Online Content Marketing Strategy
Every month we bookmark and save the very best articles about SEO, content marketing, PR, and branding. Here are the best articles about digital marketing this month.
Search engine optimization — SEO — is one of those “you love it or you hate it” topics.
Some get a charge out of the challenge of keeping up with those wily engineers at Google.
Others would rather eat a bug than trying to figure out what “headless crawling” means and which redirect is the right one to pick in months that end in R.
I have to confess, I’m in the bug-eating camp on this one.
Fortunately, although technical SEO is still important for some sites, there’s a crazy-powerful optimization technique that people like me can get really good at.
Yes, it’s content. (You already knew that, because you’re smart.) Yes, it has to be good content. And yes, I’m going to talk about what, specifically, “good” means.
But first, I’m going to talk about my most important search optimization rule.
It all comes down to knowing your audience.
Tech companies often fail at marketing because they take a fundamentally wrong approach to designing marketing strategy and campaigns. Subpar marketing means “me-too,” uninspiring content on corporate blogs with insignificant social shares and superficiality from the target audience’s viewpoint. Tech companies struggle to create strategic messaging to describe their products with undifferentiated messages, jargon, and superlatives. Marketing drains significant resources on channel-oriented paid acquisition campaigns that have no market segmentation or lead to home pages or other generic pages.
These are just a few examples, but what’s behind such failure? Part of the problem is not understanding what marketing is and what its goals are. The goal of marketing is to control perception and change the behavior of your target audience. Period. All marketing activities and every aspect of marketing fall under the goals of controlling perception, changing behavior or both.
In the last few years, I’ve spoken with over a hundred founders and marketing executives. When asked about marketing strategy, most of the time companies present some sort of Excel file (or another document) with a list of activities such as SEO, SEM, social media, content marketing, paid acquisition campaigns, PR, email marketing etc. Each channel might include a few generic marketing campaigns or just a laundry list of activities. So, why do so many tech companies fail at marketing?
I think, by now, we can all agree that a great content marketing strategy is vital to your brand.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing leaders get 7.8 times the site traffic of those who don’t make good use of content.
That said, the challenge is this: how can you get your content stand out amidst the endless stream of content being published online?
Here, I’ll show you ten examples of brands that drove real growth with their content strategies. Some of these companies are old, while others are new. In either case, they’re sure to give you the creative inspiration needed to drive your own brand’s content strategy.
There is a never-ending issue all SEOs must face: fighting for budget.
I’ve found this to be especially true when it comes to link building. SEO, although technical in nature, can be explained in real-world measures to upper management. There’s data, traffic levels, technical configurations and on-site elements directly in your control to measure and report.
With link building, upper management often approaches metrics in a single, dogged mindset: price per link. The easiest way to quantify the value of a link is through cost, particularly to the budgetary gatekeeper.
Measuring link-building campaigns by cost is fair, but it creates the wrong mindset. It’s the difference between price and value.
Today, I want to explain how SEOs can and should sell the value of link building upstream, instead of the price.
Content marketing is quickly becoming a game-changer in the field of marketing.
Since the rise of digital, social, and mobile, various businesses and brands have attempted to get closer and be more human with their customers. This fosters loyalty and trust, ensuring the growth of their business.
In addition, content marketing establishes your brand as an authority. Delivering content that is both timely and helpful for the niche it is aimed at builds your brand as one that genuinely knows its customers and the problems they face, and understands how to help them overcome these obstacles.
Being an authority builds trust – something that customers rely on when making purchasing decisions.
Great content is also beneficial for your SEO. Blogs with quality content and are greatly connected to your brand have positive effects.
Googles’ updates in recent years take into consideration the quality of content that websites put out, and they reward quality and punish ones with over-optimized or “spammy” content with too many keywords that add no real value to the content. The better Google rates your content, the stronger the chance you land on a higher position on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Lastly, quality content adds value to your audience. This is an important factor to keep customers coming back to your website and to your brand.
