What’s the secret to getting a top ranking these days?
That’s a tough question.
You probably look at the Google rankings and wonder – how does my competitor get such a good ranking? How do they get all that traffic?
You’re probably thinking they’ve got some secret weapon.
Well, maybe they have. It’s called Content Marketing and in this post you’re about to learn exactly how to do it the right way.
Of course, you need to make sure you’ve got all of the basics in place first. You know the type of thing – keywords, metatags, keyword rich URLs and anchor text, lots of content, a fast loading website, mobile ready, etc.. The basic ‘On Page’ techniques.
You’ll also need to make sure that you’ve got some external links pointing to your website. Things like Authority Directories, your social media profiles and other easy links such as Name, Address and Phone (NAP Citations).
What makes people link to your website
But these are all techniques that anyone can do. We all know that getting backlinks from Authority websites is vital to a good ranking. We also know that earning these types of links is hard work.
Authority websites do not give links to anyone. If they did then everyone would be doing it.
So is there a secret formula that virtually guarantees backlinks as well as getting loads of social mentions on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn?
Well actually there is and it’s this:
Great Content + Great Outreach = More Backlinks
But it doesn’t stop there. Great content can also increase your conversion rate. That just means that you increase the probability that someone will either buy from you or contact you via your website.
Getting Started with Content Marketing
So where do we start?
The first thing to do is to create a Buyer Persona. This is just a fictional character that you create who has the characteristics of your ideal client. You are going to create content that attracts their attention and engages their interest so this is a way to help you visualise this person.
Next you need to think about the journey they will take to find you and make a decision to use you. This has three stages:
- Awareness – they realise that they need a solution to a problem or a need,
- Consideration – they are looking at the alternatives available,
- Decision – they have looked at all of the alternatives and made a decision.
Content for Authority
Now comes the fun part. If you want to get backlinks and social shares then you need to create content for that purpose.
But before you head in and start creating content you need to create a list of ‘Influencers’. These are authority figures who will have a popular blog or a strong social following.
You’ll need them because they are the people who can promote your content as we shall see. They should not be direct competitors but they should have your ideal client either reading their blog or following them on social media.
We’ll look at Outreach shortly, but for now, just make a list of them and keep it close to hand so you can add new Influencers as you find them.
Next you need to find out which type of content gets the most shares and likes. It just makes sense to identify the popular topics in advance rather than guessing at it. There are various tools like ahrefs and Moz that can help speed up this process.
Check out the "Definitive Guide to Ecommerce Content Marketing" via E-Commerce Content Marketing.
Proven Content Frameworks for Backlinks
Now that you know who your influencers are and which content is most popular you can start to create your content.
Fortunately there are types of content which are proven to attract links and get shared. Here are the main ones you will use:
- Definitive Guides – These are 5,000 to 20,000 word pieces of content and they are the heavyweights of the content world.
- Guest Post – Guest blogging has had some bad press in recent years. But it is still an excellent source of backlinks if you have chosen your Influencers well.
- List Based Content – People love lists. They are fun, engaging and easy to create.
- Expert Round Up – Once you have relationships with your influencers you can survey all of them for their opinion on a particular subject and then create content based on their views.
- Awards – Everyone loves an award and whether you create awards for products you are selling or for your Influencers this type of content is really popular.
- Comparisons – People need expert advice when choosing a product or service. Use your expertise to save them time by giving impartial, expert advice and position yourself as the expert in your field.
- Infographics – When done well an Infographic can be a traffic magnet and can serve you well for a long time to come.
Proven Content Frameworks for Conversions
It is a mistake to only focus on content for Authority or backlinks. Increasing conversion rates can have a dramatic effect whether it’s revenue and profitability that you’re focused on or increasing subscriber opt-ins.
Again, there are several Content Frameworks for Conversion and here they are:
- ‘How To’ Guides – This type of content positions you as an expert and works well for both conversions and traffic. If you’re just getting started with Content Marketing then this is a good place to start.
- Buyers’ Guides – Perfect for busy people who don’t have the time to fully research all the options, a Buyer’s Guide positions you as the benchmark supplier in your market in the eyes of your prospects. Why not complement your guide with a video for extra impact.
