Today's digital marketing economics present a unique challenge for content marketers. Currently, there exists a nearly limitless number of economical, unique, and niche channels for customer engagement. In addition, there is an overwhelming amount of information to process and time constraints, with which, to do so. With such dissonance between opportunities and constraints, how should marketers approach developing an effective content marketing strategy? Start with the notion that an effective strategy is a well-rounded one. A well-rounded digital content strategy is a framework, built on a foundation of best practices, that empowers experimentation and optimization.
What constitutes a well-rounded digital strategy? At its center lies the website, the hub of all digital marketing actions. Protruding from the website is the pillar page. The pillar page acts as an information beacon to consumers searching for content by optimizing your content's SEO. Out from the pillar page stems the relevant blog and video content. Then the promotion elements, social media and email, provide forward mobility by distributing your content and promoting your brand.
Yes, the website is still as essential as ever. In fact, 93% of all purchase decisions begin at the search engine. Your website is the center of all your marketing activities. It is a landing pad for inbound traffic and a launch pad for conversion. It must be beautiful, contain compelling content, and most importantly be easy to navigate. For a successful content strategy, start with the website.
- Make your website easy to navigate
- Optimize for SEO
- Content, content, content
- Be relevant
- Be valuable
Pillar pages create authority for a brand in a specific topic area in the eyes of both search engines and consumers. What are they exactly? Pillar pages are pieces of long-form content that broadly covers a topic (keyword) and a variety of subtopics (clusters). This pillar page provides links to each of these cluster articles for a more in-depth view into the subtopic. These cluster articles are also back-linked to the pillar page. Pillar pages provide consumers with an in-depth understanding of a subject in the specific areas they desire. Thus, it is rewarded with a higher ranking by search engines. Pillar pages add depth to a well-rounded digital content strategy.
Steps to Create a Pillar Page:
- Start with a keyword
- Something you want to be known for (relevant)
- Something you have the potential to rank for
- Develop a topic cluster around the keyword
- Ensure the subtopics have the potential to rank
- Ensure the topic cluster is valuable to consumers
- Create the pillar page and corresponding cluster content
- Link pillar page to cluster content
- Link cluster content to pillar page
- Quality content is still key
- For cluster articles:
- Be sure the only internal link is to the pillar page
- Focus cluster article topics on long-tail keywords
- Be sure to follow blogging best practices (see below)
- For pillar pages:
- Should remain ungated
- Should contain the following features:
- A table of contents
- A "back-to-top" feature
- A "reading progress" feature
- A "last updated" feature
- Should answer all of the essential questions a reader may ask
Why should you blog? Well, businesses that blog generate 126% higher lead growth than non-blogging business. In addition, blogging business receives 55% more traffic and 434% more indexed pages. Blog articles also double as cluster articles for your pillar strategy. They have the potential to be shared via social media or email and repurposed for other mediums of content down the line. Blog content continues to be the bulk of a well-rounded content strategy.
- Quality & Authenticity
- Follow cluster article best practices (see above)
- Incorporate relevant external links
- Abide by your SEO strategy
- Optimize for mobile
By 2020, 82% of all internet traffic is expected to be video. Video will be the most important medium in the next decade. As content marketers, we are expected to entertain and educate customers. More than 75% of people say they would share a branded video if they thought it was entertaining and almost 66% say they would share it if it was informative. Video presents marketers with an amazing opportunity to fulfill our roles as educators and entertainers and is an integral part of a well-rounded content strategy.
- Optimize for mobile
- Vertical alignment
- Create compelling video thumbnails
- Incorporate text
- Build into the Buyer's Journey
- Optimize for YouTube SEO and Google SEO
Neglecting social media is no longer an acceptable marketing decision. According to the PEW Research Center, around 69% of Americans use some form of social media. Social media provides new platforms for listening to and engaging with customers. Even B2B companies can no longer avoid social media, as 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions. In addition, social media is a primary aspect of content promotion propelling a well-rounded content strategy forward.
- Be human
- Post consistently
- Adjust your post for each individual social platform
- Avoid sharing the same post on the same social platform
- Twitter is limiting the automation of identical content and others are likely to follow
- Wait 2 weeks before republishing content to give search engines enough time to index original pieces of content
- Respond quickly to complaints and provide valuable customer services
- 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others
Email isn't dead! 99% of consumers check their emails every day. However, email is evolving. Day-to-day, people are bombarded with emails: good and bad. Ensure you are providing users with valuable content that they opted-in to receive. In addition, send your emails on a consistent, but not overwhelming basis. Emails, along with social media, drive your content strategy forward by promoting your valuable content to individuals who enjoy it.
- Optimize your email for mobile
- 81% of people use a smartphone for regularly checking emails
- A/B test subject lines (open rate) and CTA's (click rate)
- Use a double opt-in
- NO SPAM
- Use personalization tokens
- Personalize which content users are receiving
When developing your well-rounded digital content strategy begin with the website. It provides a foundation for all content to be hosted and acts as a center for conversion. From the website, create a pillar page to draw inbound organic traffic using SEO best practices. Next, develop the relevant blog and video content thank will be linked back to your pillar page. Finally, get the ball rolling with your content promotion using social media and email. Best of luck!