The Content Marketing Juggling Act: How to Consistently Create Quality, Engaging Content

The secret to juggling is to always have one of your chainsaws in the air. Simple, right? You have one more chainsaw than you have hands, so don’t try and hold all three at the same time. Simply, always be throwing and catching at least one.

Ready to rev up your chainsaws and try it? Raise your hand… if you have one left.

As anyone in the industry knows, content marketing is a lot like juggling chainsaws. It’s easy, we’re told: You just have to consistently produce high-quality, engaging content. But if it were that easy, everyone would already be good at it. Statistics show we’re not there yet: 54% of B2B marketers say producing engaging content is their top challenge, and 50% say producing content consistently is.

Fortunately, just as you can learn to juggle chainsaws with practice and instruction (please don’t try this at home), you can learn to deliver quality, engaging content with a regular cadence. As you master the process, it will get easier. Eventually it will seem effortless to your audience. It might even feel (mostly) effortless to your content team.

Here’s how the team at TopRank Marketing keeps our chainsaws in the air.

#1: Consistency

A steady content cadence is invaluable for building your audience and serving your existing readership. The goal is to make your blog (or content hub) a habit – a reliable resource for fresh content. Setting that expectation with your readers, and then meeting it consistently, takes planning.

Start by creating your content marketing strategy. This document will help determine what your goals are, who your audience is, what type of content they need, and what types you will create.

Let your audience’s needs drive your goals. For example, a goal that states, “we will create fresh, high-quality content on X topics” is better than “We will post to the blog every day this year.” The latter is about deliverables; the former is about purpose, and is more likely to help you find the right cadence to meet needs.

With a strategy in place, you can develop your editorial calendar. This is where you will find the cadence that will allow you to deliver content consistently. Whether it’s once a week, every weekday, or twice a month, quality and consistency are far more important than quantity.

Plan your topics and content types at least a month in advance, but leave room in your calendar for timely posts, or random bursts of inspiration. Fill in any remaining gaps with plans for repurposing.

With a strategy in place to guide content creation, and a plan for what you’ll create, you can nail the consistency part of the juggling act.

#2: Quality

At first glance, “quality” seems like a subjective term. Your listicle on cat juggling might be pure gold for one reader, and pure lead for another. And it’s true that quality is dependent on the audience – so make sure your content has valuable for the people you want to reach.

First, make sure your content serves an existing search need. If people aren’t looking for help on your topic, you won’t have an audience. Use tools like Semrush, Keyword Planner, Google Search and Buzzsumo to explore. You’re not just looking for keywords to use: Look to see what type of content is already meeting people’s needs. That can help you get an idea of what high-quality content looks like for your audience.

Of course, quality means more than “designed to rank in organic search.” Your content should hit the center of this Venn diagram:

It’s vital to create at the intersection of your brand’s expertise, your unique insights, and your audience’s needs. Without unique insight, your content is indistinguishable from the rest. Without serving the audience’s needs, you’re irrelevant. And without expertise, your content will lack value.

Your content serves a business goal, naturally – that’s why it’s content marketing and not just “publishing.” But value is the engine that will get your content to that goal. Quality content is good for your readers and your business.

#3: Engaging

So now you have a plan for consistent publishing and you’ve done the research to create high-quality content. The final chainsaw to juggle is making the content engaging. The information in your content can be great, but if it’s a chore to read, people won’t get to the value.

There’s only one way to make content engaging: Write like a person. That means writing from the heart, with warmth and clarity and wit. That kind of writing invites people into a conversation, rather than trapping them in a lecture.

“But Josh,” you say, “I’m not writing about gooshy touch-feely stuff. I’m writing about cloud-based SaaS solutions. How do I write that from the heart?”

Excellent question, rhetorical person I made up. Regardless of what you’re writing about, think of who you’re writing for. You’re not writing to sell a SaaS solution. You’re writing to solve a problem for someone who desperately needs your expertise – and if you’re not doing that, go back to the planning stage. When you need help, you don’t want a lecture. You want someone who will empathize, even entertain, and gently guide you to a solution.  

As a writer at an agency, I will admit not every client’s product offerings thrill me to the core. Until we have a roster that’s exclusively jetpack, hot tub, and nacho companies, I may not emotionally engage with each business. But I can always engage with people.

That’s our job as content creators – to think of the person behind the problem we’re solving, reach out from the screen, and make a connection.

You May Start Your Chainsaws

Content marketing is a juggling act, and it takes time and practice to keep all the chainsaws in the air. Start with planning and strategy to enable consistency, put in the research to ensure quality, and practice empathy to make your content engaging. It’s not simple, but it’s possible to learn. Once you get in the rhythm you’ll delight your audience without risking life or limb.

