by Evan Weber
Hey there! Thanks for taking a look at my latest post! This time I wanted to discuss a topic that has been pushed to the back burner by a lot of companies in recent years: Content Marketing. As a channel in digital marketing, Content Marketing, should be up in the top 3 most important strategies you can utilize to grow website traffic and sales over time. It's essentially your SEO strategy or at least 98% of it. But what has happened with the advent of Social Media, Native Ads, Programmatic Ad buying (not to mention others), is that Content Marketing isn't getting the budget or resources it deserves on an annual basis. The other reason that Content Marketing doesn't get the focus is that companies just don't know what an effective Content Marketing strategy looks like. They may know parts and pieces, but not how to craft it into a Content Marketing strategy that will be effective and produce results. In actuality though, Content Marketing is more trackable than ever. You can retargeting all of your content traffic and then track the conversions in Google Analytics or Mixpanel for instance. Then, you will be able to attach an ROI to it and justify the growth of the budget dedicated to it. And that's the way it should be handled. So what should the actual content marketing strategy be you ask? The short answer is a VOLUME of targeted content posted on a frequent basis. Doing this in itself will grow targeted traffic, but it's really a question of doing the keyword research in the niche, looking at the analytics for previous traffic sources that that converted in the past, finding the content production sources, posting the content to multiple platforms, and putting a number on how many posts or pieces will be published per month, on your site and others. I won't get any more specific than that right now, but the following list justifies why you should absolutely budget for content production on a monthly basis.
1. Content Drives Organic Traffic - let's start with the most important aspect of having a content marketing strategy, in this case it's purely for SEO purposes, i.e. gaining additional rankings in the search results, primarily Google. Posting fresh content on a frequent basis to your website, and/or other platforms like Linkedin Articles is great also, but in my opinion the most important place to build out your content is your own website. Probably 80% of the budget should be going towards building out your website's posts and pages with fresh content targeting your niche. If you have a broad niche, start with the most targeted phrases and work your way outward. Use the Google Keyword Planner to guide your content strategy, i.e. what the posts will be be about, the post titles, and the post content. Then, it's just a matter of covering all of the most relevant topics to your niche or industry. Once that's done you can write content to targeting what your ideal audience would be interested in reading about. Another phenomenal way to target content, if you have this luxury, is to target by location, known as geo-targeted content, eg. "Local Florist in Miami, Florida". If you were a nationwide or regional flower company you could have a page for every city and town that you deliver to. So there's 30,000 pages that need to be written and published to cover most cities in the US. Those are just a few great strategies that work where it pertains. But really, any niche can be written for it's a matter of guiding the writers properly.
2. Content Fills the Visitor Retargeting Funnel - this is a great point because back in a day (1990's and 2000's) you couldn't cookie your website visitors and follow them around with ads. Now, with visitor retargeting ads, you can advertise to all the traffic your website gets including the blog section, product pages, etc., so you can then segment those visitors and show them ads on all the social networks, with display ads, and Native ads, bringing them back to the site to convert. As long as the content is targeted to search intent and/or your target audience, you really can't go wrong there. Anything retargeting-oriented should be a great ROI producer for you. As I always say, "You can never have enough retargeting!" :)
3. Content Informs Your Customers/Visitors - one of the other nice things about content production is that if you have good content being produced, people will generally benefit from it. So there are really 2 types of SEO content in my opinion, the first type is purely targeted towards what people are searching for and how they are searching for the niche. The second type of content is targeted towards topics that your target audience would potentially search for and read thoroughly. Both should be informative in nature and well-written, but the topic/audience targeted content can be shared on your social networks and deliver some value there, while the search intent content is purely to bring free traffic to your site. The search intent focused content will likely convert better and better over time. Both types of content should inform the reader and be seen as valuable.
4. Content Drives Revenue - or should I say "good content drives revenue." But what I can tell you is that content brings in traffic that produces revenue, period, end of story. It's a question of how much revenue and how long it takes, but in general, with a proactive content strategy in place, I think you can expect noticeable results in 3-6 months, that you can hang your hat on and break even on your monthly content marketing budget, IF done properly. The content projects that my agency is currently working on where content is being published frequently, get rankings in weeks not months. Content production causes a wider casting of the net of organic content, so over time it grows into a wider net of targeted searchers coming to your site, which is the goal because they convert best. You can look to measure your organic content's revenue in Google analytics, segmenting by your blog section. Also, the retargeting aspect in itself makes a proactive content strategy worthwhile, as long as the content is targeted to search intent or your target audience. Making those article/blog pages "sticky" with widgets like pop-up email boxes, and other elements can be used to squeeze as much out of those visitors as possible, to maximize the traffic the content is bringing you.
