Content Marketing Blog

What newspapers can teach you about content marketing

Newspapers are having a tough time dealing with the internet. It’s killed their ad revenue and forced them to give their product away for free.

But while the industry is still working out how to make money in the digital age, some newspaper websites are setting the bar when it comes to creating engaging, search-friendly content.

In fact, content marketers can learn an awful lot from newspapers. Here is just one example… When we take on a new client, one of the first things we look at is the landing pages. All good content marketing strategies are built on landing pages. They’re the pillars that hold up your website and if they’re weak or missing altogether then your creative efforts elsewhere will be undermined.

Some newspaper websites do landing pages really well and can provide a great model for your website, no matter what it’s for. If you take a look at Google’s search results for “Typhoon Haiyan” you’ll see that the top results are news articles.

As the story is still developing, Google is using the QDF (query deserves freshness) element of its algorithm to push new pages (in this case news items) to the top of its search results. News sites regularly publishing stories about the Typhoon will be winning search traffic as people use Google to track the latest developments.

Typhoon Haiyan Google Search

Latest news stories top Google’s results for “Typhoon Haiyan”

But individual news stories have a limited shelf life and only appear on the first page for a broad search like “Typhoon Haiyan” because they’re new. In just a few hours, there’ll be newer stories and they’ll drop down the rankings. What the cannier news sites will already being doing is creating hub pages for all their Typhoon Haiyan content. These pages will be at the top of the site’s hierarchy (domain.com.au/world/typhoon-haiyan) and they will link to recent and archived stories, pictures and videos about the typhoon. This is CNN’s Typhoon Haiyan landing page.

CNN's "Typhoon Haiyan" landing page pulls together related video, images and news stories

CNN’s “Typhoon Haiyan” landing page pulls together related video, images and news stories

Already you’ll these pages ranking on the first page of Google’s results. But unlike the latest news stories, these pages will hold their position and remain among the best results for “Typhoon Haiyan” long after the story has dropped out of the headlines.

You can employ this tactic as part of your content marketing strategy. Whatever your website is for, creating pages that pull together the content you’ve created on a particular topic will help you build really powerful landing pages that provide a useful resource centre for your target audience. These pages will also do really well in search. This is the Guardian newspaper’s landing page for “Edward Snowden”.

The Guardian's "Edward Snowden" landing page

The Guardian’s “Edward Snowden” landing page

This is one of the top results for “paywall” – a Mashable page that pulls all of the paywall-related content on to a single hub page.

Mashable Paywall Landing Page

Mashable’s “paywall” content hub is among the top results for that term

By Kate Davidson