Need help juggling your chainsaws? We’re here for you.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | The Content Marketing Juggling Act: How to Consistently Create Quality, Engaging Content | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post The Content Marketing Juggling Act: How to Consistently Create Quality, Engaging Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

The Netflix Experience: Create Binge-Worthy B2B Content with Ardath Albee #MPB2B

93% of Americans have binged on content. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking of those rainy Sundays spent on a Netflix bender. Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo make it so easy to continue the binge. One more episode, you think, as the next installment automatically queues up. Finished Stranger Things in one weekend? Here are 6 new, easily clickable suggestions to start a new binge.

Now what if that same principle could apply to your content marketing?

In fact, 93% of B2B buyers want bundled, bingeable content (Content Preferences Survey, 2017) , but only 42% say it’s easy to find the next piece of relevant content (Why Your Website Fails Buyers, 2017).

As marketers, we put so much work into attracting the right buyers to our website. We get them there, but then we miss the opportunity to tell them what to do next.

Ardath Albee, in her session How to Create Binge-Worthy Content Experiences that Move Buyers to Buy at Marketing Profs B2B Forum 2017, challenges us to stop talking about our products or brand and start focusing on building meaningful, purposeful experiences. To focus on engagement, rather than attraction. Re-frame those KPIS from people per page to pages per persons.

If we do this, we can really use content marketing to drive momentum into our pipeline and move our buyers along their buying journey via content binges.

Three Takeaways to Create Binge Worthy Content

Stop Building Siloed Websites

Traditionally, websites are built using tidy hierarchies based on type of content, i.e. products, blog posts, white papers. This structure puts the work on the visitor after they land to find the next piece of content relevant to them. And they probably won’t do it.

Instead of organizing by content type, consider using a content hub that organizes content by industry, business need or by role. You will orchestrate more engagement by putting all of the related content in one easy to access place. And then crosslinking between related items.

A content hub allows a visitor, no matters where they are in their journey, to find the content most relevant to them with less clicks.

Ardath points out, we also need to be thinking about other people who influence that buyer’s journey. A side bar, for example, can link to executive content, your visitor could leverage to make a case to their boss.

As you consider a content hub, for the most binge worthy experience, you should:

  • Create connected pathways: Answer the “What’s Next?” question to move your buyer through their journey, always point them the next logical piece of content in their journey.
  • Trigger follow up with relevant “see also” content: For example, if a buyer has viewed two pieces of content, automate a message that points them to a third piece or ask them to subscribe.
  • Personalize Content by Role: Instead of only thinking about industry, consider personalizing by role, as it is preferred by 67% of buyers (Content Preferences Survey, 2017).
  • Include Data and Research to back up assertions: Buyers want you to backup your claims with data.
  • Make it Easy  to Access: Think about how you can make it as easy as possible for your buyer to get to the next piece of content, whether it’s an easy cross link or removing a form in front of a eBook

Leverage a Nurturing Approach that Speeds Buying

If you are going to organize content for progression, you need to think through the questions the buyer is asking at each stage of the buying cycle. Use your brand’s expertise in order to answer these questions for them. If you are on point with your content and connected pathways, it will stimulate the buyer to ask “What’s Next”, inspiring a binge.

Here are some questions buyers might be asking at each stage of their journey:

  • Consider Change: Is The Problem Worth Solving (Why should i care? What happens if i do nothing? What are competitors doing? Can we fix it internally?)
  • Prepare for Change: How Should We Solve It (What do I need to know? What are best practices? What are my choices? What could go wrong? What else does it impact?)
  • Embrace Change: Gain Consensus (How do we get everyone to agree? What tradeoffs can we agree to? What will the future look like?)

Use Personas to Inform the Content Journey

A persona helps inform not only the perspective on the job that needs to be done, but also the obstacles that keep them from achieving objectives. Personas should also detail relationships with stakeholders, time in career, and motivations.

Each persona should have a set of nurturing questions specific to them. They will be different based on how they come at a problem, how risk averse they are, how they relate to stakeholders, etc.

Like with your Netflix home screen, the more customized the “What’s Next” recommendations, the more likely you are to press play.

Stop Talking About End Dates

Many of us are still thinking about content marketing as a series of campaigns. The thing about campaigns is they typically have a start date and an end date. In a B2B world, when the sales cycle may be 18 months, how many deals can you close during a 3 month campaign.

So in order to create truly binge worthy content marketing, start thinking always on and interconnected.

Check out our list of other must see sessions at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum.

Also, follow along on Twitter by following @TopRank. 

