It may be one of the older digital marketing channels, but it remains one of the most fruitful for businesses. You’ve got to do it right, though. Check out this email marketing tip from our CEO, Jenny Stradling:
Highlights from the Eminent SEO Blog
A recent survey revealed just how many businesses are currently trying their hand at content marketing. The number is only going to grow, so here are 3 tips on fine-tuning your strategy and setting it apart from the competition in 2018.
As for one last SEO development, our very own Zach Ankeny wrote about a recent change he noticed in Google’s search engine results pages, specifically pertaining to rich snippets and knowledge graphs. Will these changes affect your website?
CEO, Business Owner, Digital Marketer, SEO Strategist and Writer.
I am passionate about researching, writing and sharing information on important topics as well as fun ideas and helpful reviews. I focus on health, wellness, beauty, marketing, design, art, work/life balance, quality, sustainability, ethics, human rights, personal growth, collaboration, inclusion and making the web a better place.
I am a mom of 6, glamma and partner to a wonderful man who supports me in every way, including co-owning and running our business and managing this crazy life we’ve created with each other. In my free time (what’s that?) I love to listen to podcasts, read, cook, sing, paint, dream, spend time with my family and create beautiful memories.
For years you’ve been hearing about the importance of developing higher quality content and making that content a central part of your overall marketing strategy.
Don’t count on that thinking to go away anytime soon. That’s because long-term content marketing strategies across every industry are bearing fruit and helping brands to significantly expand their reach.
A study performed by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs revealed that 2017 was a big year for content marketing. The survey of more than 1,000 American companies representing a vast range of industries – ranging from technology and consulting to health care and publishing – found that investments in content marketing have produced promising returns.
Here are some of the most notable takeaways from the study:
89% of B2B marketers are using content marketing in 2017.
63% of respondents are “very committed” to content marketing.
85% of companies said that improving content quality had considerable benefits.
88% of respondents agreed that content marketing was the most important part of their marketing strategy.
It’s clear that content marketing has been just as effective as promised, and that means more and more companies are going to be jumping onto the trend in 2018. The pressure is even higher on individual brands to develop fresh, relevant copy that drives sales and social media engagement.
So how do you plan to stand out next year now that thousands of companies are dedicating serious resources to content?
Fine-Tune Your Content Marketing Strategy
The following strategies outline a few ways to keep your content marketing strategy as unique and engaging as possible:
1. Next Level Content Marketing: Going Beyond the Blog
Today, blogging is the go-to strategy when it comes to content generation. This straightforward medium can become quite dynamic in the right hands.
As studies have shown, more brands are becoming adept at developing blog posts that communicate the right message to their customers. That means your company will need to start thinking about new options for content generation beyond the traditional methods as you head into 2018.
Yes, you’ve put a lot of time and resources into mastering social media, blogging, newsletters and whitepapers. Taking your content to the next level does not mean abandoning these efforts; you’ll still want to keep generating dynamic blog and social content.
However, it’s equally important that your company start devising new ways to leverage these skills to stand out from your competition.
For example, some companies have elevated their blog and email newsletters into something more akin to a full-blown publication. Food Processing and Food 52 are two instances of publishers that have transformed their newsletters to have the look and feel of a magazine, rather than just another disposable email message.
By leveraging subject matter experts in your network, dedicating time to developing regular featured content and your knowledge of customer pain points, your brand could create consistent resources that provide audiences with in-depth information about your industry and your business.
These are just a few of the many ways your company can elevate its content creation strategy in 2018. The sooner your team starts brainstorming a new approach, the better.
2. Leverage Transparency: Kill Two Birds with One Stone
With data breaches and digital scams in the news on a regular basis, today’s clients want to feel like they can trust the brands they work with. One of the easiest ways to establish a connection with potential customers is to let them peek behind the curtain.
Transparency is more important to customers than ever. The companies that are able to provide the inside look that clients are looking for will be more effective in building important, long-term connections with those same customers.
Now, what does that have to with your content strategy for 2018? If you’re willing to think outside the box, the push for transparency could very well be the solution your brand needs.
First, develop a long-term strategy for increasing transparency across the company, both between the brand and customers and between leadership and the rest of the employees.
Next, start documenting the progress of these transparency efforts. Not only does this approach help your staff stay accountable, it also generates a bevy of material that can be turned into eye-catching content.
Here are a few more ways your transparency implementation can double as trust-building content for your customers:
Host digital Q&A sessions that answer customer questions and address any ethical concerns.
Develop a series of blog posts that track, describe and discuss the results of new transparency initiatives.
Develop a case study that analyzes and reviews company-wide transparency efforts.
3. Copy and Video: Hire a Specialist Who Does Both
In 2018, everyone will looking for ways to implement video into their content marketing strategy. Few, however, will find an effective way to integrate video into their content strategy.
The difference? Consider the advantage of posting video content that relates to or even directly refers to the written content on the same page.
YouTube personalities have become adept at breaking the fourth wall on the Internet, physically gesturing in their videos toward buttons and special offers that exist on the page. They also dedicate time to verbal calls to action that encourage viewers to follow certain links once the video has ended. Why can’t you pull off the same tricks with your content?
The most efficient way to get this type of project off the ground would be to have the same writer develop copy and related scripts. This way, there should be cohesive tone and messaging from one medium to another.
Placing irrelevant videos on content pages can just end up distracting your viewers, after all.
The possibilities for leveraging video and content together are endless. Ultimately, your goal is to provide visitors with content and engagement they’ve never seen before. If you can execute uniquely exciting video, visual and written content, you put yourself at a major advantage going into next year.
Think Bigger than Your Competition
2018 is all about thinking outside the box and utilizing the content marketing strategies you’ve learned to subvert expectations. The longer the content marketing game plays out, the better everyone is going to get at it. So keep mastering new moves!
Enjoy what you just read and want to keep learning? Check out a few more of the entertaining and insightful content marketing blog articles that Eminent SEO has to offer. Remember, the quickest way to innovate is to continue absorbing solutions and strategic tips like these.
Feel Free to Comment Below:
What Are Your New Plans for Content Marketing in 2018?
As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.
