25+ SEO and content marketing tips from industry experts

By now, we know SEO and con­tent mar­ket­ing are a dynam­ic duo that rivals the best of them. But how can these par­tic­u­lar part­ners work togeth­er for opti­mal results?

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 3 comments

We sur­veyed some the mar­ket­ing industry’s best and bright­est to get their takes. Here are their top rec­om­men­da­tions:

Implement a Strategy – and Identify Goals

Accord­ing to Joe McCam­b­ley, senior vice pres­i­dent of con­tent mar­ket­ing at so-called “mod­ern agency” Pop, many con­tent mar­keters have a strat­e­gy to use con­tent, but not a con­tent strat­e­gy.

Know­ing that con­tent per­forms bet­ter than many forms of adver­tis­ing, brands jump in and cre­ate blogs and arti­cles and videos with­out giv­ing much thought to why they’re doing it beyond a desire to take advan­tage of a new, suc­cess­ful tac­tic,” he said. “You wouldn’t put a new wid­get in the mar­ket with­out con­sid­er­ing why you’re cre­at­ing it, who it’s for, the prob­lem it solves, how it will get made and by whom, how it will get dis­trib­uted, how its suc­cess will be mea­sured, how it will be improved over time and whether it rein­forces every­thing good that peo­ple believe about your brand. You’ve got to put that same lev­el of thought into all of the con­tent you cre­ate — whether it’s one arti­cle or a thou­sand videos.”

Fur­ther, a con­tent strat­e­gy must be unique to each brand.

There is no blan­ket tem­plate for a good con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy,” said Matt Bud­er Shapiro, chief mar­ket­ing offi­cer of health­care billing tool Med­Pi­lot. “Your strat­e­gy needs to unique­ly cor­re­spond with your busi­ness’ needs in order to be tru­ly effec­tive.”

And, per Tril­by Raj­na, dig­i­tal PR and SEO man­ag­er at elec­tric­i­ty and gas price com­par­i­son tool British Busi­ness Ener­gy, the most fun­da­men­tal part of launch­ing any con­tent mar­ket­ing pro­gram is to define goals.

What do you want to achieve from this cam­paign? Do you want to build links to increase rank­ings and site vis­i­bil­i­ty over time? Is your aim to reach new audi­ences? Are you look­ing for social engage­ment or are you try­ing to rank for cer­tain top­ic?” she asked. “Defin­ing goals in the begin­ning will mean your con­tent strat­e­gy and ideation is shaped in the best way to meet you or your client’s require­ments.”

Eric Quanstrom, CMO of sales prospect­ing soft­ware Kit­eDesk, agreed brands are best served in con­tent by begin­ning with the end.

In oth­er words, he said, “Get straight on the goals you are look­ing to achieve, then pri­or­i­tize them.”

This could include earn­ing top 10 rank­ings for key­words, pro­vid­ing con­tent as cus­tomers learn about your prod­ucts and ser­vices or enhanc­ing your brand image through blog posts.

This is but a small list of poten­tial goals that mar­keters should get straight on — because by answer­ing this ques­tion first and pri­or­i­tiz­ing, you’ll be a few large steps clos­er to deter­min­ing what con­tent you then need to pro­duce, who pro­duces it and who reads it, and how it is con­sumed,” he added.

Dan Thorn­ton, man­ag­ing direc­tor of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing firm The­Way­OfTheWeb, agreed it’s vital to be clear what the prime objec­tive is in con­tent mar­ket­ing and to avoid try­ing to do every­thing with each piece of con­tent.

Know Your Personas

Beyond strategy/goals, brands need to iden­ti­fy their tar­get per­sonas before cre­at­ing any con­tent.

Before you jump in to which social media plat­forms to use or get excit­ed about your new automa­tion soft­ware, sit down with a pen and paper and start think­ing about your prospects,” said Rob Wat­son, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant at Click to Sale Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing. “A full per­sona-build­ing exer­cise is an effort, but well worth it. The more real you can make this process by speak­ing to actu­al cus­tomers or prospects, the more effec­tive your strat­e­gy will be.”

And once a brand clear­ly iden­ti­fies its tar­get audi­ence, it can focus on con­tent that is acces­si­ble for said audi­ence, said Swap­nil Bhag­wat, senior man­ag­er of design and dig­i­tal media at busi­ness process man­age­ment firm Orches­trate Tech­nolo­gies.

