Content marketing is rapidly becoming a very popular method to build authority, rank in the SERPs, and increase traffic. As content is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the core of every good online business, it should definitely be high on your list of webmaster priorities.
High quality content is an absolute must for any SEO campaign – it’s a must of any marketing campaign, for that matter. Excellent content builds the necessary foundation for online success.
Now that we’ve understood that content marketing is a powerful business asset, let’s take a quick look at the do’s and the don’ts of any successful content marketing campaign.
Do Update A Blog Regularly With Researched, Valuable Content
Blogs (just like this one), are very important assets, both for online and offline businesses. Originally, the term was weblog, i.e. a web log. The concept started out as an online journal of sorts, but has since then quickly evolved into a very valuable marketing asset.
Blogs are an excellent way to connect with your customers and clients on a regular business. Moreover, they’re also excellent channels by which to gain new prospects and leads. For example, if you are able to rank your blog posts on the first page of Google every time (you might need our help for that), then you’ll be able to generate a lot of traffic.
If you blog on topics relevant to the products/services you offer, then the traffic you get will be very targeted, and therefore very interested in what you offer. I’ve seen just how a blog attracts clients in my own experience countless times.
Don’t Blog Low-Quality Content
It’s all very well to have a regularly updated, search engine optimized blog. But, if the content you publish is of low quality, and does not really add value to the Internet, then you are missing the point.
Customers should come to you because you provide value. However, before they buy from you, they need to know that you have a track record for providing value. If all you blog about are the exact same, rehashed topics that have already been blogged about on the existing plethora of weblogs, then you are not giving your customer reassurance that your product or service is unique, valuable, and useful.
If you publish low quality content on your blog, that could well turn away potential prospects.
What you should do is research every post, discuss an original topic or throw a new light on an old one. In any case, the level of English (or whatever language you choose to blog in) should be the highest possible.
Do Make Content Syndication A Focus
Content syndication happens when bloggers see fantastic blog posts, copy them, and post them on their own blog with attribution to the original source. The original blogger gets targeted traffic plus a backlink, while the syndicater gets free content for their own blog.
In 2014, content syndication should definitely figure high in your content marketing strategy. Indeed, syndication is bound to be the future of SEO. Just one fantastic article can get syndicated many times over to different networks.
Unlike what you might have heard, posting duplicate content on your own blog does not hurt your search engine ranking. In fact, approximately three quarters of the web is made up of duplicate content (according to Google). What does hurt rankings, however, is if duplicate content has been posted several times over on one blog.
Be forewarned: only the best articles are syndicated. Also, syndication will require some very active promotion on your part. That includes constantly e-mailing webmasters in your niche to find out whether or not they would like to syndicate your content.
Don’t Go Crazy With Article Directory Marketing
Anyone who tells you that submitting articles to article directories in exchange for a backlink is a great SEO strategy is still living in 2007. It simply doesn’t work like that in 2014 and beyond.
In 2011, a Google update killed article directories – it basically spanked them off the face of the SERPs. Article directories do NOT bring any sort of traffic to your site. And the backlink? You’re more likely to get penalized by Google for having a backlink from a penalized site.
The real use of article directories was actually never to drive traffic to your site. Rather, they were meant to be a place where webmasters can scout around for useful content that they can syndicate on their own blog. In essence, submitting articles to directories is merely a way to get your content syndicated and improve your blog’s visibility and authority.
Do Create Press Releases
Press releases are an excellent way to create a buzz around your business in a short time. They’ve just grown to be popular in Internet marketing circles in recent years. Although there is no proven SEO benefit from press releases, the resulting branding benefits are huge.
Press releases, however, are not meant to be completely centered around your product or service. Each press release should discuss a unique topic. If you do offer a bit of a “generic” product or service that a thousand other marketers are selling, do your best to do something that hasn’t really been seen before.
