Does the Long Tail Still Exist?

October 19, 2010: Jim Larranaga, Executive Vice President

In my recent conversation with Chris Anderson Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, I asked him if the long tail theory was still applicable in a world of Google Instant Search. His answer was encouraging. Yes, the Long Tail is alive and well with online content.

In fact, according to Chris Anderson, a high percentage of search phrases that Google receives each day are unique and have NEVER been typed into Google before.

That means consumers are thinking of new ways to search for products and services or are becoming more specific in their own searches. That’s good news for marketers who are creating content online.

You don’t necessarily have to compete for the most popular keywords such as “cancer” or “home equity loans” to pull in traffic. Your better content strategy might be to focus on the less popular search terms (those long tail search terms) with plenty of your own unique content.

A Blue Ocean Strategy for Content Marketers

The basic concept of the 'blue ocean strategy' is: why fish in crowded bloody waters with a small net when you could troll the entire blue ocean with a net that’s a mile wide and a mile deep?

Now, think of your content as a net. The more relevant and specific content you have, the more fish you will bring into your boat.

Many of the companies that approach Priority for assistance with content marketing seem to forget the long tail and focus only on their most competitive products and search terms. Other marketers request a “content library” that they can license for their website as a quick fix to their site’s lack of content.

What we usually recommend is a content strategy and plan for their website and social media outlets. And that strategy includes studying the inbound search terms for their site and creating custom content for those keywords --- especially the continually evolving long tail search terms that consumers are creating.

If Chris Anderson is right, then as the long tail grows longer, the opportunity for content marketing will continue to grow along with it.

This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.

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