Make your content count.
Content marketing is a constantly evolving industry, so it’s important that marketers continue to develop the ways they create content in order to stay relevant to their audience.
As part of this content marketing evolution, search engines and the ways people discover content is changing. Content marketing is no longer just about using keywords.
Search results now compete based on personalisation, location and 50% of search queries use 4 words or more. And that doesn't even take into account that mobile search has now overtaken desktop, and voice search is becoming increasingly important.
Because of these developments, content discovery is no longer a simple query based on user input. Instead, it is automated, personalised and more contextual than ever before.
Introducing a new, more effective way of creating content.
Given the changes in search engines and the ways users seek out content, it follows that there needs to be a change in the way marketers create content. Rather than focusing simply on keywords, a new and more powerful approach is to increase visibility across a topic — through building topic clusters.
By grouping content around a central theme in this way, marketers can capture a large amount of search traffic and build authority on topics as a brand.
Topic clusters involve structuring your content around a broad topic such as branding. This topic is also known as pillar content; a core topic that all subsequent content is clustered around.
For example, after performing keyword research you decide that your pillar content is targeting the keyword "branding guide". This will be a blog article that broadly but comprehensively covers branding and offers a free marketing guide.
"The branding guide for fresh-faced marketers" is the article that we really want to rank for on Google (but it is also the hardest) because "branding guide" is a competitive keyword and we have no authority on the subject.
Nevertheless, we give ourselves a better chance of ranking for "branding guide" by using the topic cluster model. All the subsequent clustered or subtopics link back to the core topic. It's not shown in the diagram but each subtopic should also be linking to other clustered topics and also to authoritative sources.
In this way all your content is related and builds off each other to achieve better SERP (search engine results page) rankings and generate greater authority for your brand. If you keep producing quality content, Google will begin to recognise you as a thought leader surrounding branding (and hopefully your audience too!).
You now understand how to approach and structure your content, but what about how to present it?Before you start creating content, you need to understand who your audience is.
One of the best ways to help you understand your audience is by creating buyer personas. Who they are? What platforms do they use? Are they visual people or do they prefer reading or listening?
Once you understand your different buyers, you can decide what types of content would make the most sense for them.
Blog posts are one of the best ways to reach out to your existing and new audiences. Blog posts should be published at least once a week in order to build credibility with your audience and authority with search engines. More importantly, your blog posts must provide value to your audience. They should provide useful insights, helpful resources and ideally, your blog posts will help solve your customer's problems.
Ebooks are a great way to generate new leads by providing useful information in return for contact details. Creating an ebook can be a lengthy process, but don't be put off as ebooks can be a great source of traffic while offering extensive value to your leads.
Top tip: Re-purpose all of your clustered blog content and use that same information to create an ebook. This will save you precious time and make the best use of all of your effort.
Creating templates that are valuable to your audience is another great way to generate new leads for your business. Examples of templates that you could offer include calendars, business plans, marketing plans etc. Focus on creating templates that are industry specific and help solve your customer's problems.
Infographics offer an alternative to text that presents data in a visual and compelling way. Using infographics enables you to convey complicated information in a way that is clear, concise and has impact.
Videos are another great way to present engaging content in a visual format. Produce an engaging video and it has the potential to be shared right across cyberspace in a short space of time. It’s worth bearing in mind however, that this format can be a resource intensive exercise.
However, great video content doesn't have to cost the earth. Here's our guide to producing cost-effective videos.
This format has a growing audience. It works well if your audience is time poor or prefers to listen to the content they consume. For example, you can create podcasts out of interviews, re-purposing blog content, industry trends, giveaways etc.
As you begin to plan your content around core topics and choose your content types, you will gain a more holistic view of your content plan and how this plan can achieve your goals. Armed with this, you will have a clearer picture of your content strategy and how this strategy can be implemented at a per-content basis. Clustering your content around core topics will make you a one-stop-shop on topics related to your industry and boost your SERP performance. And that is good for everyone.
If you need help with your content planning, we have created this super handy content calendar to keep your content relevant and on track. Click the banner below to get yours now: