There’s no denying it…organic social reach has plummeted. Before we go on a rant about the algorithm and how it’s out to get us and just force us to pay Mark Zuckerburg more money, you need to understand the reason for the change.
I get it—we love to hate the algorithm. All the changes can be overwhelming. But there is a practical reason the algorithm exists. Ultimately the algorithm is there to keep the experience for users of the app a positive one. And in order to do that, they have to know what people are engaging with.
Social media is adopting its own form of SEO in a way that promotes a positive user experience. The way this algorithm works is by putting your posts in a pool as small as one percent of your followers. If those people engage with the content, then it gets introduced into a larger pool. Slowly but surely, more and more people see it, but only if it’s engaging.
So the questions is….
is focusing on organic social worth your time?
There’s no doubt that a lot of people are focused on paid social media strategies. Social media ads are a cost-effective way to reach your target audience. On a limited budget you can get in front of your ideal customer and track how effectively you are converting them. Plus, Facebook and Instagram ads are more affordable than ever right now.
However, that doesn’t mean organic content should be ignored. Roughly one out of every five posts on the Facebook feed is an ad—which means four out of five of those posts are organic. Someone’s getting those impressions and that engagement—and if it’s not you, it’s going to be your competition.
Content marketing is a common marketing strategy being used by businesses of all sizes to generate leads and sales.
With that, the content landscape has become increasingly competitive, leaving some companies wondering where to start. What organic content should you focus on and how can you use it strategically?
What is your goal?
The top two objectives of most content marketers are to:
- Generate leads
- Increase website traffic
What are your goals for your content? You need to start with that before moving on.
BEnefits of organic content
It can be hard to quantify the ROI of organic content. But there are benefits to creating organic content. Some benefits include:
- Thought leadership: Organic content helps you solidify your position as a thought leader in your industry. Organic content has much more credibility than paid content, so it is important to create content beyond just ads saying that you are an expert. Organic content helps you prove and back up the claims of your ads.
- Website traffic through organic search: If you do your research as far as what people are searching for, and create content around those trends, you can drive more traffic to your site through your organic content. The more content you are creating, the more opportunity to own more space on the organic search results.
- Testing content before promoting: Organic and paid content and work hand-in-hand to help you get the most out of your ad budget. Before you pay to promote a piece of content or offering, test out what content, copy and calls-to-action are getting the most engagement organically. Then use that insight to strategically promote your content.
- Speaking opportunities: If you have ambitions to speak on stage at an industry event or speak on a panel, you need to be producing strong organic content on a regular basis.
- Media coverage: Increase your chances of being quoted or featured on other websites by creating strong content that is appealing to a large audience. The more external links sending traffic to your website, the better.
- Partnerships and cross-promotion: Teaming up with other businesses in a similar industry can help increase your brand awareness and website traffic. If you want to partner with other businesses, you have to have something of value to offer. Content is a great value.
WHAT CONTENT TO CREATE
So how do you know what to write or post about?
Focus On Creating Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is content that has a longer lifespan. Rather than writing on topics with an expiration date, speak to persistent challenges your customers are facing. Creating educational and informative posts will allow you to get more leverage out of your content.
Don’t guess or assume if you don’t have to. Turn to research to help guide your content efforts and prioritize what content to create. Keyword research will boost your SEO and help your content come up higher in search results.
Where to research:
Google: start with that you think people are searching for. Then navigate to the “searches related to” section. Pay attention to the Google autocomplete suggestions. Anything there? You can read more about keyword research tips in this post.
Pinterest: Pinterest is not just a social platform to look for new recipes or home decor ideas. Pinterest is a search engine. Similar to your investigation on Google, look for inspiration from the suggestions generated by Pinterest.
Industry Trends and News
Look through what other people are writing on and speaking on. If you use a tool like Feedly, you can see how popular a topic is. Use that as inspiration while you are brainstorming topics to write on. For example, below you can see two different stories. One has a popularity score of “33” and the other has a score of “400”. While different sources have different size audiences, helping raise or lower a score, the topic also plays a part. The examples below show that. One is much more specific than the other. Both strategies have their place and their pros and cons.
Make sure that you have something unique to add on the topic or a unique perspective to add, rather than just piggybacking on someone else’s content.
What questions do you hear all the time? If your customers/clients have those questions, so will others. Take advantage of the questions your ideal customers are looking for answers on and create content to answer those questions.
By listening to your audience or people you would like to be your audience, you can learn what is resonating with them. Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups, read comments on articles. Show up where you customers are, listen to the challenges and problems they are facing. Then think about what products or services you have that solve those problems. Create content that shows how you can make their lives better.
Where to Publish Your Organic Content
So where should you post your organic content? There are a lot of different options. Here are some to consider:
This is the most likely place to house your content. If you have a website and are trying to drive traffic to your site, this is where you want your content to live.
LinkedIn let’s you write articles on personal profiles. You can repurpose your blog content as a LinkedIn article to connect with your LinkedIn connections as well as having the opportunity to get your content in front of other LinkedIn users as well. The good thing about using LinkedIn for organic content is that the LinkedIn algorithm is more generous than Facebook or Instagram.
Third Party Sites
To increase exposure, think about publishing your content on third party sites like Medium. This lets you cast a wider net and reach more people. You can also research industry specific sites to submit your content to.
Other Social Media
Sharing your organic content on your professional social media accounts is essential as well. There are ways you can leverage a single blog post into several social media posts. You can read more about how to do that here.
Sharing Your Organic Content
You can’t just write a blog post, share the link once, and then cross your fingers and hope your content is discovered. You need to share your content often and in different ways. Different people engage with content in different ways. Creating evergreen content will give you lots of opportunity to share your content. Keep these things in mind:
- Pull different key points: different things will resonate with different people
- Test different calls to action: what words and messages will engage your audience enough to click.
- Test different formats: links, images, videos
Share wide and often
Don’t just post to one platform. Post your content everywhere.
- Facebook: Share to your business page, then share from your business page to your personal page. This will help expand the reach and engagement of the post and expand your audience and brand awareness. You’d be surprised how many of your Facebook friends don’t know what you do. Share your content in relevant Facebook groups when appropriate as well. Make sure you are always sharing as a resource and a way to add value, not in a sales-y way.
- Instagram: create several posts for each of your key takeaways, always directing people to your website for the full content. Use a Linktr.ee link to make it easy to send users to your profile and ultimately your website. (learn more about using Instagram for business)
- LinkedIn: Create posts on your profile, write an article, share your post in LinkedIn groups and discussions when appropriate. Be sure to balance your group participation with your content promotion. If you are only showing up to post links to your content, group members will start to see you as a spammer, rather than a valuable resource.
- Pinterest: Remember how we talked about Pinterest being a search engine? If your content isn’t on Pinterest, it can’t be found there. Pinterest is an untapped resource for businesses to promote their content. The lifespan of a pin is waaayyyy longer than that of other social media posts. Pins can drive traffic to your website for months or even years!
I hope this post helps inspire you to see the value in creating and sharing organic content. It is a lot of work, and the ROI is hard to track, but if you do it strategically, it can be an important part of your overall marketing strategy.
If you have any questions, or want help building a content strategy, let me know.