This is part two of a two-part series. In part one, we covered the pre-writing process you can use to set up your blog post or content piece for success online.
In this article, I’ll show you how to take all that information and turn it into a compelling, high-quality article that people want to read and share, which will also help it rank better in organic search.
If you’ve done the planning process for a blog post and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, maybe wondering what to do with all that information now that you have it, no worries – I’ll walk you through what to do next.
This Is a Guide, Not a Formula
First, let’s talk about an important mindset to have as you go through this process.
Even though I’m sharing my secret writing recipe with you in these two articles, it’s important to not think of this as a formula, but rather as a guide. Even if you’re writing for business purposes, writing is still a creative endeavor. This process helps you balance the practical and artistic aspects of writing blog articles.
Use the Outline to Structure, Not Stifle
There’s really no one-size-fits-all formula you should follow when it comes to writing. It’s OK if your writing is loose and free when you start, because you’ll go through and revise it to give it structure.
The key is to allow the structure of your article to be determined by the flow of ideas. This way, it has structure and readers feel like they are being led through a logical progression, all without stifling your creativity or turning out cookie-cutter content.
For instance, you can begin writing the article in a narrative, story-like format to engage the reader, and then build to the main message and the supporting details.
Or, for more informational articles, you may use a structure more like you learned in school – where you start with the main message in the opening, list the supporting ideas, and then close by reinforcing the main message in the conclusion.
So take a deep breath and relax as you move forward with writing and refining your blog article.
Headline Hacks for Beginners
You may write the headline first and use that to help you decide what to include in the article, but it’s also fine to write what you want to say first and then come up with the headline that best encapsulates what the article covers.
If you already have a great headline that you wrote during the planning process, great. If not, make sure you spend some quality time working on the headline.
The headline serves two main purposes:
It entices the reader to click on the article and read it (so it should be enticing!).
It promises the reader what he or she will get from reading the article.
It’s important when you’re writing a compelling headline to make sure that you can deliver on what the title promises. It’s also a good idea to verify that your finished draft will fulfill your audience’s expectations, based on the headline.
When brainstorming headline ideas, try this process:
Write several headlines meant to be enticing to people.
Write several headlines that have the keywords people will search for when looking for information on this topic.
Review both lists of headline ideas and look for ways to slip keywords into your favorite people-friendly headline.
Copy and paste your headline into an internet search and see what kinds of articles it will be up against. Is it the right topic, and is your article better than the ones that are already ranking?
If you’re new to writing headlines, Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks is a good place to start. It lists the types of headlines that have been most successful over decades of use (they’re timeless) and how to use them, with examples.
You can download it for free on his website if you’re willing to submit your email address. You can unsubscribe from his list anytime, but if you’re serious about improving your writing skills, you won’t want to; he has great resources on writing for online audiences.
Begin with the Reader in Mind
I always recommend that you open your article by connecting emotionally with your audience and stating the problem or situation from their point of view. This communicates that you are going to talk about something relevant to them, and that you understand their feelings and the situation they’re in.
This can happen in the first sentence, or a few sentences in, depending on what makes sense. You’ll notice that in this article, I start of very practically by stating that this article is part of a series, but I still end the opening section by acknowledging that the reader may be feeling overwhelmed about what to do next, and providing reassurance that I’m going to make things easier for them.
Know Where You’re Headed
Think of writing as connecting the dots. You’re going to start with the audience’s problem/experience/feelings and then lead them through what you want to communicate to them, and finally to your call to action at the end.
When you sit down to write, review the information in your planning doc, and get a sense in your mind of how you want this article to unfold. Imagine yourself in the audience’s mindset and the journey of enlightenment you want to take them on.
For a refresher on the pre-writing steps I outlined in my previous post, here’s the 10-point checklist:
Get On Your Soapbox and Be Vulnerable
You may find it useful to write your article in chunks, and then piece them together in the revision stage.
For example, after you write a section connecting with the audience and what they need to get out of this, you can write a section that gets out what you need to say.
These days, people want more than information. They want expert opinions about the information as well. Unlike news stories that strive for objectivity, you can be as opinionated and emotional in a blog article as you want.
The key is to give compelling advice while also being authentic and personal. When done well, this leads people to trust you and like you, and want to hear more from you. The tone is totally up to you. It can be aggressive or compassionate, optimistic or cautionary, highly emotional or highly rational – as long as it reflects your genuine feelings on the topic.
Here’s an list of what to address when you write out the Writer’s Stance paragraphs:
Your stance on the topic and why you feel strongly about it.
Why you disagree with other approaches.
A passionate plea not to make the kinds of mistakes you see people make in this area.
An admission of mistakes you’ve made or misunderstandings you’ve had about this topic.
What people absolutely must know to avoid the same mistakes.
Compelling reasons why people should listen to you and follow your lead.
You can then either include these points all in one section, or spread them throughout your article. For example, if you’re writing a 10-point how-to article, for each step you might explain how to do the step and then why you believe it must be done that way.
Close Like a Pro
When you’ve made all of your important points, wrap it up with a closing paragraph or section that:
Summarizes your main message and perhaps a key supporting point or two
Has a call to action
If you began your story as a narrative, it is probably more appropriate to bring the story full circle and provide a satisfying conclusion to the tale. Articles that are more informational will summarize the main idea, yet still sprinkle in a compelling emotional component.
Once you’ve written your draft and revised it to tighten up the structure, run through this checklist to make sure you covered all the key elements that will help it be successful:
Did you start out by empathizing with the audience’s current situation?
Did you say what you needed to say and take a stance, hopefully one that sets you apart?
Did you make sure your main message is clearly stated, preferably more than once?
Did you answer the questions the audience will have, especially if they are new to your topic?
Did you explain things in layman’s terms, or at least define any industry jargon you used?
Did you close with a clear CTA that flows naturally from the topic, fits with the buyer stage, and aligns with your goals?
Did you do a search to make sure your keywords are included in the headlines and body copy?
Does your article fulfill the promise your headline makes to the reader?
Did you proofread for spelling, grammar and capitalization?
Tip: Have a coworker do the proofreading if it’s not your strong suit.
