23 October 2019
Content Marketing Strategy and SEO…more than 5 winning ways to create good content
“Content is King” is an incredibly common and somewhat over-used phrase in the SEO world. It’s only partly true though – especially since the Google Panda update – in that, for your content to rule the world, it’s got to be enticing, unique and add real value to the reader. That’s not always easy to achieve for even one piece of content so we’re talking about an awful lot of effort, resource and commitment required to make that happen at scale. That’s why you need to work smart – that is why you need a content marketing strategy.
This article is going to take you through the key things to consider when creating a content marketing strategy with a particular focus on how you can use it to enhance your organic search performance.
Who are you writing the content for?
Make sure you’ve understood all aspects of who you are writing content for; the tone of voice is very important because you want their readers to understand clearly what you are conveying.
Work out who you are trying to target (your most profitable segments) and then look at aspects such as their age, any gender bias, location, where they will be found online (websites, social platforms, blogs), how they like to consume this content (reading articles, watching videos or webinars, listening to podcasts etc.) and who they pay attention to and respect the opinions of (e.g. influencers).
What do these people need help with that your content can solve?
The final thing you need to understand about these people is what problems they have that your company can solve, and from an SEO perspective, what specific searches are they doing on Google to try and find a solution. You should try and think of what these are at each stage of the customer journey – from when they are researching a problem or need (they might not know they even have a need) all the way down to when they are comparing potential suppliers against you.
Gather all this information together and you should now have a rough idea of the types of content you need to be producing for your target audience.
What do you want your content to achieve?
Not every piece of content you create should be about trying to drive revenue directly – as a matter of fact a more successful strategy is to make it about the following things:
o It can be about helping to increase your organic rankings for specific terms
o Gaining back links from other sites
o Driving additional traffic to your site
o Obtaining social followers or shares
o Gaining brand awareness
o Capturing someone’s data through a form submission
o Pulling traffic into your lead nurturing program
o Something that can be very valuable to your business in the long-run, becoming a recognised thought-leader for a subject
It’s content audit time
Creating new content can be a resource heavy task and you don’t want to be wasting time producing something new if you already have something available to use. This is where you need to do a content audit and see what you have at your disposal. If your site is quite small then you might already know this or can pull the information together in a few minutes.
For larger sites though there may be 100’s or 1000’s of historic articles or content pages and at this scale I tend to use a tool such as Screaming Frog to crawl the site. This can crawl all the pages of the site and allow me to easily review the pertinent sections such as blog/news/articles etc.
Once you have gathered this information, try and group it into themes as much as possible and identify the content that relates to your target audience.
Grouping related articles into themes means you end up with topic specific content hubs that interlink to support each other and your main conversion pages – perfect for users and SEO.
Spotting the content opportunities
Once you know what content you have (or don’t have) you can cross reference it with the list of content you decided your audience are looking for. You can then decide one of many things:
a) Great – this is fit for purpose and already doing a great job – in fact I may look to create more of the same as I know it works
b) Not bad – just needs a slight bit of tweaking and optimisation to make it perfect. Maybe I’ll test a new catchier and more optimised headline and see if that works better*
c) This old post used to do well but is very out of date – I’ll build upon it and update it with the latest information to bring it back to life
d) Hmmm – I think this article might work better as an infographic or video to get the information across more effectively and generate better engagement
e) OK – I don’t have any information on this subject so I’d better produce something in whatever format works best
*It’s been proven in studies that CTR tends to increase when people are shown headlines containing list such as “5 ways to instantly improve your content marketing ROI”.
Once you start – don’t stop
Search Engines love sites with loads of great content that is clearly themed around topics – but they also want to see that your site is continually giving fresh, up-to-date information and not going stale.
One of your first tasks when looking at content should be to get the “evergreen” topics covered. Easy right?
1. Create amazing and engaging content that is better than the other attempts out there
2. Optimise it properly and share it
3. To gain more traction, you can also add and promote your content on directory search engines, such as Kompass, with a Booster Company Profile – gaining access to an audience of more than 7.5 million visitors every month.
With a bit of luck, these pages can become the anchors that drive a lot of your site’s organic traffic with very little additional effort or reworking.
Then comes the harder part – publishing regular fresh content around hot topics that relate to your audiences’ needs and interests. How you do this is up to you but many companies find that the easiest way to do this is to create a blog. You don’t have to post everyday but you do need to be ideally producing a few posts a month if you can. They don’t have to be War and Peace, but they do need to be comprehensive enough that users will benefit from them (and hopefully share them) and Google will see them in a positive light. Remember to relate and link them back to your primary conversion pages wherever you can, naturally. Co
Watch your language!
Another thing to pay attention to (and this can be overlooked if you are outsourcing your content creation) is to try and ensure a consistent look and tone for your content. You know your audience (be it teens or academics) and the type of language or visual signals that they respond to best – so make sure they get this every time you post. Create brand guidelines for writing posts if you have to but it’s an important factor is ensuring you start building a loyal following for the content you’re producing.
Going off the Reservation
Over time you will hopefully start to build up a bit of a following for the content you are producing – especially if you’re optimising it well and promoting it via social media, email etc. However, there are going to be limits to how much exposure you can get on your own sites or social platforms so this is where you need to start thinking about getting your content in front of people on other sites.
Guest Blogging is nothing new but it is a highly effective way of getting your name in front of the people you are trying to engage and hopefully build a relationship with. The trick here is to understand what sites your audience can be found browsing on and in particular, which sites their influencers are on. If you can get them to host one of your articles, write a blog mentioning your brand or simply allow you to join in the conversation on their site then you can get great exposure, where it matters! If you have a PR team they can help you out here.
A potential SEO benefit of guest blogging is the ability to add a link back to your own site and gain some authority. You have to be careful how you do it as Google can frown upon it – don’t add loads of links! You may find that the other site does not allow it or will not follow your links anyway. But it’s definitely worth investigating.
Create a Content Calendar
The final thing I would suggest you do is create a realistic schedule for the content you want to produce so you give yourself plenty of time to get it researched, written, designed or filmed. To ensure everyone has visibility of it; knows what their specific tasks are and the deadlines for each piece; this should be held in a well-structured content calendar. It also helps to scan through and see if you have a decent mix of content formats and channels. There are loads of free content calendar templates you can use or adapt to your needs.
As part of this schedule the first thing you can add is any key dates for things you know will be trending or become seasonal. For example, in the finance sector this could be tax-year-end, UK budget announcements, local and general elections, key industry events, interest rate announcements etc. all of which could affect them and their customers, meaning they need to be sharing an opinion on it.
If you’re well prepared you will have a better chance of producing and delivering something more insightful before your competition can…then maybe your content can be king.
Author: Matt Lester, Associate Director – Search and Digital Performance at Fidelity International
Disclaimer: Please note that this blog only contains general information and insights about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Kompass.com