Content is key to a winning digital marketing strategy. In the case of Yabsta, as both a B2B and B2C platform, there are many content opportunities to successfully build an engaged audience and drive traffic towards your clients and advertisers. To be successful and connect with your audience, you must have a clear and measured approach to all aspects of your content creation.
60% of all content created by brands is poor, irrelevant, or fails to deliver.
The internet as we know it is overloaded with content, from our social media channels to every brand and organization website we visit. Before creating your content, it is important to have a clear understanding of content best practices, and to set a considered plan for your content, distribution and measurement if you expect to cut through the noise and build a strong and loyal audience.
Content Best Practices
Deliver value to your audience
Audiences seek out content to be educated, inspired, informed or entertained, and it is no different when looking to brands for that content. When creating content as a website with a direct connection to our advertisers, we need to keep in mind that people do not want to be sold to constantly. We must create and share content that connects to our audience first, which in turn helps to build loyal and large followings. In turn, this will lead to value for your advertisers. With no audience, you have no value to your advertiser.
Tailor your content to suit Yabsta’s features
Have a clear understanding of the different features and content types of the Yabsta platform. Also understand how users find information and navigate through the site. From there, plan your content with these features and content types in mind. Evergreen content - content that is always relevant - works best as Essentials content, whereas dynamic, topical content works best as articles. While one concept may work best as a collection, another may work better as a video. If resources or revenue make video not feasible, adapt or change the concept to suit your delivery method or keep it saved for future use. The key is to think about your concept and how to best deliver it utilizing Yabsta's features.
i.e. One of the main features of the platform is a fully integrated search engine that lists businesses/organizations in user friendly format, therefore, content should never just be a list of businesses/organizations.
Know your brand identity and build your voice
To understand your audience and deliver the best possible content to them, you must have a clear understanding of who you are as a brand. Trying to be everything to everyone will leave your audience lacking a connection and leave your engagement low. Know your strengths and expertise and focus on delivering relevant content rather than trying to follow the trends or please everyone.
If you are a local directory, focus on providing great, locally-focused content to both locals and visitors to inspire your audience and connect them to your clients. If you are an association site with a focus on a specific industry, keep that industry your focus and be a resource of valuable information.
There are thousands of blog posts and articles with information on what content you should be creating, and it is great to get insight from others who are the authority on the topic of online marketing. Keep in mind, when taking content suggestions from online articles and blog posts, make sure you adapt those ideas to your brand and only use those that make sense. Not only will this strategy help you connect with your audience, but it will also help to build your brand as a topic authority with search engines.
Think in terms of topics you want to own, not just keywords
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are constantly changing their algorithms and it is hard to keep up with the proper keyword and content tips and tricks to get your content found organically. Having a proper keyword strategy in place for all of your content is extremely important but it is not the only way you should focus on optimizing content for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). One place SERPs are putting more focus and ranking on is who has authority on a topic. With this in mind, you can create your evergreen content around organizational structures that put an emphasis on your brand becoming the authority on the topics you think you can master. This concept of Topic Clusters helps to organize your evergreen content strategy to make your brand the authority.
Plan your distribution to leverage your key channels
You can create the best-crafted, most interesting content, but if people cannot find it then is the effort worth it?
Having a clear distribution strategy is beneficial and will help to get your audience looking at your content. The reach of your content will be extended by channels that include paid distribution, social media, native advertising, SEO and organic distribution. Building a plan, trying new opportunities and optimizing as you go will get you on the road to growing your audience.
You have to take an active role in making sure your content gets viewed.
Focus on conversions
Audiences are not built overnight. It takes time and continuous effort to grow a strong and loyal audience effectively.
When we look at bounce rates in our analytics, a high bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing for a local directory / information hub. It could mean users are coming to the site, finding what they are looking for (your advertiser) and leaving fulfilled. Happy user, happy advertiser. But, it is also important to build a continuous relationship with your users so they not only come to your site when they need to find something but also when they are looking to consume content and be informed, inspired, or entertained. Putting a focus on delivering value to your audience will lead to conversions on creating regular visitors.
When relying on advertisers for your main revenue generation, leading your audience to your advertisers is an important aspect of your operations. With content marketing, it is best to be discrete and utilize a lighter touch when it comes to sales. If your audience feels like all of the content on your site is just advertisements you will quickly lose their trust and, with that, their engagement.
You should not aim for all your content to connect directly to an advertiser / business. You need to think of creating great content first and foremost. Any paid content, or content created on behalf of a third party advertiser, should be clearly labeled as an advertisement (within Yabsta we use a “Sponsored” tag). Not only is clearly labeling sponsored content ethically important, online audiences are savvy enough to know when content is paid for and you will lose their trust if you are not upfront about it.
Engage your audience
Yabsta has a number of built-in audience engagement features, from Events to Classifieds, People’s Choice Awards, Business Reviews and more. These features are a great way to get your audience engaged and build a community around your brand. The more active a role your audience takes in engaging with your content, on-site or off-site (social), the stronger their connection will be to your brand.
Experiment with variety in your content
Content is not just articles and social posts. Content can be videos, photography, infographics, podcasts, events and more. Find creative ways to deliver your content and keep your audience interested. Always ensure that whatever content you are creating fits your brand - for example, don’t create infographic downloads on a topic outside of your brand as that is content no one will be looking for from you.
Analyze, optimize and repeat
It is important to consistently analyze and measure engagement with your content, and adapt and repeat as needed. Know what works and what doesn’t and try to understand why. Allow the data to inform your creative process rather than dictate. Experiment with content, but keep in mind that continuously posting the same content with little to no engagement or growth is a waste of resources, time and revenue. Utilize free tools like Yabsta’s internal analytics, Google Analytics and other free or paid services and let the data help you make informed and enlightened decisions on your creative process.
Articles are long-form editorial content that use a publishing system similar to a blogging platform. While there are a number of different suggestions for ideal word count, first and foremost this content should be interesting, relevant, informative and compelling to users to read and share. Articles are content which is meant to be dynamic and topical and should use formatting best practices to make them compelling and interesting.
Posting articles and hoping your readers find them is pointless unless you already have a strong, regular audience. Properly keywording your articles helps with SEO, but dynamic content has a limit on it’s organic reach. Articles must be distributed through social channels to drive traffic to your content. This content can also be re-shared as long as it remains topical. Creating article series that share the same topic and format are a great way to build a following coming back for more.
- Opinion pieces (typical blog style posts)
- Interviews with local celebrities / figures
- Interesting historical or cultural topics
- Local celebrity / figure’s “how to spend a day”
- Evergreen content that does not necessarily fit within the Essentials
Essentials content is what is commonly referred to as Evergreen content - content that is always relevant to your audience.
When created in line with your brand, this long-form editorial content works as a strong SEO tool to help drive traffic to your site and build your brand as a voice of authority. Essentials content is published using the same system as articles but a uses different format for organizing and displaying that content. This content should be planned out ahead of time following a Topic Cluster approach and include structured data markup for best SEO results where relevant. Made for organic search traffic, it is equally important to include a strong distribution plan for this content through your social channels. Due to it being “always relevant,” you can frequently revisit this content with social shares.
- Tourist requirements
- Transit routes and schedules
- Garbage and recycling information
- Community services information
- Emergency information
- Historical and cultural information
Collections are long-form editorial content that is specifically formatted in the popular list form.
Each item can be linked to internal items (listings, POIs, events, etc.) and can also include external items (musicians, artists, etc.). Each item added to the list should have a custom description explaining why it has been included (ie. In a collection of the best beaches, explain why each beach deserves to be on the list). Do not rely on the content included with the item; instead, make this custom and specific to your topic. For example, a list of best hamburgers should link to each restaurant listing and include photos of each restaurant’s hamburger, not just the listing provided image. In a list of best hamburgers, the audience wants to SEE the hamburgers.
- Best Ofs (Best Hamburgers, Best Brunches, Best Places to Relax, etc.)
- Top 10s
- Celebrity / Local Guest Favourites
Yabsta’s video platform allows you to import videos and also embed links from YouTube and Vimeo. These videos are searchable and can be linked to listings and embedded in the majority of Yabsta content. You can create your own branded content videos to distribute throughout the site and to your audience or pull in interesting content from external sources. General Users also have access to upload their own video content, which is another great way to engage your audience. When creating video, keep in mind the benefits that video brings to your audience, and where video as a type of content has its strengths. Show, don’t tell.
Points of Interest
A Point of Interest, or POI, is a location-specific landmark that may be of interest to Yabsta users, such as a beach, historic site, nature reserve, lighthouse, playground or museum. This is typically a location that is not tied directly to a business and is valuable for adding locations to the map that do not have a specific address. The more interesting content (photos, descriptions, videos etc.) added to each POI, the more valuable it will be.
Events are searchable and include a dynamic daily event widget and separate events page. Events can be tied to businesses and include images, flyers and all other relevant information, including dates, times, a detailed description and more. They are great tool for building an engaged and ongoing audience.
Social media is the go-to way to directly connect with your audience these days and each platform has their own uses and best practices that are important to understand. While not specific to the Yabsta platform, social sharing is built into all parts of Yabsta content and should go hand in hand with any content strategy you implement. A key point is to share content that is unique to your brand and tailored to suit the strengths of your chosen social channel. For a directory / local information hub, this could be using Instagram to post local inspirational and aspirational imagery; using Facebook to distribute Yabsta content and converse with your audience; and using Youtube to create compelling storytelling based around your brand and clients.
As with content in general, your social channels should not be overrun by advertising on behalf of your clients. Signal boosting, or reposting your clients’ social media posts, is a great way to build a relationship with and support your clients. However, you need to ensure that your social channels have their own clear and focused voice that suits your brand. If your social channels feel like clearing houses for other brands’ content, you will lose the engagement of your followers. Engage your audience and followers, inspire and inform them, make your brand identity be the focus, then add in some content on behalf of your clients where appropriate.