In fact, I highly recommend that you have someone else read your article before you publish it. A fresh pair of eyes will catch errors that you miss because you’ve been looking at it so much. And a fresh perspective may bring questions that you hadn’t thought to include, but should have.
It’s Your Turn!
Writing a blog article that gets read and shared online isn’t an easy task, but it’s worth the effort if you’ve got something of value to share.
Keep in mind that for an article to get traction online, it needs to:
Resonate emotionally with your audience
Provide excellent content (be helpful!)
Use keywords selectively
Now that I’ve shared my process for creating compelling online content, I’d love to hear from you…
What is your biggest frustration when it comes to writing online content?
What comes easily to you, and where do you get hung up?
Inbound marketing has been hailed as one of the most successful types of marketing strategies, boasting such enticing benefits as:
Stronger customer loyalty
Higher sales conversions
More repeat customers
Trackable marketing ROI
In the information age, inbound marketing is seen as a smarter, more modern way of marketing, as opposed to mass-market advertising that tends to focus more on brand-building than satisfying prospects’ needs.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Also called permission marketing, inbound marketing gets its name from the fundamental idea it’s based on: attracting customers by enticing them inward with valuable information, and getting their permission to communicate with them.
This is the opposite approach of traditional mass media-based outbound marketing, in which the goal is to bombard potential customers with marketing messages in the hopes that a few will be interested.
Inbound marketing is often used synonymously with content marketing because inbound marketing uses content to build and nurture relationships with prospects and customers on channels such as:
Optimized websites and landing pages
Because of its focus on attracting customers and building a relationship with them, inbound marketing is a more targeted, precise type of marketing. Choosing the right audience and communicating to them in the right way can yield substantially higher 1) conversion rates, 2) repeat customers and 3) customer loyalty. However, this is also what makes inbound marketing more difficult to succeed at than outbound marketing.
How to Do Inbound Marketing Successfully
Marketing is based on a naturally self-serving motivation: The company wants to sell its products and services to people. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se. Sales are a necessary part of the business cycle, and good marketing can help match up customers with things they truly need. But it’s easy for marketers and salespeople to go overboard in their attempts to get leads and sales.
No one likes to be sold to. But everyone likes to buy things they want and need. What’s the difference?
When a company offers you exactly what you want or need at the moment you need it, at the right price, you’re happy to spend your money. In this case, it doesn’t feel like you’re being sold to, it feels like you’re being helped.
“Being sold to” is that yucky feeling you get when someone is pushing something on you that you don’t want or need (at least not right now). We’ve all encountered overly aggressive salespeople, annoyingly persistent pop-up ads, and intrusive emails we never remember signing up for.
For customers, what’s so enticing about successfully implemented inbound marketing campaigns is that they feel like the company is helping them – even though, in actuality, they are being sold to. Inbound marketing is based on the idea that customers should be sold to how they want to be sold to, not just how the company wants to sell to them.
For companies, inbound marketing done right means that their marketing efforts are garnering a higher ROI and providing a steady stream of leads and customers.
However, the business world is littered with marketers who attempt inbound marketing, but are really just doing outbound marketing disguised as inbound marketing.
Let’s look at the key factors you need to be aware of to do inbound marketing right.
The All-Important Trust Factor
You’ve got to give to get.
Ask first how you can help.
Be of service.
Those who are the most successful in marketing, sales, networking and leadership understand that the most powerful way to build influence and get what you want is to first be of service to others.
These leaders don’t just sell people their product, service or idea. They build relationships with people and create a sense of community and social belonging.
There are two ways that human beings interact:
Transactional – In a transactional relationship, each party is simply trying to get something from the other.
Relational – In a relational relationship, the relationship is more important than the transaction.
Inbound marketing is based on the principle of relational marketing, in which the relationship with the customer is more important than any individual transaction.
The company begins by giving the prospect helpful information for free, and asking for the prospect’s permission to communicate with them directly (usually via email). From there, the company continues to provide timely and helpful information and resources in order to build the relationship with the prospect over time, with the goal of eventually winning their trust – and the sale.
Because inbound marketing is a customer-centric, permission-based relational model, building trust with prospects and customers is the most important goal.
However, any practical marketer must ask questions such as:
How much can I really afford to give away for free?
How long will it take to build the relationship with the customer until they buy?
What if they never buy?
Investing the Right Amount of Time and Resources
Because inbound marketing is based on building relationships, it is a long-term nurturing strategy.
As a marketer, it’s important to make sure you have a long-term plan and can dedicate the resources to give it time to work.
It’s like planting a seed. You must:
Plant the right seed,
Plant it in fertile soil,
Water it appropriately,
Unlike with plants, we often don’t know the exact germination period of a marketing campaign, so marketers and business owners are always making their best guess as to how much time and resources to dedicate to a campaign.
You want to give to a campaign enough time to be successful, but you don’t want to keep investing in a plant that is a dud either.
This is why it can be a good idea to have multiple campaigns running at once, in case some don’t pan out. But, you don’t want to have so many that you can’t do all of them well, either.
Targeting the Right Audience and Message
A critical factor to the success of inbound marketing campaigns, and the marketing strategy as a whole, is ensuring that you’ve matched the right audience with the right message.
One of the biggest mistakes that new inbound marketers make is making assumptions about who their ideal audience is and how to communicate to them. This is an area that requires research and experimentation in order to get it right and achieve the impressive conversion rates and customer loyalty that you’ve heard so much about.
Even when you know your ideal audience, it’s essential to make sure you are communicating to them how they want to be communicated with (as opposed to how you want to communicate to them).
Why You Can’t Afford NOT to Invest in Inbound Marketing
In many ways, outbound mass-marketing is much easier than inbound marketing. All you need is a big budget, and you can blanket the airwaves (or internet) with your message. You can focus on the transaction instead of taking the time to build a relationship.
But in an age where technology is making people feel more disconnected than ever, they are craving relationships more than ever.
Customers seek out companies they can be loyal to, because when they have their trusted providers, they can ignore the overload of marketing messages coming from other sources.
Yes, it takes skill to be a permission marketer. But in an age where everything is moving towards personalization, can you afford to be left behind?
