What’s Trending: Renew Your Content Strategy Commitment
August 17, 2020
Content marketing always starts with the best of intentions. You do your research, develop a strategy, fill out an editorial calendar, and establish a publishing cadence. Your content is 100% relevant to your audience, each piece serves a purpose, and your results are real and measurable.
But, of course, things tend to slip over time. If your content is sometimes starting to feel like checking a box, instead of lighting a fire, it’s time to refresh your commitment to high-quality, strategic content.
The right content can help establish thought leadership, build brand awareness, nurture potential customers, and ultimately drive revenue. This week’s roundup is full of practical advice to help you revitalize your content strategy.
Purpose is what puts the ‘marketing’ in content marketing. But the purpose needs to be strategic. As James Brockbank points out here, purposes like “Google likes fresh content” or “our director requires five blog posts a week” aren’t likely to serve measurable marketing goals.
James identifies four content purposes that are measurable and roll up to proving ROI:
- Earning links
- Ranking on the SERPs
- Educating an audience
- Driving social engagement
It’s important to note that content can do more than one of these at a time. Content that educates an audience is likely to earn backlinks, which leads to increased search engine visibility. But trying to tick every box can lead to content that doesn’t serve any of the four purposes.
James makes a compelling point for having one clear primary purpose in mind for each piece. “Sometimes there will be a crossover between different purposes,” he says, “but always look to identify a single reason why you’re producing every content piece.”
Pillar content, skyscraper, tentpole — whatever you call it, search rankings are dominated by in-depth, substantial content. But it’s not about writing like you’re paid by the word. Depth and breadth are far more important than the overall word count.
To create a piece of pillar content, Justin Champion suggests starting with a head term, identifying a core topic associated with that term, then branching out into subtopics under your core topic. For example, the head term could be “gum disease,” while a core topic would be “gum disease prevention” and the subtopic might be “How to fight gingivitis in three easy steps.”
Justin goes into detail about how to identify the right components for your pillar content, helping you build out a framework to create it step-by-step. He also focuses on the pillar as part of a larger content ecosystem, a crosslinked hub of information that is irresistible to humans and search engines alike.
Even when your content strategy is impeccable, you’re going to have some content that just doesn’t hit with its intended audience on initial release. You might also see content that gets a massive amount of engagement when first published, but decays quickly over time. Both of these problems can be solved with strategic repurposing.
Joshua Hardwick illustrates how effective repurposing can be in this piece, drawing real-world examples from the Ahrefs blog. One post that the team refreshed was able to double its traffic almost immediately, and it continues to perform well over six months later.
The secret is to correctly identify content with potential for repurposing, then refresh it in a way that better aligns it with search intent and offers more value than similar pages that are already ranking. Joshua offers a detailed guide to each step of the process, with a video version for folks who are scrolling-averse.
Of course, writing great content has more to do with setting the right goals and hitting the right search topics. Content should serve to create a connection between your brand and its audience: It’s a way to build trust that ultimately leads to deepening the relationship.
Lee Odden starts his piece with a shocking statistic: 58% of B2B buyers say they don’t believe claims made by vendors they most recently bought from. There’s a serious trust gap in B2B, and content is the best way for brands to close that gap.
One good way to add authenticity and value to your content is to include more voices. “As I’ve often said, ‘If you want your content to be great, ask your customers to participate,’” says Lee. Customers, employees, and industry influencers can all contribute more credibility to your content.
It’s all well and good to talk about content strategy in an academic way, but it’s even better to see how a strategy has played out for actual B2B brands. Andy Crestodina brings a ton of value in this piece, with detailed, tactical success stories from Databox, Animalz, and Enchanting Marketing.
The best part: Andy includes a Content Strategy Scorecard you can use to guide your next strategy session.
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