Optimize content marketing
To a large extent, content marketing IS the new SEO (search engine optimization). But, how do you optimize content marketing strategy to drive traffic to your site and convert traffic once it gets there?
I’ve had a number of long conversations with Peter Odryna, CEO of SocialEars, over the last 18 months about that exact topic — especially regarding analytics to help assess and tweak your content marketing strategy. The result is contained in the diagram below — a 4 step process to optimize content marketing.
Content marketing strategy
First, let’s look at content marketing, where you must both appeal to users searching information on the ‘net and the Google Bot responsible for ranking content and determining your relative position in SERPs (search engine results pages). No matter whether you’re blogging daily or investing 2 weeks writing that heavily researched, high-quality blog, this process works anywhere along the quality vs. quantity debate.
Content marketing: Getting traffic to your site
Traffic comes from 2 sources, search, and referral. Search traffic requires attention to content elements that improve your SERPs — endorsements (Likes, shares, RTs,+1s) from social networks and links (inbound and outbound from authoritative sites). Referral traffic comes through all those social shares. Thus, social network sharing is critical for both sources of traffic.
Content marketing: Converting traffic
Converting traffic requires traffic within your target market and judicious application of influence and clear calls to action (CTA). Carefully crafting subtle influence and CTAs that don’t make your content look overly promotional takes a little skill, guidance, and experience.
Optimize content marketing
Step 1: Content creation
Optimized content marketing starts with creating high-quality content on a consistent basis — commonly 2-3 times a week. But, what to write about?
Obviously, you need to write about topics important to your target audience. In this case, important means relevant to the problems faced and questions asked by your target market. The best way to know what’s important is by listening to influencers and monitoring which conversations are driving sharing and becoming part of relevant conversations. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t talk about you and your brand — no one cares unless you’re Justin Bieber or some other celebrity.
Step 2: Optimize your content
Next, you need to include outbound links to these influencers to validate your own post and make nice to the Google Bot. You should also optimize your content by including trending terms related to your posts, which means you’ll show up in many more searches.
The title of your post is really critical because it shows up prominently when your content is shared and because Google gives more weight to the title in determining which queries you’ll show up for.
Your content marketing strategy must include efforts to influence your target market since conversion is the ultimate goal of your content marketing strategy. Using an 80/20 or a 90/10 ratio of valuable content to self-promotion ensures you balance your content marketing strategy to both build your audience and convert it.
Conversion efforts should involve subtle influence and a short, clear CTA (call to action).
Step 3: Promote
Promoting your content is a little tricky. If you over-share your content, you look too aggressive. What you need is a community motivated to share your content. Enter social media marketing.
So, while you’re spending all that time creating your content, invest a significant amount of time building your community. Community building (engagement) requires you to share others’ content, express gratitude when others share your content, provide exclusive access, and/or provide other intrinsic rewards to encourage sharing.
Building a community is important, but know WHO to include in your community determines how successful you’ll be — not the size of your community. Including influencers in your community enhances your promotion efforts.
Step 4: Analytics
Optimized content management means you also MONITOR what’s working and what isn’t.
Monitor both the analytics for your website (Google Analytics) and for your social networks (Facebook Insights, Twitter or Pinterest Analytics, etc). You also need to understand what your competition is doing to see what’s working for them.
Next steps to optimize content marketing
Obviously, you don’t just get to step 4 and stop. Content marketing requires a cyclical process where you use insights gained on the first pass through the process to build into the next cycle in the process. Hence, using insights from your analytics to guide new content creation — what topics work? how do users respond to your title? — and new sharing strategies.
Whether you need a complete analytics strategy, some help with Adwords, or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.