Razorleaf's content marketing drives search

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Marketing integration is perhaps most obvious in the realm of search. The query-plus-results process supports and is supported by display ads, social and e-marketing, and targeted remarketing.

Search also can be tightly intertwined with content marketing, the kind driven by corporate blogs, e-newsletters, white papers and forums. That fact was discovered by Razorleaf Corp., a company specializing in services and training on business-support software from Autodesk Inc., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and others. “About a year and a half ago, our company had a goal to increase our ranking in search,” said Jonathan Scott, principal consultant with Stow, Ohio-based Razorleaf. Scott said he wanted to support the company's primary marketing outreach, which is driven by word-of-mouth referrals and augmented by a monthly e-newsletter. But his e-newsletter wasn't doing much in the way of new business, Scott said. And nobody was coming to Razorleaf's Web site except those who already knew about the company. “We wanted more streams of contact,” Scott said, adding, “and we felt search was a good way to do it. We still wanted referrals, but we wanted electronic referrals, too.” Razorleaf turned to Junta42, a custom-publishing company that also helps its clients extend the marketing usefulness of their collateral. “If you're creating good, compelling content, it has lots of benefits for search and social, both in attracting and retaining customers,” said Joe Pulizzi, founder and chief content officer of Junta42. “Creating content is providing customers with research they can find and check out.” Razorleaf and Junta42 developed a content-marketing strategy, complete with an editorial calendar, to create a variety of assets that could be found through a basic search marketing plan. An initial step was to restage Razorleaf's Web site on WordPress, an open-source content-management and blogging platform that has the added advantage of being search- and social media-friendly. Razorleaf's e-newsletter content was revamped, too. Instead of offering mainly company-intensive information, the articles now focused on customer solutions and industry issues. The articles linked to additional information on the company's Web site. New content was developed to include industry news items, tech tips on specific software applications the company works with, blogs and opinion pieces, and industry references. “We set up the new Web site, launched on June 1, as a "content factory,' where we could create a publishing machine,” Pulizzi said. The WordPress platform eased the automatic posting of new articles and blog posts to Twitter, helping to build a follower base. That, in turn, supported the company's organic search results with robust inbound linking. “Just in the last month, Razorleaf has staged 20 or 25 pieces of fresh content that people can find through all sorts of different methods,” Pulizzi said. Developing the material for its content factory entailed changing the mindset of employees, Scott said. “It's really not tough to come up with content,” he said. “What's tricky is having our employees see that their normal business stuff, what they think of as trivial, is worth publishing. So it starts with interviewing them about, for example, what they learned that morning about a certain software implementation. Then you can say, "Steve, buddy, that's an article.' ” Keyword creation also played a role in helping get Razorleaf's content found online, but that remains a work in progress, Scott said. Like many companies, Razorleaf is trying to balance the use of general terms—for example, the keyword “DriveWorks,” referring to the design-automation solution that Razorleaf helps clients deploy—with more precise, long-tail phrases. “We can nail "DriveWorks API numbering' in a heartbeat,” Scott said, referring to extremely specific keyword phrases. “But we're also interested in pursuing the more general term for consulting work.” Following the revamped approach to search and content marketing, visits to Razorleaf's Web site have doubled since June. And from a time when all visits were from people who already knew about the company, the Razorleaf site today is experiencing 75% of its visits from new prospects via keyword queries. Conversions also are up, Scott said. From virtually no interaction on its Web site, the company has three to five conversions a week, as measured by filling out a form or downloading a white paper. “Razorleaf is now leading the industry in talking about key issues,” Pulizzi said. “And for smaller b-to-b companies, this is very basic. ” M

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