by Matt Bowman
President of Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, a full-service digital marketing agency offering Web Design, SEO, Social Media and more.
Every piece of content you publish online has the potential to help your business thrive. And in 2018, content is still king.
New on-site content posted regularly has the potential to bring visitors to your website while providing you with shareable information for social media and other channels. Your content can help you build authority in your niche and provide value to customers and potential customers alike.
Based on what I have seen this year, there are certain elements of a content strategy that have become increasingly important. If you haven’t reviewed your own strategy lately, it’s time to learn how to get more out of every piece of content you publish.
Today, it’s not enough to simply publish copious amounts of content with a specific keyword density. It’s also not enough to just throw lots of articles out there. Instead, you should post content with value in strategic places -- with a particular emphasis on value for the reader -- and it will help you even further if you do a few extra things to boost the shareability and SEO of an informative and well-written piece.
No matter how or where you publish content, my five tips below will help you maximize the success of your content marketing strategy.
1. Write to your human audience.
Humans first. Bots later.
It’s no longer enough to write for search engines and hope people overlook a lackluster piece of content and convert to leads. Backlinks aren’t everything. And your bounce rate can heavily impact whether or not search engines even rank you.
Companies who produce content to help their target audiences can reap great rewards. Know your subject matter, know your audience and cater to them. Do these things well and you’ll boost your profile as a trusted authority in your niche and increase the number of leads your content is providing you with.
2. Provide value to boost your conversion rate.
Not too long ago, content strategy consisted of a lot of keyword-dense search engine fodder with backlinks based on coveted search phrases. Marketers cobbled together something and posted it to as many places as possible. This no longer works and could, instead, hurt your website’s organic SEO rankings.
People often look to web content to solve problems, save time or improve their lives in some way. Keep this in mind when you sit down to write an article, blog post or another piece of web content. If you sell a product or service that solves a problem, write content to reflect that. This can help you find target customers and gently lead them toward the “buy” button to solve their problem.
From my experience, if you write engaging content that your target audience finds interesting and useful, you have a greater chance of them opting in to receive future communications from you. This is particularly helpful if your industry tends to have a longer sales cycle.
3. Think about where your audience reads content.
Is your content mobile friendly? Today’s consumers use smartphones to make buying decisions. They search for and read content on a smartphone as they decide, on the fly, where to go for dinner, which plumber to hire and whether or not a product has good reviews.
Targeting a mobile audience of business-to-consumer (B2C) customers often demands a different approach than targeting a business-to-business (B2B) prospect sitting at a desk. While you will want to write easily digestible, bite-size content for someone reading on the subway, you may want to use more detailed and supporting information for someone researching your subject matter. These elements can include references, infographics, graphs or charts, testimonials and videos.
As you produce customizable content for various segments of your customer base, be sure to analyze results to determine the path of your ongoing strategy, and take advantage of platforms, styles of content and other factors that prove to work well.
4. Give your content viral potential.
Getting likes, shares and reposts tend to be what everyone wants when they publish an article. Writing content with as much viral potential as possible will maximize the mileage you get out of every piece you publish, increasing the potential for clicks to a lead-capture landing page or expanding social reach through newly acquired followers.
In my experience, viral content helps with SEO, lead generation, authority status and ongoing social reach. Here’s a viral-potential checklist:
• Does the title grab your target reader’s attention?
• Are there sharing buttons?
• Did you include a great photo (that you hold rights to use)?
• Did you write with a call to action (CTA) in mind? Not everything has to have a hard sell, but hopefully, you’ll at least have a soft sell that will get people to opt-in to receive your future content.
5. Add SEO value.
Yes, quality still holds the throne in content in 2018, and you should write for readers more than search engine spiders that crawl the pages. But with good SEO tactics on a great piece of content, I've found it’s possible to get the best of both worlds.
Write excellent content first and foremost, and then tweak and optimize it for SEO appeal. Integrate target keywords into your header tags (provided that they fit naturally).
Using geographical references and writing with natural language can help your content result for those using voice search on their smartphone -- as long as the natural language is, in fact, natural and doesn’t make your content appear keyword-stuffed. Also, be sure to tag images with keyword-optimized alternative text (alt text) and link to authority sites.
Finally, it’s still vital to regularly review website analytics to see how people arrive on each page and assess what they do once they arrive. Analytics help you tweak your approach accordingly to enhance conversion rates and capitalize on content strategies that show an impact on your niche and target audience.
From my perspective, your content strategy in 2018 is as important as any other business strategy you’re employing. Use it wisely to reap the benefits!