How to Create a Basic Content Marketing Strategy for SEO
Search engines rely on great web content to supply answers for their users’ queries. Whether the user wanted a specific question answered or wanted to learn more about a specific product or service, the search engine will want to supply quality content that addresses their needs.
From a business perspective, this need for content represents a great opportunity to earn website traffic and greater brand recognition. With a solid content strategy, you can attract audiences interested in topics relevant to your business services. Then, those audiences can enter your marketing funnel while at the same time building a deeper relationship with your brand.
Content marketing for SEO has a massive part of marketing because it is such an effective (and cost-effective) strategy. In a survey, 72% of marketers stated that content creation is their most effective SEO tactic. Top performing B2B companies generally allocate 40% of their total marketing budget to content marketing. Yet, just 39% of all marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy.
Having a content strategy is critical to achieving reliable, consistent gains. It also drives your content marketing activities towards the most relevant, effective methods given the current state of your market’s search behaviors. Not having a content marketing strategy, therefore, doesn’t just prevent aimless content; it also increases the chances your metrics can improve consistently, quarter after quarter.
Start taking the first leap towards building your comprehensive strategy using the steps below.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
Nothing in business should be done just to do it. Instead, you should know what the objective of the activity is and what a measure of success should look like.
In content marketing for SEO, you should strive to have both immediate goals, like earning more traffic, as well as long-term goals, like lowering your costs per closed lead.
Common content marketing business goals include:
- Earning more email address form submissions
- Driving site conversions
- Raising awareness about a specific product or service
- Improving brand reputation or visibility
- Lifting website traffic in general
- Reaching out to niche audiences who have a high chance of purchasing
Accompany any goals you set with measurable targets. Don’t feel nervous about throwing numbers out there, either. If you crush your goals or fall way short, you can always use that data to adjust your expectations and set more realistic targets that can drive continual improvement.
Step 2: Get to Know Your Audience Personas
Content doesn’t magically earn your business conversions; people have to actually be interested in your content and your offer once they are done reading. You may also have to nurture a regular content reader for some time before they ever convert.
In other words: remember that your content is made for your audience, so it needs to be relevant to their interests.
Luckily, you have tons of data at your disposal through tools like Google Analytics to help you get a good idea of who your target audience is and what problems they need to be solved. Just look to your existing customers!
By analyzing customer data, you can tease out trends that can help you categorize what sorts of professionals or people tend to be well-served by your business. Assemble recurring traits based on both the details that help you recognize the persona at a glance and the unique needs that compel this category to buy.
A buyer persona for a personal injury attorney, for example, can include someone who has never worked with a lawyer in their life but who is scared about how to pay for the costs of their car accident.
Developing audience personas is crucial to keeping the topics, information, and tone of your content focused. You’re writing content you want people to read, so try your best to understand those people and what can motivate them to click–and potentially buy.
Step 3: Decide on Content Standards and Formats
Content can take on many forms. Your business will want to consider which of those forms will best suit your goals and your audience’s needs.
Possible content formats include:
- Long-form blogs
- Social media posts
- Interactive guides
- Live video
Written blogs are the most basic form of content and often form the backbone of SEO strategy. Most top-ranked written content contains at least 500 words and around 1,100 on average, so make sure your articles have enough “meat” on them to signal keyword relevance and provide enough information for your audiences to latch onto.
Visual elements are also a key component of any content piece. 88% of marketers say that over half of their published blogs and pieces contain at least one visual component.
Video is another major facet of content emerging as one of the most important differentiators. Forbes states that 90% of customers think videos are helpful when making buying choices, and 64% say that watching videos can make them more likely to buy. However, video content can be expensive to produce, so companies wanting to maximize their budget may create a minimal amount of video content to supplement certain promotions or top-performing topics.
Our advice? Blogs are incredibly effective, and they’re comparatively less expensive and easy to produce. Developing a body of written articles on your site — supplemented by the occasional video, ebook, infographic, or other forms of rich content — can offer the best combination of ROI and audience appeal.
Step 4: Set Up a Content Publishing and Promotion Calendar
Try to commit to publishing content on a regular schedule. This sets expectations for your audience, and it also gives search engines fresh content to index. New content can be one of the most effective strategies for nudging your search engine ranking upwards or maintaining your rank over time.
Content pieces should be promoted and not just published, as well. Determine your best avenue for promotion, even if it’s just posting a link to new blog content on your branded social media profiles.
Paid promotion can make sense for certain content pieces, but earning guest publication spots offers even better ROI. At EverSpark Interactive, we often seek out willing publishers with outstanding reputations to publish guest content and cultivate a reliable quantity of backlinks pointing to your site, boosting its sense of authority.
Step 5: Create a Content Topic List to Inspire You
Even when considering just one media format, content can take on many forms. It can be encyclopedic, breaking down core concepts for your industry. Or, it can be more direct to the reader’s needs, such as answering common questions your customers might have.
Ideally, your content calendar will cover a wide range of topics over time. That way, you can cast a wide net to answer your persona-driven audience’s questions or meet their needs most readily. They will also be more likely to remain on your site, clicking on additional articles as they find more and more relevant topics.
Your audience will also be hungry for new information, so don’t neglect important developments or news in your industry vertical. A law office, for instance, may want to note landmark appeals decisions handed down, whereas a local retailer might want to mention cool new products or technologies in the works.
Having a backlog of content ideas can help keep your content production pipeline moving, even when writer’s block strikes. It also helps you choose topics with intent, building out information that is more likely to meet your visitors’ needs and avoid topical blind spots.
Step 6: Audit Performance, Optimize, Repeat
Your content strategy should include constant measurement to see if you are meeting your goals. Quarterly — or a few times a year — you should revisit your progress and determine if you are using the most effective strategy to meet your goals. You can also consider how algorithmic changes or audience behavior changes may require an adjusted approach.
Revisiting your content strategy from time to time is a core component of how we at EverSpark Interactive are able to steer marketing activities towards the tactics that offer reliable ROI.
Looking for Help With Content Marketing for SEO?
EverSpark Interactive has mastered the above process to provide repeatable results that bring our clients leads, conversions, and tangible ROI. Each content strategy is tailored to the client’s unique audience and goals. We also keep all audience trends and algorithmic updates on our radar, preventing you from being blindsided by market shifts.
Let us help you develop a comprehensive, custom-fit content strategy to help boost your SEO performance and earn you more business. Give us a shout by contacting us online to find out what we can offer you.