Organic traffic is one of the most important drivers of your digital marketing strategy because new visitors are set on a pathway that leads to conversion, whatever conversion means for your business. Assuming the traffic you attract represents folks in your target market, when you increase organic traffic, you also increase conversion, as you can see in the image below where Neil Patel encourages brands to focus on traffic rather than conversion.
If you’re looking to increase organic traffic to your website, consider leveraging earned media. Earned media has enormous value, but not everyone knows how to quantify it or fully appreciate how it affects your organic growth.
What is earned media?
Earned media is the organic traffic you gain by creating engagement (likes, comments, shares) with users on social media platforms. Earned media refers to all the non-paid online mentions and coverage that are generated through organic sources. This includes news outlets and blogs, for example. In fact, studies have shown that an organization’s ability to create newsworthy content strongly correlates with its success in attracting earned media mentions. Other types of media include paid (social media and search advertising) and owned (which includes your pages, profiles, groups, and other real estate you use on social media). For most business websites, organic traffic represents the largest portion of traffic coming to your website.
Earned media is a great tool for establishing brand authority and enhancing your off-page SEO in addition to quickly increasing brand awareness. This is why it is becoming increasingly important for organizations to understand how earned media value works.
Increase organic traffic and success
As you can see in the image below, organic traffic offers the highest conversion rate of any promotional option in B2C markets and is second only to email marketing in B2B markets. When you add earned media to the mix, you find organic traffic far outperforms any other digital promotional tool in its ability to deliver conversion.
So, how do you increase organic traffic with earned media?
Well, read on to discover options that are proven to deliver results.
Create newsworthy content to increase organic traffic
Before you can expect to gain traffic from earned media, you need to create content that is newsworthy, informative, and/ or entertaining. The most popular way that Americans currently consume news is online, with social media offering a popular choice for many. In fact, according to statistics from a 2021 study, around 48% of Americans frequently or occasionally utilize social media as an outlet for getting their news.
Although Gen Z and millennials are sometimes linked to the practice of using social networks to stay current, this is shifting rapidly. The preference for social networks over traditional news sources is now common among older consumers, including those in much older populations.
What do we mean by newsworthy? Well, it’s something that gets people talking or provides other value.
Maybe it’s something controversial, or maybe it’s just so awesome that people want to share it with their friends and followers. Essentially, you need to create and share content that’s relevant to your target market and interesting enough for someone outside your immediate target market (like an influencer or news aggregator) so they want to share your content with their audiences on social media or through their own blog/podcast/video channel, etc. Sharing is caring.
Here are some tips on how to create newsworthy content:
Authenticity is the key to success for any brand, but especially if you want to increase organic traffic. As a business owner, you want people to know and trust you, and that means being genuine. Worldwide, 36% of individuals said they ignored news because it made them feel bad. Others acknowledged news weariness or thought it was biased or unreliable.
If your posts aren’t authentic, why should someone trust your brand or buy from you? Why would they continue to follow your company after their first purchase? Shouldn’t everything about your brand, from its products to the tone and voice present in all of its marketing materials, be 100% authentic? Nearly 45% of individuals think they come across bogus news online every day. You can’t fake authenticity.
While trying to grow organic traffic with earned media, authenticity is one of the three main principles alongside transparency and consistency.
Provide value to your market
Provide value to your audience. It’s simple: if you want them to engage with your content, give users something that’s worth their time and effort. Give them something they can use, something genuinely helpful and specific to their needs rather than blathering on about your brand.
The best way to ensure that people engage with what you have is to present an idea or product they can’t find elsewhere (i.e., not a repost, stock image, etc.). Put yourself in their shoes to figure out what they want to know about your brand. Look at the content shared by your competitors and even unrelated businesses serving the same market to glean ideas from the types of posts that create engagement for these brands.
Use human interest storytelling
Storytelling is a powerful tool for engaging your target and gaining earned media attention that increased organic traffic. It’s not just the content of your story that keeps people coming back for more, but also how you tell your story. The best stories have a beginning, middle, and end, a narrative arc with a clear starting point and resolution in the end.
An effective way to create this type of structure is by using human interest or feature-based storytelling, stories that aim to raise awareness about an issue but also showcase an individual’s journey through that issue. People your stories and show images of them.
Narrow your focus
Once you found your audience, the next step is to narrow your focus. Focus on a specific niche related to your brand. When you start writing for a new blog or publication, it’s tempting to struggle to find your place, but it’s unrealistic to drive interest when you’re all over the place with your topics which only leads to burnout. Instead, choose a topic that speaks strongly to both your brand and those of your target market. For instance, if you have a product used when hiking, you might talk about the best hiking trails in XYZ park or how to take your best furry friend along for a hike. Your focus can include anything from food and fashion blogs (which often have more diverse subject matter) to sports websites that cover basketball or baseball but not other games like football or hockey.
Focus on a specific audience. If it seems like every site wants more women reading their content, there’s a good reason for this: female readers tend to spend more time on sites than men do (and they’re also more likely to purchase products from the site). So if you want big numbers quickly, go after women! You don’t need an entire site devoted solely toward them. Just pick one topic that interests women as long as it fits with your product and brand image.
Outsource your content
Outsourcing your content is a great way to save time, but it is sometimes a wasteful and potentially dangerous proposition. Nearly 54% of businesses utilize third-party support teams to communicate with consumers. If you’re going to outsource, here are some tips:
- Find someone professional to outsource your content and provide oversight. As you can see in the Tweet below (ostensibly created by an intern), it only takes one moment where you lose sight of the ball to cause damage to your brand. Hiring your cousin because he/she has a following on Twitter doesn’t mean they know how to post for a business, how to increase organic traffic, or how to reach your target market, which can land you in similar hot water
- Know your audience well enough to know what they want and need, how to reach them, and what types of messaging work before outsourcing so you can provide your partner with direction in terms of the content you want. You can easily find this information through surveys and focus groups or simply by paying attention in the comments section of your posts.
- Ensure you have a workable contract with your provider that clearly spells out the goals, approval process, publication schedule, and other key elements that help you increase organic traffic. You can’t work with a provider who goes rogue on you or one who constantly fails to deliver quality content on time.
A fantastic user experience that consistently delivers regardless of the media platform, relevant content that provides value to your market, ongoing monitoring, and an experimental mentality are just a few of the ingredients that go into creating traffic that increases month over month. It’s preferable to have a reliable procedure in place before using the strategy. Concentrate on creating a strong brand voice for use in online chats and on social media. Once measurement and conversion targets are in place, add authentic media to the online marketing mix. This may be a challenging task depending on the size and level of expertise of the team. Take it slow and gradually increase the difficulty as everyone becomes more adept.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.