User engagement metrics, such as time on page, bounce rate, and returning users, have become the new unofficial ranking system on Google.
The days of posting 400-words articles with a 2 percent keyword density for boosting a page’s search engine ranking are now long gone. Nowadays, bad content has a bigger impact than it used to be, where it can drown in a sea of content made for SEO purposes.
While creating a well-planned content marketing strategy is necessary to attract and keep customers, it also improves a site’s Google search ranking. Therefore, focusing on producing quality content is a foolproof way to boost your SERP rankings.
The key to quality content is to always strategize first. Churning out content for the sake of producing content is more detrimental than anything in our day and age. Once you’ll start producing quality content with a good engagement with your users that is boosting your rankings, you’ll understand why strategizing is a superior approach.
And it’s a simple approach. The tips in this article will reveal the best steps to take to create a sound and functional content marketing strategy.
Defining Your Goals
We create great content for a specific reason, and you need to define that reason. Are you boosting brand awareness, generating leads, convert users, attract old customers, or improving search engine rankings?
Once your goals are defined, is a content marketing strategy the best way to achieve them. Unfortunately, or fortunately for certain persons, content marketing is not always the best option for any situation.
For instance, the content might not be the best solution to convert users at the end of the sales funnel. However, it might be what you need to create brand awareness and lead generation.
There are unique solutions for different stages of the sales funnels. Here, you will need to warrant which content is more appropriated for your users at each stage of the sales funnel. That way, you’ll have the right conversation at the right time with the right person.
Hubspot shows how they divide their sales funnel into three interconnected stages based on which content in each different stage of the funnel. They then list the content assets that are appropriate for each stage.
Research Your Audience
It’s a straightforward decision that knowing your audience is a sure way to create a successful content marketing strategy. We can draw valuable information from your website, based on what types of sites your audience and your prospects are visiting.
This can be done by enabling Google Demographics and Interests for the sites your audience engages with and Google Analytics for the content they engage with.
Delve into Google Analytics to determine which content is producing the best results based on metrics. To learn more, click on Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown. To find the best results, you can sort by different factors, such as Average Time on Page, Bounce Rate, and Pageviews.
With this, you can target content for your users rather than content you want to read.
Put Your Focus On Your Niche
Unfortunately, the Internet is full of content that, simply put, shouldn’t exist. This content either already exists somewhere and is just a repost or doesn’t provide any value, tangible or not.
On the flip side, 99% of Internet users don’t see this useless content because it doesn’t appear on their anywhere near the top of the SERP.
Nonetheless, how can you avoid having your content lost in that pack? Well, it’s not terribly complicated, you just have to create engaging, unique, and valuable to your reader.
Measuring Your Results
The measurement of the results of your content marketing efforts is one of the most crucial components of creating and developing a successful content marketing strategy. Churning out content without looking at the feedback is just like trying to call your friends with your phone off: it is counterintuitive.
Your first responsibility as a content writer should be to listen to your audience to better understand them, but also what they like and what they don’t like. Here are the most crucial metrics to understand.
This is the first layer of information you gather when people scroll through your content. As mentioned previously, and as shown below, you get this data from Google Analytics by clicking on behavior>Site Content>Content Drilldown. Of course, this data is sortable by different factors, such as Average Time on Page, Bounce Rate, and Pageviews.
This data is extremely valuable because it answers the most important questions: Did my content drive a spike in traffic? Did my users spend more time on my website to look at a particular piece of content? Did some content garner comments and/or shares on social media?
Social Sharing Metrics
Sharing on platforms such as social media is a good indicator for determining how engaged is your audience. You need to ask what type of content is being shared, who is sharing, which platform is content shared on, and, most important, which content is converting? These are the step to know what content is converting.
1. Go on Google Analytics
2. Click on Acquisition>Social>Overview
Assuming you have your goals set up, you should see a report similar to the one below.
You have three very important metrics here.
Conversions: This underlines the total number and amount of conversions. They are from all of your traffic sources, not limited to social.
Assisted Social Conversions: To register an assisted social conversion, a visitor must visit the social media website at least once. Though, they might have used a different traffic source before the last part of the conversion.
Last Interaction Social Conversions: Visitors are registered to this group if they came from social media and completed an assigned goal in the same session.
Once you have this data, it will yield considerable insight into the type and style of content needs to get conversions. Also, you will determine which social media platform is working best.
Remember that some niches encourage sharing more than others, so compare with your competitors with a similar user base.
If your content is part of the sales funnel, it is crucial to know which part of it you are creating content for. Content needs to be made specifically for the audience at each stage of the sales funnel.
The goal of your content is attracting or leaking leads, so monitor its performance and identify which part can be improved to stop users to drop out of the sales funnel and generate more leads. The best way to monitor leads is to, yet again, use Google Analytics.
The easiest type of goal is to set a URL destination. This is how you do it.
1. Yet again, log in to Google Analytics.
2. Click on Conversions>Goals>Goals URLs.
3. Then, click on the “set up” button.
4. Click on the “+ NEW GOAL” button.
5. Select Template.
6. Type a description of your goal.
7. Select Destination, and proceed with the “Continue” button.
8. In goal details, you must add the URL of the goal you want to track. The whole URL is not needed, just the last path.
9. Proceed to click save and that is it!
10. See your goals once set up, click Conversions>Goals>Goals URLs
You should see something similar to this.
In business, at least in most, content generation should ultimately boost your revenue. Therefore, if your content is revenue-based, you need to measure the amount of revenue your content marketing has generated.
Luckily enough, at least for you, these are the steps to find the amount of revenue your content has generated.
1. And, for the last time, I promise, log in to Google Analytics.
2. Click on Behavior>Site Content>All Pages
You should see something similar to the graph below.
This will allow assigning value to content. Of course, if the content isn’t performing as well as you hoped for, then click here to learn how to increase your content engagement.
To outline the four content marketing strategies above, here is a graphic that explains them perfectly.
Listen To Your Customers
Even though data analysis can be immensely beneficial, it only gives you black and white parameters on a rather wide spectrum that encompasses a lot of subjectivity. The only way to access this spectrum is to listen to your customers.
They need to know you hear them on social media, so ask them for feedback and suggestions. It is also crucial to speak to members of your staff to get a better overview of the needs of your customers. Reaching out to your customers and answering their feedback enables you to yield valuable data and also shows them that their opinions matter.
An excellent case study of using big data for customer feedback is Virgin.com. They incorporated search terms used on the web, people being followed on social media platforms, and interests expressed online.
As shown in the graph below, they dug and integrated data in their communications, showing their audience the right message at the appropriate part of the customer journey.
Amplify Your Content
Of course, like anything, a sound and targeted content strategy will only make up the first part of the equation. The last part is the amplification of content.
To amplify your content, you need to give it the boost it needs by determining the places your audience frequent online and posts on those channels to reach them. Furthermore, you’ll need to think strategically to pinpoint all the resources available to you and then gather the power of your employees, customers, and influencers to amplify your content.
Creating a successful content marketing strategy isn’t exactly an exact science. There isn’t an etched-in-stone, surefire way to do it, but, with experience, trials and errors, and a lot of determination, you will see tangible results in your efforts. Once you have found your recipe for success, all you will have to do is rinse and repeat to see exponential audience growth.