Content Marketing is the heart and soul of social media marketing and SEO. After all, with no content, there is nothing to post and nothing to optimize! Something that every marketing and SEO specialist knows is the phrase, “Content is King”. Content is the foundation of website. It’s what users come for. Without quality, in-depth content on your site, you will not receive the traffic you want.
Content Marketing 101
- WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING ALL ABOUT?
- CONTENT AUDITING
- Step 1: Take Inventory
- Step 2: Tag and Organize Content
- Step 3: Add Success Metrics
- Step 4: Analyze Data for Success Metrics
- CONTENT CREATION
- CONTENT MARKETING
What is content marketing all about?
Content marketing uses page and post content (this can be text, infographics, images, or videos) to help meet a marketing goal. Content Marketing can benefit your business in many ways.
- It helps you:
- gain potential customers
- retention of existing customers
- spreading the word about your brand or products
- educate the public, establishing you as an authority, and providing a service to your site users.
In this guide, we will go over the most popular and effective ways of content marketing.
Content strategy refers to the planning for development and management of content. It is the logical first step for content marketing. Planning, creation, and marketing. The first step in developing a solid content strategy is to figure out what audience will likely be viewing your content. Understand all that you can about your potential audience, for example:
- Demographic information (like age, gender, and location) of your audience?
- What other sites are they visiting?
- Which social media platforms does your audience frequent?
- What are their pain points?
Pain points, you ask? Well, pain points are problems, plain and simple. Issues that you want your content to be able to solve! Common customer pain points include:
- Financial Pain Points, like spending too much money, or just not having enough to cover their needs
- Productivity Pain Points: wasting too much time
- Support Pain Points, the desire to receive quality customer service
- Process Pain Points, like wanting to improve their business processes
Forming a good content strategy is just about learning as much as you can about your audience. Start with the suggestions above. Then move forward with your content strategy to developing an action plan (creation, auditing, and marketing) based on the information about your audience you learned.
The next important step in creating your strategy is a content audit or an in-depth look at the previously created content on your website. If you don’t have any old content, move on to the next section. Content audits are sometimes confused with a content strategy; however, this step is only about taking stock of the effectiveness of your previously existing content. Here are the steps for an effective content audit:
Content Audit Step 1: Take Inventory
To begin your check, first, create an inventory of the content you have. You can do this easily if you have a small site by going through your old posts and pages and analyzing them. If you have a more extensive website, this is not always feasible. There is a solution! If you have many areas to cover, you can use a crawler like Screaming Frog to pull the full list of URLs from your site, making it easier to audit each post individually.
Content Audit Step 2: Tag and Organize Content
Go through and tag your content and then organize it using the following criteria:
What is the subject of your older content? Create a list of categories and assign each post a category. Doing this will show you which subjects your readers are interacting with more. You can then put more effort into those categories, and appeal to the majority of your readers.
How long are the pieces with the most hits, and does that affect your readers’ views and shared views? Do your readers seemingly prefer longer posts or do they prefer content that is short and sweet?
How relevant to your actual business is the post topic? Does it talk about your products, or is it about something irrelevant to your business, despite its possible appeal to your audience demographic?
Some post content can last forever, and some most definitely does not. Make sure you know when each piece “expires” and leave it out of your content marketing strategy. For example, for a web designer’s site, a blog article about Google Panda will no longer be relevant.
What types of content do you have in your posts, and how are they delivered? Do you feature embedded videos and images? An infographic? Do the articles include proper SEO schema markup, including meta descriptions, title tags, and headings? If so, even if it is on the dated side, you will want to include it in your content marketing strategy. These can be updated and revised.
When you are setting goals for your content, you will want to set measurable growth goals. You can find metrics to measure your marketing success by looking at clicks per post from platforms and engines like Facebook and Google.
Content Audit Step 3: Add Success Metrics
Once you have all your old posts sorted out, select some success metrics for each post. These can vary based on the marketing goals you set in your initial strategy. The following parameters would be an excellent place to start:
- Traffic (using a program like SEMRush can give you a comprehensive site traffic report)
- Engagement metrics (time on page, number of pages visited)
- Social media shares (what posts and pages customers are engaging with most, what is being shared on other platforms)
Content Audit Step 4: Analyze Data for Success Metrics
In this step, you will want to look for trends in your old blog posts to see what successes you can build on and what needs improvement. Look out for which type of posts get the most clicks, and see how you can work that into your content strategy. According to Moz, “Looking back through and classifying/quantifying your previous work gives you a bird’s eye view of where you’ve been in the past and where you have yet to venture.”
By the time you complete this step, your content audit will be complete. Now that you have all your old content data in one place, the tedious part is finished! You are ready to move on to the next step of your content strategy – creation.
Creating new content is arguably the most fun part of your content strategy journey! The first step you will want to take is to pick a topic for your first new blog post. The first topic should typically be pretty general to start, say you are blogging as an up-and-coming web designer. Write about a familiar area. Perhaps a blog post on how to start your own web design business. You may not want to go out of your depth to write a comprehensive Content SEO Guide on your first blog post.
One of the most challenging parts of beginning to blog is deciding on a format for your content. If you are not someone with previously existing blog posts, starting your blog from scratch can be intimidating. If that applies to you, check out our blog resources guide here!
