iGB Affiliate 55 Feb/Mar - Page 54

INSIGHT THE POWER OF BLOGGING Content marketing can be a powerful strategy for any online business but only when done right, writes 90 Digital CEO Aferdita Pacrami, who provides her guide to effective leveraging of blogs to gain more traffic, trust and conversions. CONTENT MARKETING HAS been a buzzword for as long as I’ve been involved in SEO; yet, over the years, I’ve seen few examples of content done right, especially with affiliates. Sometimes this is put down to lack of budgets or resources, or a resistance to breaking away from the norm. If every affiliate under the sun has ‘unbiased’ bookie reviews, your equally ‘unbiased’ reviews won’t give you a competitive advantage. Mainly, I think there’s a misunderstanding of what ‘good’ content is and the value it can add to your site. on sports events after the fact, you’re not competing with operators that have big budgets, you’re competing with big sports news publishers that are far more trusted and established than you or operators. You can now start putting together a strategy. How are you going to get readership? Creating really great content is just one element; you need to think about building links to your articles, leveraging social, and using PPC (owned, earned, paid). Also, what do you expect users to do when they land on your blog? Reading and leaving isn’t really a strategy; “PPC can work very well with content marketing. The keywords you can target are less competitive and cheaper than betting keywords.” In this article, I’m going to focus on blogs. Most affiliates will have at one point decided to set up a blog on their site because they know that content can help gain traffic. The problem is that there’s usually not much thought put into blogging, either outcomes haven’t been properly defined, a strategy hasn’t been set, and ways to convert readers have not been identified. Without this, blogging could end up being a waste of time and money. Planning With any marketing campaign, you need to first define its business objectives. Why are you doing this? It shouldn’t be because this is just the norm or many marketers recommend it. With a strong blog you can generate additional traffic to your site, create a community with returning visitors, as well as show legitimacy and thought leadership. In this step, you need to identify a USP for your blog. If you’re just writing articles 50 iGB Affiliate Issue 55 FEB/MAR 2016 they can continue reading more articles, bookmark your site to return later, follow you on social. And lastly, what are the ideal outcomes? Here you should think about micro conversions, such as signing up to your newsletter, to macro conversions like signing up to a bookmaker using your affiliate link. Creation As mentioned above, just having articles on sporting events isn’t enough to gain readership. You need to identify what your competition is doing, be objective about the quality of their content, and figure out if you’re able to do it better. There’s no point in creating a comprehensive history of the Grand National if there are already very detailed resources out there, but if you can access archive news, images, or recordings of past events from libraries, then you’ve got something unique. If you’re writing an article, beyond just assessing the competition and researching your target audience to identify their interests, questions, and where they hang out, you should start with keyword research. While your main site targets transactional and possibly navigational (if you’ve got a strong brand or if you rank well on bookies’ brands) searches, your blog should focus on informational searches. Informational searches (ones where the user is trying to find the answer to a question or looking for more information on a sub ject) make up between 50-80% of all searches. A lot of affiliates will focus on transactional searches; informational searches offer a much larger search volume and if the content and calls to action on your site are handled right you stand to gain more from these users than the ones that are only after getting the best deal. The key here is quality over quantity; if you don’t have the budgets to compete then invest in one high-quality article (graphic, right media, microsite) instead of writing loads of generic articles that will never get read. Alternatively, find cheaper ways of getting things done. If you’re at an event (or watching it on TV) you can provide live coverage from WordPress on your smartphone, using If This Then That (ifttt.com) recipes to automatically post specific tweets to your blog for a curated list of relevant updates. In fact, you can automate a lot of your blogging efforts using IFTTT recipes. Promotion Once you’ve got something strong to work with, you need to start promoting it through link building, social, and paid. Good content alone will not bring users to your site. You’ll find that building links to your content will be much easier than building links to your site. People don’t