- Video – If you’re selling online then using product videos on product pages can increase conversions by up to 80%. But if you’re selling services then video can be used for frequently asked questions, slideshows, whiteboard presentations, screen capture, etc..
- Case Studies – A powerful tool for conversion, a well prepared case study puts your clients centre stage and demonstrates that you can deliver what you say you can deliver.
- User Generated Content (UGC) – Whether it is a tweet, a video testimonial or a review or a video featuring your product, UGC is the authentic voice of your clients and provides that all important social proof.
- Reviews – No longer a nice to have, reviews are an essential part of the marketing scenery. You just need to get in the habit of asking for them.
Your Content Calendar
OK, so you’ve got some ideas for content, but you need to commit to a calendar. Creating content is an ongoing process and the more you do, the better you’ll get.
Even if you just use an excel spreadsheet you can keep it all in one place. Look ahead to industry events, important seasonal events in the calendar that you can create content around.
Once you’ve got some basic ideas then create some headlines and agree which content frameworks you’re going to use.
Identify who will be responsible. If you’re a one person business then maybe you’ll need some outside help, so take that into account.
Identify your influencers and an outreach plan too. These things don’t happen overnight.
Finally, think about where you’re going to publish your content. We’ll cover this in a moment, but for now you just need to be aware of it.
Visuals are important. This is a fundamental point. The most popular content on social media is image related. Also, your influencers will be much more willing to share content if it is visually appealing.
But there is another reason for considering the visual element of your content and that is because it gives you the opportunity to repurpose your content into different formats which will broaden the appeal of your content.
Here are a few options for you:
- Slides – Slideshare is like Google for presentations and slides are easy to create.
- PDF – Some people love pdf documents and you can quickly convert written content on your blog into a pdf which you can offer in a content hub on your website
- Video – Why not create a video to compliment that Definitive Guide or that Buyer’s Guide. Upload it to your YouTube channel and embed it into your blog post.
- Audio – Some people prefer spoken content to video content. Quick and easy to create they can compliment your written content.
- Infographics – We’ve already covered them, but consider if there is a way that you can visually present your content.
Before you publish your content, you just need to run through a final checklist to make sure it is well optimised. This is mainly for blog content, but does apply to other content formats too. Use this list to help you:
- An Attention grabbing headline,
- Identify the main keywords that you want to target,
- Optimise the metatags,
- Optimise the Title and Headings,
- Include the keyword in your headings,
- Optimise any images you use,
- Include the keyword in the text,
- Link to other content in your website,
- If appropriate link to your Influencers content,
- Add social sharing buttons,
- Check mobile friendliness,
- Check load speed.
Now that your content is live you need to promote it and get it in front of as many people as possible.
Here’s how you do it...
OK, remember that list of Influencers, well now you need to start using it.
Initially you just need to start following them and trying to get on their radar. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook or whichever social media site they seem to prefer.
You need to promote their content, comment on their blogs, sign up to their email list and interact with their community so that you can get on their radar.
By doing this you are showing yourself as a useful and engaged member of their community.
Whenever possible link to their best content in your content. When your content is published, just drop them an email asking them for their feedback. As you get better at it, email them in advance to get them involved in the content creation process.
The aim is to get your content in front of them, to ask for their feedback and to get their buy in. Your email does not need to be pushy or asking for anything.
Just start by asking for their input and feedback. Use any comments or suggestions they make and if necessary include in your content where possible.
Thank your influencers and ask them politely if they would be able to share your content to their followers. Usually they are happy to do this especially now that you have a relationship with them.
But of course don’t forget to email your own social media followers and your email subscriber list and if you are using remarketing be sure to include your remarketing code on your content so that your visitors get reminded of you as they browse other websites.
But it doesn’t stop there. If you are creating great, visually appealing content then make a note to promote it after a week, a month, 3 months, etc.. There are even tools you can use to automate this for you.
So there you have it. Content Marketing for Traffic, Authority and Conversions is not a game of chance; it is a step by step, repeatable and predictable process.
Good luck and let us know what type of content works best for you and how you promote your own content in the comments below.