Identifying search questions and keywords, producing targeted content, and tracking performance
The online content marketing game is not all about how exciting your topic is or whether you’re riding on a trending subject. Because the Internet is navigated by search engines, you need content both people and bots can scan. If your content does not contain answers to key questions and phrases that people type into the search boxes, your beautifully written articles risks not seeing the light of day (or illuminated screens in this case).
Such is the role of organic marketing in your content strategy. Its aim: growing your online type in the competitive search bar jungle, from initial seedlings in the shadows, to leaders in full glorious sun. This essentially means that by carefully crafting your blog entries, web page text, photo captions, and headlines to make them “searchable” you get a bigger chance of landing the coveted first page on Google and in other search engine hits.
Sadly search bots will never appreciate your witty remarks and groundbreaking information if your title and content don’t contain words and phrases that people are looking for. Because Google, Yahoo, Bing and the like generate results based on relevancy, writing quality, searchable content is key.
Here are the key principles behind well-written and relevant searchable text to optimise your content:
Answering searchable questions in content
Buyer attitude and decision-making habits are heavily influenced by the content marketing strategy; the right one will not only boost awareness for your brand but also foster credibility and generate leads and sales.
To make sure that your content matches what people are searching for online, enlist the help of keyword tools and social media sites to research more about your target market. Whether you agree with their searches or not, what your target market is typing into Google boxes should be at the top of your keywords priority list.
Establish an editorial calendar
Once you have the list of keywords to integrate into your website content, it’s time to plan your editorial calendar. As part of your organic marketing strategy, make a point to keep production regular and consistent, rather than using searchable questions and keywords once and expecting them to work towards landing that first-page appearance in perpetuity. A core keywords list needs to be incorporated into your content all the time.
Identifying searchable keywords
When you plan your content marketing strategy, find out what people are actually searching for. You can do this by using the likes of Google Ads, AnswerThePublic, Buzzsumo, and other keyword search tools to tell you which keywords and phrases are trending.
Another method to finding what keywords are searchable is sifting through forums such as Yahoo! Answers, Reddit, Quora, and industry-specific sites to find out what your market is searching for with regard to your sector, brand, and offering. Because forums are first-hand question-and-answer platforms, they are a great resource for discovering actual questions for your content.
Forums are also a great place to spot long-tail keyword phrases (phrases containing more than four words) that have a conversational tone compared to being straight-out keywords and phrases taken out of context and standing in isolation. With this in mind, it pays to use a balance of single word keywords together with short and long keyword phrases in your content strategy, e.g. “what makes organic marketing successful” is an example of a long-tail keyword, as opposed to “organic marketing.” Both are useful and one is likely to bring in more targeted traffic.
Another handy place to look into is social media discussions to see what questions are being asked and discussed within your target market. This gives a good gauge of what your customers' browsing habits are. Your website and social media chat feature can offer a wealth of ideas for searchable questions and keywords.
Better yet, open a community channel (e.g. on Telegram) and let your community manager communicate directly with your audience for increased insights. Finally, asking your team about trending topics always brings useful nuggets into the light of day as well, and all you have to do is ask around the office.
Writing highly targeted content
While it's tempting to publish titles such as "the 5 secret SEO solutions for 100% increased traffic and ROI," unless the copy delivers what was promised it'll only serve to raise bounce rates and decrease average user session. Plus this tactic won't serve to establish you as an authority in your field over time.
Once you have narrowed down your searchable keywords for your target audience, and you have developed your strategy and editorial calendar, it’s time to begin writing. Be sure to incorporate those keywords into your article headlines and follow through on what your headline has promised. It’s an all-too-common content marketing mistake to produce highly clickable headlines, but then fail to follow through and deliver the targeted and insightful content (clickbait): a surefire way of falling down the search hits list, not to mention drastically increasing your bounce rate at the same time. If this has proven to be an issue before, try going straight to the point with your headlines and content: literary fluff and cobwebs are a surefire way to turn your visitors away empty-handed.
Starting your headlines with the likes of “Who,” “How,” “What” etc. is a great way to instantly connect with your readers in their quest for answers. An entertaining and engaging writing style is a given, but if your article fails to deliver what your keywords and search hit promised, your efforts may ultimately be in vain.
Set clear expectations with your headlines: keep them concise, don’t crowd your topics, and be sure that your content delivers as promised.
Consider for a moment: how many articles have you eagerly clicked on recently only to find that it was poorly written or irrelevant (or both), and then skimmed to the end and navigated back to the search results in disappointment? The takeaway point from this is: people search for keywords and questions online because they want answers — and that’s what your content needs to deliver. When this method is incorporated into your content strategy, you’ll likely see site traffic increase, with longer sessions, and higher volumes entering your sales funnel.
Doing the research, riding trends, and tracking performance
Overall, setting up your organic content marketing strategy requires research and consistent work. It pays to research keywords and audience trends when planning your content marketing strategy, as well as using an editorial calendar to keep track of performance.
Better yet, consider hiring the expertise of a content marketing agency to help develop your strategy and even manage it for you: from planning and strategising, to content development and execution, and onto monitoring, evaluation, and maintenance. An extra set of eyes is always beneficial, especially when they stand outside the core team and are more likely to spot previously unseen opportunities and identify overlooked issues. With a dedicated team behind your content strategy, you’re increasing the potential return on investment (ROI) while freeing up core team-members for other essential tasks.
First Published: 5 November 2018
Updated: 22 March 2019
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