The con­tent must also be con­vinc­ing, as it is the pri­ma­ry fac­tor in dri­ving and influ­enc­ing cus­tomers,” he added. “Hence, an ide­al strat­e­gy must focus on all these fac­tors. It should be able to cre­ate and uti­lize the con­tent to reach, con­vert and engage tar­get audi­ences seam­less­ly and effec­tive­ly.”

Bud­er Shapiro agreed iden­ti­fy­ing tar­gets helps brands iden­ti­fy needs, which, in turn, helps map out an effec­tive strat­e­gy that moves buy­ers down the prover­bial fun­nel.

Start Small

And it may make sense to start small, Wat­son advised.

If you come up with, say, three dif­fer­ent per­sonas or cus­tomer types, start with some top-of-the-fun­nel activ­i­ty for one of those per­sonas,” he said. “If that does­n’t work, test and refine until it does work. So, for exam­ple, let’s say your fun­nel starts with some social posts dri­ving vis­i­tors to a news item, which ends with a sign-up form for a detailed con­tent piece. If nobody is even click­ing through to your site, don’t both­er adding more emails to your auto-respon­der series, but focus on the first step in the fun­nel.”

Use Personas to Inform Keyword Research

Per Romela de Leon-Orte­ga, head of mar­ket­ing for out­sourced ad opti­miza­tion firm MonetizeMore.com, brands that have iden­ti­fied users can more eas­i­ly pin­point intent and, as a result, can bet­ter inform key­word research.

To mar­ry SEO and con­tent mar­ket­ing, one needs to study the tar­get per­sona and what dri­ves this mar­ket seg­ment to search and convert/buy,” she added. “When you know your spe­cif­ic tar­get seg­men­t’s intent — it gives you a clue on the type of search terms they use. For exam­ple, a seg­ment of your mar­ket might be look­ing for the pre­mi­um, more advanced ver­sion of your prod­uct, while anoth­er seg­ment might be in search just for the basic mod­el. The for­mer could use a more long­tail search phrase that con­tains very spe­cif­ic prod­uct fea­tures. The lat­ter, on the oth­er hand, might just be typ­ing in a more gener­ic search phrase. Under­stand what dri­ves per­sonas and use their intent-laden key­words in your con­tent.”

Anna Lebe­de­va, pub­lic rela­tions man­ag­er at key­word tool SEM­rush, agreed con­tent mar­ket­ing can only be suc­cess­ful if it is inte­grat­ed with SEO as con­tent is going nowhere unless peo­ple can find it.

Alexan­der Gro­su, dig­i­tal mar­keter at dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing agency inSeg­ment, too, point­ed to the co-depen­den­cy between con­tent mar­ket­ing and SEO.

SEO can be tremen­dous­ly help­ful in cre­at­ing the type of con­tent that’s actu­al­ly searched for,” he said. “Con­tent mar­ket­ing can help SEO win the search engines’ trust­wor­thi­ness through qual­i­ty pieces. For exam­ple, [an] SEO man­ag­er can under­stand bet­ter what types of arti­cles are most read on someone’s web­site – and thus, [s/he] can make sug­ges­tions to improve future and cur­rent con­tent as well. At the same time, a qual­i­ty con­tent marketer’s work can help the web­site reach high­er rank­ings in dif­fer­ent search engines.”

Jil­lian Wood, con­tent mar­ket­ing man­ag­er at advo­cate mar­ket­ing firm Influitive also not­ed SEO and con­tent can’t work in iso­la­tion.

A sep­a­rate SEO strat­e­gy just does­n’t make sense,” she said. “SEO is part of the data back­bone that should dri­ve your con­tent direc­tion, along with traf­fic met­rics, social shares, scroll depth/time spent on page and con­ver­sion rates.”

In oth­er words, good con­tent can go far, but it needs the sup­port of SEO, added Dan Tow­ers, con­tent mar­ket­ing man­ag­er at dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing firm Arcane.

Rel­e­vant key­words should inform the con­tent you devel­op — pop­u­lar queries need to be con­sid­ered as this will help dri­ve stronger vol­umes of traf­fic to your con­tent,” he said. “Your con­tent also needs to con­sid­er SEO aspects such as meta-descrip­tions on your page, titles and head­ers — these should be aligned from key­word research so that your con­tent is deemed impor­tant in the eyes of search engines — help­ing you rank bet­ter.”

