By Ryan Delane,
Interfanatic Digital Marketing with Web Site Maintenance & Design
As discussed in Content Marketing Basics, there are three major pieces to consider when producing content for your SEO Content Marketing campaign: Content, Technical Aspects of your Content, and Content Promotion.
What to write?
Let’s get into our first expansion of Interfanatic Content Marketing Basics with tips and tricks for producing content for SEO and your content marketing campaign. Content Marketing is crucial for digital marketing strategy. If you want to guide your website up the SERPs, establish your business as a subject-matter authority, and boost sales, make Content Marketing a key component of your digital marketing strategy.
Content marketing, done well, is difficult. It’s time consuming, it’s labor intensive, and executing beautifully may be complex. It’s also vastly rewarding. That’s why we offer it as part of our services – many of our clients simply don’t have the time to perform the arduous task list. They trust us to strategize and work, so their websites perform at a consistently high level.
Let’s get to it:
Content Selection for Impactful Content Marketing
You may already have a number of ideas for content you’d like to write. Perhaps you want to establish your business as a subject matter authority and you know exactly how to differentiate yourself. Perfect!
Whether you know what you want to write or not, consult your analytics. Do Google and Moz keyword searches to discover what Internet users are looking for, and take a look at what is already on offer. What does the playing field look like? Who are the major performers you’re going to compete against? Answering these questions not only help you further differentiate your content, the answers may also lead to strategy adjustments on your part.
Selecting Target Keywords and Key Phrases
From your research, you’ll learn which keywords and phrases you want to target. You’ll find out which questions your prospective customers are asking, and it’s up to you to devise an efficient method for answering those questions, expressing to them that you and your business are the answer.
Without goals, there is no direction. So allow your overall business strategy, coupled with target keywords and key phrases to provide direction and give you themes. You want to have many variations of keyword or key phrase in your content marketing. Change it up, but like a shark, encircle your target, keeping the theme constant.
You know, it used to be that a short article posted on your blog now and then was enough. Your content would find their way into the search engines, improving your web site’s authority for certain target keywords.
Until a few years ago, some companies would hire inexpensive services to post barely-readable articles on their sites. Others services linked to customer sites from mediocre articles on generic blogs. It was ugly, but it was cheap and it worked. It used to be companies could get away with this kind of cheapo service because it was a volume game. (We never tried to play that game, by the way. Quality is always better in search.)
That’s no longer the case. Major search engines have cracked down on garbage filler content. It’s still a volume game, but there’s so much information on the World Wide Web, you have to be relentless with content. Both Internet surfers and AI-powered search engines easily tell excellent content from junk. The Internet rewards efficient, valuable content.
Today, this is what works: write excellent content. Lots of it.
Topic Research For Content Marketing
No matter how well-versed you are on a topic, market research helps. Ask your colleagues what is missing in your marketing message so you can add it. Read what is already out there so you can fill in the gaps, or make yourself stand out by proving old ideas wrong and giving your prospective customers your own, successful, time-tested new ideas.
Write What You Know
The best place to start when writing anything is writing what you know. It helps get you into a flow. And, if there’s an aspect of your business you want to understand better, here is your opportunity to learn! There is no better way to learn than to teach. Writing an article about a subject will force you to be an expert on whatever new aspect you tackle.
But, say it in a different way. You have to differentiate yourself if you want to do excellent, results-driven content marketing. Don’t just say what has been said, add your own unique twist.
This is your opportunity to say something nobody else has said. Give us you or your business’ unique perspective on the topic.
The current search algorithms force Internet searchers to be specific with their queries. This is where the key phrase comes in. Think of questions searchers might type or verbally ask, and answer them concisely. Then broaden your answer, filling in details.
Pro Tip: Keep an active list of topics handy
You know that when you sleep, your brain percolates ideas and helps you formulate answers. Whenever you have an idea, write it down. Whether you jot it down in a to-do list app, a Google sheet, or make a list on a post-it, keep writing down your ideas. When your brain is ready to attack the full article, you’ll know. But keep a list, add to it and cross items off as you work through them.
Keep your idea list handy, so you can always come back to it, add to it, and revise ideas. Even if your ideas aren’t good and you know it, write it down. Writing is rewriting – revise the idea until it works.
Pro Tip II: Just write
When I get writer’s block, I fall back on advice I found years ago: just write. It doesn’t matter what comes out. Even if it’s stream of consciousness. Try to focus on the task and allow your theme to creep in. It may be terrible, it may be incoherent, but from the process of writing come ideas which can then be put into an orderly outline. Once you force the faucet open, ideas usually then keep coming. And if they don’t, you and I both are likely busy enough to find something else to do until they do. If you can, give your subconscious space to crunch on ideas while you sleep.
Change it Up: Both Long and Short Articles Are Critical to Content Marketing
Content Marketing with an eye on SEO is a long game. Build a strategy around your long term vision. Break that vision down into bite-size pieces. Then be relentless to produce high quality, efficient, interesting content.
In 2019, both long (1500+ words) and short form (~300 words) content are important. The content should be rich and engaging, it should be pleasing to the eye, and it must be easy to read.
When you need words and space to describe your idea, use them. Make sure your long-form content is engaging and efficient where it can be. Use that space to entertain and inform your readers. Last, but certainly not least, use that space for target keywords and phrases.
When you can, pack your ideas into a tiny, ultra-efficient package. Keep your readers interested with both long-form and short-form content. Efficiency is always best in writing, but long-form content with lots of keywords and phrases certainly don’t hurt.
Pro Tip: Spice Up Articles with Effective Images and Videos
Images and videos are both a critical part of SEO. Don’t ignore them.
Crack Down on Consistency with a Content Calendar
Content Marketing is a lot like Social Media Marketing in that if you must treat it like a garden. When you try a deluge out of nowhere, it might work for a little bit, but eventually everything fades away. When you water a little every day, your results flourish. Stay consistent.
Begin by producing a content calendar. You know you need both long-form and short-form articles. How long does it take you to produce each?
Depending on the competitive landscape of your topic, you might need to produce long-form articles weekly, and short-form almost daily. That’s simply not realistic for most businesses. And you don’t want to produce drivel. You must produce compelling content, so keep your goals realistic.
Most businesses are fine with one or two long-form articles per month and at least one short article per week. But the more you do, the more keywords (of course, without being spammy), the better.
Pro Tip: It’s Okay to Slow Down
If you find that your content calendar is too aggressive. Gently fall back. Remain disciplined – keep at it. But, if you can’t do a 1,500-word article once per week, make it 1,000. Or once every two weeks. If you fall back to a single 1,500 word article per month, try to post a 300 word article per week.
Again, it’s all about consistency.
But never admit defeat. There’s always somebody else out there ready to overtake you.
Pro Tip II: Revisit Old Content to Keep it Evergreen
Don’t be afraid to revisit great content. The world evolves. Your techniques, your opinions, your best way of doing things must also. It’s okay to reflect that in your writing with genuine authenticity. Don’t be afraid to revisit old content and bring it up to date, to make it more relevant to your reader today.
As you can see, Content Marketing is Hard Work. But it’s how we brought a newcomer to page one for key SERPs in six months. It’s not easy, but with careful planning, strategy, and relentless execution, content marketing for SEO can be effective. What it comes down to is hard work.