Quality content gives customers a worthwhile experience and makes them more likely to engage with you. Engagement ranks especially important to brands that are looking to increase their relations with customers and is a great indicator of customer loyalty and trust.
However, many still carry misconceptions about content marketing, believing that it’s enough to post in their social media feeds and let the rest flow from there.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
This means that effective strategies must be implemented to maximize efforts for the business.
To start, you must fully understand the goals of your content marketing strategy and a clearly defined audience identity that goes beyond simple demographics.
You must be specific about what you want to accomplish as this will help you target and focus on execution instead of wasting effort and budget on other executions that may not work with your audience.
You should also know your audience on a deep level. Demographics are great, but they aren’t nearly enough. Identify their wants, needs, interests, questions, and concerns. From there, figure out how your product or service can fit into their lives and what expertise can be of use to them. This will enable you to create content that informs, entertains, and engages them effectively and meaningfully.
Content marketing strategy doesn’t involve only these factors. The success or failure of a content marketing strategy also depends on anticipating and adapting to changing trends in the content marketing sphere. These dictate the most likely methods or aspects that will be seen in the landscape of content marketing. Having a strong grasp of them early on lets you adapt to the changes beforehand, setting you up for success earlier than your competition.
With that in mind, here are the top content marketing trends to watch out for in 2017, as presented in an infographic by CJG Digital Marketing:
In what usually is a rather uneventful month for news, December proved us all wrong. A number of newsworthy activities related to the content marketing industry appeared on the radar this month, and I believe they could work as a crystal ball for content marketers.
There are four times as many content marketing jobs available in the United States as search engine optimization jobs, and one in two content jobs require SEO skills, according to survey findings released Wednesday.
Nearly 47% of content marketing specialists, content manager, content director, and marketing manager positions require SEO skills, according to the Conductor survey findings.
Pure SEO skills are still in demand, but the requirements within the position have shifted as technology changes and advances. For example, a white paper released Tuesday by Microsoft Bing and iProspect shows the importance of optimizing for voice search and explains what the two companies call a "relevance score."
Conductor's study analyzes the job demand and salaries in 2017 for nine marketing titles: Director of Marketing, Marketing Manager, Account Manager, SEO Specialist, Content Marketing Specialist, Social Media Manager, SEO Manager, Content Manager, and Content Director.
SEO is a long game. A very long game. There’s a lot at stake for Google, so they do everything in their power to ensure only the best websites and pages make the top results. If the top results were filled with spam and low-quality content, Google’s user base would slowly disappear. Not long after, the advertisers would seek different opportunities, and before you know it, Google’s primary source of income starts to dwindle. Because of this, Google is constantly updating and tweaking the way their algorithm functions and ranks website quality. They aren’t doing it for any reason other than to protect their own business. Google says jump and webmasters say, “how high?” Google makes the rules, and we have to play by them.
The websites who take an active stance in continuous improvements, optimization, and fresh content creation will show up in the top results. The websites that do one-and-done optimization will eventually see their traffic plateau and then a couple of years down the road drop off because they failed to adapt to an ever-changing SEO world.
According to the latest research, demand for SEO jobs is at an all-time high — but it’s the ability to write content that is the most sought after.
Analysis of job demand and salaries for digital marketers illustrates how the industry is shifting. Not only are SEO job positions at an all time high, but salaries for those jobs are on the rise as well.
Over the past 5 years, from 2012 to 2017, there has been a 22% increase in SEO job positions and a 23% increase in salaries. With as many SEO jobs as there are in 2017, there are significantly more content jobs available. Four times as many, to be exact.
However, employers rarely want one without the other. Meaning if you want to work in a content marketing position, it’s beneficial for you to have SEO skills as well.
Nearly half of all content jobs require SEO skills:
Dear Small Businesses,
I’m worried about you. Seriously.
An astonishing 46 percent of small businesses are allocating 0 percent of your marketing budget to SEO and 54 percent of you don’t even have an SEO budget.
What’s going on here?
This new data comes from SEO firm Higher Visibility, which surveyed 500 people who do marketing for small businesses.
