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Forward Push
Forward Push
"We can handle anything people send at us, but really we focus on inbound” - Marc Apple, CEO

Forward Push is a leading inbound agency in the bay area, San Francisco. I caught up with Marc Apple, CEO of the agency to find out his take on the current direction of inbound and content marketing.

Thinking of themselves as an extension of their clients businesses, Forward Push often takes a hyper-agile approach to inbound. As they serve so many startups, they need to be nimble in the way they deliver their clients leads and customers. Handling everything from site builds, content creation, distribution and reporting.

Inbound marketing is changing, Apple says. He notices a thinning of the results at the bottom end of the game, but a concentration of reward for effort. When a client goes all in, they see increased performance.

Proving the ongoing return and ROI of inbound and content marketing is a constant challenge with clients. This is due to the thinning out of returns for both activities. Apple sees a clear trend in the market where low value, short form content returns less and less, while high value, rich media, long form content is increasingly capturing a greater share of the results in the space.

This presents an issue for clients who are not sold on the methodology of inbound as the initial investment needed to get strong results is higher. Word counts in order to rank are going up, and Apple says if you want to rank you need embedded content as well as great copy. The team recommend the production of infographics and other interactive content to clients where possible for this very reason.

The returns to be garnered at the bottom end are diminishing rapidly. Rather, they see a concentration of content performance (SEO, direct response and leads) from content that pushes 1500 to 2000 that includes video, infographics, interactive, audio and more. This investment comes with an extra benefit, as it makes a keystone piece of content extensible across platforms. 

The challenge of distribution and organic audience development becomes easier when you have this advantage. But doing distribution and amplification of content needs to be done right. One of the things that Forward Push prides itself on is the investment of time nurturing positive interactions across the distribution graph.

The depth of distribution work is often under appreciated. Forward Push a lot of effort in guest post opportunities, backlink hunting, synopsis pitching and more to amplify the potential of individual units of content. The Forward Push team thinks about this deeply. In it is the real grunt of content marketing - if you are just handing off the content as an agency partner you are really only doing 20% of the work your client really needs done .

One of the challenges Apple acknowledges is that there isn’t enough time to distribute content. The investment of time in getting guest post opportunities, backlink hunting. reaching out to thought leaders and guest bloggers etc pays dividends, but clients don't often see it that way. It's an ongoing education of what will deliver the best results for clients.

Kit Bag

Forward Push’s kit bag is a mix of inbound and SEO products - the team lean on a range of tools to get the job done with the dominant ones being:

SEM Rush

Great for identifying your keyword strategy and comparing that to competitors in the same space.

MOZ

Another SEO heavyweight - this is a key to tool for any clients SEO strategy.

Hubspot

The Hubspot suite is a core part of their agency tech stack and the team automate a lot of their workflows for clients through this system.

Google Analytics

According to the team you can achieve most, if not all, of the reporting and analytics requirements for a client with this free tool.

Unseen Opportunities

Where are the most gains to be had?

Apple thinks the opportunity that currently is untapped for clients is the wealth of unrealized audience, leads and revenue in the back catalogue of client content. 

Leveraging this backlog in a smart way, using automation tools such as Edgar (www.meetedgar.com) can help brands and businesses grow revenue and leads without necessarily having to create a single piece of new content.

Building this is the need for ongoing outbound linking strategies to really see a substantial increase in traffic and ranking, to increase a clients lead flow to a point they are happy with.

Measurement is the next step.

Measurement has a long way to go in this industry. Forward Push use most of the tools in their kit bag to give clients visibility over their strategy and results. Each client has KPI that they work hard to update and improve. Clear industry standards that are consistent, but adapt to varied strategies would facilitate this. Much like the digital media or SEM industries have a consistent language and measurement spectrum across performance indicators.

Learn more about Forward Push here.

 
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