At Online Marketing Blog, content marketing is frequently a hot topic. And with good reason: it’s a vital skill for marketers. Not only do we at TopRank Online Marketing see great results implementing content marketing for clients, but the industry as a whole sees it as a clear trend. Consider the following stats:
- 6 in 10 marketers plan to spend more on content marketing in 2010.
- 71% of bloggers who maintain blogs for a business – their own or one they work for – report that they have increased their visibility within their industries through their blogs (as just one example of content marketing in action).
- Content marketing plays an integral role in many of the top digital marketing tactics marketers implemented in 2009.
In this fast-paced panel, 3 content marketers each shared some quick tips, trends and strategies for content marketing.
Byron White, Chief Idea Officer, ideaLaunch
Byron ran through an overview of 10 tips to follow when fleshing out a content marketing plan:
1. Develop a content marketing plan – many digital marketers just dive in without any type of plan. This is always a mistake, before going any further, you need to get organized and understand next steps
2. Use free and paid research tools to research terms – there are a slew of both free and paid research tools which can help you define keywords necessary to create a keyword glossary. Use tools in conjunction with your own creativity to create an inclusive list of terms.
3. Find the hot topics and keywords – by understanding the industry and leveraging tools, you can discover hot/trending topics and keywords to be a part of your mix in addition to the mainstay terms.
4. Develop customer profiles for testing/research the competition – building customer profiles and competitive research allows you to draw upon a knowledge base when creating content to both stand out from competitors and connect with your audience.
5. Develop an SEO plan with “keyword silos” – made up of long tail and short tail keywords – in addition to building a keyword list, group it into like terms in order for your content team to leverage it in an effective manner during content creation.
6. Score content for SEO strength – either via an automated tool or manually, score existing content for SEO strength in order to gauge what to optimize first.
7. Infuse your brand with great content – on the web, your content is your brand (and your brand is your content).
8. Create stories – people connect with stories more than just product pages and lists of features. Tell stories and connect with prospects at a much deeper level.
9. Define great content – know what great content looks like before you develop it. You can’t create something remarkable unless you have a vision in mind.
10. Document content publishing date – this is a frequently forgotten, but important tip. Only by documenting new content publishing date can you track/trend success of that content over time.
Of course, metrics are key – track interaction and engagement with content. Get to a point you understand how your content, whether a blog post or a product page, is converting and working for your brand.
Heather Lloyd-Martin, CEO, SuccessWorks
Heather spoke on developing great content in the B2C and B2B space.
Why care about content? The best SEO is good content, according to Seth Godin. If you want people to convert, link to you or even visit your site you need quality content.
Main advantage of good content? Control. Great content allows you to gain control of your site.
Tip # 1: Think about your target audience
Start by creating a customer persona. The questions you need to answer to do this include:
- Who is your target audience? (hint: it’s not everyone)
- Do you have multiple audiences?
- How old is your typical buyer/reader?
- What education level do they have?
- What are their average levels of income?
- What benefits are important?
Tip #2: Expand your keyphrase universe
Look for opportunities to build out new, unique content. Reach both hit and long tail phrases, and create content that speaks to a broad mix of terms. One way to do this is build out a resource section to answer both broad and ultra-specific, detailed questions.
Tip #3: Free your content from “fake SEO rules”
“Party like its 1999…but don’t optimize your site that way.” I.E. – there’s no need to follow a specific keyword density to rank. Instead focus on quality first, keywords second.
General SEO content rules:
- Keyphrases in headlines/subheadlines
- Keyphrases in hyperlinks
- Keyphrases throughout the content (but not forcing it)
- Keyphrase-rich title
- Focus around 2-3 keyphrases per page
Tip #4: Help your titles sizzle off the surface of SERPs
- When you’re on a SERP, there are 10 results and users need to pick one.
- Try to keep your titles to around 70 characters
- Include your main keyphrases
- Clearly explain what the landing page is about
- Include benefit statements (such as “free”) whenever possible
Tip #5 There is always something you can do
Beware the “website mullet.” Check for outdated copy. Some of the worst offenders can be press pages, conference/events pages, old articles, etc. Where possible, update copy or add additional content if you have older areas of a website gathering cobwebs.
Also, if you want to build out a new section of the site to make your content friendlier but can’t change the template: start a blog or create a new section of the site. Don’t let technical issues get in your way.
Jonathan Allen, Director, Search Engine Watch
Jonathan spoke on the idea of using other people’s websites/social sites to gain rankings and an audience. The theme was on mash-ups – aka remixes of content.
Define your goal – is the goal of this content to persuade or sell people to take action or is it more long-term, to develop links to improve your search engine rankings/brand awareness.
Develop personas – I.E. connectors, those hyper-connected individuals who will help your content spread. By reaching them, you achieve the highest propensity for your content to spread.
Create content – it must be relevant and must be compelling.
Connect – once content starts to spread, connect with others and encourage them to share so it spreads further.
Rinse and repeat – when you find a formula that works, continue to leverage that to create additional content.