5. Content Can Be Controlled - another beneficial thing about content marketing in general is that you can plan it out and strategize on what type of content is going to be produced and when. Also where it will be posted and share. You can move around the focus of the content and hit on various aspects of the niche or industry. Even focusing on trending topics to come up for those searches as well, which will increase effectiveness at bringing your target audience to your website in a greater volume. Do I need to go on? It's pretty self-explanatory. But in general the content strategy needs to be planned out, budgeted for, and executed. Not complicated as long as you know what you're doing or are working with a very competent agency to handle it for you. Any questions let me know.
6. Content Has No Shelf Life - another aspect I LOVE about content marketing is your content will always be there ranking in Google, Youtube, Bing, and Yahoo, as long as you commit to the strategy and continue publishing content on a frequent basis over time. If you don't I can't guarantee your website will stay ranking well for the content you have previous published. Organic traffic is never guaranteed, I can only tell you what I know works from experience and is working currently for projects we work on. Although previously posted content can still have great rankings without ongoing frequent posting, however I do recommend a sustained strategy over years to do it properly and grow your SEO traffic year over year. I never recommend letting a site get stagnant content-wise though to be sure. Only the largest of the large companies can hold their organic rankings without doing much, although they should be doing this too, to maximize their traffic. Anyone else has to stick to the strategy of frequently posting fresh content in order to benefit as much as you possibly could from a Content Marketing strategy of this nature over time. I compare it to building a house. You start with a little shack and if you build it up with enough content, over time, it will be a mansion. Not an amazing analogy but it's what I like to use to convey the concept and people seems to grasp it.
7. Content Has Better ROI Than Paid Search - let's talk about dollars and cents, or should I say sense! One of the nice things about content is you can get it somewhat affordably. For instance, you can have articles written for $50-100 per article. If you post 30 per month, which I recommend, that will run you $1500 or so per month. That's 360 unique pages of content targeting potential targeted searchers to your website over the course of a year. Some niches I manage PPC search in, for clients, cost as much as $5, $10, 15, $20+ per click. At $10 per click you would only get 150 visitors for $1500 with Google Adwords or Bing Ads. Those same organic pages, if they just brought you 1 visitor per page per day, after 12 months, you would be getting 360 visitors per month, or a $3600 value in equivalent search value. Those 360 pages of content should actually bring a couple thousands visitors to the site (if not more depending on multiple Google ranking factors). Not to mention this type of content strategy will make the entire website rank better, which is worth it in itself. Now, when you look at actual revenue, which is going to fluctuate over time and vary per company, you can expect a similar conversion rate on your paid search traffic, let's say 5%. The larger the content volume, over time, the more search traffic the content will generate, there's a direct correlation. You only have to pay for the article once, and it works for you for years to come. Imagine posting 1000 posts per year. After a few years your organic search traffic is basically off the charts. You could cease your Google Adwords campaigns, although I think both paid search (SEM/PPC) and organic content marketing should go hand in hand, be conducting simultaneously, and be done to the utmost possible to maximize the company's search volume. You can only do that of course with a stellar website conversion rate, but nonetheless that's the ultimate goal of digital marketing in my opinion, at least where targeted search marketing is relevant.
Conclusion: This is a modern, effective SEO strategy in my opinion. I hope the practical justifications for having a proactive content marketing strategy are enough to convince you that you need this type of strategy in place, at least to some degree, to have your SEO channel covered. The more budget you put into it, the more you can get out of it to be sure. Having a comprehensive content marketing strategy includes content types like: blog posts, articles, online press releases, longer/unique product descriptions, videos targeted at SEO topics, Linkedin Articles, bloggers posting unique content about your company or products, publishers writing about your company, and a couple of others, but those are the main types of content pieces that should be getting produced and published on a monthly basis. It's just basically a question of budget, strategy, and who will produce the content.
