Content Marketing's Four Horsemen

Diversified Content Marketing

No one cared when I preached, "Content marketing" in 2003. Now everyone is creating "inbound marketing". Some good things happen when everyone does something online. Overall quality of whatever the group marketing is doing tends to go up. One very big bad thing happens too. Chances for your content to shine are reduced by the noise of success. This post is about how to fortify your content marketing with the four horsemen:

Four Horsemen of Content Marketing

* Content creation.

* Content curation.

* User Generated Content (UGC) engine.

* Ecommerce.

Content Marketing Horseman #1: Create Daily

When you don't know what you don't know create a lot of content every day, but always have "narrowing the funnel" as your goal. Narrowing the funnel is when you can safely reduce your traffic net because you know what content brings converting traffic.

The key is connecting the top of your content marketing funnel (traffic generation) to the bottom (conversion). We are working on a new tool called SpinSnip to help see the connection between lead generation and conversion. While we work to make content marketing more accountable cast a large net at first, review your traffic and conversion metrics to determine the 3 to 5 kinds of content that generate the most conversion.

Remember to be generous. "Conversion" isn't just when someone writes a check. Other important conversions include:

  • Joining your email list. 

  • Spending more time on your website (not bouncing). 

  • Advocating your website on social media (brand advocates). 

  • Gaining more social media followers, likes, links and shares. 

Think of these bullets as indicators you will make money. If these non-material indicators aren't trending positive neither will your revenue. At the same time don't chase followers for followers sake. Learn to model social signals to conversions and be able to walk and talk the monetary importance of non-monetary conversions.

Content Marketing Horseman #2: Curation

I made waves at a recent SEO Meetup suggesting the correct ratio is 90% curation to 10% creation. As you curate more you listen better. We live in a social time where creating conversations and confirming social signals is more important than publishing War and Peace Volume III.

Content marketers can get more done faster and cheaper by curating content. Curate gurus is your business vertical or even great information from competitors. When you curate competitor content you look and act like the content authority (of your space) Google is always on the look out for.

Curation is a great testing ground. I rarely write a blog post until curation tests the waters. Curation provides more feedback faster than creation so finding your "winning" content requires great curation. What is "content curation"? 

Content Marketing Horseman #3: UGC Engine

Your website can't climb this new content marketing Everest on its own. You mist win hearts and minds while developing fierce brand advocates. User Generated Content, or putting OPC (Other People's Content) on your website is one of the fastest and best ways to win hearts and minds.

Contests, games, leaderboards and gamification are HOT because they work. When you create community your content marketing matters more. UGC creates the web's most prized virtuous cycle where you get MORE with LESS effort and costs. You get MORE because an army of Sherpas are helping your cause.

For your content marketing to be successful you must cherish, reward and ask for UGC.

Content Marketing Horseman #4: Ecom

Ecommerce is more than selling things online. Ecom websites also have great UGC, high "ping rate" (people checking and contributing to websites creates a modeled expectation with Google I call a "ping rate") and they make money. No matter what your online presence could benefit from having a store.

"But we are B2B," I hear all the time as if B2B SEO was different. It is not and post Google's Panda and Penguin updates all websites would be well advised to add the engagement, traffic and UGC ecommerce brings especially since the costs of creating a store is falling rapidly. What happens when your B2B competitor creates a store faster than you? Answer: SEO PAIN.

Beat your competitors to the punch by riding each of the four horsemen of content marketing to diversify and strength your content marketing. I love advice that says, "Create great content," without any tips on how to do that. My biggest tip is to ride the 4 horsemen of content marketing and do something daily, something you can learn from and improve as you go.

Your content marketing will fall off one or all of these horses. Don't worry since falling is to be expected. If you didn't fall you wouldn't be testing the limits of your content marketing. When you fall don't let the fall slow your content marketing down. You content marketing becomes GREAT at least partly because you've fallen and gotten up.

Fall faster and harder and you approach content marketing greatness. Greatness will be the price of the new content marketing poker too since when everyone does something quality will get better even as differentiation gets harder. Ride these four horses of content marketing and then we can discuss how to disrupt your model, use asynchronous thinking to find the seams inside your business vertical. You have to master content marketing before you can riff other cool Internet marketing ideas so hop up, sink spurs and get going.


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