Your content marketing strategy is the bread and butter of your advertising in today’s information-driven climate. Billboard and newspaper ads just aren’t cutting it anymore, and consumers are looking online for rich content about topics and products that matter to them.
Before you put on your writer’s hat and begin creating copy for your brand, review these top content marketing best practices and mistakes to avoid.
1. Set Goals and Objectives for Your Content
Spend some time brainstorming what you want your content to do. Are you educating readers? Generating revenue? Increasing traffic? Develop a list of objectives that you want your overall content marketing strategy to help you reach and keep them in mind as you begin to get granular with content ideas.
Don’t: Set Arbitrary or Immeasurable Goals
Avoid setting goals that are difficult to measure. Make sure your objectives are SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based.
2. Perform Content Research
What kind of content does well in your niche? Look at what types of content are being shared across social media in your field and visit forums to see what users are asking questions about. Put together as much information as you can from as many sources as you can about what factors high-ranking content share.
Don’t: Start Writing Content Without Knowing What Works
Before you sit down to write a blog on a great topic you just thought of, dig through your content research to see what the highest performing content for your target keyword brings up. Is the top blog over 2,000 words? You’re unlikely to rank if your content is just 500.
3. Compare Your Content to Your Competitors
You should also take a look at your direct competitors to see what kind of content they’re publishing. Your competitors may not rank highly in your niche, but if your target audience has the opportunity to choose their business over yours, it’s important to evaluate how their content may be playing a role.
Don’t: Borrow Ideas Without Improving Upon Them
It’s common practice for content marketers to borrow blog ideas — after all, just about every topic you can think of has been covered in some way by someone else. When you get your inspiration for new content on your website from another source, look at what you can do to improve it. Is it missing coverage on an important subtopic? Could you combine ideas from two pieces of content and create a comprehensive mega-guide?
4. Create Audience or Buyer Personas
The most important thing you can do prior to writing copy is to understand who you are creating it for and what motivates them. Develop detailed buyer personas that give your team enough information to personalise content to your audience.
Don’t: Make Them Too Generic
Your audience personas should be relatively specific, including information about gender, ethnicity, hobbies, career, income, and other details. Many buyer personas even include profile images and names to help content marketers connect more with whom they’re communicating.
5. Plan Your Content In Advance
While writing a blog on the fly when a great idea hits is always a good time, don’t rely on publishing whatever comes to mind on any given day, week, or month. Instead, commit to a content plan that you create well in advance. Generate a list of topics you want to cover and roughly how many pieces of content you’ll need.
Don’t: Neglect to Strategise Your Content with an Editorial Calendar
Putting together a list of content ideas you want to work on next is great, but if you’re not also developing an editorial calendar, you’re missing an integral piece of the puzzle. Use an editorial calendar to create timely or seasonal content and publish in accordance with national or social holidays.
6. Use Basic Optimisation Techniques
Make sure to use basic SEO optimisation techniques, like selecting a target keyword for each piece, using appropriate anchor text for interlinking, and optimising headlines for conversion.
Don’t: Get Too Hung Up on Keyword Density
Keyword stuffing is so 2000s. Today’s search engine optimisation algorithms are sophisticated enough to interpret natural language and related keywords to determine the topic of an article and rank it appropriately. Focus more on creating high-quality, interesting content that users want to read.
7. Empathise with Your Target Audience
Connect with your readers by using empathy. Let them know you understand the challenges they face and the obstacles they need to overcome. If you don’t first confirm that you get it, you’ll have a much harder time making the sell later on in the buyer’s journey.
Don’t: Fail to Address Their Pain Points
Make sure you address your audience’s pain points early in your content. Doing so too far down in the copy can make readers feel disconnected and unsure if you really understand why they’re there.
8. Demonstrate Authority
Use your content to demonstrate that you’re an authority figure in your niche. Include references to notable appearances, guest blogs, and other PR in addition to covering your hottest topics as comprehensively and in as much detail as possible.
Don’t: Use Only Written Content
Video, podcasting, and other types of dynamic content are all part of a good content marketing strategy. Make sure to include a wide variety of content types along with rich, informative pages.
9. Publish Evergreen Content
Timely content has its place, but evergreen content is generally the most effective at ranking and converting. Evergreen copy addresses important topics in a way that doesn’t date the piece, such as using dates or pop culture references in the content.
Don’t: Forget to Recycle Evergreen Content on Social Media
The benefit of evergreen content is that it’s largely relevant at any time, meaning that you can post and repost to social media without regard to seasonality or timeliness.
10. Continually Optimise Your Content Marketing Strategy with Analytics Data
You should continually be reviewing your analytics data and using it to evaluate the efficacy of your content marketing strategy. Run analytics reports and review trends monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
Don’t: Forget to Implement Changes Your Analytics Suggests
Part of reviewing your analytics is getting excited at where you’re seeing success. However, the other part is assessing where your strategy isn’t successful and what you need to do to improve. Don’t get carried away by the numbers — instead, look for trends that indicate you need to make a change and then commit to that change. Compare new analytics data to determine if your strategy was effective.
Need Help Creating Top Quality Content? We’ve Got You Covered
At Agile Marketing, we know good content. We’ll help you create strategic, goal-oriented, and optimised website copy that is designed to drive maximum results. We offer a wide variety of content marketing and SEO services tailored to your specific business objectives. Contact us today to learn more about search engine optimisation and how an SEO company can help you demonstrate authority in your niche and get more leads than ever before. Call now at 1-800-735-062.