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How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

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How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

As is often the case with SEO, if you’re doing it well, then you are probably already topically relevant. Topical authority isn’t new, but it’s a term that I’m seeing a lot right now in the SEO sphere.

But hey — if you’ve not yet earned topical authority, now is a good time to start.

In this article, I’ll take a deep dive into topical authority: what it is, how to earn it, and, importantly, how to strategically develop topical relevance.

What is topical authority?

Topical authority is a measure of authority built up through proven expertise and trust in your field. The more high-quality, informative pieces of content there are on your site, the more likely your website is to be perceived as a trusted source of information on a particular topic.

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To be topically authoritative, your site needs to serve your web user, answer all their questions, and provide high-quality content at every step of the buyer journey. Unlike domain authority (DA), topical authority is more of a quantitative measure of how authoritative a site may be. Whilst DA looks primarily at backlinks and the number of high-quality, relevant backlinks, topical authority is proven expertise built over time by covering the breadth and depth of a topic.

Why is building topical relevance important?

If you reach out to someone for a service or product and they speak confidently and passionately about their offering, answer all of your questions, and understand your needs, then you’re more likely to trust them. Why should the internet be any different?

Your buyers are drawn to your offering, your expertise, and your passion. Buyers also want to know you can help serve them and that you understand them.

In the digital world, content is how you nurture buyers. Where Google is concerned, topical relevance proves to search engines that you’re trustworthy and knowledgeable. We all know that Google wants to show its users the best possible content from the most credible sources.

You know a thing or two about your product or service, so prove it to Google through content. Cover related topics, hit keywords, and present information in a way that’s easy for your user (and Google) to understand.

Medic and topical authority

Google’s desire to present only the most useful pieces of information was made clear (if it wasn’t already) in 2018 through the medic update. Back in 2018, the medic update impacted all verticals, but predominantly, health

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It was a positive update, encouraging everyone to improve content production. The update meant that instead of writing content in isolation and expecting it to rank well, content needed to showcase expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).

And it makes sense for this standard to be upheld across the web, especially when we consider that there are more pieces of content being published than ever before. In short: publish only the most well-written, well-informed pieces on your website if you want to stay competitive.

How does topical authority help you rank higher?

Topical authority’s impact on rank is fairly logical. Consider your own buyer journey. You want to source a good product or service that you also love. Perhaps the brand values need to align with your own.

Before making a purchase, you most likely head to Google — but even if you didn’t, you’d be looking for credibility before you make your purchase. Without Google, you would need to source referrals from friends or pop into the store and speak with an advisor. You’d ask questions and gauge if the product or service does everything you need it to. You’d likely be looking to build a rapport and to see if you trust the person or business to deliver whatever you’re thinking of paying them for. If you were torn between two vendors, you might be swayed by the more passionate person or value-driven business.

Topical authority allows you to provide this same experience online. You showcase all the reasons why someone should buy from you. If you’re saying everything your competitor is saying — plus some more — and you’ve created different types of content to appeal to your audience (videos, guides, etc.), your site is starting to look more authoritative and useful. Why would Google prioritize a competitor site when it perceives your site to have more useful information?

There’s one key thing to remember: when it comes to ranking on Google and earning favor in the algorithm, you need to use keywords in your content. As you center your strategy around creating high-quality articles, you need to be especially cautious of keyword cannibalization.

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There’s also what I call topical cannibalization. To build topical authority strategically, you need to know how to build out your content architecture in a smart way. I’m going to walk you through that now, step by step.

1. Research your topic

Before you can build out your content strategy, you need to research your topic. What you’re looking for are the search terms your buyers are typing into Google to solve their problems.

Here, you can turn to keyword tools like Moz’s keyword explorer. Type in a keyword (or your topic) and see what else is suggested. You will find exactly what terms are being searched in Google so you can use them within your content to earn ranks for them.

