Content marketing is such a broad term, encapsulating everything from transactional landing pages, blog posts and assets, to the press releases and campaign content crafted for digital PR. However, while formats may change, the purpose of your content marketing campaigns will remain the same:
- Engaging with your audience
- Answering user queries
- Positioning your brand as an expert
- Improving rankings and growing traffic to your site
With this in mind, we’ve created a run-down of our top 15 content marketing tips and tricks to ensure the best chance of success.
- Create a strategy
- Look at what you’ve already got
- Maintain your content
- Answer a query
- Target relevant, realistic keywords
- Write for users
- Get the length right
- Present the information well
- Incorporate data
- Make your content sticky
- Consider the current climate
- Get ready to react
- Stay ahead of the curve
- Share your content across multiple channels
- Analyse your competitors
1) Create a strategy
Without a strategy in place, content marketing can take a scattergun approach. We recommend always having a content marketing strategy for your efforts; work out what your overall goal is and determine the tactics you need to get there – whether that’s improving your on-site content to optimise for search engines or building the domain authority of your site through digital PR to help your pages perform better.
Remember, your strategy doesn’t have to be all-encompassing. Creating a large to-do list can not only be unrealistic, but you run the risk of ‘just getting through it’ and not dedicating the right amount of time to get the content to the standard it needs to be.
Focus on getting one or two topics right at a time, expanding them where required to create dedicated and informative content hubs in-line with your overall objectives.
2) Look at what you’ve already got
As marketers, working on something new is exciting – but don’t neglect what you’ve already got.
When planning new on-site content, look for any opportunities to repurpose. Is there a page that could rank higher for target keywords if you expanded and optimised the copy? Do you have multiple guides on a similar topic that could be merged to create a larger, more comprehensive guide?
It’s a similar story with content marketing for digital PR too. As the news cycle changes, you may be able to relaunch a past campaign or utilise some of your on-site advisory content to turn around a quick, reactive campaign.
3) Maintain your content
Evergreen content is often seen as content that will continually perform. However, in reality, things change. What’s relevant as part of a topical guide right now may not be as relevant 12 months down the line, or even sooner depending on your industry.
Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about this kind of content. Make time to review regularly and update where required to ensure it’s as relevant as possible for users.
4) Answer a query
The on-site content you create should answer a query or add to a conversation – otherwise, why are you writing it?
Consider the purpose of your content – what are you trying to achieve? Conduct keyword research to identify what your audience is asking around the topic. Group your keywords and map out the assets you’ll be creating.
There are a number of great tools that can help with keyword research, ranging from Google Search Console to see what your site is already ranking for to tools like Ahrefs, Answer the Public and Google’s Also Asked feature.
5) Target relevant, realistic keywords
When conducting your keyword research, the lure of high search volumes can be hard to resist. Competition around high volume keywords can be fierce, so it may be more difficult for your site to rank.
As a rule of thumb, always choose the most relevant keywords for the content you’re working on. If a term feels too broad or would appear unnatural in your content, leave it out and focus your attention on other more relevant keywords.
Think of it this way: would you rather rank poorly for a broad, high volume keyword, or rank well and gain traffic from less popular, relevant keywords?
6) Write for users
This one’s arguably one of the most important content marketing tips on this list.
More often than not, when you’re armed with your keyword research, you’re ready to create content that Google will love. And that’s your first mistake.
As 2022’s helpful content update has proven, Google’s primary aim is serving its users, providing the most useful and relevant results. You should take the exact same approach to your own content.
Write your own content with your users in mind, and think about your own frustrations when searching online. For example, if you have a specific question, you want an answer immediately; you don’t want to sift through a wall of text to find it. Cut the fluff and get to the point.
Keywords are of course important, but the days of thin, keyword-stuffed content are long forgotten.
7) Get the length right
You could ask 10 marketers how long content should be and I guarantee you’d receive 10 different answers.
With the exception of perhaps category content, there isn’t a standard length as such for on-site guides and blog posts. As a content creator, you’ll use your own judgement to work out how long your content should be.
You can use your keyword research to inform this; by grouping your keywords, you’ll know what questions you’ll be answering and will be able to gauge the length from this. Checking what content is already ranking for your keywords will give you an idea of the level of detail required to compete in the SERPs too.
