As Part II of our three-part series of posts on getting started with content marketing, we’re going to take a look at what kinds of actions marketers can take in the first 60 days to continue building their content marketing campaigns.
Our recommendations for the first 30 days of content marketing focused on quick actions that businesses can take to capitalize on existing content channels. This approach has the effect of maximizing resources and setting a solid foundation upon which you can build, which you’ll start doing now in that 30-60 day time period.
Digging In: SEO and Keywords
With 30 days under your belt, you should have a good sense of your capabilities and the resources available to you. Now the focus shifts to maximizing and improving those resources to fine tune your campaign. We’re going to work on improving the resources you have for your chosen content channels using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keyword research.
Why SEO and keywords? Because at just 30-60 days in, chances are you haven’t quite got a system in place, but may still have some content out there. It makes sense to review that content and edit it so that it can be more easily found by your audience and integrated into your content campaign. SEO and keywords help with both of those objectives.
Since marketing is often about being in the right place at the right time, it’s critical to the success of your content marketing plan that your content actually gets placed in front of the right audience at the right time. SEO helps you do that by providing exposure in natural, or organic (non-paid), search results. This helps to build brand awareness, boost engagement with your audience, and, ultimately, convert customers.
Hand-in-hand with SEO are keywords. Keywords help you target your message, connect with the right audience at the right time, and stand out to search engines. You sprinkle these keywords in to your content and search engines will flag that content as appropriate for the user’s intended search and Voila! your page ranks in the search results!
How To Optimize Content For SEO
Optimizing content is really about thinking about how the customer uses the internet to find things. With that in mind, you’ll want to:
- Research keywords that your audience is most likely to use when searching for the types of products or services you offer.
- Use those keywords in appropriate places in your content such as titles, headlines and subheads, title tags, meta descriptions, and first and last paragraphs.
- Organize the content on your website in a logical fashion. For example, under a Services page, list your services. Under FAQs, list FAQs. Under Contact Us, list your address and contact information.
- Promote your content by sharing it on social media, in emails and newsletters, and via external linking.
How To Choose Keywords
Before you can optimize your content, you’ll have to figure out what keywords to use. Some keywords may be easy to determine such as a product or service you offer. Others may be a bit harder to identify. Here are some tips to help you with keyword research:
- Think like your customers. What would they type into the search field to have your business returned to them? Those are good foundation keywords. Let’s say you’re in the business of basket weaving. Foundational keywords would be “basket weaving” or maybe “handmade baskets”.
- Refine and add to your keyword list by using less common keywords or niche keywords. These are more specific than foundational keywords and likely to provide you with better results because they’re typically less competitive than the broader foundation keywords. Refined keywords might be “basket weaving classes”, “seagrass baskets”, or “basket weaving supplies” or even the city or state when customers can find your business.
- Write like you speak. Many search engines have moved towards semantic search to capture the rising number of voice searches that are being made using digital assistances like Siri and Alexa. It’s a good idea to add in conversational keywords to nab this audience – “basket weaving classes near me” and “how do I make a basket?”, for example.
- Use search engines. Still stuck? Head on over to your search engine of choice. Start typing in a few basic keywords associated with your business and see what kind of auto suggestions pop up. That can be a great way to get an outside perspective on common search terms related to your business or industry.
Keep The Audience Front And Center
The biggest takeaway here is to produce content and use words with your audience in mind; don’t get hung up on keywords too much. Yes, keywords and optimization will help your cause, but search engines have become incredibly sophisticated which means we no longer have to rely on keyword stuffed, unnatural wording to be found by our audiences. Today it is much easier to simply produce helpful, informative pieces and make them available to your audience. This opens up a world of possibilities for those who thought content creation was too hard or required specialty work. The playing field is leveling out, but we’ve still got to play by the rules for best results.
For more advice on keyword selection and SEO, contact The Marketing Shop. Schedule a consultation online or call 860-615-6182 to get started.