Category Archives: Content Strategy

7 Features of Successful Content Marketing Plan

Creating a successful content marketing strategy

Creating a successful content marketing strategy

Guest post

There are a number of companies and businessmen that have created content marketing plans with little success. A number of possible reasons exist for why a content marketing campaign does not hit the intended goal. This could be because the content lacks quality, or the wrong type of content is used.

In this article you’ll learn the top tips for a successful content marketing plan. Therefore, you’ll avoid the common mistakes of others that have failed before you. With the list of tips mentioned below you’ll realize that implementing a successful content marketing plan can be a straightforward process.

Understand the audience

It’s important to figure out who your audience is and cater the content to them. For example, consider the type of problems they have, what kind of hobbies they take part in and their financial status. The more information you can find out about the demographics of your audience the more relevant the content will be.

Writing content that the audience can relate to allows for high rates of engagement. They are more likely to stick around to the end of the blog post and see the call to action.

Call to action

The point of content marketing is to generate new leads for your business. However, without a CTA the conversion rate for each piece of content is going to be minimal. You need to include the CTA in a variety of locations. For example, if you’re trying to get new subscribers to your email newsletter, then at the end of every piece of content tempt the viewer to sign up.

You can also have the CTA in the middle of the content if it’s in the flow of the writing. This might increase the conversion rate of your content marketing campaign even higher.

Solve a problem

The type of content you put out should aim to solve a problem for the audience. Not every piece of advice that you give should be behind a pay wall. By offering free and helpful information the customer is more likely to buy from you.

For example, if your website is about weight loss, then you could give advice on how to avoid putting on weight during a vacation. Actionable advice that’s targeted is always great for a content marketing strategy.

Consistent output

Regardless of how great your content is, an infrequent posting frequency will not work. Audiences expect regular content to digest – this ensures they will be coming back for more – even expecting it before it arrives.

The best approach is to send out daily content so that followers have a reason to visit your website on a daily basis. Once you have built up a large library of content you’ll also receive a large volume of traffic from the search engines.

Measure the performance

To understand what’s working and what isn’t, the performance of content should be measured. A breakdown of different statistics for every piece of content should be noted and organized. This includes the bounce rate, number of new subscribers, traffic and social shares.

Over time you’ll begin to see a pattern regarding what type of content receives the highest amount of attention. This means you can increase the ROI of your content strategy by focusing on what works. Before coming to conclusions ensure the amount of data gathered represent a decent sample size. Perhaps 1,000 visitors are enough to see how well a piece of content is performing.

Optimize for the search engines

If you are going to create content, then you might as well make the most of it by optimizing for the search engines. The common SEO principles to adhere to is the use of relevant keywords, optimization of meta tags and backlinking to other pages of your website within the content.

The last point is SEO friendly and it also improves the usability for the end user.

Repurpose your content

Working smarter always outperforms working harder. With that thought in mind repurposing your content is a great idea. For example, after writing a blog post you can use a portion of the content for an email or social media post.

This ensures that you are able to make the most of each piece of content created. You can then add a link to the original piece of content if they wish to read the entire piece.

Conclusion

The combination of the 7 tips for a successful content marketing strategy can increase the profitability of your campaign. You’ll see that by using these common marketing tactics the process is simplified. You can even outsource the entire operation to professionals.

Ensuring that your content marketing strategy hits targets is important to the overall success of your business. A well-implemented strategy can be the difference between achieving a consistent flow of many customers, and struggling to get any at all.

Do you know you can improve your CTR by 200% by tweaking your title?

Improve your CTR with web page and blog post titles

Improve your CTR with web page and blog post titles

Your web page and blog post titles are very important. I have lost a new client who insisted that I create titles for his blog posts for the same amount he was paying for writing the blog posts. The titles are so important that I charge extra for coming up with them.

Your web page and blog post titles are so important that they come under content marketing and content strategy because they can pretty much define the direction of your entire content marketing approach.

What are your title tags and why they are important?

Although your page heading and title tags can be the same, they can also be different. The heading is something that you enclose within <h1> and </h1>.

The title tag is something that you enclose within <head><title></title></head>.