8) Present the information well
Creating content isn’t always about written content. You should always present the information in the most suitable, easily digestible form, whether that’s bullet points, tables or a visualisation. If you get this right, you may secure a featured snippet (where possible) for the relevant query.
It goes without saying that you should break up your content with headings and subheadings, so skim readers can easily find what they’re looking for. Headings are also a great way to introduce your target keyword to the copy.
9) Incorporate data
Don’t be afraid to link out to relevant resources or tools from your content. Remember, we’re writing for users, so why not point them in the right direction of further reading or more detail on a topic you’ve covered?
Especially in digital PR, including your own data in a campaign you’re working on can be incredibly beneficial. For example, if your story is about how a TV programme has sparked interest around a particular style or product, could you add your own sales data to show how sales of a particular product have spiked during the period? This would work to back up your story and make your claims more credible because you can prove it.
If the data is unique to you, you have a stronger case to ask the journalist for a brand mention and link credit should they use it.
10) Make your content sticky
Attracting visitors to your site through informational content is great, but what do you want them to do once they’re there? End your content with a clear call to action.
Including links to other areas of your site, whether it’s another guide or a relevant product or category page, can encourage visitors to explore more of your brand.
11) Consider the current climate
Between a pandemic and a cost of living crisis, it’s fair to say the past few years have thrown some curveballs. Big events have likely affected your content output in some way too, whether that’s pausing campaigns as a mark of respect, or re-thinking your approach to align shifting consumer demands.
Considering what’s happening in the world is crucial to a successful content marketing campaign. Think about what’s appropriate and what could be considered out-of-touch. If you’re creating something that’s relevant to a particular news story, always ensure you’re empathetic to the situation.
Today, brands are watched through a microscope and it’s not hard for faux-pas to go viral.
12) Get ready to react
Just like content creation in the midst of breaking news stories can be risky, when done right, it can be extremely beneficial.
Always keep up to date with news stories and work out whether there’s anything relevant to your brand. For example, if you’re a fintech brand and you notice a growing confusion over the cost of house prices, consider sharing guidance to help to ease that pain point.
This works with social media trends too. Keep an eye out for rising trends that your brand could jump on. That’s what we did for our client HelloFresh – we took advantage of the viral custard toast videos on TikTok and put together our own fun takes on the recipe. It landed us 14 pieces of coverage on major news outlets.
Reactive content marketing is a great way to insert yourself into popular conversations that your audience is taking part in.
13) Stay ahead of the curve
As well as riding the wave of already-trending stories, it’s also possible to anticipate what’s yet to emerge. When thinking about breaking news, try to anticipate what audience behaviours could occur as a result and create content that caters to that.
This is also an effective tactic in SEO. Try to think which search terms may grow in popularity, so you can beat competitors in the top spot of the SERP.
We achieved this for a theatre client of ours. We predicted the queries searchers would want to know about a new show so that we could answer them in our content. When volume for those queries eventually increased, we were already ranking ready to reap the traffic.
14) Share your content across multiple channels
If you’ve created a great piece of content, don’t just limit it to one channel – repurpose and share! After all, more channels means more sources of traffic.
Let’s say you’ve put together a great blog. Share it across your brands’ social media channels and encourage users to arrive at your site that way instead. If Google sees your page is experiencing a surge of traffic, it’s going to understand that users are engaging with your content, which may help you rank higher as a result.
Alternatively, you can repurpose your content into a new medium instead. Taking the subject matter of the blog and turning it into a fun video can be great for TikTok – you can even learn how to optimise it for TikTok’s search results too.
15) Analyse your competitors
Keeping an eye on competitors is crucial in content marketing because you want to ensure you’re staying ahead and not missing out on anything. Take some time to look at their channels and take note of what’s working well for them.
Using a keyword tool like SEMRush to conduct a gap analysis can help you identify the organic keywords competitor sites are ranking for that yours isn’t. That way, you can create website content that targets these terms and take the traffic for yourself.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to getting content marketing right.
Whether we’re working on-site or on a digital PR campaign, NORTH creates effective content strategies that are both user-centric and search friendly. Need advice? Speak to our team about how we can supercharge your content marketing campaigns.
For other content in this series, take a look at our post on the 10 things every outreach marketing campaign needs.