Not all content marketing is created equal. In fact, in a world where every brand is creating content, quality content marketing can feel hard to find.
That’s because it takes a concerted, extended effort. But the ROI on a strategy that works is undeniable — brands that do best at content marketing earn higher visibility, engage more potential customers, and consistently outperform their competitors.
In the sections that follow we will:
- Cover some content marketing basics to set the foundation
- Walk through 6 traits of a quality content marketing strategy
- Explore actionable, realistic ways you can level up content quality right away
- Quality content marketing earns 3X the leads and 6X the conversions as traditional marketing methods.
- Traits of a quality content marketing strategy include customer focus, consistent and frequent publishing, a diverse content library, and a data-driven approach.
- Ways to level up the quality of your content include using a content calendar, using data analytics tools, and refreshing old content.
What is content marketing and why do you need to be doing it?
Content marketing is the creation of high-value content to attract and engage new potential customers for a business.
In a world where more than 90% of all online experiences start with a search engine, content presents a huge opportunity for brands to build their visibility and audience. Using search engine optimization (SEO), brands can develop content specifically to make it appear on search engine results pages (SERPs).
This has massively leveled the playing field across the board for companies of all sizes and in every industry. It used to be that big marketing budgets were required to beat out competitors and get noticed by consumers. Today, it just requires a website and a content team to execute your strategy.
The ROI is undeniable. Research shows that content marketing earns 3X the leads and 6X the conversions that traditional marketing methods do — all at a 62% lower cost.
Image Source: Convince and Convert
Still, content marketing is not a magic cure for marketing ailments. It requires a focused effort, execution on best practices, and a commitment to high quality. Publishing content that doesn’t meet quality standards can actually hurt your business more than help it because it suggests your product and/or service offerings might suffer similar quality issues.
Fortunately, executing a quality content marketing strategy isn’t complicated if you know what you’re doing. The next two sections will outline 6 important traits of quality content marketing and ways you can achieve them in a few actionable steps.
6 Traits of a Quality Content Marketing Strategy
Quality content marketing is executed with the customer top-of-mind. The goal of every piece of content should be to address a specific customer problem, need, or area of interest. This is the best way to engage users, build connection with your target audience, and show why your brand is relevant to them.
A simple way to think about it is through the lens of features vs. benefits. When you focus on the features, you emphasize your own brand without connecting it to customer needs. When you focus on benefits, you emphasize how your brand can make your customer’s life better, a much surer way to get their attention.
The example below illustrates the concept in simple terms that you can apply to your own offerings:
Image Source: Lightstream Group
Consistent and frequent
Content marketing is a long game — Google rankings don’t happen overnight, and it requires creating and publishing content frequently and consistently over time to see results.
HubSpot found that brands publishing 11-6X per month (3-4X per week) earned more than 3X the traffic than brands publishing less frequently.
Image Source: HubSpot
There’s no doubt that publishing at this pace requires time, effort, and a solid plan. Creating a content calendar (more on them in the next section) can be a helpful tool for keeping you accountable and on deadline with your publishing schedule.
Creative and original
Have you ever Googled something only to find the first 5-6 articles say pretty much the same thing? It happens all the time, and it can be frustrating when you’re trying to do research and learn about something new.
Don’t be a brand that regurgitates what your competitors already said. Put an original spin on topics that are important to your customers, and let your brand personality shine through in tone, voice, design, and commentary.
When people think about content marketing, most think about blogs. It’s true that an active blog is a core part of every content marketing strategy, but it’s not the only contributor. Having a diverse content library helps to expand your brand reach and engage different audience segments across channels.
There are plenty of content types to choose from, including:
- Social media posts
- Case studies
Not every content type is right for every brand — and it’s not a good idea to do too much all at once. Choose the content types that align best with your brand and strategy, start with one or two, and build on your success.
In the past, marketers mostly had to cast the widest net possible and hope for the best. Today, however, data has made marketing all about targeting and personalization to earn results.
Brands have easy access to data about everything from user demographic and behavior to website performance to industry trends and more. Data-driven content marketing strategies harness the power of that data to execute highly informed content marketing strategies and provide high quality user experiences.
Last but not least, quality content marketing adheres to basic quality standards like correct grammar, formatting, and the like. While these might seem obvious, they’re really impactful when it comes to engaging audiences.
Bounce rates for websites that have spelling and grammar issues were found to be 85% higher than those with well-written content. Similarly, poor website design or formatting can increase bounce rates because it makes it harder for users to get to the content they want.
Ways to Level Up Your Content Marketing Strategy Right Away
Know Your Content Pillars
Content pillars are the foundation on which your content marketing strategy is built. They’re the overarching topics most important to your brand. Content pillars typically have pillar pieces created around them, which are then backlinked by the more niche pieces you create around their subtopics.
Content pillars are important because they keep your content marketing strategy focused and your content library cohesive. Every piece you create should fall under one of your pillars, and the ideal number of pillars to have is 3-5.
Some of Marketing Insider Group’s content pillars, for example, are content marketing and SEO. We have our pillar pieces like “What is Content Marketing?” and “What is an SEO marketing strategy?” Then we have dozens of articles around subtopics that fall under these pillars (like this very article).
Develop a Content Calendar
Your content calendar is your ongoing reference point for article titles, deadlines, writers, and other responsibilities. It should be a central dashboard that can always be referenced to be sure you’re on track.
Even better news: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to build a content calendar that works for you. There are tons of content calendar templates to give you inspiration and many that you can even download directly and customize to your brand!
Here’s a snapshot of the one we use here at Marketing Insider Group:
Image Source: Marketing Insider Group
Revamp Old Content
Did you know that the content you’ve already created can be a source of renewed traffic to your site? It’s also one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve the quality of your content marketing. HubSpot found that refreshing old content for relevance and quality gave their page a huge boost — today, old content accounts for 76% of their page views and 92% of their leads!
Use Data Analytics Tools
Almost every platform you use to execute your content marketing strategy — CMS systems, email marketing platforms, social media, Google and more — all have data analytics tools built in so that you can analyze performance and gather insights to drive your strategy.
To execute a quality content marketing strategy, my advice is simple: use these tools!
If you’re going to start with one, make it Google Analytics. You can find tons of data in one place — user demographics, page metrics, SEO performance, keyword opportunities and more.
There are also tons of SEO-specific analytics tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs where, for a monthly fee, you can get insightful data about site and strategy performance.
Measure Your Progress
Looking at available data is a great first step, but you also need a plan for measuring and analyzing it over time. It helps to maintain a data dashboard (similar to your content calendar) where you record and track metrics that are most important to you. Put processes in place to ensure your team meets periodically to analyze key KPIs and take appropriate response actions as needed.
Over to You
If you’re ready to jumpstart your content marketing but need support with content creation, you’re not alone! More than 70% of businesses outsource content creation so they can execute a high-quality strategy while staying focused on their core business.
The team of writers and SEO experts at Marketing Insider Group can deliver you optimized, ready-to-publish content every week for one year or more. To learn more, read about our SEO Blog Writing Service or schedule a quick consultation with me!