 


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | The Netflix Experience: Create Binge-Worthy B2B Content with Ardath Albee #MPB2B | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post The Netflix Experience: Create Binge-Worthy B2B Content with Ardath Albee #MPB2B appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Alphabet to create separate business unit in Europe to run Google Shopping

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Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

How to Create Testimonial Videos

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Create Ranking Content by Conquering Competitive Keywords

Content marketing and SEO have become more challenging over the last couple years. But why? SEO has become more data driven to help search marketers prioritize what keywords they should be targeting and how to setup a proper strategy. Additionally, the increase in digital competition and investment from companies has had a significant impact.

To conquer any keyword you want to rank for, there are multiple steps that you should take as a marketer to see the best return on your investment. SEO still works and is not “dead.” Instead, SEO takes patience and dedication to see the results that you are expecting. There are no silver bullets for search engine optimization. With that being said, let’s go through the steps to rank for competitive keywords.

Keyword Competition Analysis

When selecting keywords, it’s important to look at both keyword search volume and competition. Keyword search volume is a metric to help marketers understand the demand. Finding keywords with a high amount of search volume is great, but more search volume generally brings more competition. It’s essential understand how competitive the keyword is before trying to target it on your page. Knowing the level of competition helps set expectations on how long and the effort it might take to rank for the keyword. Most keyword research tools have a keyword competition or difficulty metric to help search marketers find viable keywords. The goal is to find a keyword that has a decent amount of search volume and a lower competition level.

Competitive Landscape Analysis

After choosing the keywords that you want to target, you should do a more thorough competitive analysis to see what the currently ranking sites are doing. By analyzing what each competitor and ranking domain is doing already, you can find commonalities to use for your piece of content. Common elements to analyze when doing a competitor analysis are title tags, meta descriptions, H1 heading tags, common keywords used, page authority/external links pointing to the page, content length, pagespeed, and internal links pointing to the target page.

Running a competitive analysis on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for a keyword will allow you to understand what elements are important to rank your piece of content. The analysis also helps when you are setting expectations with key stakeholders about the timing on when the piece of content might start ranking/performing to expectations.

Create 10x Content

Content marketers know that creating 10x content is much more difficult than you might initially thing. I want to avoid saying go create great content, because most people don’t fully understand what great content is. Instead, focus on creating content that you are proud of and what you think your audience will enjoy. Each piece of content should serve a purpose to solve problems that your audience is experiencing.

10x content doesn’t only have to be blog or page content. Start thinking outside the box with videos, infographics, interactive eBooks, or podcasts that can also be optimized. By focusing on other types of content you can create more engaging content for your audience.

Once you publish your 10x content, make sure you slot time to come back and review how it is performing in search. Use a tool like Google Search Console to see what search queries the page is getting impressions for to either reoptimize or rewrite the content to get even more visibility.

Publishing Supporting Content

After creating your piece of 10x content, you will need to add relevant internal links to the page from historic content and new content that you publish. When creating supporting content, make sure you avoid cannibalizing your keyword targets to avoid a reduction in organic performance.

To build evergreen content, focus on creating a hub of content. To create a hub you should identify a pillar page that is the key focal point for the topic. Your pillar page should be the authoritative piece of content that consistently ranks for multiple keywords. The page is supported with other pieces of content that internally links back to the pillar page to get more internal authority.

Promotion and External Backlinks

SEO is not a promotion tactic. Publishing content and hoping that it ranks is not a viable strategy for marketing anymore. Instead, the content needs to have some level of promotion, which could include paid/social ads, social promotion, and getting external backlinks to the page. Each channel is an important part of gaining exposure for your piece of content. Generally, a small paid campaign can help you analyze how the content is performing with your selected audience sample. From the paid campaign, you can gain valuable insights into whether the piece of content is engaging to users.

Another important SEO aspect to focus on is receiving external backlinks to your content. External backlinks are still an important ranking factor for SEO and needs to be thought about when creating your strategy. A couple ways to get external backlinks is to leverage the Skyscraper Technique (coined by Brian Dean) and signing up HARO.  The Skyscraper Technique is when you create better content than your competitors and reach out to the sites linking to your competitor’s content to get backlinks to your piece of content. You can also sign up for HARO to help reporters answer questions related to your industry or piece of content.

Go Conquer Your Keywords

Even though content marketing and SEO have become more challenging, there is still a lot that can be done to garner great results. Instead of creating more content, focus on creating better content that you are proud of. Take the time to analyze the keyword competition and competitive landscape before drafting your content to set yourself up for success. Then create your 10x content and promote it to see the best organic results.

The good news is that TopRank Marketing is ready to help you if you are struggling with your SEO strategy and content planning.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | Create Ranking Content by Conquering Competitive Keywords | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Create Ranking Content by Conquering Competitive Keywords appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

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