Are you wondering how a new B2B site can gain BIG brand awareness — plus, see some fantastic SEO benefits?
Recently, some friends asked for help with their site. They are a new SaaS player in a highly-competitive industry, and they wanted to know how to make the biggest splash in the shortest period of time.
This is tricky. Here’s why.
From a pure SEO perspective, you can’t take a new site from zero to top-10 within a short time. Domain authority and links take time to build. It’s a process, and one that you can’t control.
That’s why so many new sites rely on PPC ads. PPC is a great way to drive immediate traffic while you’re waiting for your organic rankings to build.
But, what if there was a way to build brand awareness, reach your target market, and drive initial incoming links?
How to get noticed, the old-fashioned way.
Once upon a time, before Google, we focused on getting favorable press in trade magazines.
Why? Because, it helped establish our company as a market leader. It built authority. And — most importantly — we wanted our target customer to read the article and think, “They have exactly what I need.”
Today, we can write authoritative, keyphrase-rich resources that help our company get the branding we want. For instance:
An internet security SaaS company could create an annual “state of the industry” survey that’s updated every year. For instance, check out Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report.
An online bookkeeping software platform could survey business owners about what makes them successful. For instance, here’s what Xero did.
An SEO platform could survey top experts and share their opinions. Moz’s yearly Local Search Rankings Factors report is always well-publicized and cited.
The key is choosing a topic that:
— Your customers care about.
— Contains information that’s not available elsewhere (or, if it is available, you’re providing a unique perspective.)
— You can promote as THE resource, and…
— You can slice and dice the content in different Google-friendly ways (videos, blog posts, webinars, etc.)
(Some of you may be thinking, “Hey, Heather. This sounds like the hub and spoke content strategy approach” — and you’d be right. If hub and spoke is new to you, check out this article for more information.)
Why is this approach so cool?
Lots of reasons:
— It’s a way to snag incoming links, fast. Yes, you’ll need to go all-out to promote your market-leading content. But your promotional efforts will be worth it.
— It jump-starts your visibility.
— It immediately sets you apart as a new company to watch.
— All of the content is (ideally) SEO-optimized, helping you position for a variety of tasty related keyterms and concepts.
— You can gain new newsletter subscribers quickly (especially if you require an email address in exchange for reading the report.)
So, what’s the downside?
This is not a “let’s pull this together in a weekend” quickie content play.
This is a “let’s do the research, set milestones, create an airtight editorial calendar, work with design, and plan a super tremendous promotional strategy” content play.
Expect that the initial content and promotional plan will take at least three months to create. Especially if you don’t quite have a writing process in place.
It will feel like it’s taking forever. It will be worth it.
There’s also the possibility that the promotion flops, and people don’t immediately care about your cool new guide. You don’t get the link love you want.
Some guides take a while to capture their audience. It happens.
If it happens to you (which it won’t,) dig into the “why” and reverse-engineer the cause. For instance:
— Could you have promoted the guide differently?
— Who did you reach out to directly? Would you choose different influencers?
— How did the landing page perform? Was there any friction that made it hard for people to grab your guide?
— Did the guide topic spark a conversation? If not, what could you have done differently?
— Did you promote the content at the wrong time? For instance, summer can be slow for some B2B companies.
Chances are, you’ll discover a few things you’ll tweak for next time. And hey, even if the promotion was so-so, your well-written content still sets you apart.
What do you think?
Is this something you want to try for your site (or a client’s site?) Let me know in the comments!