Everyone has gone content crazy, and those who manage, sell, and produce content are scrambling to keep pace with the business opportunity. As indicated by Kieran Flanagan of HubSpot, statistics for the search terms “content marketing” and “link building” paint a 20/20 picture: while link building is steadily descending, content marketing is shooting upward in 2014. Statistics show that 7 out of 10 B2B content marketers are creating more content today versus 12 months ago, while 6 out of 10 B2B marketers plan to increase their spending on content throughout the next year.
Caitlin Roberson of Skyword notes that many content marketers do not understand content strategy. In fact, a 2013 Forbes article notes that only 15% of content professionals are able to define the business value of their services in real numbers. Roberson argues that understanding and implementing amplification techniques can help to set your content apart from the competition. We will look at her ideas below.
Beyond the thoughts expressed by Roberson, content delivery networks (CDN) represent an amazing tool to amplify the effectiveness of your content (and obviously, like Roberson, I’m using a broader understanding of content amplification than connecting it with paid media). Just how powerful are CDN’s? Well, ask the Dark Side. A security study from Blue Coat Systems released in August (2014) found that most websites are “one-day wonders,” sprinting to the top of the charts like Mott the Hoople with “All the Young Dudes,” propelled by the power of web optimization apps and content delivery networks. As the title suggests, content amplification is the thunder hammer of Thor: use it for good, not evil.
Content Amplification Definition
As indicated above, content amplification is a buzzword, but different bloggers and thought leaders are using it in different ways. Some see it strictly in terms of connecting content marketing strategies with paid media, so that would be something like a Google +Post ad (and props to me for thinking of that example before realizing the slogan for that product is, “Amplify your content and create conversations across the web”).
Rather than looking at amplification in terms of one fairly specific application, Roberson sees it more broadly, agreeing with the following definitions:
- The use of strategies that increase traffic rapidly and affordably (Convince & Convert).
- Methods that create social traction and website traffic, giving you a better chance at conversion (Brandpoint).
In other words, from a broad perspective, we can think of content amplification in terms of search engine optimization, content delivery networks, whatever – anything that increases your reach.
Content Amplification Strategies
Here are four quick tips from Roberson, followed by a discussion of the Dark Side of amplification efforts.
- Search engine optimization is still a thing – Roberson typed into Google, “how to submit to,” and one of the suggestions that popped up, directly below “how to submit to your husband” (I’m not making that up, although I wish I were), was “how to submit to product hunt.” Unfamiliar with Product Hunt, she proceeded to download the app, a case in point that search analytics can help to amplify.
- Integration with sales – Roberson says to strive for “horizontal buy-in” of content from your salespeople. Get them involved. Get them to tell you stories. Profile them in the blog. Transcribe insightful interactions. Shoot out easily shareable emails with an @mention of any sales parties involved.
- Broaden your appeal – Your buyer personas may be too narrow. How do you get to other types of decision-makers? Consider working together with other marketing teams to access each other’s base. You might also want to start an additional site that blogs on a theme that appeals to your base but isn’t directly related.
- Get your halo effect on – Network throughout your company and externally. Create connections by finding subject matter experts (SMEs) in your ranks and elsewhere in the business world. Take individual customer experiences and turn them into educational content. Feature partners and experts.
Content Amplification – The Dark Side
Referencing the Blue Coat Systems study, Ellen Messmer of NetworkWorld described the Internet as “endless bubbles popping to the surface for only a day, then vanishing.” Sites that are here today and gone tomorrow present confusing potential security threats.
Security company Blue Coat looked at over 600 million hostnames over a period of three months. Amazingly, 71% of those sites were only active for 24 hours.
The report noted that the sites are effectively using content delivery networks to access traffic. CDN’s are fast and incredibly reliable, and that makes them popular with goodhearted and malicious parties alike. Unique subdomains are used to organize content for one particular request or session or user, after which it is dropped: “A by-product of these CDN architectures is the proliferation of One-Day Wonders.”
Blue Coat reported that of the 50 highest trafficked domains, one in five were fronts for malware. One of the .info sites was the home of a Trojan dialer, just a simple “surprise” site. It had over 1 million subdomains. Beyond content delivery networks, the other primary strategies used were riding on blogging sites such as Tumblr and running web optimization software.
Content Amplification – The Light Side
Don’t be a bad guy. Just create great content and spread it rapidly across the globe. The Superb Content Delivery Network (CDN) speeds up your site by distributing your content to 172 data centers in 43 nations. Chat with an expert now.
By Kent Roberts
Image Credit: Today.com