Are Celebrities The New Experts in Content Strategy?/
May 29, 2015
Sofia Vergara is an actress who is well known for her beauty and comedy, but behind that lovable character is a savvy content strategy shark. Her website, sofiavergara.com, is a bilingual publisher that follows a model similar to UpWorthy or ViralNova. Interesting, funny, or potentially viral media is found, then Sofia’s writers draft an accompanying page’s worth of content to summarize and supplement it. A clickbaity title is slapped on the post and it is blasted into her social channels to attract as many users to the site as possible.
By reblogging other people’s work, SV’s staff saves a lot of time. After all, it’s much easier to write a page about something that already exists than to create new media altogether. This content that is highly optimized for sharing has acquired quite a few backlinks. The root domain has a Moz Domain Authority (DA) of 41 with over a thousand backlinks, proof of the authority’s success. So what is Sofia doing right?
Behind All Strong Content Publishers Is A Strong Social Presence
Since very little content on sofiavergara.com is original, acquiring organic traffic isn’t likely. The same featured media probably already exists on dozens of other sites, each with their own spin. So how do these competitors acquire visits? They lean on social sharing.
BuzzFeed has long said that it relied on a social outreach strategy to become what it is today, not SEO. The reality is that building a social media presence is worthless unless you have somewhere to send your audience with something to do.
In Sofia’s case, she’s always giving her audience of 7 million a portal to visit her site where they can sign up for her newsletter or view more articles. And that’s just Facebook!
Use social media to support your website, not just to be on social media. Posting a picture from your holiday office party once a year isn’t exactly leveraging your social presence. Always keep your website’s goals in mind and direct your users towards converting with your posts.
The internet has changed the face of media produced for entertainment both on and offline. One by one, talk shows are starting to look more like viral content roundups than the traditional idea of daytime or late night TV.
One celebrity who can be credited as an originator of this trend is Ellen Degeneres. Her show focused on creating and sharing viral media early on, often having the stars of hit YouTube videos on as guests. After producing so much viral content, it must have become clear to Ellen that sites like YouTube and UpWorthy were getting too much credit for her work. To reclaim her work’s authority online, Ellen created ellentube.com.
Ellentube is a site very similar to YouTube, except all of the content is owned, hosted, and managed on one of Ellen’s domain. Users can upload their videos from the Heads Up app, watch clips from today’s show, and see their favorite past clips. The site has a DA of 56 with over 80,000 backlinks, authority which would have otherwise gone to YouTube.
If You Don’t Take Credit For Your Work, Someone Else Will
Ellen figured out that she needed to claim her work at a very early stage in the development of her online empire. She knew that there would be an abundance of video content being produced in the future, which would need to be managed and shared in a controlled setting. Publicly posting her videos on YouTube would mean sacrificing all visits and links to her videos to YouTube’s domain, making it a poor option.
The solution was ellentube, which guaranteed that all use of Ellen’s videos through embeds or social shares would result in visits and links to her own domain. As a search marketer I commonly see sites make the mistake of hosting their blog on a third party domain. They usually aren’t happy to find out that all links pointing to their blog posts are sending authority to the third party host, and not their own site.
An example of another media savvy celebrity whose content dominates the entertainment sphere is Jimmy Fallon. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is constantly making headlines with hilarious & expertly crafted sketches, usually involving a celebrity. While this is a great start, Jimmy’s very valuable content is then uploaded to YouTube. There it collects links and visits for Youtube, instead of nbc.com. Unless Jimmy is seeking AdSense dollars from YouTube, it’s hard to watch the show hand over more than 2000 videos of brilliant original content to another domain.
According to Moz, Jimmy/NBC is missing out on over 1,400 links that point to the channel’s home page alone, not counting all of the links that point to individual videos. If you’re taking the time to produce original content, make sure that you’re retaining as much of the credit as possible by hosting it on your own web property.
Offer embed codes with your media to secure backlinks to your site anytime it’s used in another place on the web. Don’t waste your time creating original content if you can’t reap the benefits.
Online content can serve many purposes for its creator or just one. Up until this point we’ve only discussed content strategy as it applies to mass content publishers, but it can be even more difficult to get a singular piece to take flight.
One of my favorite campaigns to happen this year was Jeff Bridges partnership with Squarespace. He created a project called “Sleeping Tapes” which was a short album that featured relaxing hypnotic tracks to help induce sleep. The album was made free to listen to on a landing page built with Squarespace, and all proceeds from album sales were donated to No Kid Hungry.
The domain, dreamingwithjeff.com, only has about 20 pages in all. Despite its size, the site has 4,000 backlinks and a domain authority of 55 nearly tying with ellentube. How can a domain with only 20 pages have as much authority as a popular video hosting platform with more than 300,000 indexed pages?
Quality Over Quantity
Jeff Bridges proves that it’s quality, not quantity, that makes content successful. First, the charity project was newsworthy and gained a lot of attention in the media. This resulted in an outpouring of backlinks from news coverage, giving the domain’s authority a healthy boost.
During this campaign’s launch, advertisements ran on services like Spotify where Jeff Bridges’ soothing voice would tease users to dreamingwithjeff.com to learn more. Granted, Jeff was talking about using Squarespace as much as he was talking about the album in the promotions, but somehow it didn’t feel too pushy. It felt genuine.
All of the promotions and press releases in the world couldn’t make content with a poor landing page experience successful. However, this was not the case with dreamingwithjeff.com. Since the purpose of this campaign was to spread awareness about Squarespace, the quality of the design of the landing page was obviously a top priority for its creators.
The simple homepage contains most of the content and information any user might desire. This makes it the singular URL users need to link to and share, ensuring that all authority is consolidated in one place.
Jeff and Squarespace set out to help the world sleep, spread the word about Squarespace, and establish their work as a single authoritative and viral body of content. With a masterfully executed strategy their goals had been realized, and it was all done with a single landing page.
Going forward we can expect to see more celebrities entering the online realm as content/media publishers. Very recently I was surprised when I clicked on a clickbaity link that took me to Jersey Shore’s DJ Pauly D’s blog. I found that he too was taking a stab at being a content publisher, building authority around his brand in the process. Which celebs do you admire for their content strategy?