What to Know Before Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency
The No. 1 thing you need to know about hiring a marketing agency to handle your inbound marketing actually has nothing to do with the agency and everything to do with you:
You must give inbound marketing adequate time to work.
Many companies hire agencies in the hope of a quick ROI on their marketing dollars. While this might be possible with other types of marketing, it’s not possible with inbound marketing. Wise professionals create inbound marketing plans that are 18 months and longer.
You also need to make sure that your agency actually understands how to do inbound marketing well. Some agencies specialize more in outbound marketing.
Make sure your agency knows how to:
Help you identify the right messages for each audience segment
Build relationships and trust with customers over time
Tracks marketing metrics that actually matter in relational marketing
Can integrate inbound marketing with traditional marketing strategies where appropriate
While inbound marketing does require a substantial investment up front, it pays off big in the long term. Don’t waste any more time – get started right away!
Remember the days when blogging consisted of sitting down at your computer, throwing your thoughts onto the screen and posting online for the world to see, and people read it?
At least I hear that’s what happened. But I’ve never been a blogger in such simple times. When modern-day bloggers write a blog post – or any content for that matter – it’s competing with an ever-growing mountain of online information and faces the very real possibility of never being seen by another single person.
Content marketers these days don’t have the luxury of simply writing something and hoping that it will get seen. If you want your content to be read and shared online, you need a powerful plan to make it stand out from the crowd.
Do I Really Need to Pre-Plan My Blog Posts?
You definitely need a plan. It’s usually best to create the plan before you start writing, simply for efficiency’s sake. That being said, there are times when you might want to begin by simply getting all your thoughts on a topic down on paper, and then develop the plan afterwards.
Either way, you will need to modify the content so that it not only communicates what you want to say, but also hits home for your readers.
Investing time in a plan will help you achieve a much better ROI on the time you spend actually writing your content.
I’m going to give you an inside peek into the process I’ve created, improved and used again and again for the last nine years to create outstanding content. You’re welcome.
This is the step-by-step list I go through before I write a blog post – or any important piece of content. I’ll explain how each step works and how thinking about each angle ahead of time will help set your content apart from your competitors who aren’t doing this.
1. Company Objective (i.e., What’s in It for Me?)
This one is super easy because this is where everyone writes from by default when planning a piece of content. This is simply what you the writer (or the company you represent) what to accomplish with your content.
It can include things like:
Sharing your message on a certain topic
Educating clients and potential customers
Ranking for a search term
Creating a gated offer to get people to sign up for your email list
The Company Objective is whatever reason(s) you have for writing the content. It doesn’t matter if your goals are selfish or altruistic; in fact, they may be both. The important thing in this stage is to be honest and clear with yourself about why you’re investing resources in creating this content.
Don’t worry: Your audience won’t see this information. It’s for your eyes only.
2. Writer’s Stance
This is a step I added recently, and is really an extension of step 1. This is where you give your opinion, your position on the topic. Whereas the Company Objective is practical – what you want to accomplish – the Writer’s Stance is about what you want to say. It stems from your deeply held beliefs about the topic.
It’s OK – in fact, it’s good – for this to be emotional and opinionated. Remember that your audience has many other sources for their information. What can you bring to this topic that no one else can? What’s your unique take on the subject? What do you want to say that no one else is talking about – that needs to be addressed? Why does what you have to say really matter?
Next, you want to clearly identify who you’re writing this content for. The more specific you are, the better, because it will allow you to create a more targeted and impactful message.
If you have buyer personas that you use in your marketing, identify which one this is for primarily. It’s OK to have content that is for multiple audiences, if need be, but designate which one is the primary audience and which is the secondary audience.
It is also helpful to identify which part of the buyer stage this content is targeted to. For example, are you writing for an existing client, or a prospect? If they’re a prospect, are they in the early information-gathering stage, or in the almost-ready-to-buy stage?
4. Audience Objective (i.e., What’s in It for Them)
This is a critical step, and it’s one that most people skip without realizing it, because they’re so focused on their own objectives for creating the content.
Quite simply, you’re answering the questions:
Why will my audience care about this? What’s in it for them? How will they benefit from reading this?
Put yourself in the mindset of the person you identified in step 3, and be really honest with yourself as you ask these questions. Would I read this if I were them? Would I care? Would I share it?
If the honest answer is “no,” don’t panic. This is actually a good thing, because it means you just dodged a bullet. If you had gone ahead and written the article only because of the reasons you wanted to write it, then while you might be quite satisfied with it, your audience would probably ignore it. That’s no bueno.
But when you recognize that you’re missing the WIIFT (what’s in it for them) element, this gives you the opportunity to figure out what would make the piece relevant to your audience, and then plan your writing accordingly.
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this stage enough. If you do no other planning before you write, do these first four steps. Do it every single time you write anything where you need to influence others to pay attention and take action.
I realize you’ve probably heard about the importance of the WIIFT principle before, but if you’re not using it on a regular basis, then you’re likely missing the mark in a lot of your communications. All people – myself included – communicate by default from our own point of view.
It takes conscious effort to shift your thinking to see the situation from another perspective. And that shift can make all the difference.
5. Emotions to Evoke
In this step, you’re asking yourself how you want the reader to feel when they read your article.
Whereas the Audience Objective is often very practical – they want to learn something – there should also be an emotional component.
In fact, when you do this step, you may end up going back and refining your Audience Objective, because the biggest thing your article may be able to do for your audience is help them feel better, or feel more certain about what they need to do next. Knowledge is powerful, but emotion is often the extra kick people need to motivate them to take action.
6. Main Message
Now that you know what’s in it for you, what’s in it for your audience, how you feel about the topic and how you want to make your reader feel, it’s time to identify your Main Message.
This is the main idea, the thesis statement, the single most important point of your communication. Like The Highlander, there can be only one. (If you’re not old enough, or geeky enough, to know that reference, don’t worry about it, just keep reading.)
Yes, you will have other ideas in your article, but those go in the next step. Feel free to brainstorm both your Main Message and Key Points at the same time.
7. Key Points
Once you’ve identified the Main Message, you can flesh out the key supporting details – just like you learned in writing class in school.