Use statistics and other relevant information from reputable sources to backup your claims as to why prospective clients need your service/product. Don’t turn it into a sales pitch, but do your best to create as much awareness of your product as possible.
Do Create & Publish Infographics
As opposed to text-based blog posts, infographics are much more syndication ready and shareable, due to their visual nature. Not only so, but infographics are great ways to make readers love your blog. They are quick and easy to read, easy on the eyes, they cooperate with the short attention span we humans have, and they’re persuasive.
Keep in mind that infographics can be very expensive to outsource, and quite time-consuming when you don’t know how to create one.
Don’t Let Your Blog Be Based Totally Around Infographics
Yes, infographics are great ways to build your brand, increase traffic, and generate awareness, but they are a tactic that should not be overused.
Infographics are quite special. The publication of one on your blog should be a special, almost sacred event. Besides that, some people like to read some good ol’ text – don’t let images completely dominate your blog.
Do Guest Post
Guest posting is probably the best ways to increase a relatively new blog’s exposure due to their nature. The concept behind it is simple – you publish a post on a popular blog in exchange for a link to your site/sales funnel/squeeze page. They are the perfect way to grow brand-spanking-new blogs to superstars in a matter of weeks.
You should definitely be guest posting, and doing quite a bit of it if you are new to Internet marketing.
Don’t Guest Post Just For Links
Nothing irritates a blogger more than to know that someone is just trying to take advantage of their PR for their own site. Don’t guest blog for the backlinks. Rather, guest post for the resulting traffic, branding, authority, and even money (if you link to your sales funnel and set it up right).
Don’t make your bio overly promotional, either. Just a quick few words about what you do is quite enough – most bloggers won’t allow any more than that.
Do Track Your Content Marketing Efforts
Every guest post, syndication, link, and so on should be recorded and tracked. Recording your content marketing data allows you to come back to it, find out what you did wrong, and remedy it in the next steps of your campaign.
Don’t Just Haphazardly Waltz Through Content Marketing With No Tracking
If you don’t track your content marketing efforts, then you essentially don’t know if you’re making process, or if you’ll ever get where you want to be.
A simple Excel sheet and a few extra minutes per day is all it takes.
Do Outsource Content Marketing
For all its benefits, content marketing is still a very time consuming and very difficult project to undertake. Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of Internet marketers out there who understand content marketing a whole lot better than you do, and some of them offer content creation services.
If you are not able to sustain content creation in-house, then you should definitely start thinking about expanding and outsourcing the “menial” tasks, such as writing the content, promoting it on other blogs, and getting it syndicated.
You should look at outsourcing not as a cost for your business, but rather as an investment. If a single 2,000 word article cost $200 to outsource, but was syndicated many times over and ended bringing you $100 in revenue every month, then you’re looking at a 600% ROI per year. Wouldn’t you make that investment again … and again … and again?
Don’t Hire “Just Anyone”
The fact of that matter is, you’ll find that every Tom, Dick, and Harry all offer writing services. Of that trio, however, the reality may be that only Tom actually has a halfway decent writing ability – Dick and Harry falslely advertise their services.
That reality is only too true in the Internet marketing realm. You’ll find literally tens of thousands of “writers” out there. You’ll also find that upwards of 95% of them are nothing but hoaxes.
Always go for writers who speak flawless English (it doesn’t matter if they are natives, so long as their level of English is as good as or better than a native’s), who have their own website, a proven track record (past achievements are a must), and nothing but positive feedback for clients.
Also, don’t try to skimp here, because you’ll only end up paying for it in the future. That might come in the form of a decrease in reputation (due to low quality content), a low ROI (vs. a higher ROI had you paid more), or a poor experience with the employee.
Content marketing is, quite literally, the new SEM in 2014. If you haven’t already got a move on in your content marketing efforts, then it is most certainly time you did.
Content marketing is certainly not easy, and will require a lot of planning, tracking, and yes, even money. In the end, however, you’ll find that your benefits are quite worth it.