Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
You Want to Create Content for Humans
Content marketing efforts are essential to meeting marketing goals and growing your visibility online. It’s pretty common knowledge at this point that content is a major factor in how Google ranks web sites, but it involves much more than a bot crawling content to pick out keywords, measure word count, or analyze structure.
To rank well, you need to keep site visitors engaged. How much time they spend with your content has a direct effect on your ranking. In fact, according to SEMrush’s Ranking Factors study, the top five ranking factors are:
- Direct website visits (visits with no referring website)
- Time on Site
- Pages Per Session
- Bounce Rate
- Total Referring Domains
It’s easy to see how creating content that your audience will enjoy directly influences these factors and ultimately leads to meeting your long term marketing goals. High quality content keeps your audience on the site longer, it leads them to visit more pages per session, and it reduces bounce rate.
But successful content will also aid you in getting links – other domains will not link to your content if it is subpar, and your audience will also reward the right kind of content with links and social media shares, all of which lead to more time on site, pages per session, and so on.
Content marketing is deceptively simple – create content people want to consume. But how do business owners get started?
Make Sure You Hire Top Content Creators
The ultimate goal of content marketing strategies is to create content that draws traffic, content that your audience enjoys and will share with others to increase your reach. If you want to create a piece of content that accomplishes this, you need to hire a capable creator.
The old adage that you get what you pay for very much applies to content creation. If you try to cut corners by using services like Fiverr, the content you get will be proportionate to what you spend. Successful content starts with a professional creator, whether they are a writer, artist, videographer, photographer, or similar. Customers are bombarded with content every day, and they have an almost unlimited array of choices. There’s no reason for them to spend time on your page or share your blog post on social media if it isn’t high quality.
One thing that will help you hire a great content creator is to take a look at their portfolio. Ask to see examples of the content types you’re looking for: writing samples, video, graphics, and so on. Secondly, accept that if you want top talent, you have to be willing to pay what their time is worth.
Quality Content is an Investment
Content creation is a long term investment in your business and brand. The good news is that what you spend on content will pay for itself many times over. Using new content for brand awareness and lead generation offers a high ROI (return on investment). Experienced content marketers know that it’s a sound strategy because relevant content will continue to get you followers, leads, and visibility.
You pay one time for a creator to make a blog post, graphic, or video for you to share with your audience. That content might be shared hundred of times, and it stays on the web, working to bring more people to your site long after it is purchased. The right content can expand your reach exponentially, and with that increased reach comes all of the benefits discussed above.
A short hundred-dollar article shared thousands of times will go much further toward reaching your business goals than a five-dollar article that is poorly researched, riddled with grammatical errors, and not something anyone will want to pass along. Worse, shoddy content will make you look like an amateur, possibly causing you to lose business.
Prioritize Your Content Strategy
Content creation and content production is an investment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work within your budget. To get started, prioritize your content needs. These might include snappy, informative, and engaging articles for your main web pages. They might branch out into custom-made graphics and video content, but clearly, one is more essential than the others. If your business can only afford to start with a solid landing page, so be it.
When considering your next content purchase, address your most basic needs first. The core information on your web site will be the foundation upon which you build your content marketing strategy. If your pages contain poorly written, error-ridden, and nonsensical writing, flashy videos will not save them. For a business creating new content, a solid site with informative, entertaining, and well-written information is an excellent start. You can meet many business goals through well-written articles and posts and continue to build your content marketing strategy from there.
Types of Content Marketing
Anything you or someone in your employ creates and offers to the public is technically content. But to create a content marketing strategy that will succeed, it’s important to understand the pieces of content you are most likely to encounter and that your target audience is used to seeing. They are presented here in the order most businesses will prioritize them.
- Core content – the basic information on your web pages that describes your business and encourages your audience to reach out to you. Obviously it should be well-written,and you will want it optimized for search.
- Graphics and imagery – Sloppy or generic images on your site will make you look like an amateur, and people are very visual by nature. Make sure your images are clean and professional and reinforce your brand. Depending on your budget, you can hire an artist to create all-original work with a consistent feel site-wide, or you can subscribe to a site like Shutterstock for a less expensive but still professional quality images.
- Blog content – supporting content that further informs or entertains people who visit your site. Engaging and relevant content leads to share, time on page, pages per session, and can earn you valuable links through quality blog posts.
- Social media content – content written for platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These platforms are considered high-authority sites, so links from them boost your page’s rank in a Google search. They also have a tremendous reach. You will want to familiarize yourself with best practices for each platform to maximize their benefit to your content marketing campaign, or hire a social media manager to help you meet your goals.
- Video – Video content production is time-consuming and expensive, but again, it’s an investment in your business. Online videos are very much in demand among your potential audience, and they are widely shared. In terms of search engine optimization, SEMrush Ranking factors place having a video on page at number 17, just below keyword use.
- Podcasts – Podcasts are certainly not a necessity for your business, but pay attention to your audience – if it skews younger and more professional, podcasts are wildly popular and can have a wide reach, particularly in specialty niches. You could see major benefits by incorporating a podcast into your marketing plan.
Create a Content Marketing Plan that Helps Meet Business Goals
The single best way to use content marketing strategies for visibility, traffic, and lead generation is to know your target audience and understand their desires. You must pay attention to your customers, because if you aren’t creating content that appeals to and interests them, it won’t matter how great content is, and you will be wasting your marketing efforts.
Your strategy will evolve as you observe what your audience responds to best. For example, if you have a better reaction to podcasts than video, you will want to make sure you create more podcasts. One way to get a better idea of audience needs is through analytical data. You may want or need a package like SEMrush’s Content Marketing Platform can help you get a better idea of how people are reacting to the content you create and allows you to monitor its success through shares and mentions.
The main things to remember as you begin your content marketing strategy are:
- Create content for people – this means not stacking keywords or writing strictly for search engines. You want content people will spend time enjoying
- Know and monitor which pieces of content are succeeding for you
- Know your target audience
- Hire the best professionals you can afford
- Prioritize your content marketing efforts
- Start with a solid base of good content and add bells and whistles from there
Content marketing will become easier as you get more used to it and discover what works best for your individual business and situation, and your content strategy will change and become more effective.
But if you are regularly producing and sharing the absolute best content you can and making a sincere effort to meet the needs of your audience, you’re already halfway there.