When we meet with clients, who want us to do “SEO” they often have a skewed view of what SEO is. They usually want quick fixes to increase their organic search rankings with little or no effort by them. Unfortunately, SEO magic bullets are long gone. The only magic bullet is content, and not just any content, high-quality content that adds value to your current and prospective clients.
Here is a break down of our top tips on how to plan and execute a content marketing strategy that is customer focused, SEO goal-oriented and effective.
1. Your Customer is Your Algorithm.
This idea was taken from a great webinar by the Content Marketing Institute. If you haven’t heard of them, go to their website and subscript now, it’s a content marketer’s information haven. Marketing should always be about delivering value. In a world with unlimited data, content, and information, if your value isn’t immediately obvious, people will look for it elsewhere. What are some first steps in making this happen? Write for humans, not for algorithms. When we site down to write a blog post at Total BS, we don’t’ immediately think about how the SEO bots will feel about the content, we think of our real human audience first, and so should you. Write for humans first, optimize second.
2. You Can’t Please All the People All the Time
One of the first and most important exercises we make all our clients go through is identifying who their buyer personas are. According to Hubspot, Buyer Personas are semi- fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. The reason we make this the first step is because often our clients are writing what they think is interesting and important rather than what is actually interesting and important to their customers or prospects. Often these can overlap, but it is a crucial first step in identifying who your customers are, where they go for information, and what problems you are uniquely positioned to solve for them.
Once you have identified your buyer persona(s) decide whom the most financially beneficial persona is to go after. If you have a content team who can write high-quality content for all your personas, great, but this is rarely the case, and a pecking order needs to be put into place. Once that order has been established, you will also need to pick the best publishing channels for that audience as well. We always consider your website the ‘hub’ and all content should originate there. Use social as publishing channels for that content, and always lead them back to your site to consume it. That way you can lead them to more content, and try to convert them into a lead.
3. Better Together (yes this photo looks familiar, we love it)
SEO Team + Content Team. As I mentioned above, you need to write for humans first and algorithms second. This also means that your SEO Team and your Content Team should be aligning and working towards the same shared goals. It is ineffective and inefficient to separate these two extremely important teams. If you are a small and nimble shop, these teams may be combined out of necessity, not luxury. Regardless, get on the same page and work together; it’s the most effective way to run content and SEO teams.
Let’s not forget one of the golden rules of content marketing: it is a long game. You should have started yesterday, last week, last month, actually years ago. No need to dwell on the past, start today by creating high-quality content that benefits your audience.
4. Hire a Writer
Writing worth reading is hard. If you are serious about content marketing, hire a professional. Also, remember that you pay for what you get, so if you decide to outsource to a service that treats copywriting like a commodity, understand that the quality will suffer.
5. Content Languages
Content as a second language. One piece of content can become many pieces. Every audience prefers to consume content differently. Some like the written word, others prefer video or infographics, some like both. Speak to your audience in a wide variety of content languages; videos, infographics, blogs, podcasts, emails. A great blog post can be turned into an infographic. That infographic can then be shared on social to promote the blog post and bring people back to your site.
6. Metrics are Sexy
Get the data. You must establish and work towards goals in every aspect of your marketing, not just your content marketing. It is amazing how many people have no idea why they do certain tactics, what the ROI is, if it is effective and if it works at helping the company meet their financial goals. This is the goal of marketing. There are a lot of different tactics and strategies that can be deployed to help you accomplish this, but if you do not set an appropriate baseline, and understand how you judge success you will constantly feel like you are shooting in the dark and trying a new “shiny marketing” thing after another. It’s a waste of money and time. Establish a baseline, and work to understand what metrics are valuable specific to your business.
Need help with your content marketing strategy? Give us a jingle; it’s what we do best.