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Content is more valuable to marketing than ever before. It’s the only way to catch people’s attention through the internet, especially social media.
It’s such a strong tool that 74% of companies say that content increases leads and lead quality. The increased leads and lead quality comes for a good reason, too, because 9 out of 10 B2B buyers are moderately to heavily influenced by content.
This isn’t new news, though. Content marketing has become so important that 93% of B2B marketers are using it to draw in new leads. And most are showing success, too.
If you want to draw in more internet-based leads, you need to start producing high quality content. Today I’ll share with you some things to consider when creating your content so you can get the high-quality results you’re looking for.
The Way We Find And Consume Content Has Changed
When I first started content marketing, most content was short-form and keyword dense. There wasn’t a whole lot of substance beyond what Google wanted to see.
Searches worked a little different, too. They were simple queries like “noodle recipes” or “used car lots”. People searched for hours for the content they wanted because Google could only deliver the content that most closely matched the search. They had no clue about intent.
Also, it was normal for content to be viewed on a desktop. What was primarily found through search queries was read during a lunch break or after work, making that short-form content preferable. There were limited social networks.
However, things have changed a bit.
Now, search queries are often long-tailed question. Things like “What music stores sell vinyl records near me?” are often what Google is delivering results for.
And, since the search giant is way better at understanding intent, they can deliver stronger results. They don’t need as many exact keywords to do it, so pages that are keyword dense get penalized.
Content is now most often consumed on-the-go via a mobile device. This gives audiences more time to read those longer articles, since they can keep the browser window open in their pocket or read on the toilet.
And let’s not forget that they’re pulling most of what they read through social media, unless it’s a direct question they need answered. Especially since social media has become so much more diverse.
Strategies For Content Creation Need Updated
If you’re going to make content in the modern environment, you need modern strategies. That’s just fact.
I recently wrote an article that features 6 specific blogging strategies. If you need more in-depth information for your blogging strategy, read it.
Each strategy focuses on specific blogging goals like getting more engagement or driving more traffic. They’re outlined perfectly and 100% actionable.
Combined, they’ll optimize your site for search, drive a ton of traffic, and produce leads like crazy. They might be a little much work for some, and that’s fine. They aren’t for everyone.
However, if you’re not using modern strategies, you’re sunk.
Content has been key since 2006, but the things that people care about have changed. The same strategies being used back then just don’t work anymore.
People crave knowledge before they buy. Their looking for real information that they can use to make a better decision.
As a result, those 300-word “me too” articles just don’t cut it. You need long-form information with extensive research if you want to show your audience they can trust what you say. You’ve got to leave them with a solution.
Here’s how you’re going to do that better.
Determine Who Your Content Is For
The first thing you need to do when you make content is figure out who it’s for. If you can’t manage that, you lose.
When you make content, it needs to speak the same language as the people it’s meant for. They have to be able to hear and understand the information you’re offering them. That’s the first step to getting their attention.
Once you have their attention, you need to keep it. The best way you can do that is if you understand your audience’s problems and address them helpfully. Provide answers to their questions.
If you understand what they want to know, your content will get a ton more attention and engagement. That’s kind of what you’re looking for.
After all, your content is going to be directed by your audience. Once you know who they are, that is.
You see, you can do a little in-depth research to find out what your customers want to know. They’re asking questions and leaving clues all over the internet.
Sites like Quora and Buzzsumo are going to clue you into all the information your audience wants. Using those sites to search keywords related to what you do will provide great insight into the questions your audience has.
It also helps to pay attention to social media trends. I don’t mean what networks seem to be on the rise, but instead what topics seem to be getting the attention. When they relate to your industry, you might want to chime in.
All this information is going to feed into a great ideal customer profile. It’s called a buyer persona, and if you build it correctly, and build one for each ideal client, it’ll help you make content that’s going to resonate with your audience way better.
Content Requires An End Goal
Now that you know who your content is for, you need to know what you want them to do when they visit your site.
Maybe you want their visit to lead to a purchase, either immediately or in the future. You’ll need to direct your content towards the benefits of whatever it is you’re trying to sell, without making it a sales pitch.
Alternatively, you might want them to sign up for something or take some other action that doesn’t directly lead to a financial gain. Adjust your content appropriately, letting them know why they ought to.