Do Some Competitive Analysis

Per Wood, it is fair­ly easy to deter­mine if you’re on the right track in key­word research.

If you find page results that include com­pa­nies like yours — or your com­peti­tors –you’ve nailed it,” she said. “If not, you may not be attract­ing the right audi­ence to your con­tent. So, instead, work those key­words into your con­tent and track your page rank over the long term. This will get you in front of the rel­e­vant audi­ence.”

Indeed, de Leon-Orte­ga also rec­om­mend­ed spy­ing on the com­pe­ti­tion by com­ing up with sev­er­al ten­ta­tive titles for a con­tent piece with your key­words in mind.

Do a Google search and see how many results are returned. The more results, the high­er the com­pe­ti­tion,” she said. “Now, take a look at the top rank­ing titles that came up. Study each piece — their strengths and weak­ness­es. Resolve to beat the best ones by [cov­er­ing] the gaps in their con­tent — could be a lack of case stud­ies, more data, bet­ter expla­na­tion of strat­e­gy, etc. You need to be the best con­tent out there. Out­per­form the com­pe­ti­tion.”

Fur­ther, Wat­son rec­om­mend­ed research­ing ideas to see if they are good link bait.

Start by search­ing for sim­i­lar-themed con­tent else­where, then run some back­link analy­sis to see if the top-rank­ing arti­cles or resources in your cho­sen niche are actu­al­ly receiv­ing good-qual­i­ty links,” he said. “If they are, this is a real oppor­tu­ni­ty. Then, you must ensure you can cre­ate con­tent that com­ple­ments – or, bet­ter, still improves on — what’s already out there.”

Reuse and Recycle

In addi­tion, Woods not­ed opti­miz­ing old­er posts for key­word author­i­ty helps con­tent mar­keters save them­selves time and get traf­fic bumps with­out writ­ing entire­ly new pieces.

The key to increas­ing your rel­e­vance is to find key­words you did­n’t know you were rank­ing well for and try­ing to get to page/spot #1 with new or updat­ed con­tent,” she said. Alter­na­tive­ly, main­tain the ones you’ve ranked well for with updates before some­one else tries to oust you.”

Emi­ly Sid­ley, senior direc­tor of pub­lic­i­ty at PR firm Three Girls Media, how­ev­er, rec­om­mend­ed using this strat­e­gy spar­ing­ly.

While you do want to be care­ful of pub­lish­ing blog posts or arti­cles with the exact same lan­guage, you don’t need to rein­vent the wheel every time,” she said.

A few ways to do this include updat­ing an old post to include new details, using an arti­cle you’ve already writ­ten as inspi­ra­tion and include snip­pets or quotes from your arti­cles and posts on dif­fer­ent plat­forms.

Harness Tools

Wat­son rec­om­mends using the Google Key­word Plan­ner to get an indi­ca­tion of how many peo­ple search for a giv­en term, as well as wider research tools such as www.answerthepublic.com and www.ubersuggest.io to find ques­tions and prepo­si­tions peo­ple use online.

And while many SEOs have shied away from forums because they offer spam­my links, don’t over­look them as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to find out the prob­lems that cus­tomers have and the ques­tions they ask to help solve them,” he added. “Forums can be a gold­mine for con­tent ideas and get­ting inside the cus­tomer’s mind.”

Diane Ellis Scal­isi, senior growth mar­ket­ing asso­ciate at SaaS firm Open Devel­op­ment, also rec­om­mend­ed con­firm­ing demand for a prospec­tive piece of con­tent by using tools such as SEM­Rush and CanI­Rank to gauge search vol­umes for key­words relat­ed to the top­ic.

Look­ing at ques­tions relat­ed to the top­ic on Q&A sites and forums such as Quo­ra and Red­dit can pro­vide con­fir­ma­tion of inter­est in the top­ic,” she added.

In addi­tion, she not­ed Moz pro­vides a dif­fi­cul­ty score for each key­word to help deter­mine whether a site can com­pete for a giv­en key­word dif­fi­cul­ty lev­el while CanI­Rank pro­vides a rank­ing prob­a­bil­i­ty score rel­a­tive to a spe­cif­ic site to help you tar­get attain­able key­word rank­ings.

