More content is being pushed online than ever before. Competition grows tighter, digital consumers are savvier, and Google’s algorithms get smarter.
To actually get a decent ROI on your digital marketing these days, your business needs smart content development.
Here’s what smart content development for 2020 means:
- Research-driven strategizing
- Compelling writing
- Competitive SEO
- Consistent management
Many guides lay out actions to take, but without the right mindsets behind those actions, your plan is more likely to falter.
There’s no easy way to achieve results with lazy content anymore. Google’s express intent for years has been to reward unique, engaging, and—above all—useful content.
That takes time and resources to do right, and that’s why you should be thinking about 2020 now. We’re bringing you this series on content development to help you get started.
Our experience in search engine optimization, website development, and content strategies informs these guides to get your online marketing up to speed. We’re not holding back on the secret ingredient to make content marketing work for you. After all, sharing useful content is what makes for the best SEO!
But if you want help with getting started, figuring out where your content strategy stands, or managing your content marketing, send us a message.
Content Development: The Basics
“Content” is the information and stories that you distribute on your website and everywhere else (yes, even offline).
Don’t think about it like standard advertising, where you pitch your product or service. Content supports your lead and customer during every point of the sales life cycle. Content is NOT simply a fancy-looking, SEO’d sales pitch!
There is a variety of goals for content marketing, ranging from building brand awareness to keeping satisfied customers engaged.
What’s most important is this:
Keep your audiences at the forefront of your content. Write and design for your audience. Provide them with real value. Do not simply create content that extols your brand or product and expect it to be effective.
That said, we’ll kick off this series with the basics: the kinds of content you should be thinking about.
What Kinds of Content Should I Create?
From plain old writing to graphical, video, and audio content, different media have different strengths. A smart content strategy makes the most out of each medium and doesn’t waste time with the media irrelevant to the business and target audiences.
Historically speaking, writing sits on top of the list of most commonly created content on the internet. Engaging and optimized writing is still essential and will be for a long time. Every website has text, most have blog posts, and the right words spread quickly on social media. It is not enough to just type up some random thoughts and call it a day, however.
As the most popular blogs show online marketers, it takes a unique focus, regular creation, and clever marketing to attract the type of attention you need to profit.
No matter what type of written content you include on or off your website, each piece needs the following:
- Purpose – It has to mean something to the people you want to read it.
- Keywords – No stuffing, just well-researched and intelligent usage.
- Value – Give the audience something that actually useful.
- Easy structure – If people can’t access it on their phones or read it easily, you lose.
- Brand story – Every piece of content must align with your business’s identity.
- Integration – No blog post is an island. Use internal and external links to add value.
These six things do not matter to written content alone. If you do not add value, accessibility, and integration to all the content you create, you miss out on a lot of marketing power.
While a standard stock photo added to a blog post does augment its value by catching more eyes, it hardly represents an effective content marketing strategy that will grow your business.
No one will share stock on their Instagram account. Taking your own photos of events, brand-specific things, and people associated with whatever you offer is far more likely to drive genuine engagement.
When it comes to graphic content for marketing, infographics top the list. They share data in an attractive, attention-grabbing, and understandable way. They are also easy to share, which helps your content go viral… or at least get more clicks than expected.
People are visual creatures, for the most part, so it makes sense to engage your site visitors and targeted consumers with attractive, colorful displays. It’s the same concept of a retail store putting up a big red “SALE” sign, except with a lot more meaning.
When you go out to the shops or commute to work on public transportation, how many people do you see with earbuds in?
While most may be listening to music, podcast popularity has exploded over the past year. In the digital marketing world, 2019 could be called “Year of the Podcasts.”
Apple’s most popular podcasts showcase great examples of how any brand can use this content type to expand their reach to new markets and cement their place in the minds of existing audience members.
How do you make a podcast that has the opportunity for success?
- Get the right equipment. You don’t have to spend a lot, but a dollar store microphone won’t work.
- Understand what your audience wants and needs. Ask them.
- Organize what you’re going to say for 15-30 minutes. Make sure you know what you’re talking about.
