As a business, it’s difficult to know on any given day which search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy works and which doesn’t. But there’s one strategy that’s still clearly ‘Google approved’: Content marketing.
Google has made it clear that its long-term vision is to reward helpful, authoritative sites in the natural search results. That means it’s critical for websites to provide valuable and informative content that will build relationships with users and yield high rankings in search results.
If your content isn’t all that it could be, consider these tips for developing a killer content marketing strategy:
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE’S NEEDS
Your writing can be informative and your videos stunning, but they won’t draw traffic if they don’t meet the needs of your audience.
To determine the content your audience wants, observe which blogs are popular in your industry, identify content that’s shared frequently on your readers’ social networking profiles or survey your reader’s favourite topics.
Look to your past blog posts, videos and other website content to see which topics drew the most Facebook ‘likes’, blog comments or other social metrics. Then, use those findings to plan your future content campaigns.
2. DEDICATE RESOURCES TO YOUR CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
Even if you’re capable of creating your own content because you’re a talented writer, infographics creator or video producer, you still need to block out time in your busy schedule.
If you don’t feel confident about your content creation skills, consider outsourcing some work to freelancers. Farming out tasks can be costly, but you should eventually see a positive ROI as you attract more customers with your new content marketing strategy.
3. SET HIGH EDITORIAL STANDARDS
As you develop articles, blog posts, videos and other parts of your content marketing campaign, ensure that quality remains high. As a business owner, it’s easy to cut corners on content creation when faced with competing priorities and time and money constraints. You may be tempted to crank out mediocre content to meet a deadline,but this can damage your brand and cost you readers and business.
If you notice a steady decline in your site’s traffic or your reader engagement, that might be a sign that your content standards have slipped. Establish editorial standards and stick to them, whether creating the content yourself or hiring freelancers to produce it.
4. BUILD A PRESENCE ON SOCIAL CHANNELS
A content marketing strategy’s success depends heavily on social sharing by your readers and other members of your community. So don’t sit back and wait for your readers to disseminate the content you’ve invested so much time in. Be proactive about building your presence on popular social channels.
Commit regular time to connecting with others on social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, and avoid being too promotional. Try first to engage naturally with members of your community.
Then, seed your best content on the social networking sites when you feel it can provide clear benefits to your followers. But if you see a decline in the number of followers, reassess your strategy. You may be advertising your own content more than your community – or Google’s search standards – will support.
5. BE CONSISTENT
Not every piece of content you create will go viral or generate significant interest in your website. Don’t be discouraged. Try to stick to a consistent schedule of content creation. By producing new content regularly, you’ll increase the likelihood of hitting that viral sweet spot. You can also develop a reputation for authority in your industry, as your readers become accustomed to seeing your name frequently on the web.
About AJ Kumar
AJ Kumar is co-founder of Single Grain, a digital marketing agency based in San Francisco. Single Grain specializes in helping startups and larger companies with search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media and various other marketing strategies.