In practice, however, I find that I often start outlining and then get on a roll and end up writing paragraphs of content. If this happens to you, just go with it. Get out whatever comes to you.
Once the ideas are out on paper (metaphorically speaking) you can easily copy and paste to separate the outline points and put any content you wrote into your actual post draft.
The point of outlining is to organize the flow of your ideas, not to stifle your creativity. So keep this process as tight or loose as feels comfortable for you.
8. Call to Action (CTA)
This is another one of those steps that people commonly leave off, because they get so focused on writing the content that they forget to ask the reader to do something at the end.
There are many types of CTAs, including these popular choices:
Share your opinion in the comments.
Sign up for a free guide to learn more.
Take the first step to applying this advice now.
Learn about our services.
Read one of our other posts on a similar topic.
Call us to find out how we can help you.
Remember in step 3 how we identified which stage in the buyer’s journey your audience is in? This is one place where it becomes very relevant.
If someone is just getting started educating themselves on the topic, you probably want to send them to additional information, like another blog post or an eBook. But if they’re near the ready-to-buy stage, then asking them to visit your services page or call for a quote may be more appropriate.
While your content should be written first and foremost for real human beings, it’s also a good idea to consider which keywords you would like your article to rank for. In fact, if online traffic is an important part of your business, then this isn’t optional: It’s an essential part of planning your blog post.
One common mistake that many people make when they’re focused on SEO is that they write for the keyword and not the reader. By doing this entire pre-planning checklist, you can be sure to do both. An article that speaks deeply to audiences will do well on social media, and if it’s also SEO optimized, it will do well in organic search – the best of both worlds.
Looking again at your audience and audience objective, think about what that person would search for if they were looking up information on your topic. Make a list of a few different search variations. Try to identify specific terms, because it will most likely be easier to rank well for long-tail keywords than general, umbrella terms.
10. Google-Tested Headline Ideas
Once you know your main message – which is optimized for your audience’s needs and emotions – and the keywords they’ll use to search for information, you can start brainstorming headline ideas.
Writing great headlines is an art and science in itself, and beyond the scope of this article. However, there is one tip that I picked up recently from a co-worker (thank you Zach) that is so simple and obvious that it’s easily overlooked. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been doing this all along.
Copy your favorite headline idea, and paste it into a Google search and see what comes up. Read the top-ranking posts and evaluate them. How are the messages the same? How are they different?
And perhaps most importantly, what are they leaving out? Where is the gap in information that’s currently being served up by Google that you can fill with your article?
Your goal with this exercise is to find ways to set your content apart and not be just a copy of something that’s already been written. Because the thing that’s already ranking will keep ranking at the top, not yours, unless you have something better to offer.
How Long Does the Pre-Writing Process Take?
So now that you’ve gone through the whole pre-writing list, you’re probably wondering, how long will this take?
Expect this pre-writing process to take about an hour. It can certainly take less than that, but plan the extra time just in case. You may even find as you’re doing your research and strategizing that you come up with ideas for multiple posts, such as a series, or with different angles and audiences in mind.
Yes, I’m asking you to spend an hour of planning before you even start writing a word of actual copy.
Think that’s too much of an investment? Maybe it’s time to update your idea of what a blog post is.
In the early days of the internet boom, people would just throw their random thoughts up on a blog and publish it for the world to see. And unfortunately, a lot of people still do that – and still think that’s what blogging is. Please, please, for all of our sake, don’t be one of them. The last thing we need online is more junk.
A good blog is no longer an online diary; it’s an online publication. Each post is an article. You should treat it as seriously as you would being asked to write an article for a print publication.
Do you like reading stuff online that clearly didn’t have much effort put into it? No. And no one wants to read your stuff if you’re not going to put in the effort to make it worth their time.
This process will help you ensure that you’re writing something people actually want to read, that is written for a specific audience, addressing a topic that matters to them, and giving them something they can’t get anywhere else. That is the only way you will get any traction online these days.
It’s CTA Time, Baby
OK, let’s say you agree with me that we need high-quality content online, and you want to only publish outstanding content on your blog. But…you’re a busy person, and the reality is that you just don’t have the time to put in that much work. Eminent SEO to the rescue!
Writing outstanding content is what I and other talented writers here at Eminent SEO do all day long. And you can hire us to write your blog for you! How cool is that? Problem solved. And because we use this process, we can tailor it to your voice, brand and audience.
So go ahead and click the link below to learn more about the type of content writing services we provide, or simply contact us to tell us what you need.
Whether in life or in marketing, sometimes it makes sense to keep to the old methods. This is especially crucial to remember when the tried-and-true strategies are just as effective (if not more) as they’ve ever been.
Now consider the recent spike of industry experts arguing that the era of traditional content marketing is nearly over. The growing popularity of videos and infographics over the past few years may have contributed to these hot takes. That being said, a closer look at the numbers suggest that this popular conclusion is quite far from the truth.
Turns Out Content Is Still King
The data actually suggests the very opposite: that content marketing is more important than ever. As you can see, your competitors are already ramping up their ability to deliver engaging, high-quality content to your audience:
The average length of time that digital marketing specialists spend per blog post has jumped from 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours and 15 minutes, according to Orbit Media.
85% of marketers surveyed by the Content Marketing Institute noted that high-quality content was the leading driver of their success over the past year.
How are you going to keep up? Take a closer look at our Website Content Services to learn how your business can eclipse your competitors.
At Eminent SEO, we are proud to celebrate the dads on Father’s Day, June 18. We are extra excited to honor the fathers who work at our office. This quintet of dads shows dedication to work and family every day, and we feel lucky to have them as members of our staff.
2 New Additions to the Team!
We are also celebrating this month because we’ve added two very talented digital marketing professionals to our team. They bring a combined 15 years of industry experience to Eminent. We are excited to see how their respective talents help us provide even more value for our clients.
Amy Bornstein – Senior Graphic Designer
After nearly a decade of experience in graphic design roles, Amy is already a versatile industry veteran. She loves to use her creativity and problem-solving skills to go above and beyond her role as a graphic designer.
