Google needs content to understand what you sell and what makes it special, and then to display you when the right customer comes looking for you. Your customers need content, again to understand what you sell and what makes it special, so they can decide if it will meet their needs. Your company needs content for all these reasons, and to distinguish you from your competition. You need to satisfy Google and your customers, and then you need to leverage your content in order to get the highest ROI on your content.
It’s not a question of whether you need content or not; you can’t even appear on the digital playing field without it. It’s a question of making sure that your content is working as hard as possible for you.
Your content has to work for Google.
Google has become the sole gatekeeper between our companies and our customers. Sure, you can argue that there are other search engines out there, but Google holds more than 90% of the search traffic worldwide. Your content has to work for Google, or Google can’t work for you.
The first place to start is to create something we call an “SEO Persona” where you define what you sell and what makes you special, and then all the keyword phrases that people would use to find your type of product or service. Then you make sure that you have pages and blog posts that cover all the topics relevant to your business. Remember that Google pays attention to relevance, recency, and frequency (as well as about 200 other criteria), and is completely wise to “keyword stuffing” and other silly tricks. Google also pays attention to structure. Your headlines, titles, and meta descriptions should all serve to reinforce your SEO persona.
When Google “drives by,” it should be obvious what you sell and what makes you special.
Your content has to work for customers.
Google is constantly getting smarter about content that people want to read. Google wants to feature articles that are clicked on most often and read more thoroughly, even if they are a few years old. These are “evergreen” articles, often providing information that is exceptionally helpful. Don’t be afraid of writing “basic” articles; while you may be completely immersed in your subject and feel it’s beneath you to cover the basics, the people looking for your product or service are not experts – and are looking for expert assistance with the basics.
The more of these you have on your site, the better your chances of becoming one of those chosen articles, even to the point where you can be one of those “featured snippets,” like the one that appeared in response to “how to raise a child”:
Don’t skimp on the quality of the writing. Find good writers, give them the information they need, and pay them well. One professional writer who specializes in your content will help you build a solid foundation of content that pleases your readers and Google, and positions you as the helpful source.
Of course, you need to know what people what to know in relation to your products. There are dozens of tools out there to help with this, in addition to Google Analytics. You can also see which articles are shared the most often by using tools like BuzzSumo. Assuming that you know, without doing the research, is dangerous; you’ll be wasting time and money on content that doesn’t really appeal to customers nor answer their questions.
Leverage what you’ve paid for.
Once an article appears on your blog, you can certainly socialize it on all relevant channels, and make it the target of your AdWords campaign. You can also publish it (or at least link to it) on LinkedIn. It’s a good way to remind potential customers that you are still out there, learning and helping others. B2B content, in particular, does well in the LinkedIn environment.
You can also have your content feed into industry and association sites for your industry, by providing them with your site’s RSS link (you can get that by looking at the source code for your own site). This additional coverage can really broaden your reach.
Once you’ve created your article, you can send it as an email to your prospect and customer list. This has two advantages. First, doing this consistently keeps you on their radar, and, if someone asks them, “Do you know anyone that [solves this problem or sells this type of product/service]?” – it will be easy for the email recipient to be able to forward the email to the person who asked.
Make sure your articles include links to other pages or posts on your own site, and to other content off of your site. Google tends to favor sites that are not afraid to link out to other sources, especially those with a high domain authority.
Go for the long haul, and know there is more to this.
Getting a sufficient return for your digital content marketing is a long-haul game, one where you have to cover many bases in order to even earn the right to be considered a major player. No one company can afford to do only one thing; we have had so many clients come to us who have said, “I tried [whatever – SEO, AdWords, email, social], but it didn’t work.”
It turns out that, these days, you have to do it all; you have to responsibly utilize all relevant channels, tools, and techniques, and work on the more sales-oriented aspects as well. All aspects of what you’re doing reinforce the other aspects and make them more cost-effective for you.
Revenue comes from sales. All content should support the sales effort, including additional content such as downloadable guides and white papers, infographics, and videos.
At the “closing” end of the spectrum, you need to be just as aggressive about seeking and contacting prospective customers, setting up appointments, and sending content to them or sending them to content.