Entering the content marketing space is not for the faint of heart. It can be a significant undertaking both in terms of resources and a change in the organization’s approach to marketing and sales.
In order to take full advantage of the significant search visibility opportunities that are available with a content focused marketing effort, it’s essential to answer some key questions as you develop your strategy.
Customers – I put customers first before company goals because a social and content focused marketing effort must emphasize the needs of those you’re trying to reach in order to meet your own. Give to get.
Who are you trying to reach? Have you developed a Buyer Persona? Do you understand your customers’ goals? What are your customers preferences when it comes to content discovery, consumption and sharing? What keywords do they associate with your products or services? Who are they influenced by? In what communities do they spend their time on the social web?
Objectives – What are your goals? What must happen for your customers before you meet your business objectives? What are the key performance indicators that will help you measure the buyer persona’s path towards conversion? Do you have the measurement tools in place to properly monitor and measure for research and to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts?
SERPs – What does the search engine results page look like for the keyword phrases you’re after? The SERPs page is a big part of the competitive landscape for SEO. What types of web sites appear in first page results? Who is linking to them and not linking to you? What type of Universal results are triggered? (News, Blogs, Real-time, Books, Products, Local) What types of media are included in the SERPs for your target phrases? (Images, Video)
Resources – Most companies are not in the publishing business. In order to achieve longevity for an optimized content marketing effort, it’s important to outline the resources available to implement including: content, people, processes.
– Content. What content do you currently have available for optimization? What content will you need to create according to your keyword glossary and customer needs?
Know what digital assets you have available for publishing online and identify what new media you may need to create, and who will be creating/promoting it.
– People. Who will create that content in your organization? What in-house content development resources do you normally use? What new content resources, including other departments, could you leverage for SEO? What other groups in your organization will you need to coordinate with in order to execute on promotions?
– Processes. what is the current content creation and promotion process? Identify how can you make optimization a baked-in part of established content publishing processes. Determine whether manual keyword glossary sharing is applicable or if the content management system can be modified to dynamically pull in keyword options when adding new content.
Can SEO be made part of the corporate identity standards and incorporated into the style guide?
Tactics – Based on customer preferences, your goals, the SERPs and resources, what channels will you optimize?
What mix of content creation will be used? Web pages, press releases, white papers, case studies, online newsroom with press releases, articles, video, images, audio, rich media, sharing content on social sharing web sites.
Also, what link building tactics will be emphasized?
Measure – Measurement is the most critical piece of e optimized content marketing program.
SEO related measurement includes search referrals and keywords that drive traffic to the web site. what search engines and what the visitors do once they visit. Relative measures of rankings and links can be useful as well.
Social media measurement often includes engagement metrics such as fans/friends/followers, comments, brand mentions & sentiment, referred traffic and links.
Online PR measurement depends on the tactics such as press releases distributed via email directly to a short list of journalists or to a newswire service. Blog and publication mentions (unsolicited) as well as links and sentiment are important.
Measurement can help inform the ongoing content marketing opportunities and the creation of specific types of content in order to attract trending search traffic. Social conversations fuel search traffic. Understand the keywords most often used in social conversations and you may get a leg up on your competition by creating, optimizing and promoting content that’s being discussed and popular.