The days of guest blogging to product pages are over, but that doesn’t mean content promotion is any less important to eCommerce success. The retail brands that promote content well today are the ones that will stand out in more marketing channels than just organic search. And if organic search happens to be the only channel that matters to your role, then you are actually at the biggest risk of losing brand authority and rankings on Google.
Many brands are so used to driving off-site signals directly to their product pages that they have lost sight of the bigger picture at Google. Matt Cutts and his Webspam team have been busy hacking product page link-spam from the index, which has made the editorial side of the link graph exponentially more powerful. Off-site signals are still the most heavily weighted part of the algorithm, but this weight is now spread across a smaller number of legitimate sources. By default, each source has more weighting now.
From an algorithmic perspective, the retail brands that haven’t been executing an editorial content promotion strategy now run the serious risk of appearing as content farms with little authority. On the other hand, brands that understand editorial content promotion are building legitimate online brands with authority in search and the eyes of their customers alike.
Promotion of Editorial Content
The retail brands that only partially commit to editorial content strategies will only see partial success. Brands often produce informative, helpful editorial content such as infographics and ebooks, but fail to implement an effective promotion strategy. This “publish and pray” promotion strategy –or lack thereof—leads to great content failing to drive the necessary off-site brand authority needed to improve search rankings.
If you have editorial content sitting on your site that was never adequately promoted, in many cases it may not be too late to pitch it to the online media outlets in your space. And if you’re lucky, they’ll appreciate the content enough to feature it in a post and link back to your brand in an authentic way. A similar campaign for a Fortune 500 retailer drove nearly 70 top online media mentions and links to content that was produced nearly a year before. The brand’s team was shocked at the success and felt like the content they worked hard to produce was getting the recognition it deserved.
Editorial content promotion is serious business. The most effective promotion campaigns consider the online media’s needs before content is even produced. This research will raise your confidence when pitching your content to the media because you’ll know it matches their audience’s needs.
Outreaching to established media outlets and asking them to cover content takes experience and savvy. It can be quite a bit more challenging than asking for a guest post on a small blog. In order to ensure success, it’s smart to partner with an experienced agency that specializes in content promotion.
Promotion of Product Content
Promotion of editorial content is going to drive more search authority and product views, but what if you still want to directly promote product pages?
In this case, you’ve got to pay to play. It’s no longer worth the risk of trying to link build directly to product pages.
Luckily, 2014 has been a watershed year for native advertising on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. These new marketing channels are built to drive awareness and traffic to your products. While paid native advertising won’t directly drive more authority in search, it can spur social influencers and bloggers to find your products and naturally link to them.
Companies are having great success promoting highly visual products on Pinterest, but similar successes are being had on Facebook and Twitter as well. LinkedIn is typically a better advertising channel for B2B services, but one could easily make a case for promoting business products, such as suits and laptops, on native LinkedIn.
Native advertising is also a great way to promote editorial content. Editorial newsworthy content will tend to have higher click-through rates in native advertising because it’s closer to what users expect to see in their news feeds. An ideal native advertising promotion may combine a product with very useful information.
To learn more about the multitude of earned and paid methods for promoting your content, download The Content Promotion & Distribution Cheat Sheet.
Photo of women producing content by Bernard Goldbach published under Creative Commons license.
This post first appeared on the BloomReach blog and is the sixth part of a series on marketing your content.