Cardplayer Lifestyle: A Content Marketing Case Study
Successful content marketing campaigns involves a lot of moving parts and a pretty significant time commitment.
Besides creating the actual content, which is a big time suck all on its own, a good content marketing strategy involves elements of SEO, social media and other promotional tools – including mobile apps.
Though putting all these pieces together in a coherent fashion can be pretty tough for smaller affiliates, it’s not impossible.
We recently sat down with Robbie Strazynski, the owner/operator of Cardplayer Lifestyle to discuss how a one-man poker affiliate site can implement a successful content marketing campaign.
Strazynski’s approach to building an audience and driving traffic is a long-term strategy that’s heavy on the fundamentals, and completely devoid of the kind of short cuts that lead to penalties down the road.
And like so many other gambling affiliates, Strazynski is also challenged with executing his content marketing plan while juggling the demands of a full-time job and a family.
While Strazynski will modestly tell you that he’s no expert on content marketing, his approach proves that affiliates who are willing to put in the time can enjoy the fruits of modern content marketing techniques.
Quality content is, by default, the core of any content marketing plan and it’s something Strazynski works hard at perfecting. He says he takes a big picture approach towards the articles and essays he posts on his site.
To keep his content plan on track, Strazynski employs a simple editorial calendar that gives him a few concrete pieces he can be working on at any given time. He says that being prepared like this helps lessen the pressure he feels about coming up with, and preparing for new content.
Strazynski focuses strictly on poker content which, he says is actually a little easier to write about than casino gaming. It also helps that poker isn’t just something he writes about, it’s something that he really loves.
“It’s a real labor of love. That’s my guiding principle,” he told us.
Cardplayer Lifestyle is also Strazynski’s only site, so he can focus all of his attention on continuously improving it and coming up with interesting topics.
To that end, Strazynski takes a big picture approach to the content development process by taking new approaches on subjects he know his audience are already interested in. Once he’s picked a topic, he develops a title and works from there.
Because he’s not overly concerned about short-term SEO gains, Strazynski‘s main focus is on evergreen content that’s going to have a long lifespan, “What I writeabout doesn’t get old,” he said.
For example, Strazynski told us that his most popular posting ever is, 10 Reasons for NOT Tipping Poker Dealer. That article first ran in March, 2012 and is still collecting clicks. “How can you not click on that?” Strazynski asks with a chuckle?
Strazynski’s long-view approach to content creation is a perfect strategy for smaller affiliates who need to wring out every last click from every article they post.
SEO & Analytics
While Strazynski appreciates page views as much as the next guy he doesn’t lay awake at night obsessing about SEO and analytics.
That doesn’t mean SEO considerations in mind while crafting his content marketing strategy, it’s just that his main focus is on whether or not his readers are actually reading and enjoying his work.
Analytics are another element that Strazynski uses in moderation. He definitely keeps tabs on where his traffic is coming from and what kinds of articles capture his readers’ interest, but doesn’t obsess over every peak and valley.
Strazynski knows that as a one-man operation, his best bet for competing with the big guys is by developing organic traffic that’s interested in poker content that’s got some personality. He also knows that not every story takes off right away, but has confidence that if he’s planned them out right, all of his stories have potential to get big over time.
In short, he lives by Google’s main content rule, write for people, not for search engines.
Unlike a lot of his bigger competitors, Strazynski never got mired in post-Penguin link repair projects because, once again, he took a long term approach to SEO fundamentals. Strazynski sees link building for exactly what it is, a single piece in a larger puzzle, rather than a shortcut to short-term revenue and traffic goals.
“How do you build a house?” he says, “Do you use five bricks or do you build a foundation and the bricks come later?”
On Strazynski’s blueprint, content is the foundation and links are the bricks.
Maintaining a meaningful presence on social media is as important as it is time-consuming. That’s a challenge that Strazynski and other smaller affiliates struggle with on a daily basis.
After all, there’s no shortage of social media managers who do nothing but post on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all day long.
Strazynski admits that social media is similar to a leaking a dam that requires an endless amount of attention.
To do an end run around this dilemma, he utilizes social management tools like Hootsuite to help keep his Tweets in check. He also takes advantage of short breaks during the day to maintain a presence on Twitter and other social networks, including Google +.
Once again, Strazynski takes the long view when it comes to social media and is sometimes (pleasantly) surprised when a Tweet he posted during his morning break starts getting traction by the time he’s eating his dinner.
In approaching social media in small pieces, he’s able to maintain a solid presence on multiple social networks without devoting his entire life to social media management.
Strazynski’s approach to content marketing is something that any smaller affiliate can replicate on his or her own, providing they’re in it for the long haul.
His commitment to evergreen content that readers actually want to read, rather than link bait and short-term gains, is the essence of a quality content marketing plan.