Often, con­tent mar­ket­ing teams are struc­tured such that the con­tent writ­ing and the con­tent opti­miza­tion fall to two dif­fer­ent indi­vid­u­als. When writ­ing and SEO tasks are siloed, it’s help­ful for the con­tent writer to know at min­i­mum the tar­get keyword(s) and some relat­ed syn­onyms that she can work into her con­tent,” she added. “After the con­tent is pub­lished, the SEO spe­cial­ist can run it through opti­miza­tion tools such as Word­Press plug-in Yoast, Moz or CanI­Rank to iden­ti­fy oppor­tu­ni­ties to opti­mize the post.”

Always Be Researching

But key­word research is an ongo­ing process.

It is also a good prac­tice to con­tin­u­al­ly mon­i­tor your key­word research to ensure you are not miss­ing any oppor­tu­ni­ties and to con­firm that you are tar­get­ing top­ics and key­words that are draw­ing in the right audi­ence,” said Angela Stairs, con­tent mar­ket­ing and PR spe­cial­ist at SEO ser­vices and PPC com­pa­ny seo­plus+.

Implement an Editorial Calendar

When the time comes to final­ly cre­ate con­tent, Eric Brant­ner of blog resource site Scrib­blrs, said his biggest tip is to use an edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dar.

As my blog has grown, I’ve need­ed a way to man­age mul­ti­ple writ­ers, edi­tors, and social media man­age­ment. With­out the orga­ni­za­tion, pro­mo­tion gets lost in the shuf­fle,” he said. “CoSched­ule allows you to put it all togeth­er. It starts with a con­tent cal­en­dar that’s inte­grat­ed with Word­Press. You cre­ate assign­ments on the cal­en­dars and can assign them to writ­ers and edi­tors from the cal­en­dar. No need to go to a dif­fer­ent pro­gram. Then, as far as automa­tion is con­cerned, you can con­nect your social media accounts and set it up to where the con­tent is auto­mat­i­cal­ly shared across all your pro­files once it is pub­lished and also on future dates if you wish. It saves me so much time on con­tent plan­ning and social media mar­ket­ing.”

Be Consistent

But no mat­ter when you choose to pub­lish, the best thing con­tent mar­keters can do is to be con­sis­tent.

You need to con­tin­u­ous­ly release new con­tent and con­tin­u­al­ly update the con­tent on the web­site,” said Katie Bis­son, mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion spe­cial­ist at Rapid Man­u­fac­tur­ing. “Being con­sis­tent allows Google to con­tin­u­al­ly crawl your site for key­words. It also shows you are active and allows you to reach a tar­get audi­ence.”

Thorn­ton agreed build­ing a good rep­u­ta­tion takes time and reg­u­lar pub­lish­ing.

It’s why tra­di­tion­al media com­pa­nies have grown their empires over many years and are so pro­tec­tive of it and it’s also why even the new ‘overnight’ suc­cess sto­ries are gen­er­al­ly brands who have spent months and years improv­ing their craft,” he added.

Cover the Whole Journey

Scott Lit­vack, direc­tor of organ­ic search at dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency Prime Vis­i­bil­i­ty, rec­om­mend­ed brands just make sure to cre­ate enough con­tent.

SEO with­out con­tent doesn’t work in 2016,” he said. “It is impor­tant that web­sites that want to dri­ve leads or sales to have valu­able con­tent that maps to all stages of the buy­ers jour­ney their site in order to do well in organ­ic search.”

Write for Humans

Per Beth Grif­fiths, con­tent writer, strate­gist and mar­keter at dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency Bowler Hat, search engines want valu­able con­tent writ­ten for humans.

If it is valu­able, more qual­i­ty and rel­e­vant sources will link to it and your rank will rise,” she added. “Write nat­u­ral­ly and your key­words will find their way into your con­tent. Con­duct key­word research to dis­cov­er words your cus­tomers use to search.”

Post Content Worth Creating – and Linking To

It also doesn’t hurt to pro­duce good con­tent rep­utable sources want to link to. Gina Rodriguez, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist at mar­ket­ing agency Keen­Abil­i­ty, agreed the high­est rank­ings are reserved for con­tent that pro­vides last­ing val­ue.

The bet­ter your con­tent is at ful­fill­ing the infor­ma­tion­al needs a vis­i­tor may have or will have after their cur­rent search has been tack­led, the more rel­e­vant it will be in the eyes of the algo­rithm,” she said.

McCam­b­ley, too, said qual­i­ty always beats quan­ti­ty in con­tent.