Both are important. It is your heading, or the headline that hooks people to your web page or blog post when they come to your link. But, on search engine result pages, it is your title tag that matters.

It is your title tag that appears as a hyperlink when people search for your business:

Web page title as hyperlink in search results

Web page title as hyperlink in search results

Your web page and blog post titles are not just important for CTR (click-through ratio), they are also important for your SEO.

Google re-ranks your content according to your CTR. If your appearance in the search results does not attract many clicks, Google lowers your ranking for that link. If it attracts more clicks, it increases your rank for that link.

This blog post on Seige Media gives an in-depth analysis of how to test which web page and blog post titles perform the best through A/B testing, with the help of Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmasters Tools). The writer also says that if you improve your title, you can experience a click-through increase of 20-200%.

Good web page titles can increase your CTR by 20-200%

Good web page titles can increase your CTR by 20-200%

A/B testing, as explained in the above link, can be a time-consuming exercise but it is worth your effort if you really want to make sure that you create optimized web page and blog post titles for maximum CTR.

It basically involves

  • coming up with the best title you can think of in the beginning,
  • publishing your web page or blog post with that title,
  • and noting down when your link begins to appear in the search results.

This is assuming that you are using Google Search Console to track your search engine appearance and your clicks.

Let things happen for two weeks.

Start noting down values such as number of clicks, click-through ratio and impressions for that particular link in the past two weeks.

Then, change the title and resubmit the link. Make sure the link has appeared in the search results.

Repeat the above process after two weeks.

This way you can create a detailed analysis of how various titles perform.

How do you write web page titles and blog post titles for maximum CTR?

Aside from the main keywords in the search terms that you should use within your title, the intent is also very important. What moves people to click your link?

The most commonsensical way of knowing what matters the most to people is, addressing their main concern within the title.

If you are looking for a blog writing service, then obviously something about a blog writing service is going to attract you towards a certain link.

But you are not just looking for a blog writing service, you are looking for a blog writing service that can help your business in a certain way.

This is where longtail keyword optimization can help you. Try to pack as much information as possible without making things too complicated.

“Blog writing service” may get me a good CTR, but “blog writing service for my car repair service” may get me even better CTR.

So, if people have a question, provide an answer. If people have a problem, provide a solution. If someone asks for “how many?”, give him or her “these many”.

Neil Patel suggests that you can use emojis in your titles to improve your CTR. This is something I didn’t know. Of course, if all the links on the search engine result page are without emojis and there is a single link that is with emojis, people will tend to click it.

Neil also suggests that mention numbers when you are creating titles for your blog posts and web pages.

“77% increase in CTR after this” gets more clicks than “awesome increase in CTR after this”.

Be more specific when writing titles

Be more specific when writing titles

This Hubspot blog post on creating web page and blog post titles people cannot resist clicking suggests that you make your titles very specific. For example, if your web page contains an interview, then mention it somewhere in the title. If it contains a podcast or infographic, mention it. The post claims that titles that contain specific information that says exactly what the web page or the blog post contains get 38% more clicks than those titles that don’t.

The Hubspot post also has some rules of thumb on how to come up with clickable titles. Even small things matter.

Some title formats that always work

“How to” titles seem to work quite well, especially with search engine and social media users:

“How I increased my website traffic by 200% with just this simple SEO trick”

The title clearly tells that you are going to reveal what SEO trick you used that increase your traffic by 200%. Such titles draw lots of clicks.

“10 ways you can sell your old mobile phone online within 24 hours”

“Painstakingly learnt 25 content marketing lessons that are 100% failsafe”

“If this method doesn’t give you an 8-hour peaceful sleep, nothing will”

“Why” and “how” seem to do quite well because they trigger a sense of curiosity and also provide some valuable information in a concrete form.

Conclusion

Your web page and blog post titles need to cater to a strong desire, or need. They should also give concrete information. Something like “Get 1500 leads in 3 weeks” will always be more convincing than “Get more leads faster”.

The importance of image link building

Using images for link building

Using images for link building

Some of my clients have observed that in my blog updates I am paying special attention to the quality of the images I use these days.

Although normally they are a mash up of images that I find in Google images and other places, these days I try to make them as unique as possible by combining multiple images and text.

Not everybody can create nice-looking images, and this is where image link building can help you.