Arizona native Stephanie Fleck is one of those lucky few who have turned their passion into a career. She has spent more than five years assisting companies in improving their social media presence on major and emerging platforms.
Each month, we select a few of our top blog posts for your reading pleasure. Following our observations about the importance of content marketing, these articles offer tips for producing the highest level of quality content:
Don’t Choke on Your Aspirations, Copywriters
Some audiences are less receptive to your messaging than others. Drawing inspiration from Darth Vader’s infamous and deadly encounters with his subordinates, this article offers tips on communicating to a reader who may be apprehensive to hearing all that you have to say. Read more…
Weighing in on Thin Content: Does Your Website Need to Fatten Up?
There are many times in life when less is more. That’s usually not the case when it comes to high-quality web content. This article takes a closer look at “how little is too little?” when it comes to producing effective content for the web. Read more…
Thank you to all our readers and subscribers! Until next month’s newsletter, if you’d like to stay in touch with Eminent SEO, please visit our blog or use the icons below to find us on social media.
Are there any audiences less forgiving than readers on the web? Many content writers ask themselves this question on a regular basis, and their assumptions aren’t far off.
According to data collected by publishing intelligence firm Chartbeat, a majority of users (55%) spend less than 15 seconds on a web page before moving on to the next one. Dang! Talk about the importance of a first impression.
After reading this report and reflecting on how hard it can be to hook and engage online readers, I was reminded of another audience with even less patience than readers on the web: the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader.
After all, who could forget how quickly the iconic Star Wars villain dismisses information he deems inconsequential or subordinates who have lost his confidence. If you equate “bounce rates” to “being strangled to death with the Force” then the parallels are actually pretty hard to ignore.
It’s important to note that much like Imperial officers, content writers are enthusiastic about providing their audience with valuable information. Unfortunately, our eagerness to please and grand designs for our copy sometimes can get in the way of providing the audience with the answers they are actually looking for.
So let’s take a closer look at how a handful of Star Wars characters meet their demise at the hands of Darth Vader and see what their deaths can teach us about the wrong ways to engage with a demanding audience.
Don’t Mislead Your Reader
Though technically a member of the Rebel Alliance, Captain Raymus Antilles has the distinction of being that very first person we see being throttled by Lord Vader in the opening minutes of “A New Hope.” He is quite bold in telling Vader that his ship is merely on a harmless “diplomatic mission,” considering the last scene of “Rogue One” features the Sith Lord watching them jettison away from the docks of Vader’s personal flagship. And to be fair, he isn’t lying, from a certain point of view.
However, his word choice certainly isn’t intended to guide his audience to the truth. In this way, Captain Antilles provides a great example of what happens when you underestimate the intelligence of your audience.
As a content writer, you may sometimes feel tempted to quote data or a report that doesn’t entirely support your argument. You may be in a rush to meet a deadline or feeling frustrated with the research process, and settle on quoting evidence that, at best, has some tangential relevance to the point you are making in your copy. This is the way of the Dark Side.
Taking this approach assumes that your reader not only knows less than you about your subject, but also lacks the presence of mind to check your references. If you’re found out, your credibility with your audience is shot for good and your reputation as a writer is put into jeopardy.
While this outcome may be less dramatic than your trachea being crushed by Darth Vader’s prosthetic metal hand, the consequences of misleading your audience are very real.
Don’t Get Personal or Political
Admiral Conan Motti gets choked about 30 minutes into “A New Hope” during a debate among Imperial officers aboard the Death Star about how to deal with those dastardly rebels. Ignore the fact that Admiral Motti’s extreme skepticism of the Force makes absolutely no sense given that the Jedi Council was the galaxy’s most influential nonprofit just 20 years prior. Instead, focus on his obvious misstep in anticipating the experience of his audience.
Admiral Motti might have been able to persuade Vader to his side if he had stuck to verifiable claims about the military and strategic value of the Death Star. Instead, he allowed his own personal distaste for Vader’s religious background to color his rhetoric.
As copywriters, we should always be aware of how our personal biases can influence how we write and what we write about.
First and foremost, we must remember that we are representatives of our clients. Part of our responsibility is to make sure the client’s voice and perspective trump our own when producing copy for their website or a digital asset.
We must also acknowledge the potential for our personal biases to color our writing, and that our readers are capable of seeing through our mistakes. After all, an easy way to lose your audience is to make them feel like your copy is antagonistic toward something they hold dear. If that audience includes an evil space wizard, you might lose your audience and get choked to death.
Don’t Expect a Fair Shake
If you’ve been writing for the web for any period of time, you’re well aware of the importance of the opening line. Hooking readers is key to keeping them on the page. At the same time, a carefully curated opening line can do wonders to disarm a personal bias that might prevent a reader from fully engaging with the rest of your page.
Admiral Kendal Ozzel demonstrates life-threatening ignorance of these principles in his abrupt conversation with Lord Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Remember that shortly before Vader summons Admiral Ozzel onto video chat, the Sith Lord had been stewing in his personal chambers over the officer’s tactical blunders during the siege of Hoth.
It seems pretty clear that Vader is Facetiming the admiral specifically to choke him to death with the Force and promote his nearby subordinate. If Ozzel had any chance of avoiding his grisly fate, it would have to be with his opening line.
Unfortunately, Ozzel did not anticipate that his audience was entering the conversation under the influence of a powerful negative bias. He led with a bland, predictable opening that probably encouraged Vader to snuff him out that much faster. More importantly, he lacked sufficient familiarity with his audience to anticipate these negative feelings and subvert Vader’s expectations.
We as content writers must learn from Ozzel’s errors if we have any hope of improving bounce rates and user engagement on our pages. The opening line matters.
Don’t Fail to Deliver
Organization and delivery are key to producing high-quality content. These qualities are equally critical when it comes to designing and manufacturing an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Director Orson Krennic learns this lesson the hard way during “Rogue One” after reoccurring spells of incompetence lead him to a potentially deadly encounter with the Sith Lord.
As content writers, we can draw out a few useful nuggets of information by examining Krennic’s near-death-by-Force experience with Vader.
First and foremost, it is clear from Vader’s tone that Krennic had under-delivered in the past with regard to the development of the Death Star. As a result, the trust of his audience (Darth Vader and, more importantly, Emperor Palpatine) had already began to erode.