Accord­ing to a 2015 study by Busi­ness Insid­er every minute of every day peo­ple cre­ate 72 hours of YouTube Videos, 204 mil­lion email mes­sages, 2.5 mil­lion Face­book posts, 216,000 tweets, 26,000 Yelp reviews, and share 347,000 pho­tos via What­sApp,” he said. “Adding to that noise won’t get you noticed. Ris­ing above that noise by being help­ful, use­ful, rel­e­vant and enter­tain­ing will get you noticed.”

Or, as Randy Apuz­zo, CEO of SaaS CMS firm Zesty.io, put it, fuel stick­i­ness by dri­ving val­ue beyond your brand’s prod­ucts.

Online shop­pers will keep com­ing back if your con­tent is con­tin­u­al­ly refreshed and appeals to lifestyle and per­son­al needs,” he said. “This means deliv­er­ing a con­stant stream of time­ly con­tent tai­lored to the spe­cif­ic inter­ests of your buy­ing per­sonas. Then con­nect your relat­ed prod­ucts and con­tent, so with every web page, you can keep your online shop­pers on your site by giv­ing them alter­na­tive options and expe­ri­ences to sat­is­fy them on their jour­ney.  Rich edu­ca­tion­al, inspir­ing and rela­tion­ship-build­ing con­tent trans­lates to rich cus­tomer expe­ri­ences, loy­al­ty and sales.”

Answer Questions

It doesn’t hurt to answer con­sumer queries either.

Some busi­ness­es tend to lim­it SEO efforts just to key­words that are rel­e­vant to one par­tic­u­lar piece of con­tent or that best explain what they do. While there is noth­ing wrong with that, it’s always best find ways to com­mu­ni­cate that your busi­ness has both a broad view of the prob­lem at hand and deep insights into how to solve it,” Rodriguez said. “This includes cre­at­ing con­tent that pro­vides answers to ques­tions peo­ple com­mon­ly type into search engines relat­ed to the indus­try you are in. Actions such as this will help you increase traf­fic, which, after all, is real­ly the goal.”

Peo­ple hate being sold to.” McCam­b­ley said, “That’s why they go to the bath­room when TV spots air, it’s why they chan­nel surf when lis­ten­ing to their car radios and it’s why hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple use ad block­ers,” he said. “Con­verse­ly, peo­ple love being helped. If your con­tent asks, ‘How can I help you?’ instead of ‘What can I sell you?’ you’ll be much more suc­cess­ful.”

Indeed, Beth Adan, senior pub­li­cist at Three Girls Media, advised fol­low­ing what she called the 80/20 Rule.

To inte­grate your con­tent mar­ket­ing with SEO tac­tics, it’s impor­tant to fol­low this rule,” she said. “You’ll want your brand to be a resource for your fans, so make sure 80 per­cent of the con­tent you share is be non-self-pro­mo­tion­al — facts, memes, indus­try arti­cles, humor­ous con­tent — while 20 per­cent of updates can be direct­ly pro­mot­ing your brand. “

For his part, Andrew Choco, vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing at dig­i­tal agency Direc­tive Con­sult­ing, said using tools like Answer the Pub­lic has helped grown his firm’s organ­ic traf­fic dras­ti­cal­ly in the last few months.

We start by per­form­ing exten­sive research on key­words in our indus­try that have medi­um to high search vol­ume but a rel­a­tive­ly low key­word com­pet­i­tive­ness,” he said. “We real­ly want to tar­get our bub­ble key­words, which are key­words rank­ing #11 [to] #15 and just off the first page.”

Answer the Pub­lic lets users enter a key­word and gen­er­ates a num­ber of dif­fer­ent queries that actu­al peo­ple are search­ing for around the key­word, he said.

This allows us to cre­ate con­tent that direct­ly answers the ques­tions peo­ple are search­ing for,” Choco added.

Incorporate Evergreen Content to Drive Traffic

Ever­green con­tent also helps dri­ve traf­fic – and improve rank­ings.

In fact, McCam­b­ley called con­tent a long-term asset.

Most begin­ner con­tent mar­keters cre­ate an arti­cle and then mea­sure whether it con­verts more sales than a direct mail piece or ban­ner ad,” he said. “Expe­ri­enced con­tent mar­keters know that unlike ads that dis­ap­pear when the media buy ends, con­tent will reside on their sites for many years to come, solv­ing the needs of con­sumers while gen­er­at­ing val­ue.”

