Content marketing is such a broad term, encapsulating everything from on-site guides, 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 10 considerations for your content marketing activity to ensure the best chance of success.
Create a strategy
Without a strategy in place, content marketing can take a scattergun approach. We recommend always having a 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.
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 at the information you’ve already got on the site. Is there an existing blog post that could be expanded? 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.
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.
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.
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?
Write for users
Armed with your keyword research, you’re ready to create content Google will love – and that’s your first mistake.
As every algorithm shift and 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.
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.
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.
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 around how people are staying entertained in lockdown, 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.
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.
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.