With any marketing activity, the killer is finding a tangible way to demonstrate ROI. It’s something that continues to hold back investment in new and emerging channels and something marketers have to constantly work at – often more so than the sexy, creative side.
If you do it well, creating and publishing quality content has a range of benefits. It improves the user experience; it produces the kind of pages Google wants to index and return in search; and it can also drive conversions. When you look at your content strategy, finding a way to tie what you’re doing to how you make money is vital and something that’s often overlooked.
Here are three tips to check that your content and commercial strategies are pushing in the same direction…
Setting a Clear Conversion Goal
Working in this industry I look at a lot of websites and it’s surprising how often I’m left wondering what it is they want me, as a visitor, to do. The site has pulled me in from search or through social media or a maybe an email, but what’s the next step they want me to take?
Now, people that don’t work in content marketing probably don’t actively think like that, with their eyes scanning the site for a clear and relevant call-to-action. But these sites are missing an opportunity to learn about their visitors, capture useful information about them and find ways to engage with them.
A call-to-action can be anything from a simple contact form to a white paper download. Any website (and in fact any web page), needs a relevant call-to-action, regardless of the nature or wider purpose of the site.
Drilling Into Your Keywords
One of the benefits of last year’s Google Panda update was that the practice of churning out an endless stream of pages covering every conceivable keyword variation around a particular topic has promptly gone out of fashion.
In the post-Panda age, you need to avoid producing lots of very similar pages that look as though you used Google’s keyword suggestion tool as an editorial calendar. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drill into your keyword data to look for content ideas.
Trending keywords and keywords that you know send you good, converting traffic, can drive blog posts, landing pages, white papers and infographics that meet demand and improve the relevance and usefulness of your website.
Keyword research and intelligent use of the results can get people directly from search or social media to the most suitable page on your site, which means not only a better experience for them, but higher chance of achieving a conversion for you.
Putting Conversions in Context
My final tip follows on from that point about building pages that target specific user demand. One of the great things tailored content can do for a website, is put conversion opportunities (sign up, learn more, download etc) in context.
What that means is making a call-to-action a logical next step for whoever discovers and consumes a particular piece of content. A regularly-updated blog, for example, can provide a great opportunity to drive people towards more substantial content, such as a white paper.
By blogging about topics covered in your white paper and then providing a well-placed call-to-action on those posts, you put your conversion opportunity in front of more of the right people. This can be especially powerful if you use your blog to tap into relevant breaking news stories and trending topics that you relate back to the content in your white paper.
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