When thinking through your marketing goals for 2022, what was your conversation around content efforts? Because, if you have a marketing strategy without a content strategy... you don't have a marketing strategy.Content marketing strategies are like New Year’s resolutions, most people let them slip pretty quickly, but if you stick with it, you will be very happy with the results. The best way to not let your content goals fall by the wayside is to create a long-term content plan that is so well-organized and thought out it is almost impossible not to stick with it.With Google's ever-changing algorithm, it can be difficult to keep up with an effective content plan. I mean, not too long ago keyword stuffing and invisible text got you where you wanted to go, but we have come a very long way from that.
Google is all about the user-experience, meaning high-quality content that serves a purpose to the user. They just keep getting smarter and smarter about what people want to see. Currently, what the user (and Google) wants to see is long-form content that is highly informational, reliable and easy to digest. However, please do not just post a big wall of content that drones on and on with no end in sight (people don't like that). Break up paragraphs using section headers, images, and infographics so that people don't get overwhelmed and bounce right off your page.Although long-term content plans are important, don't be afraid to adjust and change along the way to match up with Google's preferences, i.e., don't post an old blog that has no shot of ranking just because that's what your content calendar from 6 months ago says to do. However, that doesn't mean you need to throw the whole thing out and start over with new content. You can still utilize the content pieces you already have a solid foundation for, just adjust or add to them based on your most recent research and discoveries.
DON’T have an existential crisis on this one, but DO spend some time figuring out what you want your brand to represent and where you want to be in a year. Are you looking to keep up with the competition? Generate more leads? Increase brand awareness? All of the above? Well, to accomplish any of these goals, you’re going to need to play the game of search engine rankings. Meaning, you need to choose highly keyword-focused topics, but how you write about them will affect which particular goal you’re reaching for.
First, take a step back and understand your target audience. What is the most effective way to turn potential customers into loyal brand followers? People often get caught up with the idea that they can draw people in just by writing about their brand, and brand awareness is great, but if you write a bunch of blogs about that and only that... nobody will see them.Ranking for the right keyword will bring people to your site and in turn start bumping up your overall brand awareness. Once you understand your buyer persona and what they are looking for, start the keyword research. Little tip: long-tail keywords often make for great blog post topics. You are looking for something with decent volume, but a competition score that is reasonable enough to rank for. Keep in mind that based on your industry, a “good” keyword volume and competition score can vary. Clothing and skin care may have extremely high volume but also very high competition, so look for the more niche terms that represent your individual brand. Great keyword research tools include SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz.
Remember that big, ugly wall of text that nobody likes? Here is your solution. Creative assets can mean many different things, but they are very important for the user experience. Break up your paragraphs with unique images, infographics, interactive buttons, videos, social media, etc. Using brand images are a great way to keep reminding the reader that it’s you giving them all this great information and they should trust you!Infographics sound scary, but you don’t always need a degree in graphic design to make them. Tools like Canva help you create aesthetically pleasing infographics that get the message across without the panic attack.If you have a Youtube channel, utilize it, and, if you don’t have a Youtube channel, definitely consider it. Embedding videos that contain valuable content into blogs and web pages are a great way to help people digest information and are great for SEO!
Once you have a plan together for what sort of content you need, based on keyword research, put together a content calendar. A content calendar will keep you on track and help you stick to your goals. An easy way to keep track of timelines and topics is in Excel or Google Sheets. It is recommended to write at least one long-form blog per month, so set up your excel sheet to reflect date and specific topic. Having a content calendar will also help you get ahead of holidays and events that you want to release relevant content for. This will also be a great place to keep ideas as they come about. Have a section for potential topic ideas and correlating keywords.
Like we talked about earlier, just because you have a plan doesn’t mean it can’t be flexible. Track the progress of your content on a regular basis, and be willing to adjust based on results. Google Analytics, Google Search Console and SEMrush are just a few examples of tools that will help you track success. Of course, analytics is the old classic, giving you the ability to see amazing metrics like organic sessions, goal conversions, and individual page views. Through these tools, you can analyze the data to see what’s working and what’s not, so you can adjust accordingly.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was that site you hate, the one that hits the top of the search rankings for all of your dream keywords. SEO takes time and attention, combined with all of your other marketing efforts. It can take weeks, if not months, for Google to crawl and index your new blog or landing page, and then longer still for the content to creep up the rankings, as Google tests it out and sees how users react. Combat this with a long-term content strategy that includes uploading consistent content. The more quality content you write the more Google will start to see you as an authority in the space. This will also give you more of an opportunity to link pieces of relevant content to each other, creating an SEO-friendly web of knowledge.Phew, content marketing… SEO... dealing with Google… How exhausting! Of course, you could just call 20North Marketing to do it all for you. Check out our case studies to see the amazing results we’ve been able to produce for a variety of clients.