Why Is Web Content Important?
When marketers talk about the importance of content, the first thing they tend to talk about is typically SEO benefits – ranking, visitors, increased conversions, ROI, and so forth. Today’s strongest content marketing strategies focus on providing tangible value to site visitors, building trust and fostering relationships that lead to conversions. Your content can generate these conversions by providing site visitors (prospective consumers) with valuable information they need and were already searching for in order for them to take action and make a purchase decision or sign up for a service you offer.
Your content is your brand. It’s up to you as a marketer to do the research and legwork to build a library of high-quality content that will engage your audience, provide value, and generate conversions.
How Google Defines and Recognizes Quality Content
Long gone are the days when if you had enough content flying around a certain topic or keyword you could begin slowly moving up Google’s ranking algorithm. Today Google
For Google to see any page of your website and the content on it as a quality page worth of a high ranking, Google wants the page to E-A-T (not literally!). This is an acronym recommended by Google that shows you what the search engine giant is really looking for: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
If you truly want your content to shine in Google’s eyes there is one thing you have to always remember: write for people, not search engines. If you write your content for people, your pages will shine in Google’s search results rankings.
The Content Creation Process
1. Research & Planning
In order for content to be high-quality and effective, you can’t skip the research and planning phase of your content marketing strategy. The research and planning that goes into your strategy can be just as important as the content itself.
How to Set Your Content Goals
Goals of your content marketing strategy will inevitably vary based on your niche market as well as overarching variations like if your business is B2B or B2C. Before you ever put a pen to paper (or more realistically, fingers to a keyboard), you need to establish goals for your content marketing strategy. If you don’t set goals, you’ll miss out on attaining valuable results and ROI.
As a marketer, you will have overarching goals in any strategy. These will relate to your company’s bottom line – think sales, subscriptions, signups, etc.
5 Content Goals To Build A Strategy Around That Will Deliver Real Results
- Brand Awareness: Get your content and your brand discovered by your target audience
- Engagement: Capture the interest of site visitors with high-quality content that provides valuable information and nurtures them into customers or subscribers
- Lead Generation: Utilize lead capture forms and CTAs in conjunction with content that provides value to identify qualifying consumers
- Loyalty and Advocates: Keep your established customers returning by keeping their perspective of your brand positive and encouraging your best customers to become brand advocates
- Driving Conversions and Profitability: Use ongoing content marketing to showcase new products and services, open up new revenue streams, and reduce marketing costs with continued content that provides value to your established customer base
How to Create a Buyer Persona
The phrase “buyer persona” can often seem intimidating to marketers when starting a campaign. A buyer persona is simply a fictional representation of your ideal audience and/or customer that semi comes to life as a result of analyzing real data from things like buying patterns, demographics, behavior, goals, and the channels your campaign(s) tend to reach them through.
When you have a buyer persona or personas established, you can write more engaging content. Taking the time to create a buyer persona improves your overall marketing and helps you to reach your goals more effectively! Here are some steps to creating an effective buyer persona:
Step 1: Do Your Research on You Target Audience
No piece of content will be effective if you don’t do your research beforehand. Researching details about your audience will empower you to make effective personas.
Step 2: Determine What Audience Members Have in Common to Create Separate Personas
Start with your best customers first. Look for any similarities in demographics, purchase patterns, and preferences. You can also look at any customers that have had a bad experience to determine what their pain points were. For example, did they come into your store for an item only to find you were out of stock? Did they have a poor customer service experience? Learning existing pain points is important when developing a marketing strategy.
Step 3: Bring Your Personas to Life with a Name and Persona Details
Giving your buyer personas a name and details about their life also helps you to remember that you are writing for a real person. It also helps you keep your writing aligned with each buyer persona. You can even give them a photo to help bring the persona to life. Yes, developing personas takes time and research, but it ensures all that effort you and your team have put into your content marketing strategy will pay off.
Step 4: Start Mapping Content That Resonates with Each Persona
Content mapping For example, if you own a home building company, one of your personas might be Jake, a man in his mid-30s. Jake has a wife named Kate who is pregnant with their first child, prompting them to buy their first home. You would write much different content to resonate with Jake surrounding the benefits of owning a home and the ease of buying his first home from you than you would for an older couple looking to downsize now that the kids have all moved out.
Keyword Research Basics
SEO is continually evolving, especially over the past decade. Keyword research has become more important than ever. Understanding the actual keywords and search terms people are typing into search engines should be a highly important factor that influences your content strategy.
It is no longer as important to include those keywords and key phrases verbatim in your content. It is important to have a deep understanding of the intent behind the keyword or key phrase that is being typed into search engines. User intent is now one of the most critical factors that search engines like Google use to determine how to rank web pages for any given search. Understanding the intent people have and finding the high-volume keywords will help you create topics to write content about. Publishing quality content surrounding the high-volume searches that provide the information searchers are looking for will encourage search engines like Google to rank that page on your website higher in search results.
