For our latest Google Marketing Platform meetup we spoke about content creation during COVID-19 with Jean Cheney, a professional travel content creator. We get straight to the point on the importance of SEO during COVID-19 and how you can best leverage your content and work with content creators, like Jean for optimum long term results.
You will learn:
• How to keep your audience engaged – from the comfort of their own lounge room
• How to engage and not disenfranchise your audience during COVID-19 lockdown
• How to work with and inspire content creators during COVID-19 lockdown
The things we won’t be discussing today:
- Bare basics of SEO
- Keyword research
Watch the webinar below or view the slides and read on to learn more.
Content Creation During COVID-19 Webinar Recap
Content Creation During COVID-19
How to keep your audience engaged
One of the most important things is to keep your audience engaged with the content you already have in place. You’ve probably got a bank of content that you’ve already created that’s available to use. In mid-Feb to March, content creators experienced a large drop in traffic. We’ve gone through this cycle for 5-6 weeks where if content isn’t COVID-19 related, it’s been viewed less than it normally would have.
However people are now beginning to get overwhelmed by the amount of COVID-19 content (yes, isn’t it ironic?) but now is the time to keep our audience engaged with what we already have without having to invest a lot of time and money in new content creation. Now is the time to reach out to your audience with the content that you’ve already created.
Content Creation is a Marathon NOT a Sprint
So how do you engage the audience you have and how do you get a larger audience and engage with them?
Again, we know that people can’t leave their homes so if you’re trying to inspire them to get out, leave the home, book travel or even to purchase a new service, it’s a really difficult time to do that in a short timeframe. So when we’re looking at planning out our content we really need to look at it like:
“I want to be in this and I want my business to be in this for the next 3, 6, 9 months.”
So it’s almost like when you start a new job or you go for an interview, and they ask you what you’re going to achieve in the next 30 days, 60 days, 90 days.
When you go to tackle a new content creation plan that’s how you should look at it. Think: “What do I want to achieve in this time, for my content and for engaging my audience?”
Again, in this time of panic, a lot of people are thinking it’s not worth the time or investment to create content. That being said, companies need to remember that SEO and providing content is a marathon NOT a sprint. We can’t emphasise this enough.
The content you create now may not have an immediate pay off in the next 30 days. It may be a bit sluggish in the next 60 days. What you want to look at is performance over the next 90 days, 180 days and really just capture the audience where they are now and your future audience.
How to Engage and Not Disenfranchise Your Audience During COVID-19 Lockdown
One of the things that’s super important when doing your content creation plan is how to engage your audience now without disenfranchising your audience. Certainly one of the things that we’re seeing a lot in the travel community is clap back on people who are encouraging travel at the moment.
There have been a plethora of content creators that have been promoting the area that they live in. Which is a little bit risky because we’re asking people not to do any unnecessary travel. The areas they’re promoting are also often closed. There are road closures and police patrolling.
It’s difficult for me because I have content on this which I’ve pulled off my website because I’ve seen people researching where to go and what to see and how to do it. In some ways, that’s great. It’s great traffic, but what I didn’t like is my audience disengaging with me and feeling like I was not giving them the best experience because I was recommending something that’s not here.
“I’ll be honest, I copped a lot of slack for an article that I wrote 3-4 years ago that I’ve done no promotion on. Just an evergreen article. People have been searching for it and what to do in the area. There’s not a lot of content on what to do in my area that doesn’t involve spa treatments or holidaying so for me that content doesn’t do that well. COVID-19 has seen this content have a slight explosion and for me, that’s actually had a negative affect.
“So for me, that’s turned away what was potentially a new audience for me or I’ve disenfranchised current readers. So what I want to reiterate here is that what we’re looking at is creating content that’s really engaging but without advising people to do things that aren’t legal or particularly appropriate.”
This is certainly the case in Australia where the laws on what you can and can’t do change faster than a Google algorithm update.
Be Bold, Not Offensive
When we want to look at creating content we want to be bold but not offensive.
For example, these facemasks are selling for $60US each. They do have some level of protection. These are selling out as soon as the company releases a new mask. So this is a really good example of a company that’s been able to pivot and create a product that the market wants that is bold but not offensive.
Now when we talk about things being offensive, we don’t mean considered offensive during the pre-COVID-19 rules but there’s a whole range of advice and products that we can no longer advertise on social media. We’re seeing a really fast snapback on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc.) where if your content is not factually correct or doesn’t provide the correct level of expert advice, it’s not ranking.
If you’re promoting content that is keyword stuffing, with “Corona”, “Wuhan”, etc. those sort of phrases, that content is not being shown. So when we’re talking about content that’s bold, we’re talking about pivoting and fun and not offensive. We don’t want to anger the Google gods so that accounts are hidden and shadowbanned, or your content is pushed down on your Google search.
Use Quotes and High Impact Statements
When we start talking about engaging our audience and being bold but not offensive this is the perfect time in your content to use quotes and high impact statements. There’s a lot of questions around whether this is really good for SEO but this is just a nice way to break up the content that you’re producing.
Use a quote or high impact statement here.
Update Your Content
Now, I really hope everyone has seen Tiger King. But, if you haven’t now is probably the time to not watch it and instead spend some time updating your content. Like many of us, if you’ve got a bank of content that’s sitting there that’s always been there, needs to be updated and is on your to-do list now is the time.
Whether your posts need:
- Better keyword research
- Better formating
- Resizing images
- Alt tags
One of the most important things about investing that time is you’ve already got that content so you’re not having to consider new ideas, research and facts because that content is already there. Don’t let it sit there like Joe Exotic with a mullet, give it a really nice makeover.
Google will love it.