And guess what! My agency, Experience Advertising, has a wonderful team of US-based writers that crank out content for our clients and content projects at extremely affordable rates in my opinion. In fact, you can order your monthly content packages here, this pricing is only for a limited time. If you would like to discuss a customized content marketing strategy for your company, please contact me so we can discuss it and I can give you a proposal.
Thanks for reading! And as always, let me know if you have any questions for me. Have a profitable day!
Evan Weber, CEO, Experience Advertising, Inc.
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by Evan Weber
One way to describe digital marketing would be to compare it to teenage sex: “everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…”. While this particular joke might seem absurd, it isn’t exactly that much off point.
You see, while the term digital marketing gets tossed around a lot, which makes the greatest majority of people believe they know what exactly that is. However, if you ask these people to explain what content marketing, PPC or SEO are, they might pause for a moment or even fail to give an answer altogether. In other words, not only are they not using them, they aren’t exactly sure what these methods entail at all. With this in mind and without further ado, here are several most common types of digital marketing that every business will encounter, or be in need of, sooner or later.
1. Pay-per-click (PPC)
The first digital marketing method we are about to discuss is the popular PPC marketing. Here, the website owner is directly paying to the advertisers for every visit that comes through their website. The way this works is quite simple – you display an ad on someone’s website (let’s say blog) and every time someone clicks on this add, you pay that particular blogger a fixed fee. The best thing about this method is that it is quite easy to quantify, seeing how you pay for the exact figure of traffic boost that comes to your website. Bloggers trying to earn money this way might either go with affiliate marketing or Google AdSense, so they should be first two stops for an aspiring business willing to invest in PPC strategy as well.
2. SEO (Search engine optimization)
Another term that a person getting started in the world of digital marketing is about to encounter is the SEO. Still, what is SEO exactly? In order to give an answer to this question, one must first know how search engines work. You see, an internet is a vast sea of data and information and without at least some form of pattern or organization, one wouldn’t be able to find anything they are looking for. This is where search engines come in. Through a complex algorithm, search engines sort, rank and display this data as search results. SEO is merely a process to improve your website’s standing on the World Wide Web.
3. Social media marketing
Another thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that social media aren’t simply meant for reconnecting with your high school friends. A lot of companies are using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as the main platforms through which they promote their business. However, this requires a no small amount of planning and a huge deal of strategizing. For instance, every network has its own audience, which is why you should first identify your target demographics. If you plan to sell arts and crafts items, your platform of choice should probably be Pinterest, while for digital tools and software you might want to try YouTube. At the end of the day, the greater your reach, the better, which is why you should always try to create a solid presence on at least several platforms at once.
4. Content marketing
The best way to make people interested in what you have to offer is to actually present them with something that adds value. This, however, means that you should come up with quality content that either entertains, educates or gives your audience something to think about. The greatest problem with content marketing is the fact that it requires a lot of research, work and talent. Still, if you manage to meet all of these requirements, the results are bound to follow.
5. Email marketing
Finally, while some may assume that email marketing is dead, nothing can be further from the truth. On the contrary, this particular method of outreach has been on a steady rise since the dawn of the internet, making it a true anomaly in the world of digital marketing. Nonetheless, in order to make it work, you need to A) learn how to make your audience interested by using as little words as possible and B) learn how to make a killer subject line. Moreover, keep in mind that in 2017 people mostly read emails through their mobile devices, which is why you should also find a way to make your emails mobile-friendly.
As you can see, digital marketing is hardly a rocket-science, yet it is still horribly underused by most businesses out there. Unbelievable as it may sound almost half of small businesses in the U.S. didn’t have a website in 2016. This figure alone might be enough to explain why 90 percent of all startups and SMBs fail within the first five years of doing business. Make no mistake, a strong online presence is mandatory in 2017 and the only way to achieve it is through adequate digital marketing.
While PPC (pay per click) is still a valid tactic for getting more traffic on your website, surveys have shown that having a high-quality content is even more reliable in the traffic it generates. What's even more important is that content marketing will also help you turn a visitor into a customer more easily than any other method, while also improving your brand loyalty and brand awareness. Setting up your content marketing strategy takes time and effort, but with this guide, you can get started today.
