Have you ever considered the important the role collaboration plays in the success of your content marketing strategy?

The chances are it’s not what you think.

Have you considered there’s a more natural way to grow traffic, earn customer trust and increase sales – through collaboration?

Over the last two decades, Iʼve developed a passion for marketing and enjoy sharing what I learn with others.

Last year, I read through the blog posts from hundreds of influencers, marketers and SEOs. The focus of my research; to identify the misguided and outdated theories which hamper business growth.

My research revealed something rather profound. The majority of collaborative networks fail to identify the needs of the businesses they seek to serve.

Sadly, the majority of business fail to grasp the immense value collaboration can bring to their business.

What is collaboration and why itʼs so important?

Collaboration is an arrangement where like-minded individuals work together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.

Collaboration has become an intricate component of the digital marketing engine. It does not exist where there is no value or leverage to be offered or gained. It plays a crucial role in ensuring the successful operation of all other components in the content marketing process.

Successful collaboration requires a selfless mindset, trustworthiness, understanding and patience. The successful collaborator understands the change they are seeking and uses creative strategies to achieve the desired outcome.

So why is collaboration so crucial within digital marketing?

Every day there are several million articles curated and published to blog posts around the globe. Yet, blog posts represent only a fraction of what is published on social media and video channels.

That’s a lot of content! So you might be thinking, how can the content I produce get the attention and visibility it deserves?

Trying to make headway on your own may seem futile, but the good news is, there is no need for you to go it alone.

How collaboration can benefit your business.

Few would dispute the essential role content marketing plays in boosting brand awareness, website visibility and traffic growth.

Despite the benefits that quality content delivers in terms of online success, content marketing alone does not guarantee results.

For content to gain traction it requires three primary elements;

  1. Curation of quality content
  2. Collaboration
  3. Sharing

The above is a simplistic overview, like most things, the devil is in the detail.

To understand the benefits of a collaborative approach, we first need to consider the outcomes we are seeking from our content marketing efforts.

Some outcomes you might be seeking could include;

  1. Create, share and distribute content more effectively within your
    network.
  2. Leverage content through social media channels.
  3. Attract ‘naturalʼ backlinks to our content.
  4. Share content more efficiently with a purposeful outbound link strategy,
    linking content to resources that enrich the customer experience. Providing
    opportunities for your audience to gain further knowledge of the products and
    services they seek.
  5. Build audience trust by solving problems which inhibit purchase decisions
    through resources that educate.
  6. Increase domain authority.
  7. Grow website traffic and increase brand awareness.
  8. Reduce reliance on pay-per-click marketing.
  9. Be less price focused and more customer-centric.

Understanding the outcome you are seeking is the first step in the collaborative process. Next, we delve into one of the most valuable assets you need that guarantee the result you are seeking.

The collaborative mindset.

Successful collaboration requires you to develop a mindset which focuses less on what others can do for you and more on what you can do for them.

There is one word that should be foremost in your mind during the outreach process; that word is ‘givingʼ.

The giving mindset should seem perfectly logical and natural. When you think about how you form relationships in your personal life, relationships rarely involve asking for something upfront.

Giving is not a trade; it doesnʼt expect something in return. Giving does not to seek to balance the scale or look for value in everything you do. Selflessness, diligence and patience is the key.

When I think about the giving mindset, I consider the generosity that others have bestowed upon me in times of need and on occasions, totally unsolicited. I think most would agree that something received is highly valued, and to the giver, their reward is far greater.

The giving mindset strengthens your alliances and provides a more productive and meaningful experience for all who participate. The outcome increases brand awareness, search visibility and guarantees the best chance of sustainable business growth.

When thinking of what to offer your prospect, focus on their needs as this will increase the likelihood of them accepting your outreach.

Coming up next, we provide some of the most successful strategies you can use to build your collaborative alliance.

Strategies to leverage your collaborative alliance.

If we put aside fundamentals like on-page SEO, UX and category structure for a moment, the primary drivers delivering the most significant impact in website performance is quality content and inbound links.

To help you fast track your efforts, we have outlined some collaborative approaches which provide the best results. These strategies help you build a robust network of like-minded individuals while strengthening your websiteʼs search visibility.

