Some believe content marketing will take over SEO. I don’t. As I outline in a new report, “Content Marketing Like a Pro: Tactics and Techniques to Increase Search Engine Visibility”, content marketing should be used as a way to supplement existing SEO efforts and become a lead-generation source in and of itself.
In order to maximize the impact of content marketing, both as a driver of leads and sales and as a way to augment SEO and drive organic search performance, marketers should utilize the following 10 best practices:
- Know Your Audience. In order to engage with potential customers through content marketing, it is important to first know who they are, what they want and what they value. This starts with market research. Identify the customer segment and find out the types of websites they frequent. These websites provide an initial list of publisher prospects for the content.
- Include Images. Part of the goal of producing and promoting great content is to influence customers and prospects to share your content with their online communities. Use large, engaging images within your content so that when it is shared via social media, the summary that is visible to other users will include a thumbnail. This will draw more attention to it and garner higher click-through rates. Don’t forget to properly tag your images so that they, too, show up in search rankings and improve the authority of your brand’s content.
- Curate Content. Regurgitated information from another source is not likely to draw much attention from your target audience. Your content should offer a fresh perspective and draw from multiple sources. Curate content from a variety of trusted sources in order to provide readers with a new perspective or insight they may not have already seen.
- Promote. Use multiple channels to promote your content. Leverage your current marketing channels, including email, social media, public relations, display advertising, etc., to inform your customers and prospects about new content resources.
- Reference Industry Influencers. When discussing a specific topic within your content marketing piece, it can be helpful to reference and cite individuals who are known to the audience and have authority on the topic. People love to see their own names published and will likely promote the content on their own for free, thus further spreading the exposure and influence of your brand and its expertise.
- Leverage Mark-up and Tagging Opportunities. In addition to content promotion, page features can be used to help consumers more easily find your content. For example, using targeted keywords in title tags, meta tags and image alt tags can help the content show up in search. Similarly, rich snippets such as the rel=“author” tag can give credit to the author where applicable and leverage that author’s authority.
- Stand for Something. Don’t just tell people what your company does; articulate why you do it. By demonstrating the value your products or services will have on consumers’ lives they will be much likelier to engage.
- Be Transparent. Earn your audience’s trust by providing them factual, well-researched information. If consumers feel your brand has something to hide, they will be much less likely to engage with or share its content.
- Follow Up. To ensure and maintain engagement of your content, it is important to influence readers to keep the conversation going. Answer any questions consumers have in a comments section (if applicable) and within the various social networks. Allow your customers and prospects to add to the wealth of knowledge you are sharing with your industry.
- Measure Success. There is a great deal of learning that comes out of a content marketing campaign that can be used for future campaigns, both for content marketing and other channels. Track key performance indicators such as visits, conversions, inbound links, leads generated and social shares generated by each content piece to understand the type of content that performs best. Use those metrics to inform the type of content you create in the future and how, where and when you promote it.
Content marketing offers brands an exceptionally high potential for return. Whether the goal is lead/sale generation, improving SEO performance or a combination thereof, leveraging the above best practices will help garner success.