There are so many benefits of content marketing, and it seems almost every business—small and large—is pumping out content, both visual and text, both good and bad. If you’re one of those businesses, or want to be, one of the biggest challenges is to make your content stand out from the crowd—to produce good content that is as good, or better, than the best.
So how do you produce quality content? What qualifies as “good” content marketing that people want to click on, and search engines want to deliver on the search engine results page (SERP)? While you can find dozens of articles with complex explanations, here is the recipe for a solid content marketing strategy in straightforward terms that you can use to produce solid content.
You wouldn’t go on a road trip without a GPS or map, would you? Use that same attitude when approaching your content marketing trip. Before you start, plan out your trip: who you’re writing to, what they want, and how you can drive them to your goal.
This is where a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work (and an approach that too many businesses take). Instead, customize your content, in the voice you use, choice of headlines, and the topics you cover, to your audience for optimal results.
This comes in two forms: relevancy for your target audience (who you’re writing for) and the search engines. What does your audience want? What problems do they need to solve? What entertains them? Remember you’re trying to reach your audience and not turn them off, so try to avoid creating content that sounds like a blaring radio advertisement (at least not all them time). If you can reach the first group with good content, the secondary audience (search engines) follows—if you write about relevant topics and use significant keywords and images.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re not telling you to stuff your content full of keywords. Keyword stuffing can get your website penalized. Instead, ask yourself what your audience wants to know and what relevant keywords your audience would use. This is a fine art (writing relevant, optimized content); you can’t write so much for search engines that you turn off your primary audience and vice versa. There’s no shame or blame in outsourcing this skill to the pros; companies often use marketing agencies for all their content or supplementary content that complements their marketing efforts.
A strong content marketing plan is built with relevant content published on a regular basis. This is where many content writers go wrong; they plan an ambitious calendar of posts but don’t keep up with regular, relevant content. You can find evidence of this on company blogs throughout the internet: blogs started with regular content, then abandoned because of a lack of time and knowledge (if the latter is true, it’s time to consider outsourcing your content marketing).
We’ve seen this firsthand as well; some of our clients started blogs with good intentions, but couldn’t keep up or wrote sales-focused posts that didn’t yield results. At a loss for time and expertise, they contacted us to continue their content marketing efforts. Now, they contact us on a regular basis with information about their customers, business, and sales cycle—and reap the benefits of regular, relevant content.
Content marketing without an image or video is only half a full content marketing effort; statistics have consistently shown that content marketing promotion without images and video perform worse than blog and social media posts with. Simply put, you’re not putting all the ammunition in your content marketing cannon.
To clarify, your video and images don’t always need to be taken by a professional photographer; when appropriate, a video taken on your phone or a candid snapshot can give your content marketing an advantage. These images (again, if appropriate for your brand) can give you the opportunity to tell a story and establish yourself as an authority/professional in your field.
Good content that isn’t promoted is like a really good secret that no one can hear—and is not going to get your company results. Ensure that your content is sharable, mobile-friendly, and part of a good content promotion plan. The last step of any solid content marketing plan is to promote your content (more about content promotion here), coordinate it into your digital marketing plan, and integrate your online and offline marketing.