Do you think brands would keep spending over $150k a year on something that doesn’t deliver results?
Content marketing is successful because it builds audience trust, engagement, and interest – all of which help you meet your goals of lead generation, positive brand recognition, and sales.
Plus, content marketing is affordable and easy to implement/scale compared to other tactics. That’s why it’s a cornerstone of successful SEO in 2020.
But a scattergun approach won’t work if you want your content to deliver results.
You need a strategy – and not just any strategy.
You must design a comprehensive strategy from the ground up, considering your specific goals, expertise, and audience. You also must consider the latest content marketing trends and current events while developing timeless (evergreen) informative pieces.
Taking this strategy-first approach is vital for ROI and success, but don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it seems.
Define Your Audience
Before creating any piece of content, you must figure out who you’re talking to and what you want to teach them.
Let’s say you’re talking to millennials or gen Z, for example. You wouldn’t start writing about pensions because that topic isn’t relevant – pensions hardly exist anymore. Instead, you’d want to create content that solves each group’s specific problems.
If the topic is financial planning, your older millennials might want to hear about 401ks and IRAs while gen Z might prefer info on savings apps like Acorn – maybe throw in a GIF or two for good measure.
Content must be relatable, valuable, and nuanced. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach and creating generic content will render it useless.
Where you share your content matters too. Each social platform caters to different demographics. For example, the average age of an American Facebook user is 40. If you don’t want to reach gen X or older, don’t promote content there. Instead, use apps for younger demographics like Snapchat, TikTok, or Instagram.
Make Your Content Shareable
Here’s where content marketing really pays off – literally.
When you create interesting, relatable, and valuable content, people feel compared to share it with their friends. That’s free advertising from a small investment!
That’s why defining your audience is so important. You need niche content if you want people to share it. General content barely gets read – let alone shared.
Look at the last few articles YOU shared on social media. What stands out about them, and why did you feel the urge to spread the message?
Find Your Voice
If you had a friend who changed his personality based on whoever he’s speaking to, you wouldn’t trust him, right? Brand voice also matters for building trust and relating to your audience.
When people visit your site, what type of voice do they expect? A stern and authoritative voice or a more playful one?
Again, this goes back to defining and researching your audience. Different ages, industries, and products demand distinct marketing voices. What’s yours?
A defined voice ensures your content always sounds the same no matter who’s creating it.
Create a Content Architecture
A framework is vital to ensure consistency across every project. You might have a handful of content creators developing videos, blogs, graphics, and other materials. How can they keep the message unified?
An in-house brand style guide is a great place to start. Your guide should dictate your voice and writing style. Next, list off your audience characteristics and how you want to make your readers feel.
For example, you might tell content creators to avoid “what not to do” examples in favor of positive encouragement. Whatever you decide, be specific.
You shouldn’t have to tell creators what to say, but you should tell them how to say it. If you don’t, you put the pressure on the content creator to decide these things for your brand. You can’t fault them if they don’t guess the right thing.
You’ll be surprised how far you can go with content marketing and SEO when you put together a specific tone and style for your brand.
Everyone wants that first-page real estate on Google. However, you can’t get there without keywords. These are the phrases and queries people type into the Google search bar.
If you optimize your site around the right ones, you just might show up on the first page of results for your target audience – that’s how SEO works. (You didn’t think we were done talking about your audience, did you?)
When researching keywords for your content marketing, you first want to figure out what your audience types into Google.
As you investigate the stats, pay close attention to the volume and competition. High-volume keywords like “water bottle” might have thousands of searches, but you’ll be competing against massive established sites. Plus, it’s too general to be relevant to your audience.
Instead, go for slightly longer keywords with lower competition.
You’ll integrate these keywords into your content. It’s easy with blogs, but videos and podcasts are a little harder (yet not impossible). Use these target keywords in your titles, tags, and any transcript for podcasts or videos.
No one reads or shares anything they’ve heard a thousand times. Research your competitors’ content marketing so you can figure out how to set yourself apart.
Start by analyzing their most popular content for likes, shares, and comments: The Holy Trinity of engagement. As you research, make a list of their most popular posts. Don’t forget to check brands that aren’t quite competitors but target a similar audience as yours.
You should never plagiarize anything, but you should use competitor content as inspiration. Successful content works for a reason. Don’t be ashamed – if you want to add nuance to the conversation, you must first know what the conversation has already covered.
Content Marketing and SEO Tools Every Marketer Needs
You can’t accomplish anything mentioned above without the right research tools.
If you buy nothing else, at least invest in an SEO suite like Ahrefs and SEMrush. You’ll be able to research keywords, topics, and competitor content for engagement. You can also check your competitors’ successful organic keywords for inspiration.
Other tools like BuzzSumo can help you dive deeper into topics across the web. For example, you can discover what type of engagement specific topics obtain that is relative to your business.
Need a Little Help with Your SEO or Content Marketing Strategy?
It’s not easy to create a winning content strategy if you’ve never made one before. Our team at JS-Interactive has the skills and 15 years of experience to help you create an SEO-driven content strategy that boosts visibility and builds sustainable business growth.
We’ve helped countless B2B and consumer companies over the years. Check out our case studies to see our work in action.