For a long time, the two best methods for search engine optimization (SEO) were keyword stuffing and link-building. Unfortunately, this created an atmosphere of carelessness and sometimes outright cheating among SEO professionals.
Keyword optimization and link-building strategies are still very effective, but not when content is sacrificed for keywords and quality links for bad ones. Obviously, these “black hat” SEO techniques violated the philosophy behind search engines—to focus on the user (Google Company Philosophy).
Google, with their “Don’t be evil” motto, wanted to close the SEO loopholes in their algorithms to favor valid link endorsements and high-quality content. Social proof signals and earned engagement became the goal.
As a society, we should welcome these changes because they help renew our focus on quality content and encourage honest practices, all for the benefit of the user. Great content “earns” real links and engagement, which helps facilitate the connection between content production, marketing, and public relations teams.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the name for the business of developing, publishing, and promoting high-quality content to increase brand interest and business visibility.
Content can be produced onsite or offsite, but your website will act as the main hub for all of your content.
Content Development Strategies:
- Content that is highly relevant to your business
- Helps to solve a problem or answer a question
- Provides useful information and/or stirs emotions
- Content should be noncommercial in nature
If you do want to promote something commercial, try to make it less than 10% of the total content you produce for your content marketing plan.
While link-building is still highly important, the goal of content marketing is to earn them the natural, organic way. The focus should always be on the quality of the content (and the product/service) being linked to.
After you create an excellent, highly-shareable piece of content, you can then take a step back and figure out how to promote it.
Link Building: How to Get Sites to Link to Yours (Inbound Links)
- Elicit an emotional reaction; however, it’s important to make your content fit the brand image.
- The best strategy for obtaining links back to your site is the indirect route. That is, developing great content that people will naturally want to share. Though that doesn’t mean you hit publish and just wait for people to stumble upon the awesome content you created. At the very least, you should be promoting it on your social media channels.
- Focus on high-quality information and reference material. Pair this with outreach and promotion to authoritative sites in your industry.
- Leverage your connections. Build relationships to provide content in exchange for a link (guest blogging). Develop a network of resellers and distributors that all link back to your site.
- The best strategies tend to be valuable content on a regular basis, guest posting, email outreach, social media, and email marketing.
Not all links are created equal. Many variables go into determining the value of a link’s worth, including, but not limited to:
- Anchor Text (the clickable text that takes you to another page)
- Relevance (links that appear on sites with similar content are worth more)
- Authority (sites that are linked to by most sites about a particular topic)
- Trust (trust takes into account spammy links and ads, site security, and other trust factors)
Goals of Content Marketing
- Increase business visibility
- Build brand image and reputation
- Bring prospective leads in
- Obtain quality backlinks
After you publish a piece of great content, you want to make it as easy as possible to find and share it.
As a basic example, Joe posts a blog on his website and then shares it on his social media feeds. As a result, he gets some people to click on the post to read his blog. On his website, he has share/follow social media buttons and a clear email sign-up form.
Since Joe is posting relevant, high-value content, he’ll naturally build his social media audience as well.
The next step is for Joe to build and nurture his relationships and build a network of “influencers.”
The great thing about producing high-quality content is that you can reformat it to fit many different types:
- Blog posts
- New pages
- 3rd party content (guest posting)
- Downloadable content (white papers, eBooks, etc.)
- Images, GIFs, and Memes
- Podcast and audio files
- Presentation slides (Slideshare, PowerPoint, etc.)
- PDF files and online publications
- Social media posts
- Comments on the posts of others (be relevant and helpful!)
- Reviews (ask us how we help generate reviews for our clients)
- Press releases and journalism
- Quizzes and tests
- Comics, cartoons, and illustrations
You can create any piece of content that you like, but it’s best to start small, experiment, and then build upon the content that works best.
The great thing about high-quality written content is that you can convert it into many different formats, including infographics, social posts, and video scripts.
You can even combine your best blogs to create pdf downloads and white papers in exchange for user emails.
Start by answering the main questions your customers have about your product and/or service. Then tailor your strategy to the types of content that are making the biggest impact.
Content Marketing Strategies
Guest Posting – Also called guest blogging and bylined articles, these are simply new posts that are published on a 3rd-party website. Although many SEO professionals have abused the practice, guest posting can be extremely effective and can continue to bring in high-traffic volumes.
The trick is to aim as high as you can and try to get your content published on an authoritative, high-quality site. Make sure there is a link on the guest post that links back to your site. Avoid posting content to low-quality sites as this could potentially have a negative effect.
Content Syndication – You can be very successful in allowing other sites to republish your content, but there are some SEO risks involved. Since search engines don’t like duplicate content on the web, you’ll want to take extra precautions.
Social Media – You should promote your content on social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, and YouTube.
Viral Content – Creating viral, link-worthy content is extremely hard. And although workplace blooper videos may get a lot of views and engagement, it may not be the look your business is going for. One of the reasons why viral content is so hard, is because it seems to defy prediction and rely on happenstance. That’s why when marketing teams come up with a “viral” video, it looks forced.
How to Develop a Content Marketing Plan
If you plan out your content marketing now, you’ll save a lot of time and aggravation later. Brainstorming and creating a plan allows you to share your vision with others in case anyone else joins the team. It also allows you to maintain a consistent brand voice and image.
While you can always tweak your brand image at a later date, you don’t want different voices and visions competing from day-to-day and month-to-month.
Create templates and brand guidelines so everyone is on the same page. This should include things like logo placement, color palettes, and typography.
Create a content calendar with topics and titles that closely relate to your business. Occasional off-topic messages may be appropriate if they help build your brand image and reputation. The content calendar should align with your social media schedule.
The ideal content marketing plan would include a strong social media presence, guest blogging on authoritative sites, and other promotional techniques. Sometimes, Q&A sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers are good places to target your audience and provide them a reason to visit your content.
Although the primary focus is brand image and reputation, it’s also important to look at ways you can increase links back to your site. If you publish any content on 3rd-party sites, makes sure your links take users to a relevant page.
It’s highly recommended that you come up with a Swipe File (headlines that you can use for all your marketing efforts). If you are intimidated by copywriting, read our Copywriting Guide filled with useful, actionable advice.
It’s a myth that people are born creative or not. A little brainstorming and practice can make you a creative success.
Planning and executing a robust content marketing plan takes a lot of time and experimentation. If you are a business owner without the resources to create and promote effective content marketing, you may need a devoted marketing team on your side.
While content marketing is vital for improving SEO, its impact extends far beyond that.
Effective content marketing is always a large effort. And it’s not something you do once, or every once in a while. In today’s fast-paced, search-engine-based society, the sooner you accept the need for an ongoing content marketing strategy, the better.
We know how complicated and interconnected all of this can get, which is why we want to be there to help you every step of the way. Specializing in the home service industry, VitalStorm can run all of your PPC, remarketing, website, and social media for you.
Give us a call today for your free marketing consultation: 1-877-311-5695
We’ll assess your current marketing efforts and provide you with a custom walk-through of our services.
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- YouTube Advertising Guide
- 10 Common Home Service Website Mistakes
- How Content Marketing is Replacing Extinct SEO Tactics
- Why Your Home Services Company Needs Social Media