If you haven't integrated content marketing into your digital strategy, 2015 is your year!
Content marketing is an effective way to increase engagement and brand awareness without being solely sales-driven. In addition to increasing exposure and engagement, content marketing can increase visibility through search engine optimization (SEO).
But effective content marketing takes more than posting a blog here and there. Check out these tips and best practices to help your brand get started creating content that not only performs well with your target audience, but with search engine bots as well!
1. Develop a Strategy
Before you begin creating content, determine what your goals are and who your target audience is. This will help you come up with story ideas based on the topics you want to be a thought leader on, searches you want to rank for and what your audiences cares about.
Creating viral content is a feat that many brands have yet to achieve, yet seem to be concerned with. Instead of focusing on topics you think will go crazy on social, create content that makes sense for your brand.
Let's say you are creating content for a grocery store chain. While a blog post about mustaches may get more shares than your article about heart-healthy recipes, you will seem more credible to your consumers posting the latter, which will also do more for your SEO.
3. Target Topics vs. Words
Search algorithms can now understand topic association instead of simply the repetition of a single keyword. So instead of only worrying about precise keyword matching, work to integrate related phrases and long-tailed keywords into your content as well.
4. Move Beyond Keyword Research Tools
Start utilizing more platforms to generate content ideas. In addition to keyword research tools, use news sites like Buzzfeed, trending hashtags, popular YouTube videos, general web searches and more to find topics that are performing well and are relevant to your brand. Find your own spin, then add to the conversation!
5. Be Transparent
Whether it is a small fire or a full-blown crisis, your brand should be the source for information on issues that involve your company or industry. Not only will posting information and answering questions about the problem build trust, it will also help you show up in search for these related questions. This transparency also means consumers will be receiving accurate information as it will be coming straight from the horse's mouth.
6. Be a Thought Leader
Another way to increase trust in your brand is to become a thought leader. Publishing content that can't be found anywhere else on the web, such as research, expert advice or a new format of old information, allows you to break through the noise and get your brand in front of consumers in a non-commercial way.
7. Use Multimedia
As the digital world continues to transform, it is becoming increasingly important to offer content in multiple formats. Custom images that integrate the article title are important for social sharing. In addition to custom images, articles that include infographics, videos, podcasts and other forms of multimedia increase visitor traffic, time-on-page and overall engagement. Multimedia also helps with gaining earned media (see #14).
8. Create Engaging Headlines
Articles should have titles that move beyond just specific keyword matching. Here are some quick tips to create engaging headlines to help improve click-through-rates.
- Articles that use numbers in the title (guilty!) allow users to grasp their time commitment before clicking on the article.
- As a rule of thumb, keep titles short and sweet using eight words or less.
- Use a question in the headline to pique users' interest.
- Convey the tone of the article using adjectives, irony, etc.
9. Answer Questions
Content that answers common questions can help resolve a searcher's query in an effective, efficient way. Find questions that are frequently being asked online. If it makes sense for your brand, become an expert on the topic by using the specific question in your title, sub-headings and meta information.
10. Utilize Multiple Authors
Having more than one person from your company create content will help make your entire brand seem more credible. Determine who can best represent the company on certain topics and make them the expert.
11. Use Paid Promotions
Even the best content can benefit from a paid promotion. Contrary to popular belief, that include social media, which is a pay-to-play world now more than ever before. (Insider tip: Your budget does not need to be huge to make a big difference! Just a $50-100 spend on Facebook or Twitter can increase your reach dramatically.)
12. Don't Stop Posting
If you start ranking well for a keyword, create fresh content that targets the same keywords and phrases to keep connecting your domain with those terms. Also, consider creating content that targets similar keywords and phrases, but with slight variations based on the changing intent of searches.
13. Be Social
Social channels are a great way to get your content in front of consumers. In addition to pushing content on your own channels, encourage readers to share the content on their personal channels by including social share buttons. These social signals will play a factor in organic SEO.
14. Utilize Earned Media
It is important that the content you are sending is not duplicate content. Some tips to do this include:
- Post an excerpt from the article on your site, then link to the news source for the full article.
- Share your information through a video or infographic, which will not be considered duplicate copy.
- Share the source's URL on social media instead of linking back to your excerpt. (Remember, it is all about relationship building!)
Click here for information about online public relations and the tips to successfully earn backlinks.
15. Measure Results
What tips do you have for brands adding content marketing to their strategy? Are there any practices you have found to drive engagement?
If you are looking for more information on content marketing or need help creating a content marketing strategy, let the Digital Marketing team at Blue Compass assist! Our team is dedicated to helping your brand create killer content that is engaging and helps with your site's SEO. Click to contact a member of our digital marketing team or call (515) 868-0010.