio, webcasts and animated demonstrations.  This content also includes your information graphics, illustrations and photos. Whether in-house teams produce this stuff or you hire third parties to produce it on your behalf, proprietary content can only be called that if you own all the rights to it.



Central to the development of all proprietary content should be three considerations (there are others, but these are primary):

1.  Your audience, their interests and tastes, and the ways in which they look for subject matter related to your business.

2.  Your keyword strategies and SEO objectives.

3.  Rising and falling memes and how those relate to or can be leveraged in your own content.

Because it is completely original and owned just by you, your proprietary content is the stuff that will be indexed by the search engines; linked to by bloggers, social sharers and the news media; and referenced in places like academic research or conference presentations. It takes priority above all other forms of content.

Syndicated and Third-Party Content

Syndicated or other third-party content can be a great way to augment proprietary content. This might include subscriptions to Getty Images, research from places like Altimeter, Forrester or IDC, and even targeted news feed services from places like Reuters.  Subscriptions may seems expensive but, when compared with the effort to produce enough original, proprietary content on a daily basis, may present an effective alternative that is also authoritative and of very high quality.

Fair-Use Content

Services like Daylife, Moveover and OneSpot make it easy to aggregate, categorize and curate an enormous volume of free, fair-use media from tens of thousands of sources all over the Web. These services also make it possible to present these sources by media type in attractive modules arranged around your proprietary content to bring constantly updating context and perspective from around the Web. These include modules with rivers of headlines, snippets and associated thumbnail photos; photo galleries; video galleries; pull-quotes; timeline graphics; and rivers of topically appropriate social-media feeds from Twitter and others. They can also help large enterprises with multiple content management systems in place to lasso, organize and present their own, proprietary content more efficiently and effectively. 

Movement Marketing 

Though this category of content could be a series of blog posts by itself, I'll summarize it by saying brands increasingly turn to movement marketing as way to effectively engage audiences around issues or ideas both value in common.  Movement marketing enables you to produce content and engagement activities that leverage memes adjacent to your brand -- environmental or green issues, for instance, or breast cancer awareness -- and to appropriate the associated keywords in an authentic way that creates a win for you, for your audience and for the cause you both believe in.  And, it's a great way to capture images of your audience interacting with your brand and its representatives --  to humanize what might otherwise be a completely corporate face. 

In such limited space, I've no doubt left out important ideas here, so please feel free to add your own in the comments space below, or to offer additional clarification and feedback.  In the next post in this series, I'll be discussing my favorite mantra: Produce once, repurpose many!

3 comments about "Understanding Content And How It Drives Site Traffic".
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  1. Joshua Hofmann from Vertical Acuity, April 18, 2011 at noon

    Great article series thus far Derek. For syndicated and third party content, I would also add my company (Vertical Acuity) as a cost effective alternative to traditional syndication. We offer a metered model that allows any publisher to bring in hundreds of thousands of full page, rights cleared, quality articles and videos from top publishers to supplement their existing content - no CMS integration required. Publishers can choose to bring in content algorithmically, or they can use our curation tools to supplement their existing site sections and pages. Looking forward to the next article. Thanks, Josh Hofmann

  2. Chris Nielsen from Domain Incubation, April 18, 2011 at 3:54 p.m.

    Derek, I was just wondering... could you comment on the place that sellf-promotional or spam comments have in the average content strategy?

  3. Stephen Kavita from E-wise Secrets, August 7, 2012 at 3:31 a.m.

    If there is one thing that will never miss in the search engine algorithm formula is content. This is the driving force on the internet. There are various forms of content which include images, still pictures, podcast but the best is text.

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