Having great content does many things — it maintains your credibility, provides updates to clients and potential clients, positions you as an expert in your field, builds trust with potential buyers, generates website traffic, and (hopefully) drives qualified leads for your business.
Whether you’re just getting started or have an established blog, there are things you should know to make sure you are getting the most of your content production efforts.
Writing can be very time consuming if you, as a business owner or employee, are doing it yourself. There’s research, citation, collaboration, fact verification, and the dreaded SEO component that many novice to intermediate bloggers tend to miss. Unless you are an SEO, or are familiar with your website’s keyword structure you may be missing a huge part of the content marketing picture.
To ensure you’re making the most of your content, you need to be sure your content will serve the purpose that you want. That’s step #1 — define your goals. What do you want from your reader? Do you want to build credibility, convert a lead, educate, sell? Define your objectives up front and keep your content within those boundaries.
After you’ve defined your goals, it’s time for step #2 — you need to do some research. As a search engine optimizer and content producer, it’s important to always know the keyterms of your topic area. Obviously you won’t want to include so many keyterms that the article becomes un-readable, but you do want to make sure that your reader (and Google) can find your content.
In addition to keyword research, you should subscribe to as many RSS feeds as reasonable in your given topic area. What are your competitors talking about? What are the thought leaders in your community concerned with? Being aware of the concerns within the market will be extremely helpful in step #3 — build a list of topics.
Once you know what people are interested in (and searching for online), you can customize your content production to meet those needs. There are many tools available online to help you do this. In addition to RSS feeds and reading other blogs, Google Trends and Google Insights for Search are two big players that can help you identify areas that are being searched.
When you have a list of topics to cover, you should pre-determine the article title (including keywords). This can be extremely beneficial if you are hiring freelancers to provide content. Writers love to fixate on article titles and come up with long, pithy, artsy titles. While a title that captures attention is important, always be mindful of search. (Let’s consider that step #4…)
After you have a title, the rest is pretty easy, right? It gets easier, I promise. Write that article, keep it to a reasonable length, format it so it’s easy to read online, include photos, etc. Once it’s published, it’s time for step #5 — promote, promote, promote.
Your article should go everywhere — and I mean everywhere. Post it on your company’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages, share it on Google +, make sure you share or like these pages on your personal accounts too. Do you have an email list? You should consider sending the topic in a newsletter to your subscribers if appropriate. Make sure your customers like it and can share it easily. Make sure you’ve got all the right “like” and “share” buttons from the social networks too.
Technically this next piece of advice can fit into “promote, promote, promote,” but I think it warrants its own bonus step, Step #6 — ENGAGE. Engage in your community. Post on community blogs, respond when people comment on Facebook or in the comments section online. Try your best to engage. Don’t just post the article and forget about it. Research is showing that the level of engagement a piece of content has is beginning to influence Google rankings. So track those shares, engage, and keep your customer and lead base coming back.