Have you ever noticed that when people use an image from another website or blog, they normally mention the “source”?

This gave me an idea. I normally find it very difficult to approach other publishers and bloggers (doesn’t mean I don’t) for backlinks.

As you know, people don’t go on distributing their backlinks. They either really need to know you, or you need to offer them something really compelling, or something they cannot resist linking to.

Being a content writer, writing blog posts comes easy to me, but most of the time, either I’m writing for my clients, or for myself.

Somehow, I cannot bring myself to writing blog posts for other websites and blogs. At least not right now. Maybe in future, when I will feel that my own blog and website have had enough of my writing, I will start writing for other blogs and websites.

Most of the backlinks that I currently have come from a few news websites because I also write journalistic articles and opinion pieces. But that is not sufficient.

I like creating images. This is not my profession and I don’t do this for money, so maybe I enjoy it more. But that’s beside the point.

Many bloggers and online publishers are constantly looking for good images. Major search engines like Google and Bing have dedicated image search sections. There is a complete website dedicated to curating images: Pinterest.

Talking of Pinterest, if you want people to pin your images try to make them as relevant as possible to your blog post or web page. This will get you more clicks from Pinterest.

What I’m trying to say is, there is a big world that revolves around images. This opportunity can be tapped into. You can encourage people to link to you due to the quality of your images.

Will give you a small example: Recently I published a web page dedicated to my blog content writing services. Actually, I have created multiple web pages, but I was just testing whether the images that I have used with these web pages show up in the image search results or not.

Just to make sure that Google was giving me unbiased results I used the “incognito mode” of the browser.

When I searched for “blog content writing services” on google.com I found the following images from my website:

Google image search results for the phrase blog content writing services

Google image search results for the phrase blog content writing services

I hovered the cursor over the image thumbnail and this is why the various thumbnails are showing image dimensions and the website link.

There are other images too, but I haven’t shown all the images here.

Before the weekend I also published “6 Indisputable Benefits of Content Marketing” and I created two graphics for it. If you search for “benefits of content marketing”, you find both these images in the image search results:

Google image search results for the phrase benefits of content marketing

Google image search results for the phrase benefits of content marketing

How to use images for link building?

When you are creating or mashing up images for your website or blog, think from the perspective of a person who would one day like to use your image.

Does it offer some useful insight? A statistic, for example?

Many people creating presentations and slides will like to use your image with data.

After you have created the image, do you think people would like to use it?

This brings to my mind that with my images, I use my website link to make sure that one, people know that from where the image is coming, and two, they don’t use the image as their own. I’m not sure if this is a good tactic or not because if I include my link, it may deter them from using the image and linking to my website as “source”.

Anyway, the idea for this present blog post that I’m writing about the importance of using images for link building, came to me when I was going through my Twitter timeline and came across an update from Moz.

They publish weekly videos titled “Whiteboard Friday” in which they give very useful SEO tips.

In their latest Whiteboard Friday video, they have talked about how to use images for link building.

Aside from creating very striking and useful images, I think you should also aim for improving your search engine rankings in the image search results.

I have recently started following these points while using images on my website and blog:

  • Name the image file with a descriptive phrase. For example, if I’m creating a blog post about content marketing, some way or the other, I try to make sure that the phrase “content marketing” appears within the name of the image file.
  • Use the .PNG format when saving the images. This will allow you to create very light images without losing their quality and sharpness. This is something that I discovered just recently. Google prefers the .PNG format.
  • Describe the image using the ALT tag. Never misguide – the text in the ALT tag must represent what is being shown in the image.
  • Use image captions. This is also something that I have just started using a few days back and this has shown a marked improvement in my image search engine rankings. Caption is an HTML tag that you can enclose your image in and in the caption text, try to use your keyword. Again, use the caption text contextually, not irrelevantly.
  • Use appropriate text around the image. Although technology these days allows computers to read text with images and there are many algorithms that can tell what is inside the image (a tiger jumping over a fallen tree, for example), the image ranking algorithms still depend upon the information existing around the image to make out what the image represents.

These are the few measures you can take to make sure that your images enjoy better search engine rankings.