Performing a Gap Analysis
A gap analysis may not be the flashiest marketing tool, but it is a tried-and-true instrument to keep in your marketing tool belt. A strategic gap analysis looks at where you (your company) currently stands in the market, or to a certain product or service, and maps out where you want to be. After assessing your current standing, you can work with your extended marketing and management teams to build a plan to close the gap between where you currently stand and the steps to get to where you want to be.
The Importance of Analyzing Your Competitor’s Content Strategy
What’s the first step you should take if you want to create unique, quality content that stands out and engages your target audience? Understanding what content is already out there. This is called a Competitive Content Marketing Analysis and it’s much simpler than the name makes it sound. There are basically four parts to analyzing competitor content that will help you develop the most engaging, effective content in the space.
- Make a list of your competitors in the digital space and locally
- Research your competitor’s content
- Evaluate each competitor’s content for the following: channel content is delivered (blog, SlideShare, Ebook, etc.), quantity, frequency, quality, and note any details like if a video is included or there are comments/social shares
- Analyze the topics your competitors are creating content around
2. Web Content Ideation
Many marketers struggle to come up with ideas for quality content that will resonate and engage their target audience. That’s completely normal, especially after you’ve been writing content for a lengthy period.
Inexperienced writers tend to write about what they personally want to write about. Great content is centered around what the target audience wants to read about or learn about. Writing great content shouldn’t be the result of you sitting at your desk thinking about what to write. Truly great content ideas that will hit home with your audience is developed as the result of research into topics that address specific interests and pain points that provide your readers with something of value.
Top content marketers continually keep their brains on the lookout for topics their readers will care about, and they turn to a wide variety of creative places to keep those topics streaming in.
6 Places To Find Content Ideas
- Review past blog comments
- Visit competitor websites
- Social media: Industry influencers and your company’s social media followers
- Industry-specific publications and forums
- Create a topic list circulate it among team members of various departments, asking them to contribute ideas
- Last but not least…ask! Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what topics they would find interesting and take the time to read.
Need more ideas? Read our post on idea generation for blog posts for small businesses.
3. Content Writing
You’ve done your research, made a content plan, completed a competitor analysis, and mapped out your ideas…now it’s time for the big moment, it’s time to sit down at your computer and begin. You know best the tone and style your content needs to have to stay in line with your brand. For example, content for a hospital’s eBook would require a much different tone than a piece of content for a women’s clothing boutique. Once you have established the content tone and style, you can begin crafting your content.
6 Tips For Writing Web Content
- Write about what your audience will find interesting, not what you necessarily find interesting
- Don’t be sale-sy, show readers value and showcase benefits instead
- Include imagery and/or video
- Create a topic list rather than deciding what you are going to write about in the moment (also referred to as an editorial calendar)
- Alternate between long-form content and short-form content pieces
- Make your content actionable in some way
- Utilize content hubs when creating content
4. Editing and Copywriting vs. Content Writing
No matter how experienced a writer you may be, editing is essential. All writers proofread their content, but editing is a much different process. Editing involves looking at your content from the point of view of the persona(s) your content is intended to resonate with and editing to better meet the goals and needs of that target persona.
There is also a distinction between copywriting and content writing that will affect how you edit your work. What is the purpose of your writing? Copywriting has the purpose of marketing your brand or product to your personas. Content writing has the purpose of resonating with your personas by delivering valuable information, entertaining and giving them a reason to engage with your site and your brand. Any direct marketing for action is done subtly.
6 Common Writing Mistakes
- Not proofreading and editing your content
- Not having someone else read your content before going live with it
- Not optimizing for SEO.
- Lack of research into credible sources or information from subject matter experts (SMEs).
- Using too formal verbiage. To engage your digital audience in your content, don’t be afraid to be simple and casual
- Not understanding your audience. For a piece of content to resonate with readers, you need to understand who is reading your content. Before you type a single word, you should develop a persona for the ideal customer you are marketing to.
Once your content has been written following your brand voice, content marketing goals, and has been thoroughly edited, it’s time to publish. How do you know when is the best time to set a deadline to have any piece of content thoroughly completed and ready to be published? Unfortunately, content is often easier to push lower on your task list than other items. That’s why it is essential to set hard deadlines for publishing and keep them organized. As a true marketer, the deadline to publish the content you’ve crafted can’t be “when I have time.”
What Is An Editorial Calendar And Why Is It Important?
One of the biggest mistake marketers make when it comes to content is a lack of organization when it comes to having a plan for what content topics they will write about and when they will publish that content. Utilizing an editorial calendar is crucial to stay organized and to divide your content into segments. An editorial calendar allows everyone on the team to be able to see upcoming content topics at a glance. An editorial calendar allows everyone to coordinate efforts to achieve the overarching content marketing goals.
