In today’s rapidly evolving world of digital marketing, a carefully planned and executed content marketing strategy is very important. Content marketing is especially beneficial if your goal is to increase your website’s organic (naturally derived) traffic. Importantly, a high-quality content marketing strategy can greatly reduce the amount of money your small business will need to spend on cost-per-click (CPC) search engine advertising (SEA). Actually, as you’ll soon discover, the benefits of content marketing are very broad.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of curating relevant, interesting and engaging text copy. This informative written content is developed to gain your website visitors’ attention, capture their interest, and inspire them to take action. Of course, the specific action we hope our visitors will take, will depend upon your content marketing strategy’s goals. Most commonly, content marketing’s goals will include:
- Increasing organic traffic to your firm’s website
- Establishing a database of loyal, frequently returning visitors
- Improving click conversion to sale ratios
- Accelerating online or in-store sales
- Improving your firm’s brand awareness
- Encouraging visitors to sign-up for paid subscriptions
- Improving search engine results page (SERP) positioning
- Motivating other websites to link to your website (link building)
- Demonstrating your subject matter expertise
- Building trust between you and your customers.
So it’s as easy as writing content?
Unfortunately, no. The process of developing content marketing should not be considered in isolation. Rather, successful businesses embed content marketing into their integrated marketing communications strategy. By way of example, your content marketing strategy should be considered in conjunction with all other marketing communications activities. These may include: sales promotion, social media, print, outdoor and digital advertising, as well as personal selling and public relations.
Content marketing has become so important that many large companies now have their own content marketing team. The sole responsibility of this team is to manage the content marketing aspect of their firm’s digital communications.
Why is content marketing so important?
Backlinks (also known as inbound links) still remain a crucial aspect of search engine optimisation (SEO). This is where a robust content marketing strategy can pay huge dividends. A well-written, informative, engaging and genuinely useful piece of content will often stimulate buzz. This means your content will be shared. And you should gain natural inbound links as a result of your efforts.
Prior to the release of Google’s Penguin algorithm in 2012, search engine optimisers recognised that backlinks were one very important key to ranking well on search engine results pages (SERPs). Put simply, backlinks are external links, which point to your website. Google’s theory was, at least on the surface, quite logical. The search engine giant believed that the more external links, which point to a domain, would be a quantitative signal that the site was of high quality.
Needless to say, the SEO industry focussed on getting other websites to link to theirs. And it didn’t take long before the unethical ‘black hat’ brigade realised that they could boost their sites’ SERP positioning, simply by purchasing backlinks.
Google then introduced Penguin to combat web spam. It was specifically targeted at penalising search engine rankings of websites that violated their Webmaster Guidelines. An ever evolving algorithm, Penguin has the intelligence to identify artificial backlinks that have been established through link schemes. Most commonly, these paid links appear in directories, blogs and web pages, which have been solely established to artificially manipulate a website’s organic SERP position.
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Participating in these schemes violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They are considered unethical black hat SEO techniques. Not all paid links, however, contravene Google’s guidelines. In fact, Google has stated that some are perfectly acceptable. One such example is the Yellow Pages Australian online directory.
You can’t buy authority — it needs to be earned
Search engines love content that’s fresh, new and distinctively different. Spending the necessary time creating content that’s unique will pay dividends. Merely serving content that’s been written by someone else, and sharing it through links on your webpage, will not suffice.
When planning your content marketing strategy, draw upon your knowledge and expertise. Write something compelling and provide content that’s genuinely useful to your readers. They’ll appreciate it, and will be far more likely to return to your site. And of course, they’ll be more likely to purchase your goods or services.
7 content marketing strategy tips
When devising your content marketing strategy, there are a number of tips, which are best practice to follow. They are:
- Only write about topics that you are genuinely knowledgeable about. This will help you to build a reputation as an authority on your subject matter.
- Write about topics that your target audience want to know more about. Unfortunately, many businesses are reluctant to disclose relevant hints and tips, for fear that they’re exposing their trade secrets. Remember, you don’t have to give away all of your intellectual property! Release just enough to be helpful, demonstrate your knowledge, skills and capabilities.
- Make sure your article contains at least 300 words. Once again, today’s search engines are very clever. Their algorithms consider a web page’s word count as part of their quality scoring process. Keep in mind that a search engine’s job isn’t to serve you as an author or curator, it’s to serve quality content to ultimate consumers.
- Don’t create new pages for the sake of adding pages. This practice leads to the authoring and distribution of low quality content. Create an achievable plan for the consistent release of content. For instance, releasing one article each week could interfere with other important tasks involved in the running of your business. By contrast, publishing one article each month could be easily achieved.
- Design a headline that commands attention. Interestingly, many of the most successful content articles that have gone viral, also contain a number in their title description. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.
- In addition, Google provides a terrific key word tool, which is located within their Google Webmaster Tools interface. It’s completely free to use, so it makes good sense to conduct a little keyword and key phrase research before taking your article live.
- When considering your content marketing plan, think about the possibilities of visual stimuli. Inserting at least one image or video appropriate to your content into the body of each article. These will definitely assist in gaining the reader’s attention. If you fail to grab your audience’s attention, it’s highly unlikely they’ll read your content.