Rankings are important. No matter how good your images are, if people are not able to find them, they’re not going to help you in image link building.

Why it is important to publish fresh content regularly on your website

Why it is important to publish fresh content regularly

SEO experts and content marketers are constantly advising you to publish new, fresh content regularly on your website and blog.

Whenever this is suggested people think that a content marketer or an SEO expert is making such suggestions so that a client needs to spend more money on getting new content.

Of course, repeatedly publishing fresh content brings more money for the content writing and the content marketing company, but this is just one side of the story.

Recently a prospective client had submitted a query from my contact form and she said she found my website by first searching for the term “creating content clusters” and then further filtering the results for the last 30 days.

“Creating content clusters” is a competitive phrase and in normal search results my website doesn’t appear  even among the top 40 results on the search engine results page.

But since I have just recently published a blog post on the topic, it appears when someone filters the search results for the past 30 days, at number 2.

screenshot-of-topic-cluster-search-result-page

This made me think that having fresh content isn’t just good for your normal SEO, it also increases your chances of getting found on search engine results for the narrowed searches based on time frames. Especially when you aren’t ranking otherwise.

What if someone wants to search for web pages and blog posts published within the past 4 months? If you have published something during this period it will definitely show up.

I’m not saying you should publish regularly just because some people might be searching for information within certain date ranges, since there is an option to narrow down searches based on time frame it means there might be many people using this feature. It means there are many people looking for fresh content.

What are the benefits of publishing fresh content on your website or blog?

Even if you are not much bothered about being found by people who are looking for you within a particular date range, publishing fresh content regularly increases your chances of getting ranked higher by Google.

This is because Google prefers fresh content to stale content.

Given a choice between ranking a website that rarely publishes and ranking a website that regularly publishes and given that the quality of content being somewhat similar, Google ranks the website that publishes regularly higher.

This is because Google wants to present fresh content to its users. It looks for similar content, and if in terms of quality it finds fresh content, it chooses that content for better rankings.

Most of the search engine crawlers are designed in such a manner that they are continuously scouring the web for fresh content. They mark the websites that publish content regularly, taking note of the frequency with which the new content appears.

Then they automatically visit these websites at set intervals and if they publish new content, it is quickly crawled, indexed and ranked. This way, their content becomes visible on search engine results pages, sometimes within seconds.

This is something I have experienced personally: since I publish fresh content regularly on my blog, many of my blog posts and web pages start appearing in Google search within seconds. I’m not saying it metaphorically, my posts and pages actually start appearing within seconds.

In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons why I advise my clients to publish content regularly – to help the search engine algorithms draw up pattern of publication on their website or blog so that whenever they post something, it is quickly, almost immediately, indexed and ranked.

Another, a serious reason for publishing fresh content regularly on your website is that it gives a reason to people to visit your website repeatedly.

Normally, when someone visits your website and goes through all the present information, there is no reason for the person to come back again.

Unless you are amazon.com people are not going to buy from you on their first visit. They buy from you on their third or fourth or fifth visit. But since, you don’t give them a reason to visit your website, very soon, after having visited it once, they forget about it because there are hundreds of other such websites to attract them.

There are just two options for you: send them ineffective marketing messages by email that they very soon start redirecting to the spam folder, or you publish high-quality valuable content that informs them, educates them, or at least engages them.

Something that they appreciate.

A good thing about publishing fresh content regularly on your website is that you can then use the same content for your email campaigns and even for social media and social networking updates.

Publishing fresh content regularly should never be seen as a hassle. When you are constantly interacting, when you are constantly publishing fresh content, it shows to the people that you are active and you are eager to engage.

What are topic clusters and pillar pages and how they improve your SEO?

What are topic clusters and pillar pages

Neil Patel has published a nice blog post on the concept of creating pillar pages, improving their SEO and in the process improving the overall SEO of your website.

In the beginning of the blog post he has also referred to an older Hubspot post that explains in detail how they have been able to help one of their clients improve their search engine ranking for their chosen keyword through a pillar page in particular and topic clusters in general. I had come across this Hubspot blog post a couple of months ago and had been wanting to write about it but somehow, lost the thread while trying to handle other topics on my blog and website.

The Hubspot blog post explains why creating topic clusters are important due to the way people use search queries these days.

