Content marketing is a marketing approach that focuses on creating high-quality, original content for specific online audiences.
The content is distributed as blogs, podcasts, webinars and videos via social media platforms.
The aim is to build a community of followers who understand you to be an expert in the area you are writing or talking about.
Good content marketing practice includes optimising all content for search engines, such as Google.
The quality and precision of the optimisation is what drives traffic to your website.
The higher you rank in search engine results, the more visitors you get and the more likely they’ll love what they see on your website.
Then when members of your community are ready to purchase they come to you because they trust and value your expertise.
Content marketing is not a short-term strategy. It takes time to build a community, time to demonstrate your expertise and time for your potential customers to invest in your offerings.
A blog is the cornerstone of any content marketing strategy.
A whopping 71% of the world’s website traffic comes from an internet search.
More than three quarters of of the internet is reading blogs.
Companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads monthly than companies that don’t blog.
Around 60% of people seek out a product after reading content about it.
Blog posts with high emotional value have a 1000 times greater chance of being shared.
The days of keyword stuffing are over. We also don’t need short-tail keywords in our toolkit anymore.
Now you need a single long-tail keyword that is placed strategically throughout your content.
Your long-tail keyword should be placed (in moderation) in headings, alt text, image titles and captions.
People no longer search the internet by typing single words into Google. They type entire questions into their search engine.
In addition, make use of Google’s generosity and read the extra information provided with your search engine results.
Type in the question your reader is likely to ask.
For example, in this blog post, I decided it would be the title – What is content marketing?
You need now to look at page one of your search engine results. At the top, you’ll see ‘People also ask’.
This is Google telling you what other types of questions people type in to search for ‘What is content marketing?’
Go to the bottom of page one now, and you’ll find Google again being helpful. ‘Searches related to what is content marketing?’ will provide an array of variants on your keyword search.
From the information you’ve gathered from Google, plus your formal keyword search, you are equipped to create the best long-tail keyword for your blog post.
There’s just one decision left to make.
Do you want your keyword to compete with the thousands of popular long-tail keywords on the web, or do you want to find a less popular keyword that is more likely to deliver unique readers to your website looking for exactly what you offer?
It’s a no-brainer isn’t it?
The latter is the less common keyword, the one that’s out of the square. It is less popular but more powerful.
Also place your long-tail keyword in your alt text, and one or two of the headings and captions.
Create content that matters to your audience. Talk to them and find out what their pain points are.
Write content that connects emotionally with your readers. Aim for impact, even to write something that changes their lives.
In order to connect emotionally with your readers, you need to tap into your own authenticity.
Make sure you’ve done your research and have a deep insight into the topic you’re writing about. Also make sure you use credible and reputable sources.
Let’s look at what a buyer persona is and why it is relevant to your content writing.
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your client’s ideal customers.
They’re based on market research and real data, and include demographics, behaviour patterns, similarities and trends.
Buyer personas inform you about your readers’ needs and help you deliver personalised content.
A buyer persona is a framework that provides an in-depth understanding of what type of content your readers value.
Hubspot provides a good range of buyer persona templates, along with a guide on how to create a buyer persona.
Don’t underestimate the value of a buyer persona. It’s an integral part of a content writer’s toolkit.
Now that we’ve checked out the buyer persona, let’s move onto the buyer’s journey.
Think of the process you go through when you’re making a decision about purchasing something.
It’s a three-step process – awareness, consideration and decision.
The first stage of the buyer’s journey is when they realise they have a problem.
In this second stage, the buyer clarifies and defines the problem and researches ways to resolve it.
In the final stage of the buyer’s journey the buyer selects the solution they want.
Remember the buyers we’re talking about are also your readers.
And those readers will be at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
This means that you, as the writer, will need to create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey.
See some suggestions below that will give you an idea of what works.
The buyer is likely to do a number of generic searches at this stage, so make sure your content promotes brand awareness and has emotional appeal.
Write content that positions you as an expert in your industry. Use videos, case studies, blogs, guides, infographics and FAQs to build trust.
A story-writing model that works well for content marketing is Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model.
Remember that conflict is an essential part of storytelling, so recognise it, work on it and resolve it. Also make sure your story aligns with the reader’s problem.
WHY are you writing this story?
Tap into your emotion and look for the conflict your readers are facing.
HOW will writing this story help your audience resolve this conflict?
WHAT exactly are you offering your audience?
Content marketing has been around for hundreds of years in the form of storytelling.
Today, however, it is based on market research and strongly influenced by digital media.
For example – every time Google introduces a new algorithm we must analyse it and decide whether we need to change the way we do things.
We can only maintain our currency as content writers if we stay up-to-date with changes and continually assess the way we work.