Why AI, SEO and social media paid acquisition are so critical right now

By: David Arkin
April 5, 2024
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I want to spend a few minutes today sharing some insights I’m picking up on through the work we’re doing with our clients and conversations I’m having with leaders in the industry.

There are a few themes that seem to be on the minds of many:

• Evolving strategies with AI

• Cracking the SEO puzzle

• Prioritizing social media video and paid acquisition

1. What do you expect everyone to do with AI?

I continue to see a lot of testing and evolution with AI across media organizations. Through experiments, some companies have established new AI processes and procedures that are saving time and helping create more content with safeguards in place.

Those who are making the most progress have solid AI standards and have made it clear what they expect staff to do around AI. Using tests to get to that point has been important.

Right now, I see those practices including tools to record interviews and summarize highlights, headline writing, social media posts, newsletter summaries and the generation of submitted content. Bigger things are to come, but seeing many organizations feel their way through the AI waters with these basics is a good sign.

A key question to ask yourself: If you had a new employee start tomorrow, how would you explain your AI strategy to them? If the answer isn’t so clear today, it’s worth experimenting until you get to the point of having some form of clarity.

We have a few good resources that you can use:

Wondering where to start with AI? Here are four steps.

12 ways to use AI for social media

Efficient AI tools that graphic designers can use

2. SEO needs real effort, real fast

I’m seeing more and more companies looking at their audience acquisition numbers and wondering what in the world is going on with their organic search traffic.

Google’s changes is what’s going on.

Google’s E-E-A-T- (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) model has impacted a lot of publishers (specifically magazines) across the industry.

We’re in the midst of a variety of SEO audits at the moment and the major takeaway has been that publishers who take steps to do the right things around reader transparency and those who can personalize content, are winning. These are the top takeaways:

• When you can, (and do it as much as you possibly can) add a first-person voice to your content. This means, if you have a story on an attraction or a list of places you are telling people to go to, showcase what your experience at those locations has been.

• Explain the processes you use to report. If you had to file a FOIA, tell readers that. If you updated a story, tell readers exactly what you did. This builds trust.

• Show off your background as a reporter. Create boxes that go with stories that highlight awards the reporter has won, the number of years they have covered the beat and more. This shows expertise and authority.

There are a host of other priorities that are more technical: site load time, addressing toxic links, using alt text and more. You need to adjust your content strategies and ensure you’re technical sound.

Here are resources you can use:

Google is prioritizing personal experiences. Here’s what that means

Why you should be using unique URLs in your stories

3. You need social video and a paid budget

I can see two very clear things around social media right now.

• Video will mean everything in the future on those platforms.

• You need to invest in a paid budget for social distribution.

First, video. Meta continues to send signals that they will give big time love to video and links are going to have a tough time in the future. Publishers have to get creative on how they think about this. Reporters can use video to share how they covered a story, go live from the scene of their story and showcase the highlights of their story with a Reel through visuals and Canva cards.

There are so many ways to do this today, but there has to be a clear expectation that you expect reporters to find a way to do this, very consistently. The tools are there.

When it comes to paid social media, it just has to be part of how you view your distribution strategy. Transitioning to video, will be key, but we still have to get people to our website.

One of the more interesting and positive things I see happening is publishers who have great local content are seeing pretty amazing cost per click (for audience campaigns) and cost per lead (email acquisition) rates. Work with a company that can help you do this. We can help.

Facebook is not loving your content like it used to. But social media is still important so you just have to find ways to make it work still.

Here are resources you can use:

Why you need a vertical video strategy in 2024

5 ways to cover weather differently for digital

 We can help

We’re doing lots of work with media companies in all of these areas. Email me at David@davidarkinconsutling.com or text me at 832 407 0188 so we can chat. We can find a program and solution that fits what you need and what you can do.

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