*Co-written by Kathleen Crampton
Think of your audience first. Knowing your customer helps you capture the right tone, style, and content length. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What would you want to see?
Questions to consider:
Quality content doesn’t just happen. Hire talented people to create content. They can craft a point of view that differentiates your brand and helps you rise above the clutter.
Search is important, too. You want readers to find your content, after all. But simple SEO is no longer enough. Marrying SEO best practices with curated, quality content is essential. Bring your technical and creative teams together to create what we call Creative That Performs.
Richly informative pieces centered on evergreen subjects can set you up as THE authority in a space. Pieces like this improve your rankings and build trust with new and existing audiences. Consider topics in your vertical that are not likely to change. Then take a look at the search volume for keywords associated with these topics. Do any stand out?
Once you’ve picked a main topic based on search volume and user interest, write quality content that is unique, engaging, and creative. As this piece begins to build steam online, you can develop interlinking support pieces that capture search across subcategories.
Outdated content gets stale, so be sure to revisit the piece a few weeks, months, or longer after you’ve posted it. Research any new trends or information on the topic, revise accordingly, and update the publish date.
Your site design helps indirectly communicate brand value and trustworthiness. Most visitors want an interaction that is engaging, easy to navigate, helpful, and welcoming. What your site says about you is an essential piece of any quality content marketing strategy. You want it to make users feel something. Make sure that something is positive.
Consider the on-site customer journey. How does your site help communicate your brand message? Does it offer all the information the customer needs? Have you made it easy to move from informational pages to check-out pages? As with content, thinking about the user leads to better site design. Why are they here and how can your site best serve them? Make sure to test regularly and always look for ways to improve. Good design, like good content, evolves.
A few things to keep in mind when improving UX:
Connect with customers on social media by asking questions, reposting their photos, retweeting, and garnering feedback. It’s important to show your audience that you’re listening by posting content they’re interested in, diversifying it based on changing trends or needs, or featuring experts they admire in the space. Interact frequently and thoughtfully, and don’t shy away from responding to negative feedback. Doing so will build trust with your readers. Think of ways you can incorporate your audience into content marketing campaigns with giveaways, contests, or calls for UGC.
Offering value to your customer means listening to them. Engage with them through community management or respond to user reviews. If this doesn’t fit your business model, conduct deep research about the market as a whole and be familiar with your competitors’ successes and failures in this area. How can you do it better?
Which goals do you want to measure for? Determining your company’s goals (and, therefore, the goals of the content) will help you figure out which metrics to track. Examples of KPIs are web traffic, time spent on the page, bounce rate, visits by desktop or mobile users, unique visits, conversion rates, and more. Once you set the KPIs, determine how frequently you’ll collect data. Will it be every 30 days or maybe every 3 months? You’ll want to allow enough time to see patterns emerge; these will give you an idea of how to tweak the content to meet the goals you’ve set.
The most important thing to remember in content marketing is that while sales and conversions are always a business goal, not every piece of content directly supports that goal. Every content marketing effort is in support of that KPI, but often you will not see an immediate correlation. That’s why it’s important to understand how to measure content success as an integral piece of the much larger marketing picture.
Know your audience—what they’re interested in, the values they hold, and the needs they have. Maintain a consistent voice throughout your content marketing campaigns—via email, social media, and your website. Most importantly, be respectful, relatable, and authentic, not only with your content but also in the way you respond to your audience.
Know your brand—your point of view, what you stand for, your values and mission. It’s difficult to be authentic without these touchpoints. Have a solid sense of identity. Brands with a strong core character are easier to trust, and consumers know it when they see it.
Feature content, interviews, posts, and more from influential people in your brand’s space as well as from users. User-generated content is a great way to spotlight real people and engage with your customers in an authentic way. Make sure your content offers space for diverse voices. Continually listen to your customers to ensure their needs are being met, and consider including them in ideas for new content.
Listen to the diverse voices within your company, too. Create opportunities for new ideas, and don’t get stuck in the status quo. Ask if you’ve considered content from different perspectives before giving it the green light.