Sam Hurley’s tips on content marketing

A few days ago, I’ve had the chance to exchange and discuss with Sam Hurley about content marketing. It was very interesting to get his point of view on this topic. Sam is a lateral-thinking digital marketer. He is the Head of Search Marketing at Midas Media and founder of OPTIM-EYEZ, his go-to solution for digital marketing tips. He helps business owners turn website visitors into paying customers. He has achieved success for both agency and client-side businesses and SME, national to international blue-chip organisations.

1. The importance of content marketing is rising at a fast pace. Unfortunately, there are still many content marketing fails. According to you, what makes content marketing successful?

Factors which define content marketing success comprise of the unique goals of each brand. Typically, content is created in a bid to attract and engage potential customers in a way which is non-direct and completely distinct from outbound sales techniques. After a long duration of nurturing, the end-game is usually conversion of visitors into paying customers. It’s this monetary ROI that reassures owners of more traditional or smaller companies, proving the validity of their spend. For larger brands, measurement could take the form of social shares (for branding campaigns), total inbound links (for greater Google rankings) and visitor engagement (email subscriptions, discussions, referrals). Effective research and tracking is critical else you’re shooting in the dark! Content campaigns must always be thoroughly planned and targeted to the right audience.

Think: Does it pass the ‘so what’ test? Are people going to be interested in your material? You must know the answers to this market validation.

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The end-game is usually conversion of visitors into paying customers.

2. As content marketing is about providing the right content, to the right audience, at the right time and for the right reasons – could you give us a list of the key content concepts a content marketer should follow?

– The ‘So what’ test (audience research)
– Provide thought leadership
– Apply multi-dimensional content (infographics, copy, video, slides, audio)
– 
Consider accessibility of your target audience (mobile, desktop, iTunes, app?
– Use SEO as an underpinning strategy
– Use social media as an amplification hub

– Leverage those around you, gain their audience (employees, industry acquaintances, influencers)
– Ensure a robust, multi-channel paid advertising strategy is aligned
– Monitor everything
– Engage with everyone who engages with you (and even those who don’t)
– Measure results
– Refine and repeat

3. How important is SEO in content marketing? Could you tell us more about the upcoming trends or challenges of this?

SEO is the core of every organic brand strategy. Content marketing can be viewed as a sub-set of SEO. In this day and age, one cannot exist without the other. (I’ll be providing lots of info on this soon at my personal project, OPTIM-EYEZ). If you’re pushing out a content campaign it needs to be optimised for search engines. This ensures visibility in Google.
SEO allows visibility on Google
SEO allows visibility on Google
The modern intricacies of content marketing means marketers are going to have to adapt to new tech and the varying ways we digest information. For example, ‘content’ could take the form of an in-app feature which entices email capture for lead nurturing. This app will need to be marketed and optimised for The App Store and Google Play, and then optimised to be seen on search engine results pages.
In the not-too-distant future, virtual reality and wearable tech will shape new methods of SEO. This will bring a whole raft of opportunity (and difficulty) as marketers are be forced to optimise for such devices in ways we cannot yet comprehend.

Think about it – these devices may house their very own search engines and innovative buying platforms…not just Google either!Rewind.

For now: Create content for humans. Optimise it for Google.

4. Social media is also a key factor in content marketing. Could you describe a best practice and give some tips to our readers on how to use social media wisely ?

Especially within social media, it’s vital to give before you get. In addition to informative social content, I recommend planning an influencer marketing campaign well in advance of your content marketing launch date. This can involve research into a few influential figures within your industry and a strategy for gaining their interest. They have the power to propel your campaign into realms usually unreachable. The respect they have worked for years to gain can be leveraged by you in just a few weeks. For both social content and influencer outreach, self-promotion should be kept to a minimum. Leave that to your ads.
If you take a genuine interest in your audience and key thought leaders, this good karma will come right back around when you need support for your marketing campaigns. Never forget this; don’t be too hasty and always appreciate any engagement you acquire, no matter who they are or their size of following.

I respond to everyone on social media. If I can do it, you can too 🙂

Mia Tawile
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Mia Tawile

Mia is a junior web marketing consultant at Visionary Marketing. She works on content creation, digital transformation and innovation missions as well as community management and blog development.
Mia Tawile
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