1654724509 16 How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

Moz shares keyword suggestions, many of which can form part of your content strategy. Remember: covering all relevant topics helps build topical authority.

Social media sites like Quora and Reddit are also useful. Within these sites, you can see exactly what discussions your audience is having. You’ll likely encounter their pain points, queries, and buyer apprehensions that you can then solve, answer, and/or soothe within your content.

Finally, it’s my favorite: people also ask (PAA). Want to know what your audience is asking? There’s a trove of information in there!

1654724509 552 How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

Tools like AlsoAsked make light work of PAA, allowing you to view PAA data in a visually appealing, hierarchical structure. There’s a lot of opportunity to build topical authority in any niche. Just take a look at knitting as an example!

1654724509 527 How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

2. Create pillars and clusters

When researching your topic, map out every single piece of content that you want to create based on what your audience is searching or looking for.

Then, you’re going to work on assigning keywords to the pieces. This is the crucial step that prevents keyword and topical cannibalization.

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3. Map keywords to pillars using SERP analysis

When mapping keywords, it’s easy to assume that every keyword needs its own page. Take the knitting example from earlier: if you dig around in the keyword suggestions, you can find “what is knitting” (590 searches/month) and “history of knitting” (480 searches/month).

A quick analysis of the SERPs shows that these two keywords can perform well in SERPs used on the same page. You don’t need to write two articles. Two articles could result in what I call topical cannibalization.

4. Write high-quality, well-researched content

When planning your content, look for opportunities to write quality, well-researched, long-form articles instead of just trying to publish as many as possible.

Instead of writing two articles, consider writing one more in-depth article like sustainablefashioncollective.com did. Their article features high up on the SERPs for ‘what is knitting’ and has a featured snippet for “history of knitting”.

1654724510 218 How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

It’s also on page one for “knitting uses” (20 searches).

The point is, more articles don’t necessarily equate to more ranks. When it comes to topical authority, Google wants to present well-written, in-depth, well-informed articles.

5. Share it with your audience

There’s no need to wait for your page one rank before you get eyes on your article or page. Share it with your audience, use social media, and present content to your subscribers through email. Try repurposing content and creating videos.

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Quick tips for earning topical authority

1654724510 135 How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

The steps above briefly detail the steps you can take to help build topical authority over time. Here are some final steps to integrate into your content plan:

  • Keep up with current events related to your topic.

  • Identify new trends and write about them.

  • Cluster your keywords and cover a topic in full based on SERP analysis.

  • Don’t be afraid to share something new — just because it’s not on the SERPs doesn’t mean you can’t be the first to say it.

  • Don’t be afraid to link out to trusted sources. Referencing other materials is a great way to show you’ve done your research.

  • Update your content to keep it fresh. For example, if you’ve got a page about your topic in 2021, it might be time to update it and make that article relevant to 2022.

How can you tell if a website is authoritative?

There are many ways to work out if a website is authoritative. Find out how the you can use the following items to tell if a website is authoritative:

  • Check the domain authority

  • Look out for indented SERPs

  • Check organic keywords

  • Strong internal link profile

  • Well-written, informed content

Check the domain authority

An SEO favorite is domain authority (DA). Although we’re focusing on topical authority here, domain authority is still a measure of an authoritative website. The DA score is a number between 1 and 100 that indicates the website’s strength in search engine results pages. There are several factors that feed into this algorithm and backlinks are one of them.

Simply put, the more backlinks a site or content piece has earned, the higher the domain authority will likely be. After all, other websites tend to link to highly authoritative websites.

Look out for indented SERPs

Indented SERPs are a strong indicator that a site is topically relevant. If you search a keyword such as: ‘landscape design tips’ (90 searches/month), you might find housebeautiful.com and their indented search results.

Indented SERPs are where similar topics that exist on one website are grouped together, giving the site more prominence in search results.

1654724510 983 How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

Check organic keywords

Generally, the more keywords a site ranks for on a topic, the more topically authoritative it will be.

