Imagine you bump into one of your target customers on the street – can you get them to buy your product or service within two minutes?
That’s all you’ve got in digital conversations. And successful marketers know how to do it with a winning content marketing strategy. Content marketing is the science of creating high-value conversations with your audiences that create value for them and return on investment (ROI) for your brand. And I call it a science because it is a data-driven, experimental, and iterative approach that requires you to learn about customers through data attribution and communicate with them through authentic digital experiences.
Ultimately that boils down to your content strategy when you start by defining your target customers and the desired outcome you want for them. Next, you’ll set a course for attracting them to do what you want through content that converts. You’ll need to have a roadmap for regularly publishing content that’s engaging, promotes a sense a shared value to between you and your customer, and guides them into your sales funnel.
How Content Marketing Generates Awareness through Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Here, I want to start by making sure your content shows up on Google. And I say that because the top of any sales funnel is dependent on search engine optimization (SEO). Target customers have questions, and they ask Google for the answer.
Google then looks for the best answer to show the user because that’s how Google wins with its customers. And you start winning when Google decides to start referring its users to you.
Ensuring you are the best answer to a question requires you to think strategically and determine what your #1 value proposition for customers is. You’ll then net it down into a keyword, or long-tail keyword phrase, and write about it as an elevator pitch. Introduce your keyword once or twice and high up in your content. And then write supporting copy, with relevant links elsewhere on your site, to give your customers and Google/Yahoo/Bing an indication of what exactly you are communicating.
As you build out your content strategy, you’ll rinse and repeat this process. Remember, Google is smart, and your customers are smart. If you’re trying to game the search algorithms, you’re fighting a losing battle. Keyword stuffing is penalized by Google, and users will vote with their clicks and bounce off your site immediately. Speak naturally by imagining yourself in the same room with your customer, and you’ll see Google reward your authenticity over the long haul.
Be Rigorous about QA and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with Content Marketing
Finally, avoid the temptation to skimp on quality assurance and setting key performance indicators (KPIs). Set goals using tools like Google Analytics, and focus on conversion rates, bounce rates and the number of pages viewed per visit.
Additionally, use editing tools, workflows, and approval processes with the same rigor that your development team uses before deploying code. Because copy that misfires on its message is just as disastrous as bad code. They both result in a broken site.