Content marketing is the future of marketing and there is no doubt about it. By leveraging content you can sell (your products and services) without actually selling. Write a killer blog post or tweet and you can create a huge amount of awareness among your targeted audience. Content marketing has become an integral part of all marketing strategies and is set to become a $313 billion industry by 2019, according to PQ Media’s ‘Global Content Marketing – Forecast 2015-19.’ One question that many marketers still ask is whether content marketing and SEO are inter-related or two different branches of marketing? The answer is that they go hand-in-hand and are the two sides of the same coin. In fact, SEO creates demand and content marketing fulfils it. For instance, when a person asks, ‘how to fix my electric oven?’ it means the user demands content that will help him solve his problem. Content marketers targeting people facing problems with electric ovens can create high-quality content and try solving their problems. For success with SEO, you need loads of high-quality links, which are impossible to gain without high-quality content. It is, therefore, clear that SEO and content marketing can’t exist without each other. How can you use content marketing to boost organic traffic for your website? Here are three tips to help you:
1. Research and Target Relevant KeywordsIn order to get a constant flow of traffic, you first need to identify your specific niche and target audience. For instance, if you offer project management software, then your target audience will be online marketers who need to use project management software to stay in control of their projects. Further, you need to determine whether you want to target budding online marketers or seasoned marketers or both. Once you have identified your audience, you can determine the keywords they may use to find useful information. Here is how you can do this:
- Use a keyword research tool to get keyword ideas.
- Choose the most relevant keywords and segment them according to your targeted audience.
- Research about the keywords to determine whether or not its popularity will grow with time.
2. Leverage Visual Content to Maximize TrafficWhen it comes to boosting traffic, you need to leverage the traffic that is most engaged. Research proves that video is the most engaging type of content, and marketers are using it to capture users’ attention. According to a research by HubSpot, video appears to be the most favored form of content by customers and prospects. Moreover, according to KPCB, video will account for 74 percent of all the online traffic in 2017. Again, brands that use video for marketing see their revenue growing 49 percent faster compared to those who do not use videos. So, there is every reason why content marketers should leverage this form of content. Videos also help with SEO. Including video sends signals to search engines that the page contains rich media relevant to the search requests. The transcript part of the video that uses keywords improves the findability of the content. By hosting videos on YouTube, the second largest search engine in terms of the number of search queries, you can easily boost the traffic on your website. You can also share the videos on social media to increase the website traffic. Take the example of Dunkin Donuts that relies on video campaigns to sell its products. The brand took advantage of Valentine’s Day and rolled out a live streaming video. The video showed how the brand creates its new products. As a bonus, the video also featured the creation of a gigantic, donut-themed wedding cake. The video attracted more than 36,000 viewers. To increase traffic for your brand and attract attention, you can create how-to videos, DIY videos, product-explainer videos, and animated videos.
3. Become a Trusted Source of InformationBecoming a trusted source of high-quality and useful information is one of the best ways to increase traffic. Pages that offer useful and relevant content and have high demand among readers are ranked higher on the SERPs (search engine result pages). Sites that have lots of high-quality content focused on a particular subject tend to rank higher. (Tip: If you have a broad audience and cover multiple topics, make sure the content is organized based on topics or themes to avoid content silos.) One of the easiest ways to establish authority in a specific niche is by starting a blog. Blogging helps you create a base for your content marketing efforts. However, blogging requires a lot of investment in terms of time and effort. But when done properly, you can reap long-term benefits. Here are a few tips on increasing traffic by blogging:
- Use a blog design that appeals to your target audience. Starting a WordPress blog is often a great idea as WordPress offers a number of inbuilt themes that can be used to create a professional blog. You can also integrate other themes, if needed.
- Create a catchy title for your posts to attract attention quickly. Keep the titles short, use numbers within the title or use words that invoke emotions. Make sure the post offers exactly what the title says.
- Choose evergreen topics to keep the posts relevant for a long time.
- Include visuals to improve the level of engagement and offer a better experience.