SEO tools can give you some insights into what your competitors are ranking for. They can also share topic ideas for how you can close the gap by covering the same topics.

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If you do cover the same topics, remember to add more detail, more media, or a unique perspective.

Strong internal link profile

Assuming a site is using internal linking well, a strong internal link profile should demonstrate that a site is authoritative on a subject.

Take ‘beginners guide to seo’ (480 searches/month) as an example. For this keyword, Moz is in position one.

1654724510 41 How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

A quick internal link analysis tells me there are 26 links within content pointing to this page. Links are coming from pages such as On-Page Ranking Factors in the ‘learn’ section of the website. This is a highly relevant topic for beginner guide SEO.

Well-written, informed content

If you’re on a website and you’re discovering well-written, high-quality, original pieces of writing, then it shows that the site has some topical authority.

If the site is also updating this high-level content regularly, it’s probably earning topical relevance.

Do backlinks still count toward website authority?

Yes, backlinks still contribute to website authority. We can also predict that backlinks will continue to be helpful toward SERP rankings — but they’re not everything.

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Backlinks needn’t be your goal when it comes to topical relevance. They will happen naturally as you earn visibility in SERPs and write high-quality, linkable content. Nevertheless, authoritative sites will continue to earn backlinks at a higher rate than non-authoritative sites. Plus, having topical authority can only help you attract links from other websites.

Koray Tugberk conducted an incredibly useful experiment where topical authority is concerned. To add credibility to his study he isolated E-A-T as the driving factor for success — he literally implemented no other SEO tactic. Take a look at his interview with Matt Diggity: 

Tuberk claims he earned 300,000 organic users, built up from zero in just five months. And he did it all using topical authority and semantic SEO only — no backlinks.

Final thoughts on topical authority

Building authority on a subject should come easy. After all, this is the topic you loved so much you built a website to share your expertise on it, right?

Reach out to your subject matter experts, ask them questions, and get to writing.

Be creative with what you put out there, repurpose your content, answer questions, and nurture your buyer.

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Follow my steps above and don’t be afraid to inject some new information into the SERPs. Your buyer wants to know you and your business! The extra efforts go a long way when it comes to content.

Remember, content and topical authority in a digital world often replace face-to-face interactions. Show your buyer why you’re an expert, what you know about your subject, and all the reasons why they should trust you.

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How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

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How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

Welcome to Creator Columns, where we bring expert HubSpot Creator voices to the Blogs that inspire and help you grow better.

It’s the age of AI, and our job as marketers is to keep up.

My team at Foundation Marketing recently conducted an AI Marketing study surveying hundreds of marketers, and more than 84% of all leaders, managers, SEO experts, and specialists confirmed that they used AI in the workplace.

AI in the workplace data graphic, Foundation Labs

If you can overlook the fear-inducing headlines, this technology is making social media marketers more efficient and effective than ever. Translation: AI is good news for social media marketers.

Download Now: The 2024 State of Social Media Trends [Free Report]

In fact, I predict that the marketers not using AI in their workplace will be using it before the end of this year, and that number will move closer and closer to 100%.

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Social media and AI are two of the most revolutionizing technologies of the last few decades. Social media has changed the way we live, and AI is changing the way we work.

So, I’m going to condense and share the data, research, tools, and strategies that the Foundation Marketing Team and I have been working on over the last year to help you better wield the collective power of AI and social media.

Let’s jump into it.

What’s the role of AI in social marketing strategy?

In a recent episode of my podcast, Create Like The Greats, we dove into some fascinating findings about the impact of AI on marketers and social media professionals. Take a listen here:

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the benefits of this technology:

Benefits of AI in Social Media Strategy

AI is to social media what a conductor is to an orchestra — it brings everything together with precision and purpose. The applications of AI in a social media strategy are vast, but the virtuosos are few who can wield its potential to its fullest.

