One of the most commonly used expressions in content marketing is this: it is an ever-changing landscape that requires agencies and marketers to adapt and improve their existing processes.
In a short time, a topic of the press can become negligible, while some types of content become tedious for the press and its readers.
Much of the work we do – at BlackcatSEO and many other similar organizations – is to create content for the sole purpose of creating power, making it all the more imperative that we are aware of the changes and trends described above.
If we divide the creative process into three sections – content, design and distribution strategy – how can we design our own successes and failures to provide us with a framework for future campaigns?
Three important factors for producing content worthy of a link
Over the past month, I have analyzed more than 120 content in 16 industries to locate and define commonalities between campaigns that exceed expectations or not. From the amount of data used and visualized to the importance of effective title narration, information is a way to streamline and reshape our approach to content production.
1. Not too much data – our study showed an average of just over five measures
Behind each piece of content, there is (usually) a unique or remarkable data set. Both static and interactive content allow us to view an unlimited number of searches that provide the origin of the stories we’re trying to share. No matter how many numbers or metrics you choose to view, there is always a time when a journalist or reader goes off.
This glass ceiling is difficult to pinpoint and depends on the type of content, sector or readership you want to attract, but a more detailed study of the high-performance and mediocre campaigns I’ve done has suggested some advantages to fine-tuning datasets.
A starting point for any research is the individual measurement, whether it is the cost, type or anything interesting to measure and compare. In my research, in content campaigns that exceed our typical key performance indicator, an average of just over 5 indicators was used on each element, compared to almost double in campaigns with normal or normal performance performance. The graph below shows the correlation between a lower number of metrics and higher link performance.
An infographic study for online travel retailer Lastminute.com, aimed at finding the world’s coolest countries, is a concrete example of these results. Following an in-depth study conducted in 36 countries out of 10 indicators, these figures were needed to be refined so that they could be well translated. The number of countries was reduced to only the top 15 and the indicators were condensed to form four indexes on which the ranking was based. The decision not to enhance the data as a whole proved successful by securing more than 50 links, covered by Mail Online and Lonely Planet.
As someone who enjoys participating in the search process, it can be extremely difficult to sacrifice one element of your work, but it is this level of tact in content production that distinguishes one element from another.
2. Simple and powerful data visualizations – our analysis showed that the best performers had only one visualization
No matter how saturated the content marketing industry is, we discover new and innovative ways to view data every year. The balance between the originality of your design and unnecessarily complex data visualization is often the point on which success and failure can pivot. As with data, overloading an item of content with a multitude of multi-faceted graphs and diagrams is a surefire way to alienate your users, leaving them bored or confused.
For my study, I decided to examine the content containing non-performing data visualizations and determine whether quality was as much a problem as quantity in terms of design. During the analysis, I noted the two examples in which a visual would incorporate all or all of the study, or the same illustration was reproduced several times for a country, region or sector. For example, this study, conducted by Get Going, a medical travel insurance provider, on reliable airlines condenses all key information into a single visualization of the data. Conversely, this article from The Guardian on the gender pay gap shows how effective it can be to use a visual multiple times to present your data.
Unsurprisingly, many of the lowest scores in my research averaged around eight different forms of data visualization, while the best performers contained only one. The graph below shows the number of data visualizations used on average by the best and worst performing elements, both static and interactive. The low-performing static examples contained an average of just over six, with less than one for their higher-rated counterparts. For interactive content, the optimum is just greater than one with low-performance content containing nearly nine per piece.
In examples where the same type of graph or graph was used several times, the misperformers had about 33 per piece, with their more favourable counterparts using only three.
It is important to note that ranking-based elements often require the repetition of a visual to tell a story, but again, this is part of the search for a balance for creatives in terms of type and how many visualizations of the data we use.
A fine example of an effective illustration of the study of data contained in a visual comes from an article by Federica Fragapane published in 2017 for the Italian publication La Lettura, presenting the most violent cities in the world. The graph shows each city in the form of its homicide rate, along with other small indicators defined in the caption to the right of the graph. The aesthetic qualities of the graphic give a campaign, rather morbid on the subject, a greater appeal than that of world crime. Although the term “design-design” is so often used, this example proves how effective it can be to effectively integrate visual elements through your data. The piece, originally produced for print, was a great success in the field of design, with 18 reference domains from sites such as Visme.co.
3. Vary press mailings – More than a third of our published links used the same title as our email subject
Competition means that press contacts are looking for something very special to ensure the publication of your content. While ingenuity is needed in all areas of content marketing, it is equally important to recognize the importance of mastering the basics.
The broadcast task can be won and lost in several ways, but your subject is and always will be the most important component of your argument. Whether you’re summing your content in one sentence or highlighting your attention-seeking discovery, an email title is a laborious but crucial task. My research has been about how critical it is to achieve the final outcome of coverage.
As part of my analysis, I recorded the backlinks of a sample of our high and medium content, as well as the titles used in the coverage of each campaign. I found in more powerful examples that more than a third of the links used the same titles used in our pitch emails, underscoring the importance of effective storytelling in all areas of your relationship process. Public. Below is an illustration in SERP of the extent to which an effective title can lead you, with an example of coverage of one of our most successful pieces for TotallyMoney on work/life balance in Europe.
Given the time and effort involved, another area I wanted to investigate is how press releases are used in the coverage we get. Using scratching software, I was able to extract a copy of each article containing a tracking link and compare it to the press releases we produced. It was nice to see that one in five links contained at least one paragraph of copy used in our press documents. On the other hand, only 7 of the coverage of the worst performing campaigns contained a reference to our press releases and an even lower reduction of 4 using the titles of the subjects of our emails.
These correlations, similar to those discussed above, not only suggest how essential basic process execution is, but also serve as a reminder that a campaign can succeed or fail at as many production points. Different. For marketers, an analysis of this nature indicates that improved creative operations are a safer way to secure your content and its coverage. Don’t think of it as “less is more” but as a matter of choosing the right tools for the job at hand.