- Repurpose posts to increase viewership. Turn posts into short videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. and share on various channels.
You have the marketing of your blog to consider. You also have a few contracts on the side, for search engine optimization (SEO) of client sites. This is great! You are a success! But, while you are serving everyone else’s needs, you sometimes do not have enough time to address your own blog. When you do, the content does not seem to rise to the same level as that of the content that you may be helping your clients to obtain and publish.
Possible Solutions to Your ProblemOh, there are many solutions that you could incorporate into your blogging process and content production process. However, which one is right for you? For example, you could hire writers and create a writing staff for your blog. But, you could also hire other positions, like a technology person for your WordPress site, and maybe you have already done this in both cases, as well as other roles to support your SEO blog. The challenges are that either you are paying less and receiving lower quality, or you are paying through the nose. If you have unlimited funding, hiring a staff of qualified individuals may be the best option. Of course, that includes paying them a sufficient salary (don’t be stingy, if you want quality). If you want the quality of your content marketing to remain at a high-quality level, then the amount you pay for it is also going to reflect that. You also want to include the content marketing aspect of ensuring that that same writing staff is mentioning you on other blogs, including articles that sing your praises, throughout the internet, bringing that traffic back to your site. That is one of the reasons that you would not want to be stingy on who you hire (or how much you pay them).
Expanding on our “Ideas List”It also helps if ideas flood your mind and you are inspired by your own expertise, for example, as an SEO Expert. In November (2016), we shared tips on how to prove that you are an SEO Expert. This included the SEO and Advanced SEO courses offered by Simplilearn. However, not all of us can depend on the genius of our minds to flow out ideas at incredible speeds, let alone to convert those ideas into content and then promoting it, etc. So, we need another idea, in addition to our ingenious ideas (or hiring staff to do it for us).
MyBlogU >> Practically Writing the Content For You!Originally, I set out to have this article mostly about RSS and RSS applications and services. What I found is that I cannot seem to write any article about developing content without singing the praises of MyBlogU (and no, no one is paying me to say this — It is my personal/professional opinion!). MyBlogU, developed and owned by your very own Ann Smarty, is a magnificent platform. It is a place where you can share tips and ideas with other writers, helping to develop that article idea list that we talk about further in this article. But, more than that, it is a place where you can collect interview responses from experts. You have all seen them, right? The round-up articles? The articles cover a topic and include tips and responses from multiple experts in the field. Here is an example, on the seochat.com domain, using MyBlogU >> How Infographics Can Improve Your SEO! Well, MyBlogU.com helps you to put that together, making the work almost non-existent because Ann’s site does it for you! So, while MyBlogU may not fit in the list of RSS applications, we cannot deny its rightful place under the topic of creating mind-blowing content for your site. If you haven’t already checked it out, bookmark it now so that you can be sure to visit the site later. You’ll be glad you did!
The Simple, Yet Flexible Solution of RSSOne favorite method to get fresh ideas for the content for your site is to access an RSS from one of your favorite SEO sites. Examples of those sites, related to an SEO blog, may include this site (SEOchat.com), searchenginepeople.com, searchengineland.com, as well as searchenginejournal.com (to name a few). RSS feeds for the domains mentioned above:methods you can use to find those RSS feeds manually. It isn’t guaranteed that you will find it. If a feed doesn’t exist, you are not going to locate the feed. However, there are other options, even if it means that you bookmark the site and visit it frequently (not ideal, but an option nonetheless).
Some Introductory Discussion about RSSOh, let’s take a sidebar and differentiate between two RSS topics. First, there is the act of reading an RSS feed of another site or blog. That is what is most important for this article. However, while we are on the topic of RSS feeds, it might not be a bad idea to ensure that you have yours set up for your site, encouraging others to use your incredible content as their idea-inspiration tool. So, we have included some information to help you in that area (under the Sidebar in this article). To give some perspective, to help orient us to the two different aspects of RSS, let’s mention a couple of Google apps that you may have heard of in the past. One is the Google Reader, which is no longer available. That is the ability to read the RSS feed and the one that most directly relates to this article. The other is the application that converts your feed (that already exists if you use WordPress for your blog) into a feed that others can read. This is not directly related, but the highly recommended so that others can subscribe to your feed.
