10 top tips for content marketing.
If you’ve read our previous posts, or been in digital marketing for any length of time, you’ll know how important content marketing is to helping you reach your business goals, not least by helping ensure your content ranks well in search engine result pages (SERPs).
But getting Content Marketing right is an art.
It isn’t 100% straightforward to get the balance right between ensuring your content reads well, educates its readers and ranks well on Google.
There are however things you can do to ensure you’re given your content the best possible chance of being found and read by your intended audience.
Here we’ll look at 10 top tips that you should consider when creating any piece of new content.
1. Know the audience.
The main aim of any content piece you create is to attract the attention of the audience you’re aiming for; the readers that are most likely to resonate with your content and go on to engage with your brand and buy your product or service. And that’s the key – you have to know who you’re talking to – understand their profile, their wants and needs and what’s most likely to add value to them.
As with so many things in digital marketing, it all starts with creating buyer personas.
It’s so easy to say that, or to see it as a “nice idea”. But this really should be something you put into practice. Sit down with your team, spend a good amount of time carefully creating these personas, get to know them – they are the people who you really want to talk to. If you need help creating them, we’ve written a great article about how to create them, and also provide free buyer persona templates to get you started.
2. Have clear, measurable goals for your content.
Sure you know you want to create content that resonates with your intended audience, but what are the goals of the content beyond that?
There is so much content that you could create for your business – blog posts, eBooks, white papers, Instagram stories, social media posts etc. It can become a little overwhelming.
It’s critical however that every single piece of content that you create (regardless of the medium) has a clear, measurable goal, Getting views/readers isn’t really a goal in itself. You have to think about what you want the reader to do. Where does it sit within your overall marketing strategy and what specific purpose is it fulfilling?
Then use analytics to ensure your content is able to reach the right people with the appropriate search intent – we’ll look at this more a little later.
It’s got to tie back to your business goals – if it doesn’t do this, then the piece is just fluff that doesn’t really serve anyone.
Take this piece as an example. It’s aimed at digital marketers (one of our primary audiences). It aims to inform them. There are opportunities in it to read other posts we’ve created. The reader is encouraged to download gated content and then they become a warm lead for our marketing team to follow up on.
3. Understand your buyer’s journeys.
It’s really important here to remember each stage of the buyer’s journey – Awareness, Consideration and Decision. Your content should do each of these at the appropriate point in the buyer’s journey with your brand / service. Content should attract new visitors to your site, reassure hesitant prospects and encourage them to stay with you as a long term customer. Value should be provided regardless of the stage in their lifetime with you.
HubSpot have created a fantastic guide to understand how to create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. Within the guide, they give a helpful breakdown to understand what channels are useful at each stage These can be summarised as follows:
Attract – Blogging, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing
Engage – Email Marketing, Retargeting / Remarketing, Social Media Outreach
Delight – Email Marketing, Retargeting / Remarketing, Self-service Channels (e.g. knowledge bases), Live Chat, Chatbots for Service, Loyalty Programs
They then go further to identify what type of content should be used in each stage of the buyer’s journey specifically:
Awareness – Blog posts, Social Media Posts, Whitepapers & eBooks, Tools and Kits, Video and Webinars
Consideration – Comparison Guides, Free Samples
Decision – Free Trials, Live Demos, Consultation Offers, Coupons
Understanding each of the stages of the journey and where your new content piece fits into it is vitally important to ensure that you are providing value and moving the buyers further along their journey with you.
4. Use the pillar-cluster model.
As we’ve mentioned in our content marketing guide, organising your content by the pillar-cluster model will help its ranking in SERPs.
In this model, pillar pages host the umbrella topic (e.g. Digital marketing) and cluster pages support that topic (e.g. this blog on content marketing). Then use internal linking to show Google that each of the pages are related.
If, for example, you are an SEO agency, you might write a pillar page called “ “What is SEO?”, you could then write blogs such as “Establishing relevance to boost your SEO” and “Common SEO technical issues”.
5. Solve a problem for your reader.
There are two main aims whenever you are creating new content for your readers – to educate them and to help them solve a problem. Establishing your brand as a trustworthy source is critically important to help you generate leads or move leads towards a purchase.