Content writers can likewise compromise the goodwill of their audience by promising one thing in titles and headers then failing to follow through in the copy.
Second, Krennic’s first reaction when confronted with feedback from his audience was to deny wrongdoing and deflect blame. This course of action results in him being strangled by a mystical energy field that controls his destiny.
Similarly, content writers have a choice when they fail to live up to the standards of their audience. They can either run from blame or take responsibility and commit to improvement.
(Don’t remember Darth Vader’s affinity for choking insubordinate members of the Empire – both by hand and by Force? Watch a “highlight reel” here.)
We’ve discussed in detail all the wrong ways to approach your audience as a content writer. But what can we take away as far as positive examples? Unfortunately, the Galactic Empire is such a dysfunctional workplace that it’s extremely difficult to find positive examples within the organization of successful, consistent communication.
Instead, I’ve devised a simple mnemonic device to help fellow content writers remember the lessons we’ve learned from the Empire’s finest:
By following the DARTH Standard, content writers can feel confident that their copy will meet the needs and expectations of their audience. Writers will have to continue to adapt their tone and style to each client, but approaching this challenge with the right mindset will make it much easier to engage your audience before they make the jump back into hyperspace.
Want even more tips on making sure your content messaging is on target as possible? Do not give into your fear, Padawan, for the final section of this piece offers some more detailed instructions on making sure your content strategy is as strong with the Force as it could be.
More Tips for Content Writers to Hit Their Mark
Don’t get stressed if you aren’t able to connect with an audience perfectly the first time you draft content for them. Crafting the right tone for the right group of readers can be extremely difficult. It can take time and practice and a bit of trial and error before you get the process down to a science. Try out the following strategies as you refine your approach as a content writer and marketing professional.
Do More Research
Writing for an audience means understanding the audience. To a certain extent, you need to get into somebody’s head to write a piece they find persuasive.
Unfortunately, most of us can’t wave our hands to get somebody to magically reveal their secrets. Unless you suddenly develop a talent for Jedi mind tricks, you’ll have to buckle down and learn more about your audience if you want to target them more effectively.
Learning more about your target audience may take the form of:
Demographic research you do online
A review of social media channels frequented by primary customers
Reaching out directly to satisfied former customers to ask them questions about their positive experiences with your brand
Check Your Competitors
One of the easiest ways to enhance your messaging and perfect your tone for reaching a specific audience is to figure out which of your competitors is already succeeding in this effort. Plagiarizing their work is obviously not the way to go. However, understanding why their messaging is more effective than yours is a great step toward making your own content more appealing to your target audience.
Remember to take note of not just how a blog post or email is being used effectively, but every aspect of a competitor’s marketing strategy. Understand how your rivals are using social media to talk about and draw attention to blog posts. Figure out how (and if) the tone and messaging of their social media content matches that of the longer piece. Finally, compare their content directly to yours and look for areas of improvement like grammar, organization, tone or word choice.
Gather Additional Feedback
Enhancing your messaging isn’t always about correcting your own mistakes. After all, only the Sith deal in absolutes. Chances are that some of your messaging is effective and you don’t want to lose that value while you overhaul your content approach. That’s why it makes sense to understand what’s already working.
There are a few ways you can do this, and they all revolve around getting direct customer feedback. A client may have had a recurring edit to your work, for example. Consolidating feedback is one of the easiest ways to get your customer’s opinion on your branding.
If you don’t have these types of records available then you’ll likely have to reach out to your customers directly. You may want to consider offering an incentive in order to attract more feedback.
Any tool that your company can use to evaluate customer behaviors, including SEO and keyword analysis, can be helpful in refining your content.
Expand Your Networks
Want input from a market leader in another industry? Looking for an insider’s perspective into the process of other marketing firms? A long-term strategy is necessary for realizing these goals.
In the same way Emperor Palpatine consolidated power by making alliances, your company can enhance its messaging by picking the brain of content specialists working in other industries.
Your company taking the time to consult experts does not mean it is abandoning its original goals or values. That being said, getting direct input from those who have already had success reaching their customers is a powerful resource. Take the long view by investing in industry networking opportunities and developing connections with experts long before you ever need their advice.
Don’t Hold Back
There are no moral victories or consolation prizes when it comes to developing content for a specific audience. You either grab their attention and guide them toward action or you stumble along the way. Failing and trying again is just part of the process, so don’t let the pursuit of perfection hold you back. You might have to produce something eye-popping or controversial to get the response you want.
Furthermore, be willing to commit completely to a content strategy once your team has decided on one. If your audience is big on cars, for example, you may want to consider dedicating a month’s worth of content toward their favorite interest. This approach won’t be effective unless your company goes all out. Inconsistent content, after all, leads to inconsistent engagement.
As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.
Many marketers are quick to tout the power of social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provide quick and easy avenues for engaging our customers. When it comes to building a brand, there are few better outlets than social media. Facebook has roughly 1.7 billion users, according to Statista, and it’s hard to compete with that kind of reach.
While Snapchatting and tweeting may seem like best way to attract new clientele, one area where social media lags is measurable returns in the form of sales. Social media helps indirectly: It starts and drives conversions to get people in your industry thinking about your niche.
Email marketing, however, is often where you turn those visitors into customers. If social media gets your customers in the door, email marketing is responsible for making them loyalists.
On this Halloween, let’s investigate the claims of email marketing’s supposed death.
The Case for Email
Social media is undoubtedly a marketing revolution, but there’s a reason we keep turning to email: According to research from Campaign Monitor, every $1 spent on email marketing yields $8 in return.
And while we may twist our hands trying to compose the perfect viral status update, the same research shows email does more than simply edge out the competition when it comes to acquiring new customers. It squashes it. Email is actually 40 times more effective at gaining paying customers than social media.
Why, then, do we spend the bulk of our efforts perfecting our social media campaigns? It may be the result of several misunderstandings we have about modern email marketing.
Email Marketing Myths and Truths
Marketers sometimes shy away from email because it suffers from two common misconceptions:
They think email marketing is spam.
They think it’s too “old school.”