Some collaborative strategies you can use to leverage content are;

1. Natural Backlinks.

Link directly from a blog post on your website to a related topical blog post on your prospect’s site before outreach. Natural backlinks are the essence of the giving mindset, something which is given freely without the expectation of reciprocation.

When used as a precursor to outreach it increases the likelihood of acceptance of your collaborative offer. Note: Only use this method if the target article provides further insights into the topic discussed or is a resource that you believe benefits your audience

2. Guest posting.

Creation of a quality blog post intended to educate or answer topical questions and concerns of your target audience. Post on a respected industry related website that offers guest posting opportunities.

Be sure to include a follow link from within your article to a related blog post on your website. Note: This approach should not be confused with guest posting websites which sell guest posting opportunities.

3. Sponsored posting.

A similar approach to guest posting where your curated article is published on another related industry website for a fee. The site owner will usually ensure your post is marked as sponsored and all links are NoFollow to avoid running afoul of Google guidelines.

Note: Although no SEO value is passed, sponsored posting can be very beneficial, especially on high traffic websites which are on topic to your audience needs.

4. Resource pages.

An existing article on your website and that of your outreach are linked conversationally from with the pages content to provide audiences further insights into their given topic, products or services they are seeking.

Linking to existing resource pages saves considerable time drafting new content, but it is vital that the pages are topically related. Note: This approach should not be confused with resource link pages which tend to be a list of links by topic.

5. Link from mention.

Sometimes companies mention other brands or resources but fail to embed a link to that brand or resource. A simple ask to turn that mention into an embedded link is usually responded to favourably and is a simple and effective way to boost backlinks.

6. Advertising/Social Media.

Another great strategy is to seek or offer advertising opportunities on high traffic websites or social media channels in return for a fee or consideration of one of the fore-mentioned strategies.

Note: Links from banner or text advertising should be NoFollow as per Google guidelines.

7. Video.

Video posts now outnumber blog posts by 2:1, a trend which is expected to continue and grow. Due to its popularity, it makes sense to include video as part of your content marketing strategy.

8. Infographics/Illustrations.

Infographics are an effective way to communicate your message or story to your audience, leverage brand awareness and attract backlinks.

We encourage you to learn more about the role infographics play in content marketing and how infographics dramatically affect audience engagement and traffic growth.

Entrepreneur published an interesting article on 10 elements needed to create effective collaboration which has some great insights.

The importance of curating compelling content.

The success of your outreach strategy will depend much on your ability to create purposeful, quality content and a willingness to participate in the collaboration and outreach process.

From a collaboration point of view, quality content represents the cornerstone of your content marketing plan and the ability to attract backlinks.

If your business is not actively engaged in the content creation process, your offer will be missing the essential hook needed to resonate with those whom you seek to collaborate. The crux of it all, you will be missing out on a significant piece of a rather large pie.

Why are backlinks important and how you can attract authority websites?

Googleʼs definition of the natural linking process occurs when another website (business) links to your content purely because the insights are deemed so worthwhile. Google believes website owners will feel compelled to link to an article solely for the benefit it provides for their audience.

In reality, unfortunately, it just doesnʼt work that way unless your website has already gained significant traction in the search results. As important as quality content may be, quality content alone will not earn you poll-position in the Google results for competitive keywords and/or phrases. There are other critical factors in play.

Let me put it into perspective. Backlinks play an essential role in search visibility.

Natural links aside, the real takeaway is that without quality content and a collaborative network to leverage your content marketing strategy, there is no mechanism in which to anchor a contextual link from one resource to another and keep within Google guidelines.

If youʼd like a little more depth on the subject Market Muse has a great article that delves into the topic of how to build a content plan.

Conclusion.

Collaboration as part of a content marketing strategy provides your business with the power to leverage website search and social visibility, grow traffic and brand awareness.

Keep in mind that trust is the cornerstone of successful collaboration. For your collaborative alliances to be sustainable long-term, do not make promises that you cannot keep.

Nurture your relationships, keep in regular contact, ask what you can do for them once in a while rather than contacting them only when you’re in need.

And finally, have an insatiable hunger for knowledge, put time aside to immerse yourself in the changes happening within your industry regularly, but more importantly take action.

Your decision to make collaboration part of your online strategy is a positive step that not only benefits your business but also those in your collaborative alliance as well as the clients and customers you serve.

I hope that you’ve found some of the tips and strategies in our guide insightful and welcome any feedback you would like to share.