Online marketing and SEO used to be all about banner ads, paid link building, e-mail campaigns, and pay-per-click. Although those things are still used, to be truly relevant to today's consumer, you must add strategic content marketing in the SEO space to the mix.
SEO (search engine optimization) refers to anything internet-related that is based on organic results. In other words, it's when someone goes to their favorite search engine and types in a keyword or phrase related to what you offer, and your company or product appears naturally in the results. Making sure your information is visible in the search is important and plays a huge role in the art of communicating with your customers without selling them. It's about creating fresh, relevant, and unique content through your blog and social media that reaches your ideal customers and enables you to earn a presence in the SEO space.
For any business, content marketing is one of the most important online activities to enhance their SEO ranking. Unfortunately, many are not fully utilizing it because they lack an understanding of the concept, impact, and necessity of content marketing. As a result, companies frequently get stuck in the old way of doing SEO, which entailed writing keyword heavy content tailored for search engines, versus the new way of doing SEO, which is writing engaging content for the readers. It's about focusing on user intent, which takes a little more time but yields great results.
In order to fully leverage your content marketing activities, follow these three simple steps.
1. Identify personas for your target audience.
You likely have a target audience for your products/services, and often the audience is quite broad, such as "women age 35-50 who have kids or "Baby Boomers or "men age 18-40 who like sports. While there are certain characteristics that go across the entire target audience, there are also many subsets of people (called personas) within the target.
For example, using the "women age 35-50 who have kids target audience, you could have specific personas of "married, working mom, "stay-at-home mom, "single, working mom, etc. Each of these personas within your target audience has very different interests and will respond to specific content. Someone who is younger with pre-school kids may be looking for more engaging content, whereas an older working woman with teens may be more responsive to the technical information you can provide. Therefore, identify the various personas within your target audience so you can reach and engage each group.
2. Create a targeted and consistent blog.
The purpose of your blog should be to connect with and engage readers by providing value to them through relevant content. After all, when readers like the information you provide, they are more apt to return to your site and ultimately purchase what you offer. The key is being able to provide usable content for all the personas you've identified.
Staying with the "women age 35-50 with kids example, you may write a narrative blog entitled "The Best Toy I Ever Purchased to reach the stay-at-home mom persona, and the next day you may write a technical blog entitled "The Safest Way to Clean Electronic Toys to reach the working mom persona. Each blog would have a different tone based on the persona you're targeting.
In addition to providing relevant content, being consistent in your blogging activity is important. Whether you post something daily, three times a week, or four times a month will depend on the topic and your readers. The key is keeping your schedule consistent doing the same number of posts every week. Posting a blog every day for a month and then not doing anything for two months can hurt your SEO efforts. For most businesses, doing two to three blog posts per week is sufficient.
3. Concentrate on engaging your audience.
Engaging your audience means getting them to share your information with others via their social media channels, comment on your blog posts to create conversations, or click to your marketing pages to learn more and ultimately make a purchase decision. It's about getting your readers to take some sort of action without pressuring them to do so.
Today's readers don't want to feel pressured to do anything. So the engagement needs to be natural. Even the search engines have changed their search algorithms to make the results more innate based on what a user would naturally do. Therefore, putting a link within your blog post to a page on your site that's related to a product you're talking about is totally fine and recommended. Someone would naturally click on that page since they're reading a post about the topic. But putting in eight different links with optimized anchor text that either all go to the same page or to one specific product is the epitome of putting pressure on a reader.
Additionally, when you keep the focus on engagement and categorize your blog posts correctly, your posts can show when someone is looking at your products. In other words, if someone is shopping and comes across your product, they can see that you wrote a blog post about the product and click on it to learn more information, which can then influence their buying decision.
Make Content Marketing Work for You
Content marketing is a way to expand your reach, build relevancy in the search engines to gain traffic and visibility, and convert readers into buyers. Realize, though, that content marketing is just one piece of having a winning online marketing strategy. No single technique or strategy will make your business profitable. However, when you combine content marketing with all the other online and offline marketing activities you do, you'll soon realize the success and profits you deserve.
With 11 years of experience in Internet Marketing, Jen Alsip is the content marketing manager for Volume 9, Inc., helping put together strategies for her clients to improve their outreach and personalize the information they are putting out on the Internet. Volume 9 creates custom search marketing campaigns for clients, including a mix of SEO, paid search management, social media, local search marketing and website development for more than 100 clients and 200 managed websites. For more information, visit www.volume9inc.com.