Then start to add it to your social media content schedule as well. Get it back out there for your audience. It’s a great way to reengage your audience with content you’ve already got. It’s amazing how just working on a few small steps to refresh your content can provide excellent results.
How to Work with and Inspire Content Creators During COVID-19 Lockdown
So here’s a really fun topic. You may be thinking about branching out and creating some fresh, new content. But maybe you don’t have the time, expertise or you’re looking for a new angle or tactic to expand your marketing budget. Now is the perfect time.
There’s never been a better time to work with and inspire content creators. Many content creators are in lockdown so they’ve probably got more spare time than usual. It just depends how you want to spend it.
Content creation or Netflix?
Why You Should Work with Content Creators
Let’s talk about why you want to work with content creators to boost your SEO and your offsite SEO. This photo is from a workshop where they invited a bunch of content creators. The cost was to pay what you felt it was worth and the return on investment was great because every person there did at least 1 blog post on the experience. It resulted in an enormous amount of new bookings for all of the brand’s activities.
People are looking for something with purpose and meaning to fill their time. We all need to invest in community outreach.
As a content creator I get probably 10-12 emails a day from people asking me to work for free, asking me to join affiliate programs, asking me to write blog posts for them and all sorts of unpaid requests.
You’re going to need to invest some time in the outreach process. You’ll need to do some research on who you want to work with. You may look at their social media numbers and think “great!”. So your first step is to engage with the content creator, ensure that you’re following blogs and sign up to an email list. Feel free to do that from an email address that’s not actually connected to your brand.
What you want to do at this point is to monitor the content that they’re creating on stories, Facebook, Instagram, etc. You don’t need to sit there for hours doing it but you do want to get a good feel for who the person is, who they’ve previously worked with and how they’re presenting content to their audience.
So for example, as a woman in my mid-30s I get asked to promote baby products a lot but I don’t have any kids. It’s just such a waste of time for everybody. If this person had just done even a week of monitoring what I produce you would notice, there are no children. There needs to be a selection criteria, like applying for a job.
When you start to consider working with bloggers, make the first move. Because you’ve monitored their content let them know. Tell them they did an article that you really appreciated. These little things will take your email from the delete pile to “Oh actually I do want to have that discussion on what I would and would not be willing to do for this brand because they’ve actually taken the time to know who I am.”
On the flip side when I do teach bloggers how to work with brands and the administration side behind it, this is exactly what I tell them, to go to the brand after you’ve seen what they do, how they do it and give them a solution. If you’re a brand that wants to work with a content creator it’s exactly the same.
Here is a really good example of what not to do.
“This is an example of an email I got a couple of nights ago which is addressed to my partner James. My blog is all about me and all my social media is pretty much me. My partner James comes along for the funsies, he takes a lot of photos if we travel together, that kind of stuff. I put this straight in the bin when I saw it was addressed to James and not me, it’s not even a discussion point for me because here is someone that wants something from me, they want to work with me but they can’t even be bothered to address me by my name.”
Simple things like this will get you pushed to the bottom of the pile. While we love automation, outreach is one activity that shouldn’t be automated. Make sure your messages to content creators are personalised and specific.
Now once you’ve found a content creator that you do want to work with, you’ve monitored their content, you can see that they’ve got the SEO skills to create really good content for you, don’t be afraid to ask content creators to write for your own site as well. Content creators love that.
Many content creators have done years of training and always deal with Google algorithm changes and Pinterest algorithm changes. So when you engage a content creator, find one that will really help boost your SEO and promote your services.
Have a Contract
It’s so important to have a contract when you’re going to be paying someone to do content creation. An email on its own is not good enough. Your contract does not have to be 50 or 60 pages, it can be really simple and succinct. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. You also don’t need to spam people with inappropriate emails with “Could you add this, could you add that?” We don’t want to do that. Even though most of us at the moment are in lockdown and we have time, we still don’t want to waste it.
Provide a Brief
Make sure you provide a briefing sheet to your content creator/s. It should be a separate document. Email trails can get very confusing and convoluted. Your briefing sheet should include things like:
- Hashtags you would like used
- Keywords or phrases you would like to be associated with
- Links if you would like them included
Also make sure that you’re discussing with the content creator if they’re posting on their own site, if the link is a dofollow or a nofollow. Will it open in a new window or will it flow through?
If you’re going to have any exclusions on what they can and can’t have in the content. For example if you want to make sure the content won’t contain:
- Affiliate links
- Competitive links
- Alternative advertising
Make sure that these things are clearly stated in the brief. This will make sure both you and the content creator have a better experience.
Another thing your brief needs to include is a really clear deadline and don’t be afraid to follow up on that. Consider the content creator another business that you’re engaging with.
Share the Content
View this post on Instagram
C H E E R S // to you Cradle Mountain. Once again your magic has me captivated. The mountain mist, the marvellous wildlife and tasting all the joy of Tasmania through magnificent food and beverages. How can anyone come here and not walk away rejuvenated and in love with life? I can’t wait until I return again to trek the overland track and a sneaky spa session. When will you visit the infamous Cradle Mountain and stay @peppershotels #peppershotels #honeybirdtravel #tasteoftasmania #discovertasmania #mountainlifeisthebestlife
Don’t be afraid to share content that someone has created for you on your own channels whether that’s in your EDMs, your socials, etc. It just gives your content that extra bit of a boost which is really what we’re all after at the moment, we really want to see people engaging with our content.
So if a content creator has created really great content for you, share it.
It will also give that content creator a nice warm fuzzy feeling and they will just love you so much more.
These extra little ties that you can get with a content creator will give you this amazing relationship that will expand so much further than the initial piece of work that you’ve decided to do together.
Join us for our next Google Marketing Platform webinars: