The unstoppable rise of Facebook and the social culture of sharing in which consumers now live means marketers are having to re-assess how they build a community or audience around their brand. One of the results is a blurring of the lines between content and commerce. More brands and e-commerce sites are moving into the realms of publishing, creating high-quality editorial content online (ASOS or NET-A-PORTER are great examples) to engage consumers, develop the brand and ultimately lead to sales.
The result is that consumers can experience content overload, and it becomes increasingly difficult for them to find interesting content online. In turn, for content creators, getting this highly relevant and interesting content discovered by the right audience is becoming an increasingly urgent priority.
Whereas SEO might once have been the answer, the rise of social sharing means that relying on SEO is no longer enough. We’ve moved away from the notion that searching is the only way to find content online, and brands need to adopt their strategies to move away from content that has previously been created for SEO. The key change is that content then, must now be created with people in mind and not search engine crawlers.
Creating good, interesting content will not only appeal to readers when they reach it — it will also help SEO. When editors, bloggers and users like content they will link to it and share it with their friends — building links and increasing traffic — both of which help SEO. Once users are on the site, keeping them there and engaged with good content will help as lower bounce rates are also good for SEO.
As a result of the development of good quality content for readers, publishers discover a new way to help people find the right content for them. Traditional publishers, and new brand publishers, can use content discovery to increase engagement either internally within their sites, or by using a content recommendation platform to distribute their content to other third party sites. This alternative way for traffic acquisition can be used by publishers and marketers who are looking to drive new people to specific content in order grow audiences and hit advertiser targets. For the new breed of brand publishers, working with a content discovery platform is an emerging way to target and engage with relevant, interested readers.
Content discovery is all about helping users discover content that is most interesting to them. It’s being pioneered across the world by Outbrain, a US-based company that is helping publishers to increase traffic and engagement on their sites by serving up interesting content to people while also generating revenue by placing third party links to other publisher or marketers content. Outbrain recently launched in the UK, and is expanding its operations throughout the rest of Europe as more publishers and brands begin to embrace the benefits of content discovery.
Simon Edelstyn is Vice President of Business Development, Europe at Outbrain