Jolina Pettice

SES New York: 3 Content Marketing Principles

Content, Content, Content.3 Tips to Content Marketing

After attending search conferences for a few years now, it seems only right that content is getting some time in the spotlight. This week at Search Engine Strategies (SES) New York, I had the great pleasure of presenting on the topic of content marketing.

For so long talk has been about how to optimize and then how to promote – but we’re circling back around to meat and potatoes of online marketing which is the content.

Without it, what are we optimizing and promoting? Oh no, please don’t say it’s your static product pages… Well, if it is (and we’ve all been there), it is most definitely time to look at content marketing and what it can do to take your brand to new levels of customer engagement and acquisition.

The 3 principles to content marketing to keep in mind are:

1. Know Your Audience
Creating content without understanding your target audience is like trying to paddle a boat with a spoon. Not effective and certainly not efficient.

The simplest way to start understanding what type of content your audience is most compelled by is looking at what content receives the most visits, shares, tweets, etc.

This can give you a baseline for both what archetypes (i.e. tips posts) and topics (i.e. content marketing) are most successful.

If you are already creating content and paying attention to what plays and what doesn’t, you might be ready for  the creation of audience profiles or personas.

A next great step in creating content, the creation of profiles will help you further segment your content strategy (see tip 2) in such a way that you appeal to different preferences.

For example, you may find that you have 3 personas to which you need to create content. Let’s call them Bob, Dan and Sherri.

Bob – Younger and engaged; he uses Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, writes a blog, writes reviews and shares photos.

Dan – Slightly older, engaged but less so; he uses Google, LinkedIn (not Facebook) reads blogs (doesn’t write one), but also writes reviews.

Sherri – Younger and engaged; uses Bing as her search engine of preference, uses Facebook (not LinkedIn), writes a blog, shares photos and videos.

Imagine with the clarity of the above 3 personas how you can augment your content strategy to better reach each one and deliver content that they are most likely to engage and share.

2. Create a Content Strategy
Once you understand your audience, you are in a much more informed position to create a content strategy.

Most content strategies start with already existing content, which is OK. But in any competitive market new content will need to be created as well.

Start outlining your content plan by understanding your objectives. i.e. inform an audience, help them with a purchase decision

Then brainstorm the topics that you can create content for and tie them into topical categories and assign each post a keyword group.

Review the content you have planned to ensure you are covering all key topics and accounting for various content archetypes.

3. Analyze & Refine
Like with any marketing, content marketing should have a measurement piece to identify successful content and inform future content creation.

Be sure to look at the basics such as what content received the most visits, shares, tweets, etc.

Then take a deeper dive to look for the unknown. For example, do a search in analytics for the inclusion of a ‘?’ in the referring search phrase to understand what types of questions people are looking to answer. Then, create content that speaks to the topic and ultimately will help drive more traffic.

Tell us below what you have found to be crucial to content marketing success!

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  1. Avatar Ilias Chelidonis says

    Hey Jolina

    Very good guide, i always used to consider the first step ( know your audience ) not important because i thought that my target customer can be anyone however, i realized that we need to spend time in finding how are customers trully are as our entire marketing and product campaign will be based on that. The rest will follow naturally ( assuming some principles are in place )


  2. Avatar Mary Marchese says

    Great article. It is about content and being able to get to your content. One of the things we have worked on helping customers get to their content through legacy files from locked applications and liberating that content. If anyone out there wants to pull content from Quark, Adobe InDesign and Microsoft Publisher files there is a new desktop search tool out there called PageZephyr that will free up all that content. No need to own any of the applications either in order to get to it.

  3. Next is to repurpose the content by channel to reach each persona via preferences defined. Don’t get stifled, new isn’t always more. But in reverse, stale is always less.

  4. Yes most required points to make a good promotion for content marketing.

  5. Great Blog! I have been reading your Blog for some time now. I had a question, though. I am in the process of developing an Online Strategy for my company – a TV broadcasting company. Given that we are a Video & Textual Content production and distribution company, should I be doing anything different from what you and Lee have been advising for Content Marketing?

  6. Great article. I was at SES NY but did not have a chance to check this session out, so I’m glad you posted some tips.

    I have a question about content. What would you suggest in terms o content creation if you worked on a large database driven website? Most of the content is pretty shallow, however it does it’s job and presents the user with what they are looking for. With Google Panda, and the ever growing importance of Content this isn’t always enough. So what can you add? Video? UGC? Something else?



    • Hi Chris,
      If you are looking to create additional, or perhaps more valuable, onpage content then yes the addition of video, images, user reviews might all be options for you.

      Another option is a blog where you can create content beyond what would likely make sense to have on database driven pages.

  7. Creating user types is always a good idea. It’s also a good idea to see which of those users performs best and how they interact with your site. If you can determine what they are doing on your site, then you can determine who to cater to more in future content releases.

    Buddy Scalera

  8. Great article. My advice to clients is to make sure you are offering valuable content that does at least one of the following: solves a problem, educates, or entertains. Taking the time to find out how to best reach them is critical, and you hit it here. Thanks again.

  9. This is a great post – thank you.

    I’ve recently been getting more into the theory and strategy of content marketing; the variables involved in optimising content seem almost limitless.

    As a side note, you seem to have struck the perfect balance in writing for readability and maximising keyword density. I’ve so much to learn – but it looks to be an enjoyable learning curve.


  10. Avatar Rhsoccerstud30 says

    This is a great blog for anyone and everyone. I am learning about Content Marketing, and this really gives a great run down with great examples.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.