Let’s go back to our original example! You are an up-and-coming web designer looking to create your first blog post. Some popular blog formats you could use include:
- List or Listicle (5 Ways to Start Your Own Web Design Business)
- Curated Collection (Best Hosting Platforms for New Web Designers)
- SlideShare Presentation (7 Blogging Resources for Beginners, With Pictures)
- News Piece (New WordPress Theme Announced, Perfect for New Web Designers)
Suppose you are having trouble finding a topic. In that case, you can look into turning one idea into many by visiting this comprehensive ‘ideas’ guide here! You can also check out this great post from our friends at StoryChief for even more ideas!
Once you have your content created (or audited and sorted), you can begin to optimize your post and page content. These optimization steps will apply to any new content you are creating as well.
Before we dive in, a great way to see and interact with the essential optimization metrics that your page or post needs is by uploading the RankMath plugin to your site. Learn more about the numerous benefits for RankMath users from our blog post here!
Content Optimization Step 1: The first step for optimizing any post (or page, for that matter) is adhering to Basic SEO best practices. Basic SEO includes:
- Placing your focus keyword in the content, especially at the beginning
- Making sure your focus keyword is in your Meta Title
- Placing your focus keyword in your URL and Meta Description
- Making sure the post content is at least 600 words long
Content Optimization Step 2: The next step is fine-tuning the SEO actions you just took with Basic SEO. Rank Math calls this Additional SEO. Additional SEO includes:
- Placing your focus keyword in the page subheadings
- Adding an image with the focus keyword as alt text
- Keeping keyword density high (this includes synonyms of the keyword and long-tailed keywords)
- Creating a URL with less than 75 characters
- Linking to internal and external pages in your post
- Making sure you are using a new focus keyword for each post
Content Optimization Step 3: Title readability is a small but often forgotten part of Content SEO. You will get a significant SEO boost by doing the following:
- Making sure your focus keyword is at the beginning of the SEO title
- Adding a positive or negative sentiment to your title
- Putting a “power word” into your SEO title (see an impressive list of power words here)
- Using a number in your title
Content Optimization Step 4: Last but not least, content readability is also vital for your Content SEO score. Content readability is defined as the level of ease one experiences while reading your site content. The following are the central tenets of content readability:
- Using a Table of Contents to break down your text. A ToC increases the links you have and also really helps users when you have a long post
- Do this without a plugin as described here (coming soon), or use this plugin
- Using short paragraphs
- Making sure your content contains images and/or videos
Content marketing is all about creating fresh, relevant, and recent content for your visitors! Making sure you are following this content strategy; you can begin to market what content you have and what content you will make!
Content Marketing Step 1: Editorial Calendar
A great tip that nearly every blogger could benefit from is making a blogging calendar and scheduling posts to free up time. Google Calendars here is a fantastic resource for doing this. Refer back to the Content Creation portion for tips on developing ten new blog ideas from 1 old blog idea. Place them on the calendar, a week apart (or whatever time metric you would like to use). This will help you keep on top of blogging and keep track of your blogging success metrics.
Content Marketing Step 2: Creation
Refer back to the Content Creation portion of this post for more information on content creation tips and tricks!
Content Marketing Step 3: Curation
Content marketing curation is about consistently finding, organizing, annotating, and sharing the most relevant and the highest quality digital content for your target market. Look for similar blogs that are the same size as your business, and look for backlink opportunities. Check out our Backlink Guide here for more information on this!
Content Marketing Step 4: Promotion
Content marketing lies in the promotion of your brand. Here are the best ways to go about the ‘Promotion’ step of Content Marketing:
- Influencer Marketing
- Comment Marketing
- Guest Posting
- Outreach and Public Relations
- Social Media Marketing
- Paid Social Media Promotion
- Paid Search Results
- Display Ads
- Email Marketing
- Content Distribution Networks
Content Marketing Step 5: Iteration
Content iteration is the ongoing process of making continual edits and improvements to your website and its content. This can be done by monitoring trends in your analytics and through split testing. There are six main ways to iterate your content regularly:
- Post Timing: By analyzing metrics like what day of the week and what time your visitors interact with your content, you can begin to post during those peak hours and garner more traffic.
- Content Layout: The layout of a page is more influential than you think! The placement of an email subscription form to the image features can all influence conversion rates. Using split tests can help you better optimize your pages.
- Media Types: You can test out different layouts and media types on your pages. What if you were to place a video on your landing page, instead of an image? How about releasing a podcast instead of a new blog post? Play around with different styles, and see what gets the most interaction!
- Frequency: There is plenty of evidence to suggest something called “typical frequency trends.” Look at mass user trends, and then analyze how those trends affect your strategy. Since every audience is different, you will not want to base your content iteration solely on these trends, but to see how these trends could affect your strategy.
- Call to Action: Any beginner SEO specialist or web designer would tell you that the call to action is arguably the most important thing on your website! Try out many different ways of formatting your call to action – this is something that marketing specialists have obsessed over for ages, how to create the best call to action. For tips on creating a strong call to action, check out this guide from WordStream!
- Incentives: The incentives a web page or blog offers can significantly differentiate your number of subscribers or purchases. According to Convince and Convert, “When testing incentives, don’t just look at new subscribers!” You will want to look for long term reader trends like repeat buys and email opens.
And that’s the gist of content marketing! Content marketing is all about keeping up with your visitors’ needs and promoting your site and its content.
When you are ready to begin content marketing for your small business, contact TKD Design!