Either way, a clearly defined goal is going to direct your content. The simple reason is because you want your content to direct your visitors towards your end goal.
That means all the copy needs to point to that result. Everything your visitors read should lead them, logically, towards that point.
Your calls-to-action should match, too. They need to include enticing copy and take your visitors to the next step in whatever your end goal is.
You need to lead them down the right lead funnel. One that parallels your end goal.
Break down your target product. Figure out how to take a piece of it and expand upon it. This is going to help you create a lead magnet that will attract the same people interested in the result you want to guide them to.
Once you’ve built a lead magnet that fits, you’ll need a parallel content funnel. By breaking down the lead magnet in the same way you did your final goal, you can create content that will help steer your visitors the right direction.
Drive Content Traffic Through Effective Channels
Now that you understand your content and have it ready, how will you get traffic there? It’s the important next step to making everything work.
Social networks will play a key role to attracting traffic, unless you’re just starting out. You’ve got the best odds of getting in front of your audience by sharing your content.
If you have something that’s already working, it might be time to give it a boost. Using pay-per-click services like Google AdWords (soon-to-be Google Ads), you can get the content that people already want in front of more people.
Also, don’t forget about the power of guest posting on other blogs. If you’ve built relationships with other influencers, you can produce content for them. If you do it well, it will bring their audience to you.
You have to consider nontraditional traffic sources too. That’s what’s going to push you to heights beyond the rest of your industry.
Played right, a well written ebook can help attract website traffic. You can place a call-to-action within the book that readers can click. You can trade exclusivity to Amazon for 90 days in exchange for a ton of extra, targeted visibility.
If you’re a well of information, share some of it by answering questions on Quora and Alignable. Be informative there, not salesy. If you have content related to their question, link back to it.
Also, you can take the time to comment on other related blog articles and share content that can expand on what they wrote. It might also be helpful to mention in those comments if you linked to the article from yours.
Remember, as you start to build traffic, SEO will play a lesser role. It’s not until your site is seeing regular traffic that your ranking will improve.
Make Your Content Dominate SERPs
SERPs are search engine results pages, and when your content starts getting traffic, you’ll want to dominate there.
Everyone seeks that coveted page one, rank one spot. Obviously, though, not everyone can have it. It’s even difficult just to get on the first page.
Because of those limited results spaces on page one, you’ll need to play it smart.
Start your article with a unique headline. When you use a title that doesn’t match everything else out there, you’re more likely to prove to Google that you have different information. They’ll rank you higher.
Whatever you do, never copy a headline. That’s a fast way to get a penalty. Depending on what’s in your content, if could be a small penalty or a major one. Best not to get it at all.
However, it’s OK for your headline to be similar to others that rank well. That will show Google that your content is relevant to the search in question.
In fact, you should be using Google to find out how unique your headline is. It’s going to tell you what to do with your headline.
Once you have your headline in mind, search for it with double quotes around it. Like this: “Your Headline Here”. That’s going to tell Google to bring back an exact match.
If there are other articles with the same title, that’s a bad choice. You’re going to need to refine what you have.
Once Google tells you “No results found for…”, you’re golden. Your title is unique, which will help it climb the SERPs.
Don’t forget that Google is going to want to see that your content is well composed and informed. If it is, you should rank really well. That includes links to tons of relevant content.
Content Clusters Build Consumption Channels
Build your content on the Marketing Rule of 7. That’s going to do great for your SEO, but more importantly, will make your visitors more likely to achieve that end goal we discussed earlier.
The Rule of 7 is that your audience needs to see an ad 7 times before they’ll be ready to buy. It’s been a standard of marketing forever.
You’ve got to treat every blog post like an ad for your company. They’re going to need to see a minimum of 7 of them.
By the time they’ve done that, they should be ready to convert. By clustering your content, you can make that happen.
Content clusters need to be built on pillar content.
Pillar content is super-long-form content that reflects one of the main keywords or categories that your blog will cover. It needs to be extensive information, serving as a complete resource for that category.
Your pillar content should have all the resources that any of your visitors need, because you’ve done the research for them.
Then you’ll build your content “clusters” around that.
