More than 60% of businesses are investing in some sort of content marketing. And, the reason for that is simple. It helps them appear high in the SERPs, optimize for important keywords organically, while, at the same time, engaging audiences, building relationships, and increasing sales.
However, just writing a few articles on your blog isn’t enough. To accomplish the goals mentioned above, you need to have a solid, customer-centric content strategy.
Understand your Audience
You should always write for humans first. Each piece of content you create needs to be relevant and valuable for your audience.
This is why you need to start by creating detailed reader personas. They are semi-fictional representations of different customer personas. A buyer persona needs to tell you who your customers are, why are they buying your products, what they expect, etc. To get the most out of your personas, you will want to dive deep into both their demographics (age, gender, location) and psychographics (personality, interests, hobbies, values).
Update your personas regularly – they always need to align with your current audiences.
Understand how the Conversion Funnel Works and Set Specific Goals
Before you start creating content, you need to understand how customer journeys work. If you pay attention to almost any example of a sales funnel on the web, you will see that it can be broken down into the three key stages – awareness, evaluation, and purchase. Knowing these stages, you will be able to specific goals for your content and deliver better results.
- The awareness stage, or the top of the funnel, is when a customer becomes aware of your brand.
Here, we’re not talking about generating leads or converting customers. We’re talking about some more realistic goals such as increasing brand awareness or boosting website traffic.
Customers are browsing the web to find answers to specific questions and your content should provide them with such answers. These could be, for example, whitepapers, infographics, blog articles, guides, tutorials, podcasts, how-to videos – anything that brings value to your audiences and educates them.
- The middle of the funnel is the evaluation stage.
A customer knows that your brand exists, they’ve already read your content, but they’re still conducting research. At this stage, your goal is to generate leads and encourage customer retention. This is where content like customer testimonials, comprehensive case studies, free samples, demo videos, ebooks, a solid FAQ page, solution-focused whitepapers may gain their trust.
- The purchase stage is at the top of the funnel.
This is when a customer decides to make a purchasing decision. This is your chance to position yourself as an industry leader and explain why your product is right for them. Your content needs to be highly educational and persuasive, as its goal is to convert customers and increase their loyalty.
The idea is to educate a customer and to illustrate what it will be like if they become your customers. Many content forms will work for you here, including detailed product demonstrations, quotes, free trials, and so forth.
Create Different Formats of Content
Your readers’ preferences vary. While some people still prefer textual content, there are also visual learners that value videos, infographics, charts, etc. Some choose podcasts, as they can listen to them on the go.
This is why you should never restrict yourself to just one type of content. Instead, diversify your content development practices to cater to wider audiences.
When creating traditional blog posts, make them highly valuable and engaging. Focus on long-form articles, as they rank higher and are considered more user-friendly. Each article needs to be data-backed, informative, and helpful.
Original, in-house research is a great way to position yourself as an authoritative resource and build trust with audiences. Such valuable content attracts lots of social shares, as well as earns a sea of valuable backlinks and mentions.
Infographics are an awesome way to present your key data and findings in a highly engaging and visually appealing way. Similar to an article, an infographic tells a story. It needs to have a catchy headline and sub-headings, while the information needs to be presented logically.
Case studies are immensely important, as they tell your customers what you’re doing right. They discuss your client’s specific problems, the techniques you used to help them, and the results of your strategy. This is one of the safest ways to encourage a customer to contact you or book a free consultation.
Ebooks provide a great value to a reader and serve as a strong lead magnet. For e
A podcast is also a fascinating way to generate leads and nurture them. When structured right, a podcast is a highly informative source of content that adapts to a listener’s needs. They can listen to it while exercising, making lunch, or waiting in a line in a bank.
Fusing SEO and User Experience
When optimizing blog posts for keywords, do so organically. Instead of spamming your articles with a keyword, rely on white label SEO practices and think about how you can optimize them without compromising their value. Always use your keyword where it makes sense and insert long-tail and conversational phrases instead of spammy, exact-match ones.
You should also think about optimizing your meta tags. Start with your title tags and meta descriptions, as they’re the first thing a user sees when navigating through search results. Instead of packing these elements with lots of keywords, make them catchy and informative to give a user a reason to click on your link. Don’t forget to optimize your alt text that explains what the picture is about if it cannot load.
There are also some general UX rules you need to follow.
- No matter how great your content is, no one will read it if your page loads slow or if it fails to load.
- Consider your site’s responsiveness – does it provide impeccable user experiences on all devices?
- Leave lots of white space, break the text down into smaller paragraphs, and use h2 and h3 to make the article easier to follow.
- Add engaging visuals, such as original photos, brief videos, or animations to engage audiences and keep them focused.
- Choose legible fonts and optimize their size.
- If there are any spammy ads, buttons, popups, or auto-playing videos, remove them.
Always Measure the Outcomes
Now that you’ve set your goals and started creating content, you need to ensure that you’ve managed to accomplish these goals.
Logically, the type of content marketing metrics you will track depends on your specific goals, so align them:
- Brand awareness: site traffic, page views, downloads, social chatter, referral links, etc.
- Engagement: blog comments, social likes and shares, and inbound links
- Lead generation: form completions, email subscriptions, conversion rate
- Sales: online sales, offline sales
The majority of these metrics can be easily tracked in Google Analytics. You just need to know what exactly to track to estimate the effectiveness of your strategy.
Content is a powerful digital marketing tool. It increases your visibility, positions you as an authoritative resource, nurtures long-term customer relationships, and earns loads of organic traffic, shares, and links. Above all, it persuades a visitor that you’re the right choice of them and boosts your sales.
This is why you need to strategize it right.
Set clear goals that match your sales funnel.
Create diverse content that caters to different readers’ preferences.
Optimize for Google, but keep user experiences in mind.
Finally, measure everything you do and update your strategy accordingly.
And, yes, one more thing. Content is a great way to build your recognizable tone of voice and stand out, so never copy someone else’s work. Instead, focus on inserting your missions and values in storytelling.
Hope this helps!