Write Catchy Headlines
For starters, you should keep in mind that having great written content isn't enough, simply because you need to get people to read it. The best way to catch someone's attention is to have a well-written headline. The importance of headlines is further highlighted through a simple fact that most of the content shared on social media wasn't even read by the people who shared it. This means that headlines alone are actually more important than the rest of the article, at least for organic traffic increase. Some simple tricks include asking a provocative question or offering a quick solution to the problems your audience resonates with. And don't forget to use a keyword or two in your headlines.
Research Your Keywords
While people might be sharing your content because of the catchy headlines, sharing isn't enough when it comes to organic search increase. In order to become visible to your audience, you need to start using the right keywords. You can use a tool like Google AdWords to find established keywords for most niches, but this will only get you so far because what you need are actually long-tail keywords for which you have a chance to rank well. Writing long-tail keywords will not only increase your traffic but also get more visitors that are further along in the buying circle. While someone looking for "Chicago style pizza" might only be interested in what it is, someone who searches for "Late night pizza delivery Detroit" is probably going to buy a product.
Use A/B Testing
A/B testing, when done right, can significantly improve your website's performance and help you with the conversion rate. It's very important to get a good idea of what A/B testing is and how to use it to your advantage before you even start testing. When it comes to content marketing, A/B testing can help you choose a headline, content topic, or generally help you with what will work best on your blog. Having a successful content marketing strategy requires you to have a lot of input, and A/B testing is the best way to get it.
Optimise Your Landing Pages
Having a homepage drawing traffic to your website isn't enough, and it often won't bring the best results. What you need is to create new pages and get started with Search Engine Optimisation in order to increase their ranking when it comes to search results. Poorly optimised pages hurt your rankings, which is something you'll want to avoid at all costs if you're ever going to increase your organic traffic. Having a well-optimised blog is a great way to start driving people to it and converting new users to customers.
We already covered that online audiences don't have the attention span in order to read too much, which is why it's imperative to have visual assets on your landing pages. Optimise your images and they will help you drive even more traffic to your pages. Most people learn and remember through visualization, so images and videos will get your audience more interested in your content. Just make sure that they are topic related and in turn, they will make your content much easier to absorb.
Make Your Content Shareable
It's the age of smartphones and social-media, so it's very important to do everything you can to make your content shareable. Basically, you want to have a story that people won't be able to keep to themselves but want others to see as well. Because of mobile-device users, you'll also want to avoid forcing people to copy paste the URL's, so make sure to add social-media icons for Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter on your blog. Being social-media friendly can increase your organic traffic quite significantly, but also help with your search engine ranking, so don't shy away from it.
In today's online world, you can have the best service or products but it won't matter if no one knows about them. Having high-quality content can help you become more visible, and increase your organic traffic significantly. By following these easy tips, you'll make sure to increase your organic traffic over time and hopefully grow with it. Just remember to stay in touch with current trends, as it can mean the difference between failure and success in the online world.
by Jason DeMers
by John Rampton
by Matt Zucker
Pictures Add 94% More Power
by Jason DeMers
by Yoav Vilner
Startup-marketing expert, CEO of Ranky and a blogger.
1. Leveraging influencers
2. Making it move
3. Creating for your customer
4. Letting the journey drive content
by Jeffrey Kranz
How to write a content marketing strategy step-by-step
Step 1: Start with an outline
Step 2: Write down what you’re trying to accomplish
Step 3 (optional): Write down what you’re selling
Step 4: Now, who’s going to consume your content?
Step 5: Map your personas’ needs to your product or service
Step 6 (optional): Heroes and watering holes
Step 7: Look to the competition’s content marketing efforts for inspiration
Step 8: Take inventory of your content
Step 9: Evaluate your existing content
What sticks? (Step 10)
What should we fix? (Step 11)
What should we nix? (Step 12)
What do we add to the mix? (Step 13)
Step 14 (optional): Sort your effective and prospective content marketing assets by theme
Step 15: Refill your coffee
Step 15 (for serious): List the types of content you’ll be dealing with
Step 16: Snapshot the content team and workflow
Step 17: Estimate your content capacity
Step 18: Map out your editorial calendar
Step 19: Make a content promotion workflow
Step 20: Write the epilogue
Step 21: Write the executive summary
by Aaron Agius
Search, Content and Social Marketer
1. Share their content.
2. Comment on their blog.
3. Offer to contribute to their blog
5. Consider mentioning them.
6: Tell them about it.
7. Ask them to share.