Pillar content should make tons of points about a topic. Your cluster content should revolve around each of those points. A pillar with 100 points can equate to 100 additional clusters.
Your cluster content needs to go further in-depth on each of those points. It should cover more detail than the pillar can on that specific topic.
By interlinking your pillar and cluster content, you’ve created a topic web. This is how you’ll keep your visitors moving through those 7 pieces of information.
Links from your clusters should point back to your pillar content. Through those links, you should indicate that this is just a specific aspect of something much larger they’ll need to know.
Your pillar content should have links out to the clusters build on it. Each of the points you make should include a “More information” style link that leads your visitors to that extra in-depth article.
Remember that no matter how much you included in your pillar content, you can always be more specific. You’ve just got to ask yourself how you can be clearer.
Make your clusters more specific. If your pillar is “115 Ways to Master Job Interviews”, you might be able to write a cluster piece called “25 Body-Language Tips for Your Next Interview” or “15 Questions You Should Ask When Hiring A Nurse”.
From there, you can link out to more related resources that you didn’t have space for in your pillar content. If you can figure out how to be more specific, there is always more information to include.
Let Your Content Prove You’re An Authority
When people decide who they’re going to work with, they want someone who they trust can do the job. The knowledge you share can handle that part for you, as long as your content is packed with information.
Do intense research on the topic. People love the idea that they can get all the information in one place. Even if they look elsewhere, they should see that you already shared that information.
Do your best to write long-form content. The more tips and information you can share and link to, the more people can see that you know what you’re talking about.
Any time you can, include statistics that back what you’ve said. The facts never lie, and people feel confident when they can see proof of what you tell them.
Case studies are a great way to do all of the above.
Whenever you work with a client, document as much of the process as possible. When it’s successful, it’s evidence that you know what you’re doing.
Share those case studies through your content. When people can look at something that you’ve put hands on and see the results they want, it’s unshakeable evidence in your favor.
Here’s Why You Need To Make Content Differently
The bottom line is that you have to make content differently than it used to get made. Things are just far too different.
Search engines don’t care about keywords the same way they used to. Other factors are playing more major a role in rankings.
Keywords aren’t dead – yet. But there’s clear evidence that they’re dying. You can’t just rely on that alone.
The context of the keywords is a much bigger factor. Google wants to see that they’re embedded in content that’s relevant to what the searcher is looking for.
Traffic and “linger time” are also being used to determine how relevant content is. Linger time is the amount of time a visitor stays on your site, visiting multiple pages. The longer they stay, the more relevant the content must be.
People have changed too. What catches their attention isn’t what it used to be.
Useless “fluff” built for search engines has always been frustrating. That’s coupled with the increased desire for real knowledge. Content really needs substance now.
People are looking for content that provides them something. Maybe it’s an answer to a specific question. It could be a bit of entertainment. But it can’t be empty.
People are seeking that “Ah Ha!” moment that could only come from content that matters.
You Can Maximize Your Content With These Ideas
Look, everything in this article is going to boost your content. You’ll get better results than ever.
If you follow this advice, your content will be fuller with information. It’s also going to be more relevant to your audience.
Provided you do your research right, your content should get better ranking on SERPs as well, and your site should be far better organized.
Just remember, things like this take time to work.
Success on the internet builds over time. Nobody has ever become a trusted authority in a single action. Trust just can’t be built in a day.
You have to prove yourself over and over again. That’s how you build the credibility behind what you’re doing and get your audience to see that you know your stuff.
No Matter What, Don’t Ignore A Great Content Strategy
At this point, content might feel a little stressful. There’s a lot here, and it may be a little overwhelming.
However, you know exactly how important it is. That’s why you’re here. You know that content is going to bring you all of your leads from the internet.
Start with a clear head.
Your strategy has to start at the beginning. You need to figure out what you’re already doing right, if anything, and what you’re not.
If you can get ahead of your schedule, it’s going to alleviate some pressure. Create a few more pieces of content in the first week than you intend to distribute. This gives you a little extra time to create all future content.
Take the time to get things right before you launch or implement any changes. It’s better to take more time than to produce sub-par content.
But, no matter what, you have to start. Content simply isn’t something you can afford to skip.