Oh, but the hits keep on coming.
Optimizing correctly can take days, months, even years. This is why optimizing quickly is so important. It gives you a jump out the gate while you do the ongoing, time-consuming work.
Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. SEO quickly first, then SEO correctly going forward.
Perfection is the enemy of progress.
They might have been talking about SEO.
As a perfectionist, I tend to get bogged down focusing on minor points. I’ll stress over little things often at the expense of the project as a whole.
I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t always strive for perfection. But sometimes it’s better to do something quickly and come back to perfect it later. Pretty much the entire software industry has adopted that model. Create, test, launch, fix, improve.
And you know what? Many web marketing campaigns could stand to use a little of that model. It’s called going after the low-hanging fruit.
Here’s what you do in a nutshell: You find the biggest opportunities and/or the quickest fixes, and you tackle those first. Anything that’s going to take a while or not give you immediate gains gets put on the back burner. Not forever, but just until you get some wins.
Content marketing has changed dramatically in the last decade. It was limited to pleasing search engines with techniques like keyword density and meta optimization. But today, companies know that driving traffic through content is not enough. It should have the power to hold visitors’ interest. Both B2B and B2B understand this.
That’s why you should be aware of content marketing stats to understand the trends and adjust your own strategy.
Thinking of investing in SEO tools or software to get that much-needed boost? Unsure how much of your budget should be allocated to these tools? Wondering which tools are worth spending on?
The Search Engine Journal Twitter community shared their insights on their approximate monthly spend for SEO tools or software and the results are in.
According to a survey sent out to Search Engine Journal’s Twitter audience, 31% spend more than $1,000 on SEO tools or software each month.
Once upon a time, search engines were robotic, mechanical, and mathematical.
However, Google’s algorithm standards have since become much more focused on what those searching for information really want.
As such, user intent is the key to creating the content that enhances the relevance of your pages and improves your SEO.
Neil Patel describes “user intent” as the goal someone has in mind when typing a query into Google. In some cases, the intent is to purchase something. For others, it’s to find information or make a connection with a company or an individual.
SEO means different things to different people. Some companies focus solely on white hat tactics, meaning they write and design their website for human eyes rather than machines. Black hat tactics aggressively optimize and target a website to be seen by the computer programs that crawl websites instead. Other businesses may use the aptly named gray hat tactics that fall somewhere in between.
Black or gray hat tactics have the potential to get you banned from Google or Bing because search engines want websites that are built for humans, not machines So why would anyone purposefully break (or bend) the rules that a search engine has carefully laid out? It’s because they have been shown to work when used correctly. Find out more about why these risky gray hat techniques may be for you.
In my line of work, it’s common to get the “how soon can I expect results?” question from new or prospective clients. Many SEOs say that it takes a few months to many months to really start seeing results. And whatever you are seeing after 2 to 3 months pales in comparison to what you will see at 12 months if you are doing SEO right.
I’ve always struggled to pitch the long term value of SEO and that it takes time for many reasons:
- You need to allow time to do the audit
- You need to allow time to get the work implemented
- You need to allow time for Google to recrawl everything
- Building links takes a lot of time if you’re doing it scalable as you build the rest of your business
I’m sure you’ve heard it many times that short keywords tend to get tons of searches per month, while the long ones are never popular.
But I don’t recall any substantial research that didn’t qualify their findings with vague words like “tend” or “rarely.”
So I pinged our data scientist on Slack and asked:
- - Do you think we could run a few queries on our ENTIRE keywords database (*that is 1.4 billion keywords for the United States), and not just a sample of a few million like we usually do?
And he said, “Yes!”
So today I’m happy to share a bunch of cool insights that we’ve got from studying 1.4 billion keywords.
Content Marketing Is The Key To Creating A Powerful Brand To Truly Separate Your Business From Your Competition
To truly create a powerful domain presence you need to have an extraordinary content marketing strategy.
SEO, PR, Branding & Content Marketing need to come together to create a powerful source of leads. Together they create the best possible long-term strategy & ROI.