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What are the best content marketing strategies for building links in 2020

Sebastian Burchell from NovosSebastian Burchell in Digital PR, SEO

18th October, 2020

2020 link building content marketing trends

Content marketing has always been a tried and tested method of obtaining top tier links for clients. Digital PRs, and Outreachers across the land approach journalists with story ideas generally accompanied with supporting statistics on behalf of clients, effectively persuading journalists to cover their content and to link back to their data source. While some content marketing theories have permanent success, other approaches are temporary in their triumph. In this article, we will explore which content marketing theories are currently successful in 2020, and analyse their longevity.

  • Popularity measured by search and hashtag volume

To define ‘something’ as the most popular has always been a challenge in journalism. Popularity is more often than not, subjective, unless substantiated by a credible indicator. Over the last year or two, we’ve seen a rise in PR’s pitching ‘the most/least popular places to propose’ and ‘the most instagrammed trainers’. More recently, topics such as ‘the most popular lockdown purchase’, and ‘the most popular staycation destination’ have been covered for their eCommerce clients. All that’s required is an overarching theme or a group of related items, and to use search or hashtag volumes to establish the best/worst ranking.

Using the right tools to measure popularity is essential. Several journalists, marketing agencies, and PRs claim to accurately measure popularity using Google Trends. Google Trends provides a generally reliable outlook by giving scores out of 100 (100 being the most popular), yet Google Search Console, and SEM Rush, can provide the exact search volume results, even dissected by region. Only by using these tools, can content marketers truly decipher which are the most searched terms. Equally, be cautious when using hashtag data. Ensure to use in-depth hashtag analysis tools such as Phantombuster, that comprehensively collects thousands of rows of data.

  • Comparative adjectives

Linking closely to the previous point, content marketers have found recent success using campaigns centred around comparative adjectives. For instance, digital mortgage brokers have created campaigns about ‘the noisiest/quietest streets in the UK’, online travel companies analysed the ‘most delayed/punctual airlines’, and comparison eCommerce sites established ‘the best/worst beaches in the UK’. Again, many of these claims are subjective until backed by data, but content marketers, outreachers and PR’s have all found ingenious ways to back their ambitious claims. Using official data sources such as freedom of information acts, council and governmental records, and economic policy figures, marketers can confidently pitch their data to journalists knowing their sources are trusted and therefore likely to be covered by reporters, and world-renowned publications.

 

Trends are called trends as their popularity peaks and troughs over time. For these content marketing trends, their longevity depends on the answer to a number of rhetorical questions. Firstly, what are the most credible and reliable resources available - will there be a new way to quantify the most popular 'thing' instead of Instagram hashtags, or search volume? Maybe.

  • Return of the listicle

People. Love. Lists. We all know what a list is, that should mean explaining the concept of a listicle is fairly easy. A listicle is effectively a list, in article form, generally found online. As well as holding their place in lifestyle journalism, for example, the signature Buzzfeed listicle, articles in the form of lists also have featured on the blog section of eCommerce websites since SEO professionals realised the importance of continuously updated blog content. For example, a website selling cooking equipment might write a listicle about the ’10 best recipes to slow cook’, or a tailor may produce a piece on ‘5 reasons why tartan is making a comeback (I hope not!).

When I first started working in content marketing, specifically within the eCommerce realm, my managers would describe any idea similar to a listicle as ‘too much like a blog post’, or ‘the journalist can research this for themselves quickly’. Even though both of these reactions are correct, we’ve seen a stark return of the listicle in the last year.

A lot of content marketers are under the impression that they have created a campaign that journalists don’t have the time to explore when actually all the writer wants is simplicity and relevance. During the heatwave after our first lockdown, I saw one campaign from an online travel company that provided information on 10 lidos in the UK. Moreover, another online interior design store simply used in-house expertise to generate 20+ pieces of coverage from a campaign looking at ‘6 expert tips on renovating your garden for under £50’ — two incredibly simple, yet effective ideas.

Will they last?

Trends are called trends as their popularity peaks and troughs over time. For these content marketing trends, their longevity depends on the answer to a number of rhetorical questions. Firstly, what are the most credible and reliable resources available – will there be a new way to quantify the most popular ‘thing’ instead of Instagram hashtags, or search volume? Maybe.

Secondly, what are the most efficient ways for readers to digest content – will we see a new, or repurposed format of article writing that suits readers, writers and content marketers? Probably.
Finally, what are the topics that the public want to read about in the future – will they still be interested in the ‘most/least’ popular pair of trainers, or will they look for a more discursive type of content? It’s hard to say.

While it’s easy to identify current patterns of content marketing, it’s challenging to predict future methods of success. As a result, Digital PRs, Content Marketers and Outreachers must explore a variety of content marketing approaches for their eCommerce clients, instead of putting all of their eggs in one basket.

Sebastian Burchell from Novos
Article by Sebastian Burchell
NOVOS' Digital PR Manager, Seb has extensive experience working in the PR industry. He has worked in-house for brands as well as at PR agencies. He specialises in digital PR for eCommerce and B2C brands and has been behind some amazing award-winning PR campaigns.

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