Gilad de Vries is svp of Outbrain, a content recommendation service. 

As someone who spends most of his time talking to brands and agencies about content, I see far too many of them keeping content in a silo, rather than using it as part of a holistic marketing plan. In order for marketers to get the most out of their content marketing strategy, they should integrate it into social, search and display.

Content has changed the social game, allowing you to share valuable information with consumers across the web. L’Oreal is a great example of this. In a campaign promoting skin cancer awareness, L’Oreal  created the “SOS – Save Our Skin” campaign, which centered on an interactive microsite, where consumers could learn more about melanoma, get advice, and share their experiences. By sharing these tips across social channels, L’Oreal started an ongoing and engaging conversation with their community. This type of longer-form content can provide a good balance with shorter Tweets and Facebook updates on promotions, sales or other promotional content.

Brands need to think about their presence on Facebook and other social networking sites with an editorial mindset. Facebook made a huge change when the company discontinued their brand pages, making the timeline your front page. Go to your timeline, browse through it, scroll down to the bottom, and look through the eyes of a potential consumer. How does your brand’s story unfold?

Let’s take a look at the less obvious impact that content has on your SEO strategy. In their recent “Panda” and “Penguin” algorithm updates, Google decided to place a higher emphasis on what it judges to be high-quality content. In other words, content that was made for humans, not machines or algorithms. Links from external sources still hold much importance, but SEO “black-hat” tactics that used to work don’t provide the same value anymore.

While an effective SEO strategy relies on having quality content, I have found that providing readers with the tools to share this content to be equally important. Think of sharability as the currency of SEO, where content that has been shared means it was created for humans. The more you help your content get discovered on content recommendation platforms and shared on social media channels, the higher your SEO score and shorter time to get it ranked. These pieces to the modern day SEO puzzle are going to lead to an increase in direct search for your product and brand, while decreasing the cost of a search engine marketing campaign.

Another channel to keep in mind is display. While it may seem on the surface like content and display ads are on the opposite ends of the marketing spectrum, it turns out that integrating content into display ads increases reach, precision, relevance and engagement rates.

For brands interested in using content to drive their display campaigns, there are already a few easy tools available. Cloud-based advertising platform Flite incorporates new content, such as text, images or video, into ads on a real-time basis. Similarly, the Kontera ad network identifies the web’s most relevant content and then serves it in a display ad, making it more personalized to the consumer.

One of the most exciting things about content is that it’s breathing new life into so many other marketing channels that were once thought to be dead or outdated. As such, it’s become increasingly important for marketers to approach their content strategy holistically, and identify other areas of their business to which it can be applied.

Image via Shutterstock

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