The Yabsta platform includes a number of advertising features to use as revenue generation tools. These include traditional banner advertising through Yabsta’s internal display advertising system, connecting to external Display Ad networks such as Google AdSense and DoubleClick and native advertising options available directly to clients or managed through your internal marketing team. As Internet users become more savvy and aware of online marketing, it is important to utilize a multi-channel approach to keep your audience's attention open and interested in your content and marketing.
Native advertising and sponsored content are both paid media strategies that fit within the editorial framework of and are unique to your website (unlike banner ads, which can appear across any website). They are meant to blend into the rest of your site and feel like a natural (or native) part of the design, layout and content. Native advertising on the Yabsta Platform includes a number of specific types, recognized by a “sponsored” tag and generally used to boost the visibility of a specific type of content.
Some examples of native advertising within the Yabsta Platform include:
- Sponsored Listings: Priority placement of a business listing within search results based off of the listing’s primary keyword
- Featured Business: A business listing featured on the homepage or section landing page widget blocks
- Bizcast Posts: Priority treatment for a bizcast post, either through featured status as a widget, priority placement in the list of all bizcast posts, or through signal boosting the post through distribution on your own social media channels.
- Events: Priority treatment for an event, with featured widget blocks on the homepage and section landing pages.
- Widget Promos: Branded promo blocks featured within the homepage and section landing pages
- Airline Info and Weather Widget sponsorship
A type of native advertising, sponsored content is an advertising tool where the content itself is the advertisement. Articles, collections, and videos are some of the content types which can be used for sponsored content. Generally, this is long-form editorial content that is created by your internal or third-party marketing team on behalf of an advertiser or brand.
This content uses the same format, voice and tone of your general content, but includes subtle references to your brand or advertiser. Successful sponsored content is informative, entertaining and engaging to your audience first, and should not feel out of place. This could be content written directly for an advertiser or brand, or content that is part of your general content strategy. The sponsorship of general content can be sold to an advertiser / brand.
Some examples of Sponsored Content could include:
- An Essentials article on “Road Safety” being brought you by a vehicle rental company
- A Video highlight of an event that you produced internally but some production costs were paid for by one of the event sponsors
- A Collection of “The Best Ways to Spend a Day In...” featuring a number of local businesses, events and POIs brought to you by a Holiday Tours company where they feature their partners.
- An Article on the best locations to dive or snorkel brought to you by a local dive company
A specific form of sponsored content, influencer marketing focuses on utilizing the networks and recognition of influencers through social media channels, local influence and/or international celebrity.
This type of marketing can be set-up in collaboration with an advertiser or as a collaboration between yourself as the publisher and the influencer in question.
Some examples of influencer marketing content could include:
- An Article featuring an influencer chef’s recipe for a local traditional cuisine
- A Collection featuring an influencer’s list of “The Best Ways to Spend A Day In…” including their choices of favourite local businesses, events, POIs and more
- A Video featuring a local influencer showing you the best in local art and culture
As with all of your content, Sponsored Content should be pushed out through all of your relevant social channels, with the added benefit of signal boosting through your advertisers or influencers’ social channels as well. This allows you and your partner to utilize each other’s networks and reach audiences you may not have had visibility with previously.
As long as you respect content best practices like “building value for you audience” and “selling subtly” when creating your sponsored content, you can develop a great mix of both paid and organic content to inform, entertain and engage your audience. In the process, you will build a strong following for your brand and a valuable advertising partner for you clients.
Building an audience for your brand is not something that happens overnight. It must be approached with a strategy that respects the resources you have available and allows you to commit time to growth. It may be better to commit to fewer dynamic and topical content posts per month, stretching the content out over a longer period of time, rather than try to commit to a heavy content posting schedule and burn out before you have built your audience connection.
Following the best practices listed at the start of this article will give you a good breakdown of how to understand your brand and where you can begin approaching content creation. From there, come up with a strategy to approach the creation and posting of this content, while allowing time to analyze and optimize as you go.
A great starting point for a content strategy is the Crawl-Walk-Run concept from contently.com, a great resource for digging deeper into understanding content marketing.
2-4 Pieces per month
2-4 Pieces per week
1+ Pieces a day
Article, Collection, Social, Email
Article, Video Social, Email, Paid Distribution
Article, Video Social, Email, Paid Distribution, Native Publishing on Social Media
Google Analytics, Biannual Content Evaluation
Google Analytics, Engagement Depth Analytics, Conversion Tracking, Quarterly Content Evaluation
Engagement Depth Analytics, Conversion Tracking, Enterprise Listening, Ongoing Content Evaluation
0.5 FTE (Full Time Employee) (eg Marketing Manager)
1.5 FTE (Director of Marketing and Content Marketing Manager)
3.5+ FTE (Director of Marketing, Head of Content, Content Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager)
0.5 FTE (Freelance Writer or Editor)
2.5 FTE (Freelance Writers, Designers, Videographers, Strategists and Managing Editor)
5+ FTE (7-10 Freelance Writers, Designers, Videographers, Strategists and Managing Editors)
Don’t bother publishing content if no one can see it and always remember that mediocre content is not worth it.