Answer a reader’s questions, offering useful resources and tips and getting them familiar with what value you can add are all important goals for each new piece you publish.
An example of this from our own marketing is where we offer free downloadable resources (e.g. white papers on the digital landscape,), sign ups for free marketing consultations or providing specific email marketing subscriptions to help readers adapt to the changes enforced by COVID.
6. Create more depth to your content.
On average, longer form content outperforms shorter content in search engine results. So it makes sense that when you are creating content for your blog, website or wherever, depth of content is really important.
Part of solving a problem for your readers is by being comprehensive is your solution, providing everything they need and links to helpful articles and resources in one place to ensure that they feel they can get answers in one place – your content.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that creating long form content is about creating long or lots of paragraphs for the sake of it. Each point made, every sentence used should seek to make a helpful point; to help the reader solve the problem they are there to solve. Your content should allow them to go away understanding everything they need to, or at least having a single point of reference that they can go back to when they need to.
TOP TIP – search for the keywords that you want to rank for, then look at the “people also ask” box. This is a gold mine of information that Google sees as important to solve for a given search query.
It’s important to remember also that a post should only really cover one specific topic and target one or two keywords or phrases.
7. Keep content up-to-date and consistent.
FACT: up-to-date and consistent content will rank better in Search Engine Results Pages.
There are three main tips for ensuring your content remains relevant and updated:
- Very simply, include the year in the title of your content (e.g. 2021 Marketing Trends: Law Firm Marketing).
- Use an editorial calendar. This is a calendar that help you keep track of what you have / are going to publish and when. It can also be used so that you can revisit content periodically to keep it up to date. We look at digital marketing and design trends for the year to come each December and then review it each following year. Use this opportunity to update the title tags, meta descriptions and the content.
- Don’t include the year in the URL itself – great URLs will never need to change.
When you implement an optimisation strategy, don’t update the URL itself. This will ensure that you don’t need to re-earn backlinks and avoid creating unnecessary redirects.
Consistency is not only important to your ranking in SERPs but also will help you establish trust with your readers.
8. Adopt an optimisation strategy.
Spending some time optimising your historical content is well worth the effort. Looking for keywords that would lead potential readers to your posts is a really important part of ensuring that you rank well in SERPs.
Understanding how readers are finding the content can give clues on what keywords to target both in organic search and in any paid advertising. There are many tools that can help you understand how your content is performing and what areas need improvement. Ubersugget offers a free comprehensive site review which is a great place to start on your audit.
Once you know which keywords to target, you can create content pieces and series around them so that the search results become natural to Google.
9. Publish original research.
A surefire route to gaining trust and giving your brand an edge over competitors is to publish original research.
Carry out surveys of your customers, or ask your social media followers to carry out a quick poll. Collate the data, do a little analysis, draw up some punchy conclusions, create some nice infographics to highlight the main findings and publish with pride.
Citing original research in a blog post is newsworthy, adds value and helps build trust with your audience. Once they see you as a source of truth, they’re more likely to move along the buyer’s journey. Other bloggers may also cite your research if it’s good enough, which can only mean good things for your search rankings. There will also be multiple possibilities for publishing your findings across other marketing channels too.
10. Use analytics to track performance.
Content in itself is great and it’s obviously a really good start to get as many eyes on it as possible. But if those readers aren’t converting into loyal customers then the content isn’t really achieving its aims.
Spending time on analysing a post’s performance – carefully monitoring, tracking, watching and reporting on the numbers will help you to gauge what’s working, what’s not and what needs attention.
A focus on analytics will help you improve and refine your strategy for the future – ensuring you minimise waste. If you get a tonne of visitors to a page on, for example, “digital transformation” and they stay on the page for a good amount of time resulting in a low bounce rate – you can choose to focus more heavily on digital transformation posts which should result in an increase in traffic.
Content marketing isn’t likely to go away soon. Embracing all that it can bring to your brand by being relevant, authentic and knowledgeable will help ensure your content achieves the two main goals of adding value to your readers and moving them along the buying journey.
Content should always be about the reader first – get to know them, solve their problems, be a source of trust and watch them become your biggest advocates.