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Two Key Things Brand Publishers Must Do Differently In 2019

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If your content marketing strategy hasn’t changed since this time last year, it’s time to re-evaluate your game plan for 2019.

At L&T, we invest a huge amount of time, resources, and energy into keeping pace with ever-evolving best practices in digital.

We’re constantly hiring around new skill sets and nurturing internal talent in order to expand our capabilities and deliver results for our partners in the face of a constantly changing digital landscape.

I naturally spend a lot of time thinking about that changing landscape, as well as what we need to be doing differently in order to remain relevant — much less, successful — in the coming years.

With the end of the year approaching, here are a few quick insights that have been top of mind for me as I formulate my game plan for L&T in 2019:

Focus on More than Just Traditional SEO

A decade, even five years ago, search engine optimization (SEO) was one of three core pillars of every digital marketing strategy.

As the internet expanded and consumer habits evolved, however, SEO became a smaller slice of a much larger and more nuanced picture.

I’m not saying that search engine usage or SEO’s importance is on the decline – far from it. But new opportunities are emerging that require companies to expand their strategies beyond the scope of traditional SEO.

For example, social media is still relatively young and, as a result, is in a state of flux. While most brands have established a presence across the major platforms, few are actually keeping pace with shifting algorithmic and consumer preferences.

In other words, there’s still a huge amount of opportunity up for grabs there if you can figure out how to do it right.

To learn more, check out my recent post on emerging social media best practices.

Moreover, search itself is changing dramatically. Mobile-first indexing, voice search, structured data, contextual search — these are just a few of the new developments that your SEO strategy needs to be proactively taking into account.

Respond to an Evolving Buyer’s Journey

In a hyper-congested online environment, consumers are increasingly relying on influencers and trusted third-party publishers to vet brands and products for them, via apps and social media.

That is to say, content discovery has become a largely curated and, therefore, relatively passive process.

For brands, that means you need to invest more time and energy into external PR and intelligent, personalized social media strategies.

More external activity means more opportunities for organic discovery, which, in the age of consumer empowerment, has become a key part of the initial screening process during every buyer’s journey.

In addition to increasing the chances of downstream conversion, brand recognition often results in immediate action — i.e., a relevant user sees your company’s name in an article or a piece of branded content floating around on Twitter, so they do a quick Google search to learn more.

The outcome has been, interestingly enough, that websites are becoming an increasingly down-funnel destination.

The silver lining here is that the sales process becomes less involved — the leads come directly to you and hey, they’re already pretty warm.

Related: 3 Ways to Jumpstart Your Executive Brand

On the other hand, your website needs to do far more heavy lifting in the middle and bottom of the funnel, which is a lot more difficult than it might sound.

How engaging and functional is your site? Is it optimized for passive, downstream conversion? Is your messaging capable of convincing someone to buy into your brand, right then and there?

If your site can’t provide both a frictionless user experience and an accurate window into your organizational culture and value proposition, the chances that your inbound marketing efforts will generate a positive ROI are slim to none.

People expect a lot more from their online experiences than they did 10, five, even one year ago. If you’re still clinging to the same strategies and tactics, it’s time to update your approach.

To learn more, check out this great article on emerging inbound marketing best practices.

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