Tow­ers agreed search engine algo­rithms over the past five years in par­tic­u­lar have ensured cre­at­ing qual­i­ty con­tent is more impor­tant than ever.

They strive to offer high­ly rel­e­vant and qual­i­ty con­tent to users, ensur­ing a good user expe­ri­ence for those using the search engine,” he said. “Cre­at­ing good con­tent is about pleas­ing search engines by pro­vid­ing a good user expe­ri­ence. Qual­i­ty con­tent mer­its back­links. This deems that con­tent as valu­able and back­links are the cor­ner­stone of any search engine algo­rithm — back­link­ing from .edu, .gov and oth­er high­ly trust­ed sources gives author­i­ty to your con­tent, which is one of the main fac­tors that search engines con­sid­er when page rank­ings in search results.”

In fact, McCam­b­ley likened invest­ment in con­tent to dol­lars in a mutu­al fund.

The more you add, the greater your com­pound inter­est,” he said. “The more con­tent you add to your library, the greater will be your com­pound engage­ment. If you plan your strat­e­gy intel­li­gent­ly, one piece of help­ful con­tent will always lead to anoth­er and anoth­er and anoth­er until all of your cus­tomers’ ques­tions are answered and they are ready to con­vert.”

Optimize for Topic

For her part, Julie Graff, social con­tent liai­son of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing firm Pole Posi­tion Mar­ket­ing, advised writ­ing the best, author­i­ta­tive piece you can on a giv­en top­ic.

Key­word research is still impor­tant as it will tell you what lan­guage your audi­ence is using to refer to what you offer, but rather than opti­miz­ing your con­tent for those key­words, you should be opti­miz­ing your con­tent for the top­ic,” she said. “Use your core key­word phrase nat­u­ral­ly in the con­tent, but also using sup­port­ing phras­es that show search engines and your audi­ence that you under­stand the full top­ic and have the best infor­ma­tion on the inter­net for that top­ic.”

Go Long

Austin Iuliano of self-pro­claimed entre­pre­neur and lifestyle blog dscience.co not­ed long arti­cles out­per­form short arti­cles.

Unless you are a web­site like the Huff­in­g­ton Post that has the sheer vol­ume, short con­tent is thin and weak,” he said. “Read­ers won’t come back to check for new con­tent. For us, the con­tent that is 4000+ words out­per­forms all oth­er arti­cles. This is because we can go in-depth about a top­ic and give action­able advice.”

Consider the Wikipedia Strategy

Matt Antoni­no, mar­ket­ing man­ag­er at roller shut­ter firm Ulti­mate Shut­ter, sug­gest­ed employ­ing what he called a “Wikipedia strat­e­gy.”

In oth­er words, make sure to cov­er both the breadth and depth of a top­ic.

You can’t real­ly have the best sports site on the plan­et with­out men­tion­ing play­ers, sta­tis­tics, teams, wins, loss­es and the field,” he said. “If your con­tent mar­ket­ing talks a whole lot about play­ers but doesn’t ever talk about game results you have a play­er site, not a sport site. When your con­tent mar­ket­ing talks about all the dif­fer­ent bits with­in your main top­ic, Google starts to see your web­site as the top­i­cal expert rather than just a site about the play­ers.”

Involve the Whole Team

Danielle Ole­sen, con­tent man­ag­er at cus­tom stick­er firm Stick­erY­ou, said con­tent mar­keters should seek inspi­ra­tion from the entire team.

Involve every­one in the con­ver­sa­tion,” she said. “Your sales and cus­tomer ser­vice teams are going to have insights that you as a mar­keter may not have in regards to what infor­ma­tion cus­tomers need, what con­tent can be devel­oped and where to dis­trib­ute it in order to cre­ate a smoother user expe­ri­ence.

Invest Wisely

At the same time, invest your resources wise­ly.

Thorn­ton not­ed the rise of con­tent mar­ket­ing has led to a huge num­ber of poten­tial con­tent cre­ators will­ing to work for very lit­tle and var­i­ous ways to pub­lish your con­tent quick­ly.

But that approach almost always leads to dis­ap­point­ment with the results,” he said. “The aver­age per­son has more con­tent thrown at them than ever before, so you need to invest ade­quate time to research and decide what will real­ly res­onate with your poten­tial cus­tomers. And if you’re out­sourc­ing cre­ation, find sup­pli­ers who can demon­strate a rea­son­able lev­el of skill and style in their work which will help it to stand out and cut through the noise.”