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AI to Conduct Customer Research

Imagine you’re a modern-day Indiana Jones, not dodging boulders or battling snakes, but rather navigating the vast, wild terrain of consumer preferences, trends, and feedback.

This is where AI thrives.

Using social media data, from posts on X to comments and shares, AI can take this information and turn it into insights surrounding your business and industry. Let’s say for example you’re a business that has 2,000 customer reviews on Google, Yelp, or a software review site like Capterra.

Leveraging AI you can now have all 2,000 of these customer reviews analyzed and summarized into an insightful report in a matter of minutes. You simply need to download all of them into a doc and then upload them to your favorite Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) to get the insights and data you need.

But that’s not all.

You can become a Prompt Engineer and write ChatGPT asking it to help you better understand your audience. For example, if you’re trying to come up with a persona for people who enjoy marathons but also love kombucha you could write a prompt like this to ChatGPT:

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ChatGPT prompt example

The response that ChatGPT provided back is quite good:

GPT response example

Below this it went even deeper by including a lot of valuable customer research data:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Consumer behaviors
  • Needs and preferences

And best of all…

It also included marketing recommendations.

The power of AI is unbelievable.

Social Media Content Using AI

AI’s helping hand can be unburdening for the creative spirit.

Instead of marketers having to come up with new copy every single month for posts, AI Social Caption generators are making it easier than ever to craft catchy status updates in the matter of seconds.

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Tools like HubSpot make it as easy as clicking a button and telling the AI tool what you’re looking to create a post about:

AI social media caption generator step 1

The best part of these AI tools is that they’re not limited to one channel.

Your AI social media content assistant can help you with LinkedIn content, X content, Facebook content, and even the captions that support your post on Instagram.

It can also help you navigate hashtags:

AI social media hashtags generator example, HubSpot

With AI social media tools that generate content ideas or even write posts, it’s not about robots replacing humans. It’s about making sure that the human creators on your team are focused on what really matters — adding that irreplaceable human touch.

Enhanced Personalization

You know that feeling when a brand gets you, like, really gets you?

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AI makes that possible through targeted content that’s tailored with a level of personalization you’d think was fortune-telling if the data didn’t paint a starker, more rational picture.

What do I mean?

Brands can engage more quickly with AI than ever before. In the early 2000s, a lot of brands spent millions of dollars to create social media listening rooms where they would hire social media managers to find and engage with any conversation happening online.

Thanks to AI, brands now have the ability to do this at scale with much fewer people all while still delivering quality engagement with the recipient.

Analytics and Insights

Tapping into AI to dissect the data gives you a CSI-like precision to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what makes your audience tick. It’s the difference between guessing and knowing.

The best part about AI is that it can give you almost any expert at your fingertips.

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If you run a report surrounding the results of your social media content strategy directly from a site like LinkedIn, AI can review the top posts you’ve shared and give you clear feedback on what type of content is performing, why you should create more of it, and what days of the week your content is performing best.

This type of insight that would typically take hours to understand.

Now …

Thanks to the power of AI you can upload a spreadsheet filled with rows and columns of data just to be met with a handful of valuable insights a few minutes later.

Improved Customer Service

Want 24/7 support for your customers?

It’s now possible without human touch.

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Chatbots powered by AI are taking the lead on direct messaging experiences for brands on Facebook and other Meta properties to offer round-the-clock assistance.

The fact that AI can be trained on past customer queries and data to inform future queries and problems is a powerful development for social media managers.

Advertising on Social Media with AI

The majority of ad networks have used some variation of AI to manage their bidding system for years. Now, thanks to AI and its ability to be incorporated in more tools, brands are now able to use AI to create better and more interesting ad campaigns than ever before.

Brands can use AI to create images using tools like Midjourney and DALL-E in seconds.

Brands can use AI to create better copy for their social media ads.

Brands can use AI tools to support their bidding strategies.

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The power of AI and social media is continuing to evolve daily and it’s not exclusively found in the organic side of the coin. Paid media on social media is being shaken up due to AI just the same.