What Is RSS?Not sure about this whole RSS thing and what it is? Here is an exceptional article on the subject of RSS. Also, it mentions a free option of FeedBurner. Amy (the writer) does an excellent job of explaining why some of us are concerned about using FeedBurner. I don’t intend to be biased here, but she states it very well in her article. Still, FeedBurner, assuming it is still around when you read this, is a free (or at least was) option and worth considering if your budget is really tight. Remember, FeedBurner is the “sidebar topic” of getting your site ready for others to use it to inspire them. Even though RSS was quite popular a few years ago, it has not gone away. Oh yes, there was quite a bit of popularity during the Google Reader days (hey, I used Google Reader faithfully), but there are still ways to get a similar experience. Some of the options that we recommend, for reading feeds, are free and others are not. Most of the options that I have found have been reasonably priced. This is helpful for our pocketbooks. Ok, let’s get on with the explanation of how to use RSS services. That way, all of this babble makes more sense! Before we do that, let’s cover the sidebar. As we mentioned, it is about getting your site in a position where others can subscribe to it. This is our sidebar, and then we will continue with the methods for reading feeds so that you can inspire those ideas (the main gist of this article).
Sidebar: Using an RSS Service for YOUR Site FeedMy favorite RSS service is FeedBlitz, who offers a reasonably priced service, but oh so many options. Some of the options available in FeedBlitz include:
- email subscriptions for your site (automated);
- email marketing for your business;
- consolidation of things like autoresponders, list management, eCommerce, etc.;
- integration with social media marketing options.
Reading Method 1: Using RSS-Based SystemsHere is an example of one of the articles obtained from using seo.alltop.com: A fresh perspective on SEO for B2B companies (from seo.alltop.com using RSS feeds). Interestingly, Alltop.com also uses an RSS service. In Alltop’s case, the RSS service is feedpress.com. That isn’t something that you have to know (fortunately) to visit their site. Remember, this is a case of mentioning a site that uses RSS feeds to compile a list of reading material for you, automatically. You don’t have to do anything to set up an RSS feed for it because the service did it for you! You just read what Alltop produces for you. The key thing to remember here is that there are sites out there who are already compiling/aggregating content sources for you, so you do not have to do it yourself. Alltop is just one example, and we specifically mentioned their SEO topic aid.
Method 2: Manually Reading Site Feeds with an App (Hosted or Downloaded)RSS Feeds, in their raw form, are not naturally easy to read. However, on the positive side, we have come a long way, so quite a few reader options are available, and in many cases, your OS (i.e. Windows 10, Apple, etc.) has a built-in process of leading you to the available options. When you read the RSS, it is the readable version and not the RSS in its raw form. Doesn’t make sense? That’s ok because these days, that is generally taken care of for you so you don’t have to get techie. There are two different ways that you can manually read RSS feeds with an app. It could be a web app (called a hosted solution), like feedly.com. It could also be an application, like RSSOwl (available for multiple OSs, including Windows) or NetNewsWire for Mac (shown below). If a feed is not available (or even when it is), another option is to use your browser to subscribe to a site. It may not officially be an RSS solution, but who cares what we call it as long as it gets the job done, right? One thing that is helpful, regardless of what method you use to READ any feed, is understanding the setup. Understanding how to set it up to be conducive to your needs is a requirement for effectiveness. Here is a tutorial for Feedly, but you could adapt the steps to other methods, as well.
Let’s Put it All Together Into a Simple Step-by-Step How-To Listing
- Determine how you are going to record your content ideas (i.e. Notepad, Spreadsheet, or even as drafts in your WordPress blog).
- Determine which method you are going to use to obtain these ideas (i.e. your feed reading choice).