Push It

Accord­ing to Wat­son, brands should be pre­pared to spend rough­ly 90 per­cent of their time pro­mot­ing con­tent and only 10 per­cent cre­at­ing it.

Fail­ing to pro­mote con­tent is the most com­mon rea­son for con­tent mar­ket­ing cam­paigns not deliv­er­ing,” he said. “You need to put time, effort and even bud­get towards pro­mot­ing your con­tent to your prospects. With the growth of paid social, it’s nev­er been eas­i­er to micro-tar­get even niche audi­ences with a spe­cif­ic mes­sage.”

Grif­fiths agreed writ­ing a piece is only half the bat­tle.

You need to pro­mote and mar­ket it to make sure it’s seen,” she said. “Make use of social media and post to rel­e­vant plat­forms. Pitch to influ­encers in your indus­try and guest post.”

James Maw­son, free­lance copy­writer and con­tent mar­keter, rec­om­mend­ed iden­ti­fy­ing who you want good links and social shares from before you even plan the con­tent.

Notice what they’re inter­est­ed in shar­ing and link­ing to. Ide­al­ly, you will do some work to engage with some of them before pitch­ing your con­tent to them too,” he said.

Indeed, Man­ick Bhan, founder of tick­et firm Rukkus, said to adjust your media bud­get to allo­cate funds for con­tent pro­mo­tion.

Busi­ness­es are spend­ing more and more on con­tent cre­ation, but with­out a bud­get in place to attract audi­ences, poten­tial reach is being left on the table,” he added.

Analyze and Assess Performance

But it’s not ever there either.

Per Grif­fiths, brands must also ana­lyze per­for­mance — track­ing whether the strat­e­gy has achieved its goals and whether it is work­ing.

To mea­sure this, set KPIs to mea­sure con­tent’s suc­cess,” she said. “This could be views, shares, traf­fic, leads, con­ver­sions, engage­ment and brand aware­ness. Use this to deter­mine what con­tent works and what does­n’t, what your can change and how you can improve. You can then tweak and refine your strat­e­gy.”

But Stop Gating Content

Per Nick Bren­nan, CEO of social media mar­ket­ing and con­tent devel­op­ment firm Watch Social Media, one sim­ple fix is to stop gat­ing con­tent.

Gat­ed con­tent turns off indi­vid­u­als inter­est­ed in what you have to offer and tells them the only rea­son you cre­at­ed it the con­tent to begin with was to har­vest emails,” he said. “Instead, we sug­gest giv­ing your con­tent away for free and ana­lyz­ing the per­for­mance. Is it being shared, are your clients and prospects men­tion­ing it when you talk to them, etc. The eas­i­er you make it for your con­tent to pro­vide val­ue, the more it will reward you.”

Empower Marketers to Make Site Changes

Apuz­zo said brands must also empow­er mar­keters to eas­i­ly and quick­ly design, pub­lish and man­age pages using native SaaS tools that also meet strin­gent stan­dards for secu­ri­ty, so IT main­tains con­trol but isn’t stressed.

Give mar­keters the free­dom of con­tent to cus­tomize any con­tent and inte­grate it with any tech­nol­o­gy devices/platforms,” he said. “Give them social cura­tion tools so they can be respon­sive to cus­tomer inter­ests, pat­terns and trends.”

Use Plug-Ins

De Leon-Orte­ga rec­om­mend­ed mak­ing sure SEO plu­g­ins are in place.

In order to make sure your pages and posts will con­tain all the nec­es­sary SEO page ele­ments, page checks and any oth­er SEO process that can be auto­mat­ed, install the essen­tial ones. Per­son­al­ly, I like Yoast SEO, All-in-One Schema.org Rich Snip­pets, Bro­ken Link Check­er, WP Smush [and] W3 Total Cache.”

Index, Etc.

There are many index­ing and tech­ni­cal con­sid­er­a­tions for con­tent — all dig­i­tal con­tent for web­sites, blogs, ebooks, etc. have to make sure that the tech­ni­cal con­sid­er­a­tions are right, oth­er­wise search engines will not under­stand the con­tent’s val­ue,” Tow­ers added. “If you do not con­sid­er prop­er index­ing, search engines can’t prop­er­ly crawl, index and cache the con­tent you’re cre­at­ing which leads to major vis­i­bil­i­ty issues and under­mines any dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paign.”

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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