How to Implement AI into Your Social Media Strategy

Ready to hit “Go” on your AI-powered social media revolution?

Don’t just start the engine and hope for the best. Remember the importance of building a strategy first. In this video, you can learn some of the most important factors ranging from (but not limited to) SMART goals and leveraging influencers in your day-to-day work:

The following seven steps are crucial to building a social media strategy:

  1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals
  2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions
  3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research
  4. Select the Right Social Channels
  5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs
  6. Choose the Right AI Tools
  7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

Keep reading, roll up your sleeves, and follow this roadmap:

1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals

If you’re just dipping your toes into the AI sea, start by defining clear objectives.

Is it to boost engagement? Streamline your content creation? Or simply understand your audience better? It’s important that you spend time understanding what you want to achieve.

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For example, say you’re a content marketing agency like Foundation and you’re trying to increase your presence on LinkedIn. The specificity of this goal will help you understand the initiatives you want to achieve and determine which AI tools could help you make that happen.

Are there AI tools that will help you create content more efficiently? Are there AI tools that will help you optimize LinkedIn Ads? Are there AI tools that can help with content repurposing? All of these things are possible and having a goal clearly identified will help maximize the impact. Learn more in this Foundation Marketing piece on incorporating AI into your content workflow.

Once you have identified your goals, it’s time to get your team on board and assess what tools are available in the market.

Recommended Resources:

2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions

Assumptions are dangerous — especially when it comes to implementing new tech.

Don’t assume AI is going to fix all your problems.

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Instead, start with small experiments and track their progress carefully.

3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research

Social media isn’t something that you can just jump into.

You need to understand your audience and ideal customers. AI can help with this, but you’ll need to be familiar with best practices. If you need a primer, this will help:

Once you understand the basics, consider ways in which AI can augment your approach.

4. Select the Right Social Channels

Not every social media channel is the same.

It’s important that you understand what channel is right for you and embrace it.

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The way you use AI for X is going to be different from the way you use AI for LinkedIn. On X, you might use AI to help you develop a long-form thread that is filled with facts and figures. On LinkedIn however, you might use AI to repurpose a blog post and turn it into a carousel PDF. The content that works on X and that AI can facilitate creating is different from the content that you can create and use on LinkedIn.

The audiences are different.

The content formats are different.

So operate and create a plan accordingly.

Recommended Tools and Resources:

5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs

What metrics are you trying to influence the most?

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Spend time understanding the social media metrics that matter to your business and make sure that they’re prioritized as you think about the ways in which you use AI.

These are a few that matter most:

  • Reach: Post reach signifies the count of unique users who viewed your post. How much of your content truly makes its way to users’ feeds?
  • Clicks: This refers to the number of clicks on your content or account. Monitoring clicks per campaign is crucial for grasping what sparks curiosity or motivates people to make a purchase.
  • Engagement: The total social interactions divided by the number of impressions. This metric reveals how effectively your audience perceives you and their readiness to engage.

Of course, it’s going to depend greatly on your business.

But with this information, you can ensure that your AI social media strategy is rooted in goals.

6. Choose the Right AI Tools

The AI landscape is filled with trash and treasure.

Pick AI tools that are most likely to align with your needs and your level of tech-savviness.

For example, if you’re a blogger creating content about pizza recipes, you can use HubSpot’s AI social caption generator to write the message on your behalf:

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AI social media generator example

The benefit of an AI tool like HubSpot and the caption generator is that what at one point took 30-40 minutes to come up with — you can now have it at your fingertips in seconds. The HubSpot AI caption generator is trained on tons of data around social media content and makes it easy for you to get inspiration or final drafts on what can be used to create great content.

Consider your budget, the learning curve, and what kind of support the tool offers.

7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

AI isn’t a magic wand; it’s a set of complex tools and technology.

You need to be willing to pivot as things come to fruition.

If you notice that a certain activity is falling flat, consider how AI can support that process.

