Jessica is the Founder & CEO of Valux Digital, a nationally recognized full-service marketing and PR firm.
In today’s online ecosystem, content marketing is critical. Original, high-quality and engaging content is one of the best ways to cultivate brand awareness, build trust, generate leads and position our organizations as industry authorities.
But why is content so effective when it comes to audience cultivation?
Effectively optimized and well-distributed content helps our target customers find us. In other words, content marketing appeals to the “hand-raisers.” Those are the customers who are actively searching for our content and services. They are already asking for our solutions.
And that’s advantageous in so many ways — including because it has the potential to save us serious dollars in marketing expenditure. In fact, content marketing remains the most cost-effective long-term marketing strategy I’ve found.
Most importantly, quality content can keep those hand-raisers coming back for more.
And loyalty is priceless.
When it comes to strategy, content marketing is a varied canvas. And the best content marketing strategies usually have fingers in multiple pies.
Here are what I consider to be the mission-critical content marketing divisions: SEO, social media and everybody’s old-time favorite — email.
So, without further ado, let’s capture some hand-raisers.
Content Marketing And SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) has fast turned into the lifeblood of online health. At the heart of it pumps consistent, high-quality, optimized content. That is what we use to boost our presence on online search engines.
Quality, optimized content can help boost visibility, build audience trust and establish our organizations as industry authorities. As such, developing an SEO-optimized content strategy is important for any marketing campaign.
It’s important to remember that content and SEO are not one and the same. Producing blogs and articles is all well and good, but if we want that content to be seen, it needs technical optimization.
SEO involves using keywords, backlinks, metadata and optimized URLs to boost search engine rankings. When we appear in Google’s top three listings, our audience is not only more likely to find our content, but I’ve found that they’re also more likely to trust in the quality and reputability of our brand.
Pairing SEO with content creation can be online dynamite. And we should all be doing it. But how exactly should we be optimizing our online content for SEO?
• Use keywords (but don’t stuff): SEO relies heavily on using search keywords. Try to include all relevant keywords in your content, but ensure that it still reads naturally — no keyword stuffing.
• Optimize headings: Headings and descriptions count as content too. Use HTML tags and try to make headings keyword rich. These are your content landmarks, after all.
• Be location-specific: If your business operates in a particular region, then it’s wise to make your content location-specific. Use geographically relevant terms and keywords in your content body, headers and tags.
• Use links: Integrating high-quality backlinks into your content is a great SEO strategy. This can help searchers find you on search engines by improving your rankings.
Content Marketing And Social Media
Social media marketing is big news. Brands far and wide now use the influence of social media platforms and personalities to connect with their audiences in a more intimate way. And at the core of any robust social media marketing campaign lies targeted content.
Publishing high-quality, relevant and engaging content on our social media profiles can draw in those hand-raisers. And with social media, there’s the added benefit of interactivity.
Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest and TikTok allow us to listen to and engage with our leads and cultivate a far more personal exchange. Brands can interact with interested consumers directly or via social media influencers and affiliates. They can also develop loyal, interest-based communities of followers and consumers.
Social media listening strategies allow brands to monitor their social media mentions for a better understanding of performance, trends, what works and what doesn’t.
Getting your content out there on social media is essential, but the social media landscape is increasingly saturated. You’ll need a robust social media strategy to succeed.
Here are some of my top tips to get you started.
• Understand your target audience: What does your target audience want?
• Curate your content: Target your content to meet and exceed their expectations.
• Optimize your posting frequency: Carry out testing so you can tell when your posts gain the most traction and find the optimal posting frequency for your audience.
• Build a loyal audience: Engage with and reward your audience to promote loyalty.
Content Marketing And Email
Email marketing is not new. It’s been around for a while, and it’s lost its sparkle. But even though email is far from being the new kid on the block, the important thing is that it still works. In fact, I’ve found that it really works. Email is still a frequently used communication channel, and most people I know check their email every single day.
Developing a targeted email list and distributing quality optimized content remains one of the best things we can do for our brands. Content distributed via email can help grow qualified website traffic, increase brand awareness and generate leads.
Email marketing best practices include:
1. Avoid falling into the “spam trap”: Sales-y email copy just won’t cut it. You need to provide value in your content with meaningful, engaging copy and offers.
2. Identify the best day and time for open rates: Email open rates ebb and flow. It’s worth testing to find the day and time that will provide you with the best results.
3. Personalize: Personalize your email greetings with first names and customer-specific content.
4. Close with a call to action (CTA): Your CTA should encourage email recipients to click through to your landing page, a particular product or an offer.
Capturing Those Hand-Raisers
It’s time to go out there and capture those hand-raisers. Content marketing doesn’t typically work alone: One of the keys to high-performing content is highly optimized content. I believe SEO, social media and email are the magic trio. When our content marketing strategy incorporates these three elements, we can expect to enjoy the fruits of our labor.