I just read this: 89 percent of B2B companies use content marketing. Three percent say they are “highly successful” with it (source).
So almost everybody uses content marketing, but incredibly few see the ROI they wanted? This is extremely discouraging.
As a marketer who swears by content, I was over the moon to see the first part. I thought to myself “finally, more people are starting to see the value of content marketing!” But then I read the rest and got mad.
How the heck can this be happening?
Does anyone still hire SEO copywriters just for the sake of ranking high in search engines with no thought to ROI?
I have tons of questions like the ones above, but I won’t bore you with them. Instead, I’ll let you in on a few secrets my team uses to get actual ROI for our clients. In other words, this is what we do to make sure the content we create is successful.
6 things we implement to create successful content
I recently wrote about why the cost of copywriting services is continuously rising. I named the need for great quality aka remarkable, 10x content as the main reason for the price surge. When the content you get brings results, it makes sense to pay more than $2 per article, right?
Now let’s see how you can get that type of content.
1. Know your audience
Before you even put the proverbial pen to paper, make sure you know whom you’re writing to. Think of it this way: if you were to write an e-mail or a letter, you would need to know the recipient, right?
The same goes for any article, blog post, white paper or webinar you create.
Start by outlining your buyer persona. As soon as you feel like you have a strong grasp on what your audience wants to read from you, you can start creating your content strategy.
And then, you can start implementing it. Aside from the actual topics, you also need to research your audience’s preferred tone of voice. Should it be casual, friendly or, on the contrary, quite formal?
2. Make sure your content provides value
I always encourage my writers to keep the added value in mind, to continuously ask themselves “what problem does my content solve?” When they can’t find an answer, they need to go back to the drawing board.
I tell them to do this from the very beginning, from the topic research phase. If they have this in mind, it will be easier for them to find relevant links and sources – a must-have in any piece of quality content.
We had to convince more than one client that the content we create for them shouldn’t be promotional. They shouldn’t promote their own services, but try to offer value to their customers. As soon as they agreed, they found that offering value returns ROI. It’s a simple relation, but one that oh-so-many companies and writers miss.
3. Optimize for search
I know, I took a stab at people who only write because they want to rank higher in SERPs. But this doesn’t mean that you should forget about SEO altogether.
Quite the contrary.
I argued in a previous article here that, much like PB&J, SEO and content marketing work best together, not separately. This is what you should aim for.
When you create stunning content, you need to also allow prospective customers to find you via search. Weave in tailor-made keywords (previously researched ones) and watch the magic happen. Not overnight, of course – nothing happens overnight in SEO, but in time.
Be patient and allow your posts to be indexed. In the meantime, search for new opportunities – LSI keywords and long-tail keywords are your best friends!
4. Educate your readers
You have an awesome product that solves a big problem? That’s great! But who’s going to know about it if you don’t explain it?
Furthermore, you shouldn’t limit yourself to explaining the immense benefits of your product. As I said before, your content shouldn’t be (too) promotional.
We’ve recently started working with a client who creates sustainable, eco-friendly products. The content strategy we created focuses on the need for such products. In other words, we started by educating the readers on green, sustainable living. How else are you going to convince them that eco-friendly products are worth buying?
5. Persuade your audience
A great blog post always ends with a CTA. It could be an invitation to subscribe to your newsletter or to download additional materials on the topic. Or it could be a straight-up sales pitch.
Again, this should take no more than five percent of the whole post. Think about it this way: when you write a 1,000-words post, your sales pitch should be no longer than 50 words.
Why do you need something like this?
Potential customers can land on one of your blog posts from a search engine, from a social network, from a referral or countless other sources. They may not know your business. So they won’t know what you are selling.
And today’s consumer doesn’t have the time (or the will) to figure it out for themselves. It’s your job to explain it briefly, but convincingly.
6. Distribute your content efficiently
My agency typically follows the 80-20 rule. This states that you should spend 20 percent of your time creating the content and 80 percent of your time promoting it.
The reason for this is pretty straightforward: writing great content is pointless if no one gets to see it. Once again, revert back to your buyer persona. See where they like to “hang out” online and what sources they trust. This is where you need to be sharing, promoting and distributing your content most aggressively.
Successful content should be the norm, not the exception
The daunting stats cited in the beginning of this article can be changed. They need to be! I have proven over and over again that consistent quality brings excellent results. And I know for a fact there are a lot of other content marketers out there who played their part in this, as well.
Creating successful content and all the six things listed above can be ultimately reduced to one thing: know your audience. When you spend time researching your audience and create content that fits their needs, you’re in for a big win. That’s it!