By Samuel Scott
If you are using a social-media marketing strategy without a corresponding content-marketing one, you are most likely wasting your time. As different parts of the Internet increasingly affect and influence each other in marketing terms, it is also increasingly important to use an integrated strategy that incorporates these numerous factors.
My example: Buffy Summers. As you may know, that is the name of the main character in the American cult-television program “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” I have always been a fan of the seven-season show since it premiered when I was in college in 1997, so I have spent my evenings after work over the past few months building a fan website entitled Buffy the Vampire Slayer Online. (Hey, everyone has a hobby!)
Since I am an inbound marketer, you can probably guess that my goal is to get a lot of traffic and then sell advertising while also getting the visitors to purchase “Buffy” merchandise and earn me a cut of the sales revenue.
Still, I first created and now market the website for an additional reason: I test the latest theories in search-engine optimization (SEO), social-media marketing (SMM), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, and other tactics to determine what specifically “works” – and then I apply those that are successful to The Cline Group’s clients. My colleagues and I specialize in creating holistic marketing and PR strategies that are aligned with each client’s business goals, and the testing on my personal site allows me to do that more effectively.
Since we, of course, never divulge private information pertaining to specific clients, The Cline Group invited me to present some results in a blog-post series from the work on my personal site. Obviously, I was happy to provide an example of a holistic-marketing strategy that has obtained results including getting roughly 2,000 Facebook “likes” in a couple of weeks.
And how did I do that? First, let me tell you a story – one that does not include a teenage girl in southern California who battles demons and saves the world. (Well, not directly.) Still, it is important to remember that the ideas are what matter – the principles here can be applied to any marketing strategy for any company (and not only a website about a TV show).
Website Development and Optimization
Just as you would first slap a fresh coat of paint on your home before showing it to potential buyers, I first created a quality, SEO-optimized website that also contains the best content on various “Buffy” topics. (If you already have a website, then it usually necessitates a “revamp” – no pun intended.) The principle is that an inbound-marketing website needs to combine:
- Quality design
- Keyword, social-media, and technical optimization
- Quality content to attract both people and search engines. You want to build a wonderful destination long before you start trying to get people there
After conducting keyword research, I created an extensive website with a keyword-based hierarchy (the site is an ongoing project since I focus most of my time on client work, and I’ll probably improve the design soon). A partial example:
Optimizing the pages of a website is not just about putting keywords on the pages (that was so 1997). It now involves a content strategy that usually answers this question: “What will make this page the best resource on the Internet for people searching for that keyword?” (The technical-optimization process itself is long and complex, so I will skip the details.) Quality content helps SEO itself – and it inspires visitors to link to you (and Facebook “like” you), both of which also increase Google rankings.
In brief, here are three examples:
- For the “Buffy conventions” page, I scoured the Internet and compiled a list with information on each and every event throughout the world this year. No other page on the Internet contains such a full list. So, Google now considers this page to be one of the top “authorities” for that keyword, and I get dozens of visitors a day just from that keyword because the page ranks highly.
- For the “Watch Buffy Epsiodes Online” page, I also looked through all of the major TV websites that would permit me to embed full-length episodes on the page (legally!). I then created various subpages listing the embedded videos by season and popular episodes individually.
- Since I was a Boston newspaper editor in my first career who still loves to write, I write high-level, academic, original Buffy blog posts every few weeks on the philosophical themes of the show (“Would Aristotle Think that Buffy is Ethical?”). The content helps SEO and encourages social-media sharing as well.
But SEO, ongoing linkbuilding, and blogging were not enough – search marketing is very powerful once you are successful, but it takes a long time to get there. Here has been my monthly organic traffic since September 2011:
To get results more quickly, I also needed social media, public relations, and PPC. So, what I did next will be the second post in this series. Stay tuned, and get ready to learn how to stake the competition!
A related post of mine from earlier: Creating Brand Ambassadors Like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”