Content marketing offers a unique opportunity to build meaningful relationships with your audience, because it is not overtly advertising products or services. As a result, it enables you to position yourself as a trusted source or industry expert, while simultaneously boosting website traffic and brand recognition.
It is often said that ‘content is king’ and ultimately, the key to successful content marketing is the creation of high-quality, engaging, genuinely useful content. In particular, you should focus on creating content which can help your target audience and resolve the problems they face.
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Your Audience’s Questions
One of the best ways to solve problems for your customers is to give some thought to the types of questions they are likely to ask. Fortunately, you do not have to rely on guesswork, as there are a wide array of tools like Google Analytics and Serpstat to help you identify exactly what they are asking.
Although search engines can be used to search for generic topics or short strings, many users type full questions into them. This means that, during your keyword research, you or your SEO consultants should be able to find precisely which questions are being typed into search engines.
“Serpstat uses Google’s autosuggest results to generate the list of phrases based on your keywords. Once the list is generated, you can click to the ‘Only Questions’ tab,” says Dan Steiner in an article for the Content Marketing Institute. “Twitter is another valuable resource…because you get to see what real people are asking in real time.”
Researching Chosen Topics
Once you have a list of the questions your audience is asking, you need to identify the ones that you can create content to answer and then begin researching that topic. Your goal should be to create the best answer on the internet for that particular question, so you will need to put the effort in.
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However, ensure that you have a list of questions your audiences ask at the key stages of the buying process. Only focusing on what people ask before they buy for instance is not enough. You also need to know what types of queries they have during and after the sale, without forgetting when they compare your products/ services with competitors.
Think about what information you need to be able to answer your chosen question(s). At the same time, try to think of ways you can relate the question to your business, so that your content stays ‘on message’ and presents your brand values as well as the solution to a problem.
Use statistics in your content and quote the sources you took them from. However, make sure you are using high-quality sources, like research companies and surveys, rather than low-authority sources like Wikipedia. Quoting experts in the field is another good strategy, but again, you must cite where you took the quote from.
Creating Engaging Content
After researching the type of questions your audience asks, and arming yourself with the knowledge to answer them, it is time to create your content. As any search marketing agency will tell you, the best way to ensure success with content marketing is to create unique, helpful and engaging content.
This means your content should have unique qualities, which separate it from similar content online. Try to create a distinctive voice. Attempt to solve questions by telling a story. Experiment with different types of content, including images, videos, short blog posts, lists and long-form articles. Be bold. Be controversial.
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Finally, it is worth noting that, according to data published by NewsCred Insights, the median average time spent reading an article is just 37 seconds. Try to ensure your content is scannable and readers can take something away from it in that time. Sub-headings, bullet points, infographics and charts can be especially valuable for this reason.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post from Christelle Macri. Christelle is the founder of Ebizpromotion, a leading SEO agency in Berkshire, with a no-nonsense and ethical approach to digital and search marketing. She is also professional SEO consultant with over 17 years’ experience in the internet advertising industry. Having worked for a major search engine and pioneering pay for performance advertising networks, she is an expert at turning her clients’ websites into consistent revenue streams, using a variety of digital channels.