Did you notice that your engagement isn’t where you want it to be? Consider using an AI tool to assist with crafting more engaging social media posts.

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Make AI Work for You — Now and in the Future

AI has the power to revolutionize your social media strategy in ways you may have never thought possible. With its ability to conduct customer research, create personalized content, and so much more, thinking about the future of social media is fascinating.

We’re going through one of the most interesting times in history.

Stay equipped to ride the way of AI and ensure that you’re embracing the best practices outlined in this piece to get the most out of the technology.

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

Many brands, such as those in the home services industry or a local grocery chain, market to specific locations, cities or regions. There are also national brands that want to expand in specific local markets. 

Regardless of the company or purpose, advertising on a local scale has different tactics than on a national scale. Brands need to connect their messaging directly with the specific communities they serve and media to their target demo. Here’s a playbook to help your company succeed when marketing on a local scale.  

1. Understand local vs. national campaigns

Local advertising differs from national campaigns in several ways: 

  • Audience specificity: By zooming in on precise geographic areas, brands can tailor messaging to align with local communities’ customs, preferences and nuances. This precision targeting ensures that your message resonates with the right target audience.
  • Budget friendliness: Local advertising is often more accessible for small businesses. Local campaign costs are lower, enabling brands to invest strategically within targeted locales. This budget-friendly nature does not diminish the need for strategic planning; instead, it emphasizes allocating resources wisely to maximize returns. As a result, testing budgets can be allocated across multiple markets to maximize learnings for further market expansion.
  • Channel selection: Selecting the correct channels is vital for effective local advertising. Local newspapers, radio stations, digital platforms and community events each offer advantages. The key lies in understanding where your target audience spends time and focusing efforts to ensure optimal engagement.
  • Flexibility and agility: Local campaigns can be adjusted more swiftly in response to market feedback or changes, allowing brands to stay relevant and responsive. 

Maintaining brand consistency across local touchpoints reinforces brand identity and builds a strong, recognizable brand across markets. 

2. Leverage customized audience segmentation 

Customized audience segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinct groups based on specific demographic criteria. This marketing segmentation supports the development of targeted messaging and media plans for local markets. 

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For example, a coffee chain might cater to two distinct segments: young professionals and retirees. After identifying these segments, the chain can craft messages, offers and media strategies relating to each group’s preferences and lifestyle.

To reach young professionals in downtown areas, the chain might focus on convenience, quality coffee and a vibrant atmosphere that is conducive to work and socializing. Targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram or Connected TV, along with digital signage near office complexes, could capture the attention of this demographic, emphasizing quick service and premium blends.

Conversely, for retirees in residential areas, the chain could highlight a cozy ambiance, friendly service and promotions such as senior discounts. Advertisements in local print publications, community newsletters, radio stations and events like senior coffee mornings would foster a sense of community and belonging.

Dig deeper: Niche advertising: 7 actionable tactics for targeted marketing

3. Adapt to local market dynamics

Various factors influence local market dynamics. Brands that navigate changes effectively maintain a strong audience connection and stay ahead in the market. Here’s how consumer sentiment and behavior may evolve within a local market and the corresponding adjustments brands can make. 

  • Cultural shifts, such as changes in demographics or societal norms, can alter consumer preferences within a local community. For example, a neighborhood experiencing gentrification may see demand rise for specific products or services.
    • Respond by updating your messaging to reflect the evolving cultural landscape, ensuring it resonates with the new demographic profile.
  • Economic conditions are crucial. For example, during downturns, consumers often prioritize value and practicality.
    • Highlight affordable options or emphasize the practical benefits of your offerings to ensure messaging aligns with consumers’ financial priorities. The impact is unique to each market and the marketing message must also be dynamic.
  • Seasonal trends impact consumer behavior.
    • Align your promotions and creative content with changing seasons or local events to make your offerings timely and relevant.
  • New competitors. The competitive landscape demands vigilance because new entrants or innovative competitor campaigns can shift consumer preferences.
    • Differentiate by focusing on your unique selling propositions, such as quality, customer service or community involvement, to retain consumer interest and loyalty.

