As an organic digital marketing agency that works in close collaboration with our clients’ teams, we’re acutely aware of the unique challenges brand-side marketing teams are facing in this current climate. In an effort to use this knowledge to help marketers see the best possible performance, we’ve rallied some of our leading channel experts to share the activities they’ve seen become most important and impactful over the last few months.
If you’re a digital marketing manager looking to make a meaningful impact in this changing landscape, we’re here to help you get some valuable quick wins in the bag and move forward confidently…
Three top digital PR tips from our Head of Digital PR, Olivia Wiltshire
You may think that gaining coverage and landing links would be harder than ever right now, but you’d be surprised. The reality we’ve seen is that many publications are in story- and content-deficit and need new stories stat! There’s still a great opportunity for brands to get their name out there, and the good news is that as a brand you don’t need to put a tonne of resource into satisfying that publication demand.
1. Audit existing content
Old, but gold! If you’ve got older content marketing campaigns live on your site, run them through a backlink tool to see if any have had a sudden spike in backlinks. If you find this is the case, its a great indicator that publications are interested in these assets. In these situations, I’d recommend reviewing the piece and potentially dusting it off to actively push out and make the most of the renewed interest.
If you’ve found yourself on the brink of launching a campaign you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on only to realise it’s just not going to fly due to reasons beyond your control, then fear not! Take a breather, bring together the original ideation group and identify opportunities to re-angle the piece. This doesn’t need to be an elaborate process and can be as simple as asking a different survey question to better suit the current mood. This tip also provides a lovely throwback to that famous Friends scene – win-win!
For more inspiration on pivoting campaigns, be sure to check out our LinkedIn page where we’re currently sharing a series of live examples.
3. Free tools and databases
Simple, but easily forgotten, there’s a host of incredible tools and data sources out there that can support your digital PR efforts with literally no need for budget. Whether it be for idea development, research or outreach, the below list of go-to tools is just the tip of the iceberg, but are some of our favourites:
- Google Trends
- Office for National Statistics
- The Big Project
- Social Blade
- Google Alerts
Three top SEO tips from our Head of SEO, Will Nye
1. Analyse how consumer behaviour is changing and update your priorities
Consumer behaviour and demand has shifted massively over the past six weeks and your strategy and priorities need to shift with it. Leveraging a Google Trends API allows you to have an almost* real-time view on variance against seasonal expectations on specific groups of keywords.
By performing this analysis across your core keyword set, you’ll be able to identify any previous priorities that you may need to deprioritise and those that are now worth pursuing. For example, an ecommerce retailer with a broad range of stock may well find that demand for swimwear has fallen heavily, but that demand for trampolines and hair clippers is skyrocketing.
* The delay is only 48 hours, as opposed to KW Planner data, which is updated ~two weeks into the month for the prior month.
2. Identify quick win opportunities and capitalise upon them
On-page changes to existing content – whether you’re optimising or expanding – tend to be reflected quickly within rankings, especially if you force Googlebot to reindex the content via the URL Inspector within Search Console. Sometimes even a small change – like tweaking a title tag – can make a big difference to rankings, making it an excellent low resource activity.
Start by analysing your own keyword data or use a tool like SEMrush and drill down to those ranking in positions 3-15, ideally those that still have high levels of demand or are likely to rise steeply in the coming months. Identify the landing pages that these are ranking on – or should be ranking on! – and look for opportunities to improve:
- Title tags and headings
- Optimising existing textual content
- Expand existing content
- Consolidating content and/or resolving cannibalisation
- Improving internal linking to the page
- Adding relevant schema markup
3. Work through that tech backlog
While some brands are having to deal with reduced staff head counts and limited development resource, the inevitable delays and pauses in activity caused by the pandemic have presented a window of opportunity for others to tackle previously deprioritised tech issues.
Make sure you check in with your development team to establish what resource may or may not be available and review prior audits/checklists to identify outstanding tasks that could be completed within the next couple of months. The impact of technical changes is not always immediately reflected within rankings, so the sooner these are completed, the higher the chance that your performance increases will coincide with a post-pandemic demand surge.
Three top content strategy tips from our Head of Content Strategy, Emily Clayfield
1. Stay in your lane
Yes, brands should be producing content that adds value to customers and helps them through this crisis but that doesn’t mean that my personal finance provider needs to send me healthy eating tips. Stick to topics that are directly relevant to your business and look to address the new problems your customers are currently facing. Where relevant, adapt your existing content to suit new search behaviour and take cues from terms that are currently surging.
2. Show the world how you’re adapting
Your customers, industry peers and team want to hear from you. They depend on you and are likely craving some sort of certainty. Certainty doesn’t mean you need to have the solution to all their problems. By writing about how your business or department is approaching the current situation, including any new ways of working, restrictions and limitations, you’ll give much needed reassurance.
3. Tell product stories
Is your product now being used in ways you never could have imagined? Look at search and social trends, talk to your sales and customer service teams and find out how your product is helping solve new problems. Highlight new use cases by repositioning your case studies, articles and other marketing materials using these stories.
Three top data tips from our Senior Analytics Manager Gary Stubbenhagen
1. Review your data strategy
Lockdown means different things for all of us but there is one thing that we can all agree on: it’s no longer business as usual. It’s also becoming increasingly clear that there will continue to be significant disruption for a long time yet. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to revise that strategy and make sure you’re focused on what really matters right now.
Some businesses have shifted their business models starkly, restaurants turning to takeaway service for example. In these cases, there’s a clear need for a different set of KPIs and reporting aligned to them. This may also be needed where sales have dried up and marketing efforts have shifted towards engagement and maintaining brand recall.
Alternatively, demand may have surged in your industry, but this will have brought its own challenges. For instance, you may need to focus more on stock levels or delivery times than usual.
2. Don’t forget your qualitative data
Whether it’s product reviews, inbound emails, or site search records, we all have a wealth of qualitative data at our disposal, but we often neglect it in favour of cold, hard quants.
This is understandable, qualitative data can be messy and the task of prepping it for analysis can be laborious, but there’s a wealth of insight in there which is really crucial right now. Are your customers looking for different products or information? Has a new frustration emerged?
If you’re lucky enough to have a particularly large qualitative data set, you could get the toys out and try your hand at some Natural Language Processing to earn your Machine Learning badge.
3. Time to get through that backlog
It may not be the sexiest of tips, but if things are a bit slow or held up because stakeholders are furloughed, now could be the perfect time to pick up those tickets that never made it to the top of the priority queue.
Improving the quality of your data is always a worthwhile task and, as things pick back up again, there will be even more demands on your time as the business looks to make up for lost time. Getting the house in order now will only make things easier later.
So, there you have it from our experts! Hopefully this is a useful checklist of items you can address as soon as you leave this blog post.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. We’re a friendly bunch who are always keen to help where we can, but particularly passionate about getting companies through this crisis we’ve all found ourselves in, one step at a time and together.