"Content Marketing" encompasses both the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant content. Depending upon your job title or area of focus, it certainly would mean a different approach to multiple efforts for many different people. For the sake of this article, let’s start with the destination of your marketing efforts: your website content. We’ll outline 6 steps to get you on the road to successful content marketing through the development, quality and control of your web content.
Start with the Basics
Stand back and take a look at your existing content before you start trying to make any big changes or spend time developing assets that may not be needed.
- Weight of content across pages: Take a look at all of your pages on your site and compare them side by side. Do they look balanced? Is there an even amount of copy on each page that tells a good story? Do you use images or videos in a balanced way from page to page? If one page is too long, maybe you are trying to focus on too many things on that page. Split it up. Likewise, if a page doesn’t have any copy or is lacking other assets, this page should be combined with another page or removed entirely.
- Label navigation and Calls to Action (CTA) clearly: The site navigation and CTAs on your pages or marketing allow your audience to explore what interests them. You want to make it easy for your visitors to navigate your site or learn more about a product or service, or even leave a rating or review. If they grow frustrated, they will leave, and/or be hesitant to return through future marketing campaigns. Tell them exactly where each link is taking them and make sure the information on the backend is relevant and engaging.
Understand the Content Your Audience Wants
Try to understand where your audience is in their online journey. Discover – Explore – Buy – Engage. Offer content for each step of this journey, whenever possible. Be a resource for information during the Discovery phase. Offer options and comparative data when they are exploring the best product or service on the market. Make it easy for them to purchase or share your content and/or product and provide feedback or reviews.
Also offer a variety of content to keep visitors engaged through videos, images, Infographics and charts. Don’t forget to make it easy to share this content with others. Allow access to share via email, social channels, and add comments, ratings or reviews. This will create a visitor-friendly experience that will help your content get shared and viewed to create more traffic and business for you. And that’s the objective, right?
Be Realistic With Keyword Focus
Although you will want to be everything to everyone – it just isn’t feasible – and could hurt your content in the long run. Keeping your content focused and on-point is the main objective.
- Start by reviewing your competition. Do a search query as if you are looking for a product or service you offer or are doing research on this topic. Look at the organic page rankings. What page(s) are ranking in the top 10 and what search terms/queries are they ranking for?
- Then analyze each of your pages. If you are not ranking in the top ten, does one of your pages answer the same search query? Could you build one to answer it? The search query and page content should align very seamlessly and immediately answer the question or offer the product/service they are searching for.
Tell a story, give them facts, make them want to read more. If you just focus on using a specific keyword or phrase, that will not hold the readers interest or answer their question. Be a storyteller – don’t just answer their question, tell them how, why, where and when. Use synonymous terms to continue to build the story, along with building the strength of the page. Fresh, updated topics via blog or news feeds are a great way to keep fresh content and topics engaging visitors.
- Improve the flow of your text through formatting with use of color, bold, italics, underline, etc.
- Use images, graphics and videos to help illustrate your story. A picture is worth a thousand words, so allow those images to help support your story and hold the visitor’s interest.
You don’t have to have to specialize in IT to understand and fix some basic “technical” aspects of your site or with Google. Just understanding what is important and easy to update is the key. Here are a few things to get started on “technical” updates that are quick and easy. These will help organize your site content and build traffic.
- Page Titles should be unique. You would be surprised at the number of sites that have the exact same page title on every page of their site. That is like walking into an auto parts store and having every aisle marked “Car Parts.” It’s confusing and not at all helpful. So be very specific – use keywords and keep the title to under 55 characters.
- Alt Text for Image. Make sure each image has alt text available for all images on your site. Be as descriptive (but not long) as possible.
- Fix Broken links and Server Errors: Fix all broken links on your site. There is nothing worse than seeing a 404 page when trying to link to a page on your site. Use Screaming Frog to get a full list of broken links and server errors.
- Optimize videos: To ensure your hard work producing all of those videos pays off, make sure to include text in your video titles and descriptions. Stream videos from the YouTube channel when using them on your site and allow ratings and comments.
Align Marketing, Social & Business Channels
Talk to Marketing. Make sure all content on the site is aligned to the marketing messages / campaigns sending people to your site. All too often, campaigns are completed and launched without a thought as to the destination page of the site. Most revert to the homepage and then let the visitor figure out where they want to go.
- Be seen in social. Most companies have the core social channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. (If you don’t, get to it!) But you should also make sure to setup a YouTube Channel (it’s the second largest search engine with 3 billion searches a month!) and include all social channel links on your site.
- Register your business. if you have a physical business location, you should add your business to Google My Business to help provide the best, locally relevant results via desktop or mobile.