Content Marketing And The Big Tease

Publishers from Huffington Post and Drudge Report to The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are all very good at the tease. Moreover, as they've gotten savvier about SEO over the last 10 years, they've gotten increasingly good at leveraging rising and falling memes, as well as keywords, in their arsenal of teases. So, for this latest post in my content marketing series, I dissect the tease. 

A good tease includes carefully worded headlines -- along with promotions that live alongside or at the bottom of any content you may be reading that lead you to other, related content. Importantly, standard teases also include a very important device: the newsletter.  So what can marketers learn from these successful publishers?

Fresh Content vs Evergreen Content  

Successful publishers know that they must produce a constant stream of fresh content that speaks to the interests and needs of their readers. Marketers must do the same. Ideally, this content will overlap to the extent practicable with topics that are hot for some reason in the world, which is called the rising meme. Why? As folks chat over the proverbial water cooler about the hot topics of the day, they rush back to their device of choice to do a search. It would be nice if your content could be included among the results they get, right? 



Publishers also pay attention to which content draws the most visitors over a sustained period of time. This is evergreen content.  Promoting that content means it will continue to rise in search rankings as it gets more and more popular - which also makes it highly efficient content (you only needed to write it once, but it keeps bringing in an audience with almost no additional effort). Marketers should pay careful attention to the content they produce that becomes evergreen.

Promote Your Content: SEO

Though harder and harder to get into page-one rankings, well-optimized headlines and content can be a great source of traffic if they tap into the interests of your audience. I remember once writing a post about the Google 10-pack -- and because people were always doing searches for how to optimize for it, and I wrote my headline well, it was the number-one result for two years running for several search queries relating to the 10-pack.  You can do the same. Eexperiment with headline writing and make sure your content is strong, genuine and relevant (as I've discussed in an earlier post in this content marketing series). 

Promote Your Content: Newsletters

Nearly every publisher worth its salt produces not just one, but a whole range of email newsletters. These newsletters, which are distributed at daily and/or weekly intervals, simply repurpose the content you'll find in a site, and usually highlight the most-read or most-shared headlines and snippets. All snippets link back to the actual story on the site, of course. Newsletters typically also feature visual media such as a photo or video. Importantly, these newsletters are informative and specific, reflecting the interests of the audience. The big bottom line: after all these years, newsletters still perform.

For marketers, the temptation is to use newsletters as a purely promotional device -- to sell, sell, sell their audiences. This is a mistake. People invite you into their inbox only if they feel they're going to get something that is useful to them -- something reliably enriching in some way. It doesn't mean you can't include a promotion somewhere in the newsletter. It does mean, however, that substantive, useful content is featured in the main and secondary headlines.  It could be industry news. Or trend news.  It could be information about a charitable cause both your brand and your audience care about.  And it could be professional education.  Do all this and you'll drive more traffic, greater engagement and stronger loyalty to your brand. 

Collect and Segment Subscribers to Newsletters 

It's important, then, that you've also got a plan to promote your newsletter in every channel of an integrated marketing plan. Making it easy and frictionless to sign up must be a top priority. Make sure you know enough about your subscribers, though.  You want to be able to put them in the right list so that they get only the sorts of content that speaks to their interests. 

Publish Newsletters Somewhere on Your Site 

Finally, make sure you create an archive of all your newsletters somewhere on your website -- ideally via a link from a community or blog page.  Believe it or not, there are people who like to refer back to newsletters as they remember a particular headline that has useful information. It's also another way to enhance SEO for your website.

Are you a good tease? What are some of your strategies? Share them below! The content marketing series continues next week with a post focused on photos and photography.

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