- Now, go through your chosen feeds (from Step #2) and be inspired in a way that helps you create ideas for the content for your site. Obviously, don’t copy, but allow yourself to think freely and to see what is popular (i.e. comments / social shares). In this way, you can see what your SEO target audience is looking to read AND get ideas for your site. Add the ideas to your list (created in Step #1).
- When it is time, write the content, or have it written, based on your idea list from this method.
- The final step is to promote it. Check out this OnPoint Internet Marketing article about backlinks to find some unique promotional tips. To your advantage, it is not your norm, but instead, tips that will get your mind-blowing content to the audience that will likely share it for you!
ConclusionIt sounds simple enough (and actually is simple), but experience says that this method helps. Sometimes, I find that coming up with the ideas for the articles is 50% of the work and the writing is the easy part. Granted, I don’t expect that everyone is like me, but I am pretty sure that getting an idea list going, using methods like the RSS reading method, will help you to gain the success of producing content that your audience cannot resist. Gather your content ideas list, write it, promote it. Sit back and enjoy your success. 🙂
Over the last few years, it has been drilled into the brains of digital marketers everywhere: content is king and an important part of any search engine optimization strategy.
Consumers are looking for unique information that teaches them something new. The right piece of content marketing can drive sales. However, if your content is hard to find online then, naturally, your prospects can’t convert.
Dominating Content Marketing in 2016This year, expect content marketing to dominate SEO, but just like Neil Patel wrote in a Quick Sprout article, “Content marketing and SEO go together like peanut butter and jelly… if you are trying to grow your qualified search traffic, you have to combine your content marketing with your SEO efforts.” Since content marketing is taking over, let’s examine how to get ahead in the space this year.
Blog or BustIf you don’t already have a blog, you need to have one created and tie it back to your website before you can begin integrating content marketing into your SEO strategy. You can improve your conversion ratio and SERPs with images and a blog. A business blog is typically the best place to publish your primary marketing content. Put a content marketing plan of action in place, which needs to include developing informational material.
Strategic Content DevelopmentAs noted in Pay Anywhere’s article “The New SEO”, a blog is not a place for you to be super promotional. Save the sales promotions for email marketing. Instead, show “how your business is going the extra mile to help the community, or focus on a new product that is unique to your business or area.” Search Engine Land suggests, “You’ll sell more by not selling.” Behind every good piece of content marketing is a good brainstorming session. Break out your notebook and some colored pens and consider these suggestions SEO Chat contributor Chance Hoggan offered in his article “A Guide to Generating Great Website Content Ideas”:
- Feel your customers’ pain.
- Tune into your customers’ passions and emotions.
- Take a direct and indirect approach to crowdsourcing.
- Feed off popular news stories.
- Eavesdrop on your customers’ and competitors social media channels.
All About VideosAt one point, adding an image to a piece of content marketing was good enough. With the recent explosion of video marketing, images alone are not going to cut it. While videos deployed on YouTube or Facebook can be considered a form of content marketing alone, kick things up a notch by embedding videos right into your blog posts. Did you know?
- 78 percent of people watch videos online every week
- 55 percent of people watch videos online every day
- By 2017, experts believe that video will take up 69 percent of consumer Internet traffic
- 52 percent of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI
Quality Beats QuantityLast year Google released its Quality Update. The update rewards websites that have quality content and punishes those that do not. Google update or not, it’s always best to focus on delivering quality content. In assessing whether or not your content is up to par, consider what Forbes Contributor Jayson DeMers suggests:
- Use an appropriate length.
- Supplement with videos, images, infographics, and other media.
- Be sure to use proper grammar and spelling.
- Format pages and text accordingly.
- Achieve an appropriate readability score.
- Tie back to a qualified professional in the space — expertise matters.
- Integrate content marketing with social media.
- Utilize good internal and external links.
- Provide value.
Marketing for Your SEO and Content MarketingYour job as a content creator does not end after you create a piece of content. Content marketing is one part content creation and two parts content distribution and promotion. You already know you should be sharing your content on social media, but what are some other places to promote it? Try using these locations:
- Email communications
- Email signatures
- Search engine advertising