- Engage with interesting guests to spice things up.
- Stay on schedule. People are more likely to come back if they can count on you.
Combine graphics, audio, and written content, and you have one of the most powerful forms of digital content marketing in existence: video. High-quality video production can bring your business to life on the web, and video content will only become more and more prevalent as our digital economy moves into the 2020s.
According to a 2018 survey, 68% of surveyed consumers reported that they most prefer to learn about new products or services through short videos.
Videos explaining your products and services will lead to better audience understanding and retention, and including footage of your offerings and people will increase the persuasive power of your video.
Don’t only imagine that we mean you have to create a YouTube channel and try to go viral. Though YouTube is the second most popular website, it’s not the right platform for every business and audience.
Each of these types of video can add power to your digital marketing:
- Educational Video: They can be used to educate your audience about your products and services, teach them a new way to use your product, or inform them about news applicable to your industry. Remember: give your audience real value! Educational and how-to videos can be excellent for this.
- Industrial Video: Industrial videos offer plenty of opportunities for stunning visuals: facilities, products, services, staff, and equipment can be shown in action, adding excitement and powerfully illustrating the benefits and professionalism of your business.
- Event videography: Whether you’re putting on a conference, company party, or having speaker address an audience, events offer visual opportunities that can make for a great video. The resulting video production can be retained for training, used for promotion, or even streamed on social platforms.
Search Engine Optimization and Content Development
More than 1 trillion searches are entered on Google every year. You need to stand out.
If you follow the basic guidelines for content creation above, you are already ahead of the game. Most web pages or social media posts online never get any attention at all.
Do not allow your content to fade into obscurity. If you want organic search engine traffic, you need to grab one of those top spots on Google. How?
In order to get high ranks, create content that gives people what they actually want.
High traffic, low competition keywords – In marketing, this is often called “the tilt” – the keyphrases that sit at the sweet spot of search volume and competition. Use them appropriately in your content, with special attention to headings, image tags, and anchor text. Use other semantic terms, too. These are related naturally to the topic at hand. If your keyword is “dog training,” you will naturally talk about puppies, leashes, and treats, for example.
Authority content – Remember that you have to give your audience real value. Share new or unique information. Make it entertaining. Help them solve a problem or abolish a pain point they experience.
Do not ignore trends and timely information – Time-sensitive content gets the search engines (and people) interested. Align some of your content with trending topics.
Link responsibly – Internal linking from one post to another on your own site tells Google your content all focuses on similar things that people find valuable. Links from your site to high-authority ones shows that you include great information. Links from high-authority sites to yours are gold.
These days, creating content that search engines love follows much of the same methods that produces what people love, too. That is, after all, what Google and other search engines strive for.
Adding Value to Your Audience’s Lives
People want information. When they type “how do I train my dog?” into a search engine, they expect to get actionable tips that work. They want a solution to their problems. If their dog chews up the rug every time they are left alone for 30 minutes, the owner desperately needs a way to stop it. If your blog post or video delivers the ultimate answer to stop dog rug-chewing, that piece of content will get shared around the internet and attract a lot of other rug-deficient dog owners.
People want entertainment. The massive amount of people on the internet every day want more than answers to their questions. Internet is overtaking TV as the main form of entertainment for much of the world. Give people something to make them laugh, cry, or at least get interested in for a while.
People want a connection. Today, more than ever before, consumers expect to form a type of emotional bond with the brands they support and buy from. Even if you do not directly sell services or products, your brand is your online identity. Those who read, watch, or listen to your content want to feel like an important part of something bigger than themselves.
Smart Content Development for 2020
Keep an eye on our blog to learn more about the different aspects of content development from strategizing to management. You’ll get the prime info and tons of outside resources to set up your own content marketing strategy.
If you want to kickstart this process with an outside team who has the expertise and time to strategize, implement, and manage your content marketing, let us know! MLT Group’s content development team emphasizes personal relationships, easy communication, and smart strategy.
Contact MLT Group for a free audit of your website, and learn how we can work together to boost your digital marketing.