4. Apply data and predictive analytics 

Data and predictive analytics are indispensable tools for successfully reaching local target markets. These technologies provide consumer behavior insights, enabling you to anticipate market trends and adjust strategies proactively. 

  • Price optimization: By analyzing consumer demand, competitor pricing and market conditions, data analytics enables you to set prices that attract customers while ensuring profitability.
  • Competitor analysis: Through analysis, brands can understand their positioning within the local market landscape and identify opportunities and threats. Predictive analytics offer foresight into competitors’ potential moves, allowing you to strategize effectively to maintain a competitive edge.
  • Consumer behavior: Forecasting consumer behavior allows your brand to tailor offerings and marketing messages to meet evolving consumer needs and enhance engagement.
  • Marketing effectiveness: Analytics track the success of advertising campaigns, providing insights into which strategies drive conversions and sales. This feedback loop enables continuous optimization of marketing efforts for maximum impact.
  • Inventory management: In supply chain management, data analytics predict demand fluctuations, ensuring inventory levels align with market needs. This efficiency prevents stockouts or excess inventory, optimizing operational costs and meeting consumer expectations.

Dig deeper: Why you should add predictive modeling to your marketing mix

5. Counter external market influences

Consider a clothing retailer preparing for a spring collection launch. By analyzing historical weather data and using predictive analytics, the brand forecasts an unseasonably cool start to spring. Anticipating this, the retailer adjusts its campaign to highlight transitional pieces suitable for cooler weather, ensuring relevance despite an unexpected chill.

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Simultaneously, predictive models signal an upcoming spike in local media advertising rates due to increased market demand. Retailers respond by reallocating a portion of advertising budgets to digital channels, which offer more flexibility and lower costs than traditional media. This shift enables brands to maintain visibility and engagement without exceeding budget, mitigating the impact of external forces on advertising.

6. Build consumer confidence with messaging

Localized messaging and tailored customer service enhance consumer confidence by demonstrating your brand’s understanding of the community. For instance, a grocery store that curates cooking classes featuring local cuisine or sponsors community events shows commitment to local culture and consumer interests. 

Similarly, a bookstore highlighting local authors or topics relevant to the community resonates with local customers. Additionally, providing service that addresses local needs — such as bilingual service and local event support — reinforces the brand’s values and response to the community. 

Through these localized approaches, brands can build trust and loyalty, bridging the gap between corporate presence and local relevance.

7. Dominate with local advertising 

To dominate local markets, brands must:

  • Harness hyper-targeted segmentation and geo-targeted advertising to reach and engage precise audiences.
  • Create localized content that reflects community values, engage in community events, optimize campaigns for mobile and track results.
  • Fine-tune strategies, outperform competitors and foster lasting relationships with customers.

These strategies will enable your message to resonate with local consumers, differentiate you in competitive markets and ensure you become a major player in your specific area. 



Dig deeper: The 5 critical elements for local marketing success

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

As we march closer to the 2024 U.S. presidential election, CMOs and marketing leaders need to prepare for a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. Election years have always posed unique challenges for advertisers, but the growing dominance of digital media has made the impact more profound than ever before.

In this article, we’ll explore the key factors that will shape the advertising environment in the coming months and provide actionable insights to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

The Digital Battleground

The rise of cord-cutting and the shift towards digital media consumption have fundamentally altered the advertising landscape in recent years. As traditional TV viewership declines, political campaigns have had to adapt their strategies to reach voters where they are spending their time: on digital platforms.

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According to a recent report by eMarketer, the number of cord-cutters in the U.S. is expected to reach 65.1 million by the end of 2023, representing a 6.9% increase from 2022. This trend is projected to continue, with the number of cord-cutters reaching 72.2 million by 2025.

