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How to create your SEO & content marketing strategy

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SEO & content marketing can help you expand your reach – if you get the strategy right! Content marketer Stacey Wall reveals the importance of understanding 'audience intent' for creating a strong foundation for your strategy. So what is audience intent and how can you uncover it? Stacey answers these questions and much more in this timely SEO and content marketing masterclass.
SEO & content marketing

Content marketing is no longer a trend in the marketing sphere. It’s an absolute necessity when it comes to attracting and engaging your target audience.

However, according to Alimeter, 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy.

With the strategy being the most important part, it can be hard to gain any traction from your efforts if your plan isn’t well thought out, doesn’t leverage SEO or fit your overall goals. To help you create a content strategy that will boost your overall content marketing plan and generate ROI, you need to understand ‘audience intent’.

‘Audience intent’ within SEO & content marketing strategy

A few years ago, Moz published Is Your Content Strategy Guided by Audience Intent (or Just Keywords)?, an article that gives a great overview on audience intent. While an older article, it’s still relevant in showing how creating awesome content that your audience wants will move them further along the marketing and sales funnel.

Essentially, you have to put yourself in the mind of your core audience member. For example, if you sell running shoes, you need to think like someone who is going to purchase running shoes.

  • What kind of content is going to help you make the best purchasing decision on running shoes?
  • What form of content is going to engage you?
  • What content are you willing to share on social media or with friends/family?

All these questions should be considered when creating your content.

Not only do you have to think about the questions, but also your ideal buyer – how would she/he answer the questions? It’s best to have your buyer personas handy when creating your content strategy. If you don’t have buyer personas, HubSpot has this free template to help you get started.

In addition to buyer personas, you can also do keyword research to see what people are searching for when they’re looking for running shoes. There are a variety of keyword research tools (keywordtool.io, keyword.io, Google Keyword Planner, etc.) to help you find what phrases people are using to learn more about their next pair of running shoes. Another tactic is to look at your competitors and see how they structure their pages, blogs and other content. This can help you choose your keywords and form your content strategy.

Now onto the content. Your content, when aligned with your buyer personas, should align with the different sales stages.

When you’re looking at running shoe options, you’re probably comparing different shoes. So the best type of content here would be comparison or vs. themed articles. And not only articles, you could also create:

  • Infographics on your shoe
  • Checklists for people to use as they research different options
  • Webinars on the latest running shoe trends
  • Videos!

If you have a small team and don’t have enough time to create all that content, consider hiring freelancers from Upwork or EssayTigers. It’s best to have different versions of this content type because then you’ll have something to share on various channels and options for retargeting. You’re also creating content that is easy to share – videos and infographics are more likely to be shared on social media. This can really help you build links back to your website and the various types of content.

It also gives you content to do some outreach with. You can find relevant or complementary websites and contact them about sharing your content with their audience. They get ready-to-go content and you’ll get exposure to more people.

You might also consider asking for an email address around this time to get them into your system. This will make it easier to send them the next stage of content.

Once you get people engaged with your shoe, then you can share the spec about the shoe. Serious runners, for instance, are going to want to know about weight, heel-toe offset and shoe category. And then how the shoe is working for other runners. Other details can be the colour variations and any customisations available.

Testimonials, or case studies for B2B buyers (73% of B2B buyers use case studies when making a purchasing decision), work wonders here, too. You’re showing that other people are having success with your product!

Now that runners have evaluated your shoe and they think it will work for them, they have to try it on.

  • Create a landing page where they can find the closest store
  • Use their email to send them to the landing page – if they click, you’ll know they are highly engaged and would be open to other offers to get to the shoe in person. You’ll definitely want to pay attention to your email marketing tool’s analytics to see who is engaged.
  • Send them a discount code to buy the shoe online with hassle free returns if the shoe doesn’t fit.

Aligning your content with your marketing and sales funnel is the best way to get the biggest ROI on your marketing strategy.

Make a plan and share with your team

Your SEO & content marketing strategy won’t gain a lot of traction internally if you don’t share with anyone. How is anyone going to know your goals or plan if they don’t see it?

Once your plan is finalised and approved, get your marketing team involved and excited to get started.

If you have a dedicated content marketing manager and SEO specialist on your team, it’s also a good idea to have them work closely on upcoming content. SEO specialists can provide tiers of keywords that should be included in the content to rank well in Google, while content marketers can wordsmith it to sound natural and engaging.

With content calendars and briefs (templates below), you can easily make sure your entire team understands the plan, the deadline and how to move forward.

Need help? Use templates!

If layout and design are your biggest challenges when it comes to content strategy and creation, then we can easily solve it by using templates.

Luckily, there are a HUGE variety of templates you can choose from.

Google searching the type of template you need can save you tons of time and help you get your content out the door and in front of your audience much faster.

Don’t see one that works for you? Combine several templates to create one that fits your exact needs.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. You’re creating content for people – not Google! Google will know that your content is engaging based on the amount of time people spend on your website and the number of quality links to your website.
  2. Use your buyer personas when creating your strategy.
  3. A/B test your landing pages and articles. Always look for small tweaks to make your content better and better. It’s best to run a report in Google Analytics to see your top-viewed pages and compare it to your pages with the lowest conversion rates. Choose a page that gets a lot of views but doesn’t convert very well and run some A/B tests.
  4. Keep your goals in mind. Don’t deviate for short term gain. Stay the course and you’ll receive long-term rewards.

When done right, content marketing can help you expand your reach. You’ll be able to build credibility and thought leadership while generating buzz about your brand and product. Keep the above tactics in mind as you build your strategy to boost your efforts and see some return on your content investment.

Have an opinion on this article? Please share your thoughts: the GMA is a community of data driven marketers and we value your opinion. 

The GMA invites you to the London MINT (Marketing Innovation Networking and Technology) event on 10 October in Wapping which we’re running alongside the Festival of Marketing. So, if you fancy a few data driven drinks you can find out more and sign up here.

Stacey Wonder
Author: Stacey Wonder
Content marketer at EssayTigers | www.essaytigers.com/

An experienced content marketer and a freelance blogger, Stacey Wonder currently works for EssayTigers, the writing service. She has more than five years of experience in digital marketing and blogging. She's always open to new marketing tactics and strategies to try.

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