If you’re looking to gain greater recognition from both search engines and your consumers, content marketing is the most effective tactic at your disposal.
However, earning a number one position in Google is no longer a matter of building the most - or even more authoritative - links. It’s far more important to be seen as an authority or market leader. And that means providing value to your audience via well-crafted content.
However, crafting content takes time and planning. It requires an investment too; be it within your team or via a partner agency or copywriter.
So how do you make sure it’s an investment that pays off? Here are some quick wins to get you started...
Choose the right subject matter
One of the most difficult challenges you could face is knowing what to write about. Content for content’s sake is a waste of everyone’s time, including your own, so start by understanding what it is your audience needs and the information or commentary you can provide to help satisfy them.
If you’re still struggling for topics, however, social trends are a great way to stay in line with the zeitgeist of any industry. On Twitter and Instagram, hashtags can be useful for identifying what will capture the attention of your audience.
Optimise for search, create for people
As search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, it’s no longer possible to stuff articles and pages with keywords in the hope that Google and Bing will assume it’s relevant.
However, keywords do have their place. Data from the Google KW tool or Google Trends can help to establish what are the most searched terms for any given subject.
That said, these should form the basis of the content and not the fulcrum. Content must be well-researched and well-executed.
Promote via existing consumers
The first step to any content promotion is to go with what you know and an often underutilised weapon in any business is the mailing list.
These are people who have already visited your business and engaged enough to leave you their personal details. A newsletter or e-shot that focuses on adding value to the user rather than simply promoting your company is a great way of making your content go further and driving traffic to your site.
Amplify via social media
Another great way of attracting eyes to your content is via the social media channels. Sharing content via the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram can, if executed correctly, vastly extend its reach.
It may be worth split-testing headlines, descriptions and hashtags or using analytics data to try sending at different times of the day. Once you know what works and when your audience is more likely to engage with your brand, you can start to maximise the potential of social media to amplify your content.
If you create a culture where your staff feel encouraged, empowered and motivated to support your marketing activity, they too may be willing to share your content within their own networks and further extend the content’s reach.
Connect with influencers
Promotion isn’t just about increasing the number of visitors to your site, however. It’s also about connecting with the community you belong to. And community is about reciprocating. If you mention others and share content from influencers in your industry, they are more likely to mention you and share yours. The caution with this is not to appear contrived in your efforts to garner kudos from you peers.
To build connections with an identified list of influencers you need to get to know them. Follow their social profiles and monitor the content they engage with, and how they respond.
You can then join the conversations and build your own reputation. Then, when you deliver your own content, you can reach out to your peers and if the content is good it will attract shares by its own merit.
Promote on a daily basis
The two methods of promotion are directly via mailing lists, email and social sharing; and indirectly, using your ability to build relationships with influencers in your industry, developing your own reputation to gain shares and links back to your content.
Both approaches should be seen as a wider holistic strategy for SEO and above all the quality of your content will be the ultimate indicator of how people respond.
Take the time to plan out your subject matter so it is in line with and captures current trends. Promote via mailing lists and social channels. Build your list of industry influencers. Be active and add value to your community.
Most of all; be consistent in your online presence, so your consumers get to know you and trust your brand. This approach will serve your business best in the long term.