Content marketers and search engine optimization experts believe that, due to the complexity and quantity of content available on the web, search engine users don’t use single-word queries. An average query these days consists of 4-5 words.

One reason is, as mentioned above, there is plenty of useless content available on the web and hence, users want to make sure that they give the search engine as much information as possible to zero-in on the right search results.

The second reason is that more and more people are using voice to search, mostly on their mobile phones. So, when people speak into their mobile phones, they mostly use phrases, day-to-day expressions, to carry out the search instead of single keywords.

Creating and maintaining topic clusters allows you to gather relevant and interrelated bits of information around a single source and hence, increase the subject-authority of your website or blog.

What are topic clusters?

A cluster means, a sort of a grouping. It’s coming together of different components of an environment or a topic. The same applies to topic clusters.

Topic cluster and pillar page explained

Google is constantly looking for authoritative, specialized content. How does it know that you have “authoritative, specialized” content?

One way of finding that out is, of course when your content is being referred to and responded to by lots of people on the Internet in general and social networking websites in particular.

But when it comes to on-site SEO, it means having lots of good quality content around your chosen topic.

Let’s take an example of my website. Suppose I want to increase my search engine rankings for the keyword or key phrase “SEO content writing services”.

The normal route would be creating lots of web pages and blog posts on my website including the search term “SEO content writing services” – I’m still using this method and I need to explore the concept of creating topic clusters more. I will share my progress on this later.

So, I will create lots of blog posts and articles talking about the various aspects of SEO content writing including

  • What is SEO content writing
  • Why SEO content writing is important
  • SEO content writing doesn’t mean low quality content
  • How to write SEO content
  • How to target different markets with SEO content
  • How does Google deal with your SEO content
  • What type of SEO content writing services I provide
  • How I can help you improve your SEO with my content
  • What is my SEO content writing methodology
  • How much I charge for my SEO content writing services

The list can go on and on.

The problem with the traditional method is that all the blog posts, articles and web pages that you create around your chosen keyword or search term are isolated and scattered. They’re not connected with each other. They’re not part of a cluster. The search engines will crawl them and index them as separate entities.

This sort of content arrangement gets lost in all the hubbub that fills up the Internet.

This sort of content management worked previously because there wasn’t lots of content on the Internet and not many businesses were using content marketing to promote their businesses. Now that content marketing has gone mainstream every business and individual want to use it and hence, your content authority needs to stand out. This you can achieve by creating content clusters, or topic clusters.

The important components of a topic cluster are

  • The web page containing an introduction to the main topic, in my case that would be “SEO content writing services”
  • A cluster of blog posts and webpages – on my website as well as on other websites like Medium, Quora and LinkedIn – that lead to the main web page and to each other

Hence, it becomes a cluster.

What is a pillar page?

A pillar page is the main web page to which every other web page, blog post and article links. This is the web page or blog post you want to optimize.

As explained above in the topic cluster section, pillar page exists at the center of your topic cluster. It is the main topic you want to cover. Everything else links to it and it links to everything else. It becomes an Oracle of knowledge about the topic or the search term.

How does creating topic clusters and pillar pages improve your search engine rankings?

Search engines like Google are constantly looking for authority content. They want to provide high-quality information to search engine users.

Since search is becoming very complex Google prefers sources that are packed with very useful and relevant information.

The information doesn’t just have to be useful and relevant, it also needs to be arranged in such a manner that it is easier to consume and understand.

Modular information is easier to consume and understand.

When you create topic clusters you create lots of content pieces and then join them around your pillar page. Your pillar page becomes a sort of a hub for all the information relevant to that particular topic.

Creating topic clusters solves two purposes:

  • It makes you write/create/gather lots of information around a single topic covering every possible subtopic
  • It makes it easier for users to navigate through the entire spectrum of the topic through hyperlinks

This further boosts your SEO.

Since all the pages and blog posts are interconnected, even if a single link gets an SEO boost it has a trickle-down effect on all the connected links.

Also, since lots of web pages, blog posts and articles – on your website and outside of your website – are connecting to your pillar page, Google begins to think that it is a very important page about your chosen topic and hence, begins to improve its search engine rankings.