Whenever you read a post about content marketing, the first thing you need to ask yourself is whether it’s up to date. Sure, there might be articles out there which purport to be the “ultimate guide,” but if they’re not up to date, they’re practically useless.
The world of content marketing evolves on a week-by-week basis. With regular updates from the major search engines and constant changes to the type of content users are interested in, content marketing shifts with the times.
This guide is dedicated to helping you maximize your content marketing ROI by providing you with the tips you need in 2017 to reach your target audience. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Content Marketing?
By now, most of you know what content marketing is. But just in case you don’t, here’s a quick recap.
At root, content marketing is all about providing purposeful, actionable information to your target audience to further their engagement with your company. The aim of content marketing is to generate inbound customers – customers who come to your business through their own initiative, not through direct sales tactics.
Thus, content marketing is about providing value to customers, helping to solve problems, giving them an education or simply providing quality entertainment.
Understanding the principles of content marketing is easy. But actually doing it effectively is a whole other ball game. So what do you need to know?
Keep Your Content Regularly Updated
What is it that marks out authority content from other content on the internet? Much of the time it comes down to whether it’s is fresh and up to date. Let’s suppose, for instance, you wrote an article on “how to buy the best car insurance” back in 2012.
You might think that the content would still be relevant today as it ever was: after all, people still need to buy car insurance. But conditions in the market have changed considerably since then, and so have the technologies for finding the best price.
As your post has gotten older, it’s slowly become less relevant. In short, it needs updating.
Updating old content is easy. Do a bit of research, look at what’s changed and slap the current year in the title just for good measure (e.g.. 2017). The more people who click through, the more search engines will regard your content as relevant, and the higher you’ll wind up ranking in the search results.
Build Social Authority
What is a social authority? Essentially it’s a measure that top search engines use to determine the “buzz” around a particular story, blogger or company. Google’s Matt Curtis has said that his organization wants content with “authority” to rank highly in its search results.
Social shares, in his view, are a valuable indicator of this, proving whether people are deriving genuine value from a content or not.
For content creators, this means that sharing is more important than ever. The more shares a piece of content has, the more likely Google is to interpret that content as being authoritative, and the more likely it will rank highly in search results.
For maximum impact, content marketers should target the most authoritative social media influencers. New evidence suggests that the authority of a social media account influences the impact that shares have on the overall SEO impact of content.
Engagement matter too. The more people commenting on a story, the more Google will direct users toward it.
Want to build authority quickly to boost your SEO? Then it’s a good idea to publish often. According to Hubspot, content marketers who post more than 16 blog posts a month see exponential increases in incoming traffic.
As you increase the frequency of articles, the number of visitors increases at a faster rate. Thus, when it comes to content, more really is better.
Of course, creating lots of content involves a lot of work, but if it’s your aim to spearhead your company’s marketing efforts online, this is something that’s becoming increasingly necessary.
Publishing often tells search engines that you’re active, producing fresh content and creating a lot of articles which are providing users with value.
Boost Your Site Speed
If you really want your content marketing to be effective, you need to boost the speed at which your site loads. Google, as well as other major search engines, began taking site loading speeds into consideration back in 2010. Since then, the value of having a fast-loading site has gone up and up.
Unfortunately, some content takes a long time to load, especially if it’s multimedia-based. Fortunately, there’s a range of things you can do to minimize the effect on speed.
- Use The W3TC Wordpress Plugin – If you’re a Wordpress user, the W3TC plugin allows you to serve images in your posts from a fast, third party server closer to your visitor’s actual location. This reduces image and multimedia loading times.
- Run Images Through Imageoptim – Imageoptim reduces the amount of data users need to receive to view one of your photos in high-fidelity by around 25 percent.
- Use The a3 Lazy Load Plugin – This is another Wordpress plugin that only loads images if users scroll down the page to view them. This means that they can get onto the page quicker and immediately begin enjoying the content.
Make Content “Sticky”
Want Google to think that you’re offering people engaging content? Then make your content “sticky.” In practice, this means coming up with content that will encourage users to stay on your page for longer.
Google measures how engaged people are with content by how long they remain on your page. A short “dwell time,” as it’s known in the industry, indicates that your content just isn’t that interesting or useful for users.
To get people to stick around for longer, include a video at the top of your post and focus on presentation, including fonts, colors, headings and writing style.
Content marketing takes a lot of time and effort to get right. But unlike many outbound digital marketing methods, once you’ve got it right, it results in significant long-term benefits for your business and health ROI.