Content marketing has the potential to deliver excellent results for those who are prepared to invest in it. However, in an increasingly competitive market, it is getting more and more difficult to generate content that is engaging enough to deliver the necessary results.
The first thing to do when working on a content marketing project is to set the goals for the campaign. Generally, the main objective for content marketing when it comes to SEO is earning high authority, relevant links in a natural way. However, it is possible that you might want to place more emphasis on one of the ancillary benefits such as: good quality referral traffic; increased brand visibility or social shares.
You might also want to measure the results generated from the above such as revenue or lead generation growth. For example, a campaign may acquire 50 unique domains linking to your site or 50,000 visits from referral traffic, but what does this equate to in financial terms?
What content should you create?
The type of content that can be created to gain exposure for your business varies massively. Content that can be used for this process includes but is not limited to: blog posts, white papers, videos, quizzes, surveys, research papers, infographics, software tools and interactive pieces.
What makes a good piece of content?
In this context, we will define good content to be that which has the potential to achieve our goals of earning links. A study by Moz and Buzzsumo assessing over one million articles concluded that the articles most likely achieve a higher volume of links are “opinion forming, authoritative content on current topics or well researched and evidenced content”. They also found no correlation between shares and links and that certain types of content can be shared a lot but receive little to no links, this would include content such as quizzes and videos. However, this is a high level study, so it is always worthwhile researching your industry and competitors specifically to see what content has performed well.
What makes a weak piece of content?
As per the above, we will define weak content to be that which has little potential to achieve our goals of earning links. The previously mentioned study highlighted that quizzes and videos would be more likely to earn shares than links. It also mentions that articles over 1,000 words are much more likely to achieve links. Further to that, weak content will generally be poorly researched, unoriginal and badly executed, adding little value to the existing online dialogue.
Our content generation process
We have a lot of success for our clients with content marketing at Best Response Media. We find the following process an extremely effective way of generating a killer content marketing idea.
Refer the archives
We keep records of every content marketing campaign that we undertake. This allows us to consult our own archives of successful campaigns in different industries that could add insights into the latest one that we are working on.
The client’s Google Analytics account can offer insight into how successful their previous content has been.
We will conduct internal, cross-departmental brainstorming sessions in order to generate seed ideas. This can be a great first step to build a bucket of unfiltered ideas prior to conducting any further research. We will also incorporate client interviews into these sessions to allow us to get further insights into their business that might be relevant for the process.
Conducting keyword research can be a fantastic way to identifying content ideas. We use a variety of tools for this task including SEM Rush, Moz Keyword Explorer and Google Keyword Planner. This process helps us identify what people are actually looking for and in what kind of volume. We can also see what content is currently ranking for these terms and how many links and shares they have.
Competitor and industry research
This can provide further insight into what has already been done and how successful it has been. As per the above, we can look at specific competitor content pieces and see how well they are ranking and how many links they have using tools such as SEM Rush and Majestic. SEM Rush could highlight opportunities where content is ranking well but has a low number of links.
By the time we reach competitor and industry research, we will already have a shortlist of ideas, so we are able to see what their chance of success will be. There might already be a lot of good quality content for an idea with little room for improvement. However, there might either be very little on a topic or low quality content that can be significantly improved.
Reddit and Quora can also be useful to get a flavour for popular topics. Just search based on target keywords and see what gets a lot of points and upvotes.
Once we have been through the above steps, we will normally have built a content plan. However, before we start to create the content we will conduct some pre-outreach. We will contact relevant bloggers and journalists in order to gain their feedback with regards to the idea. This could also involve some further suggestions for enhancing our idea. If the content piece passes this test, then we have found our new piece of killer content.
How to measure the results?
Once the campaign has been built and the outreach has been completed, it is time to measure the results. At the start of this article, we discussed the setting of goals. The results should be measured against the initial goals to see whether the campaign performed to your expectations. It is worth noting that the revenue benefit may not be felt immediately as Google can take up to ten weeks to deliver ranking benefits of new links.