What Is A Publishing Process And Why Is It Important?
Publishing is the step of the content marketing process that turns your polished piece of content into a live, published asset. You want to be strategic about where you initially post your developed content, typically starting by publishing on your owned media such as your company blog, social media, and email distribution. From there, the published content is live to be shared and repurposed into multiple content assets that can all earn you ROI. Earning ROI is the reason you have put so much effort into content marketing in the first place!
What Is A Governance Policy And Why Is It Important?
Companies are producing more content than ever and publishing it across more channels than ever, leaving them open for more opportunities for issues to arise. Content governance is a set of proactive policies, regulations, standards, and procedures that keeps all content consistent with the brand and error-free.
A strong governance policy makes sure every piece of content, from a social media post to an E-book, follows specific channels of review and approval before going live. A CMS (content management system) greatly helps content flow smoothly. However, there should always be a governance policy in place that includes the CMS’s actions as a part of the policy.
6. Content Promotion and Distribution
You’ve worked hard on your content and you want to make sure that it is seen. You also want to make sure it’s seen and hits home with your target audience. This is where a strong plan for content promotion and distribution comes into play. The distribution phase lays the core foundation for your content marketing strategy.
Let’s talk about how to get eyeballs on your content and your brand!
What is a content distribution map/matrix?
There are more channels than ever to promote and distribute your content. It is more important than ever to be strategic about how you distribute content and to choose the appropriate channels. A content map or matrix helps you to develop that strategy before publishing. A content distribution matrix looks at how you will use paid, owned and earned media for any piece of content or type of content to gain the most ROI.
How To Create A Content Distribution A Map/Matrix
There are many templates available for a content distribution map or matrix that have seen proven success. You may want to modify one that will work best for your specific ROI goals for your company’s content marketing strategy.
Via Smart Insights
After establishing your specific goals, you need to figure out the best content channels that will enable you to achieve those content goals. Next, decide what content type is best for each particular channel and if it is a paid channel, determine what resources you can allocate that will garner maximum ROI. Finally, it’s simply a matter of developing a physical content distribution map in a way that makes the most sense to you and anyone else within your company that needs to access it.
Top 5 Strategies To Promote Your Content
It’s no secret that the internet is an exceptionally crowded place. Unfortunately, promotion is the arena where most content marketing strategies start falling apart. Even if your content is amazing and outshines every other piece of content surrounding that topic, you still need a promotion strategy.
- Influencer Marketing: This strategy has become the go-to digital promotion strategy for content. It can even be weaved into your content creation strategy. From blogging to social media to product placement, working with an influencer can yield strong ROI.
- Social Media Marketing: Gain a great deal of exposure for a modest spend. Remember, social media is highly visual. An eye-catching, quality image or video is as important as the content it draws people to click on.
- Earned Media/Public Relations: Contrary to some thoughts, outreach to reporters and members of the media through relationship building and traditional pitching can still garner a huge deal of content promotion.
- Comment Marketing: It is important to make sure you are being thoughtful about where you post comments and executing white hat comment marketing rather than black hat comment marketing (flooding any place you can find with a comment and a link to promote yourself or your product). Find truly authoritative blogs within your industry and making well-developed, useful comments.
- Email Marketing: Your established contact list is the #1 place to share fresh content because they have some level of established affinity with your brand to continue receiving emails. Don’t forget to A/B test!
How To Measure Your Content Performance
You can create the highest quality, most engaging content in the world, but it isn’t worthwhile unless you are measuring that content’s performance. Understanding how any piece of digital content is performing comes down to analytics. Google Analytics is the most popular free tool that gives you the power to take a deep dive into the metrics of how your content is performing with your digital audience. These should be assessed weekly at the bare minimum. Most marketers choose to review content performance analytics daily.
Understanding how content is performing will also help you to understand what content is resonating with your target audience as well as what isn’t. This will help you craft more content similar to what type of content is engaging your audience and leading to conversions. While there are endless metrics you can analyze relating to your content and your website’s performance, below are the six most important measurable analytics to monitor frequently.
There are many of metrics you can analyze utilizing tools such as Google Analytics, but here are the top six most essential:
- Page Views – How many pages of your website does the average site visitor view before leaving your website?
- Organic Traffic – How many website visitors came to your website as a result of organic search? What percentage of visitors found you via organic search compared to your overall traffic?
- Bounce Rate – What percentage of website visitors came to your website and bounced immediately/left immediately?
- Conversion Rates – What percentage of website visitors took a desired action or completed a desired goal? A high conversion rate indicates successful marketing and a well-optimized website.
- Engagement Rates – How actively involved is your digital audience with your website and your site content?
- Audience Growth – How fast is your audience growing? How fast is that audience growing in response to a specific marketing campaign?