This article was written by the folks at Phipps PR — A PR and marketing firm based in London who work exclusively with brands within the food and drink industry.
According to Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, content is king, and to get quality, organic links, producing quality content consistently should be enough to get links and rank well.
If only it were that easy.
What Matt doesn’t tell you is that producing great content is all fine and well, but if you do nothing to promote and drive people to that content, it will remain just another page in the seemingly vast ocean of content saturating the internet today.
Today we will take a look at a few of the ways you can improve your approach to content marketing and how they might help you in the process.
You may need to develop a content marketing strategy if…
Your traffic is dwindling
Let’s say your blog has slowly been climbing in popularity for the last few months. You’ve enjoyed a marked increase in traffic and a steady stream of email subscribers, but both are reaching a plateau. How on earth do you maintain that upward trajectory of steady growth?
Firstly, one must pinpoint the reasons your growth is tapering off, and there may be many, so let’s start off by explaining the 3 main factors of a successful blog.
- Search optimisation
- Content creation & marketing
- Social presence
Often referred to as the 3-legged stool approach to digital marketing; the idea is that if success in one of these channels fails, the other two also fall flat as a result. Just like a real 3-legged stool – if one of the legs is compromised, it all falls over.
The good news is that you can easily determine which of these channels you are giving the least attention to. Are your articles remaining undiscovered through Google searches? Start optimizing your blog posts and including the long tail keywords you want your post to rank for. Is your audience very receptive to the content you post? If not, your material may not be that helpful or interesting to your readers and may need rethinking. Not getting many follows or shares on social? Then it’s time to up the ante when it comes to your social media strategy.
When all three of these channels have received adequate attention and are performing optimally, they are more likely to work together to produce quality results and growth.
Your content is awesome, but nobody reads it
So you’ve made a lot of effort to produce some quality, interesting articles that you personally feel offer a lot to your audience. The trouble is, very few people are reading it and sharing as a result. What can we do to get as many pairs of eyes on your post as possible?
Let’s say you’ve written a pretty fabulous, informative article about different types of wine, their localities and how they differ. It’s a topic that many wine enthusiasts and drinkers are likely to be interested in reading. The thing is, your analytics show the post’s data is looking about as deflated as a 2-week old balloon animal.
Following our 3 leg rule, you first want to check if your post contains the keywords one would likely use to find your post in question. Long tail keywords are especially important as they drive specified traffic.
Many people include basic keywords such as:
- Wine guide
- Types of wine
These keywords are all fine and well, but they are very generic and are likely to have a high amount of competition, making them harder to rank for. Long tail keywords containing specific and targeted search phrases are more likely to help your content rank higher and in less time.
Instead, consider keywords such as:
- different types of wine explained
- Which wines are best for meat
- Which wines are best for fish
- How to choose wine for a meal
By anticipating a user’s search query and including longer, more specific phrases, you are much more likely to get relevant traffic; reducing bounce rate, increasing interaction and converting Googlers into loyal readers.
You have some great products, but sales are down
According to Practical eCommerce, approximately 80% of e-commerce startups fail. This may not be because their products or service are bad, but because they haven’t marketed their products effectively. Fortunately, content marketing is a pretty systematic process and easy to follow and implement.
To introduce another hypothetical, let’s say you run an online jewellery store, and you’re struggling to increase your sales.
Aside from paying for lots of advertising space (which may be effective in the short run but requires a large budget and only brings traffic for as long as you’re paying), content marketing is more of a long-term investment; it takes a while to gain traction but has the potential to bring you traffic long after the content has been published.
With this in mind, it is essential you take a good, hard look at the features of your article. Is it easy to read and broken up with quotes and bullet points? Is it mostly text and could use a couple more videos and images? Is the overall content actually aimed at getting readers to check out your store?
Even before you start writing, you need to have a strong sense of what you want your content to achieve, so let’s go back to our fictional jewellery store and see what we can do to drive people to your products.
Let’s say to have a new range of pendants you wish to promote, available in a range of metals and precious gemstones. What content could you craft to offer people both helpful, insightful information and at the same time convince them to buy?
A gemstone guide or jewellery shopping guide could be an extremely useful piece of content for your customers, which – you guessed it – is optimized to drive readers to YOUR lovely range of pendants.
It sounds simple, but the trick really is in the writing, being helpful yet subtle enough to not appear promotional. Since you’ve just provided your readers with some useful info, you appear more helpful and trustworthy, increasing the chances that those readers will shop with you.
Your business has an interesting story but no way to tell it
Many business owners don’t realize; their brand’s back story & ethos is extremely marketable, and most are not using this to their benefit. Customers love a transparent brand, and many enjoy a glance into the origins of a company or even what happens behind the scene. Therefore it is important to leverage your back story to engage your customers and attract new prospects. Neil Patel has covered this extensively.
Social media is, therefore, a wonderful platform of choice in which to communicate your company’s story and generate a buzz about what it is you stand for. Take GoPro for example; with a loyal community and sharing moments at the heart of what they do, GoPro are an excellent example of a brand communicating passion and humanism in everything they do.
Not only does GoPro benefit from their progressive company ethos, their equally passionate community of extreme sports enthusiasts and adventurers are consistently providing social media with rich media content using GoPro products, essentially content marketing for them, without GoPro even having to pay for it.
Whilst this is an extreme example of customers supporting and interacting with a company’s story, there is much to be gleaned from their process.