Moreover, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2023 found that 62% of U.S. adults do not have a cable or satellite TV subscription, up from 61% in 2022 and 50% in 2019. This data further underscores the accelerating shift away from traditional TV and towards streaming and digital media platforms.

As these trends continue, political advertisers will have no choice but to follow their audiences to digital channels. In the 2022 midterm elections, digital ad spending by political campaigns reached $1.2 billion, a 50% increase from the 2018 midterms. With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, this figure is expected to grow exponentially, as campaigns compete for the attention of an increasingly digital-first electorate.

For brands and advertisers, this means that the competition for digital ad space will be fiercer than ever before. As political ad spending continues to migrate to platforms like Meta, YouTube, and connected TV, the cost of advertising will likely surge, making it more challenging for non-political advertisers to reach their target audiences.

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To navigate this complex and constantly evolving landscape, CMOs and their teams will need to be proactive, data-driven, and willing to experiment with new strategies and channels. By staying ahead of the curve and adapting to the changing media consumption habits of their audiences, brands can position themselves for success in the face of the electoral advertising onslaught.

Rising Costs and Limited Inventory

As political advertisers flood the digital market, the cost of advertising is expected to skyrocket. CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) will likely experience a steady climb throughout the year, with significant spikes anticipated in May, as college students come home from school and become more engaged in political conversations, and around major campaign events like presidential debates.

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For media buyers and their teams, this means that the tried-and-true strategies of years past may no longer be sufficient. Brands will need to be nimble, adaptable, and willing to explore new tactics to stay ahead of the game.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Perfect Storm

The challenges of election year advertising will be particularly acute during the critical holiday shopping season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have historically been goldmines for advertisers, will be more expensive and competitive than ever in 2024, as they coincide with the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

To avoid being drowned out by the political noise, brands will need to start planning their holiday campaigns earlier than usual. Building up audiences and crafting compelling creative assets well in advance will be essential to success, as will a willingness to explore alternative channels and tactics. Relying on cold audiences come Q4 will lead to exceptionally high costs that may be detrimental to many businesses.

Navigating the Chaos

While the challenges of election year advertising can seem daunting, there are steps that media buyers and their teams can take to mitigate the impact and even thrive in this environment. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind:

Start early and plan for contingencies: Begin planning your Q3 and Q4 campaigns as early as possible, with a focus on building up your target audiences and developing a robust library of creative assets.

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Be sure to build in contingency budgets to account for potential cost increases, and be prepared to pivot your strategy as the landscape evolves.

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Embrace alternative channels: Consider diversifying your media mix to include channels that may be less impacted by political ad spending, such as influencer marketing, podcast advertising, or sponsored content. Investing in owned media channels, like email marketing and mobile apps, can also provide a direct line to your customers without the need to compete for ad space.

Owned channels will be more important than ever. Use cheaper months leading up to the election to build your email lists and existing customer base so that your BF/CM can leverage your owned channels and warm audiences.

Craft compelling, shareable content: In a crowded and noisy advertising environment, creating content that resonates with your target audience will be more important than ever. Focus on developing authentic, engaging content that aligns with your brand values and speaks directly to your customers’ needs and desires.

By tapping into the power of emotional triggers and social proof, you can create content that not only cuts through the clutter but also inspires organic sharing and amplification.

Reflections

The 2024 election year will undoubtedly bring new challenges and complexities to the world of digital advertising. But by staying informed, adaptable, and strategic in your approach, you can navigate this landscape successfully and even find new opportunities for growth and engagement.

As a media buyer or agnecy, your role in steering your brand through these uncharted waters will be critical. By starting your planning early, embracing alternative channels and tactics, and focusing on creating authentic, resonant content, you can not only survive but thrive in the face of election year disruptions.

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So while the road ahead may be uncertain, one thing is clear: the brands that approach this challenge with creativity, agility, and a steadfast commitment to their customers will be the ones that emerge stronger on the other side.


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