Yet, statistics say otherwise. Consider the following:
Everyone Uses Email
Millennials are often a group we try to engage due to their massive buying power. They’re also the group most likely to check their emails in bed (70 percent), in the bathroom (57 percent), and in the car (27 percent), according to Adobe. Some other compelling facts about email:
Gmail alone has more than 1 billion users, with more than 90 million users who access their account(s) from a mobile device.
Ninety-one percent of all consumers report checking their email daily.
Worldwide, there are 4.3 billion email accounts sending 196 billion emails each day.
Email Drives Lead Conversions
Statistically, email is more likely to create paying and repeat customers. Email marketing was responsible for the most Black Friday transactions in 2015. Nearly a quarter of those sales originated from the marketing channel, according to Custora (source since removed).
These Black Friday sales facts are especially important when we consider:
Nearly 90 percent of marketers say email is responsible for most of their lead generation.
Email marketing ROI can be as high as 4,300 percent.
More than three-fourths of consumers say they prefer marketing-related communication to be over email.
Clearly, email is still relevant. Making it work for you is simply a matter of sending the right email, to the right person, at the right time.
Crafting the Perfect Email
Your email marketing campaign can be streamlined into four steps:
Find your audience
Segment your contacts
Pick the right time to click “send”
Turn that lead into a customer
It sounds simple enough, but it will require some legwork on your part.
Find Your Audience
We obviously want to know whom we’re marketing to, and you likely already have an idea of who your brand attracts. But marketers sometimes fall into the “Field of Dreams” approach: “If you build it, they will come.”
Creating great content might organically draw people to your brand, but is it attracting the people you want to be your customers?
Understanding your target audience requires some introspection. Ask yourself questions such as:
What problems do we solve?
Who are our current customers? What are they like?
Who is our competition?
What do we do that our competitors don’t?
Answering these questions helps determine who is going to read your content, as well as why they should choose your product or service over that of your competitors.
Segment Your Contacts
Why is segmenting so important? Research from HubSpot suggests targeted emails received 62 percent more clicks than non-segmented ones.
If you’re in the B2B community, you should segment by:
Type of company
Alternatively, you can choose to segment by role: function, seniority, department.
If you’re selling directly to the consumer, use that marketing intelligence. Social media data and SEO search terms will help you segment your contact list. Remember, your email list naturally decays by about 25 percent each year, according to HubSpot, so continually pursue campaigns to keep it fresh and to add subscribers.
Pick the Right Time to Click ‘Send’
Timing is everything, and email marketing is no exception. Sending the right content at the right time is a matter of finding the opportune spot in your targeted buyer’s journey. Here are some examples:
In the awareness stage, you’re nurturing leads. Let potential customers see the value in your product or services with free tools, eBooks, videos or SlideShares.
If a potential customer is already familiar with your brand, you need to let them know what makes you better than the competition. Add links in your emails to white papers, webinars, case studies, or reviews from third parties.
Why should a customer choose you, for the first time or once again? Offer free trial information, demos, price quotes or ROI reports.
Turn that Lead into a Customer
Lead nurturing is simple: It’s the process by which you cultivate a relationship with a potential customer so they’ll choose you when they’re ready. According to data from HubSpot, nearly three-fourths of B2B leads aren’t sales ready. Most of your prospects require nurturing, so create emails that add value.
The Importance of Mobile
If your email marketing campaign isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re far behind the curve. A 2015 survey by BlueHornet (source since removed) found emails that aren’t optimized for mobile will fail: More than 80 percent of recipients hit delete, and another 30 percent unsubscribe.
On the other hand, 63 percent of consumers report more interest in buying a product when it looks good on their mobile device.
Since 2011, the number of email opens on mobile devices has increased by 30 percent. In fact, nearly 60 percent of adults report checking their email first thing in the morning – in bed, or over a cup of coffee.
We no longer live in a world where we sit down at our desktop to read through emails. Everything we do is on the run, so emails must be optimized for mobile and easy to digest.
Video and Images Improve Click Rates
Consumers are more likely to interact with emails that contain images and video. According to Emma Email Marketing, adding a video can increase your click rate by 300 percent. While 35 percent of users report they prefer text in their emails, the majority (65 percent) state they prefer emails to contain mostly images. Therefore, make your emails all the more attractive by including one or both of these elements.
Personalization Is the Watchword
Want to get a prospect to open your email? The key is personalization. Consumers expect to be referred to by their first names: It shows a brand knows exactly who they are. It also helps if you send an email from a real person, not a general company name.
Research shows that personalization can help improve click rates by 26 percent. Consumers also expect to receive personalized content. It’s what makes segmentation so important.
Campaign Monitor reports that almost 75 percent of consumers feel frustrated when they receive content that doesn’t appear to be relevant to their interests. This is why three-fourths of all enterprises invested in personalized messaging in 2015. Also, personalization can reportedly lead to a 760 percent increase in ROI.
Email Isn’t Dead
Email is, and should continue to be, an essential part of your inbound marketing strategy. The right personalized email turns prospects into leads, and leads into customers.
Successful email campaigns address the right audience at the right time in their buying journey. Optimizing for mobile, as we’ve seen, can also make the difference between a sale and a deletion.
Don’t underestimate the power of email in your marketing campaign. While social media is important for creating brand awareness, emails net paying customers.
Not sure where to begin? Eminent SEO can help you with your email marketing strategy and content. Click to learn more about our Email Marketing Services.
All you’re looking for is a one stop-shop site to get all the answers to your search. Is that so hard to ask?
But what do you keep getting?
A slew of websites that send you on a wild goose chase, making you frantically click and open new tabs just to get the same insignificant answer over and over again.
We’ve all been there. We just want an easy search!
When They Ask for a Burger, Give Them a Steak!
You don’t want to be a site that overpromises and underdelivers. Consumers want searches to be easy and straightforward, and they hate getting the runaround.
When you provide mediocre, irrelevant or scarce information on your site, you run the risk of losing credibility with your audience, therefore handing over any potential profit to the site that actually delivers.
Google is, by far, the most-used search engine around the world, so it is important to understand that yes, it is your business, but your webpage and its quality and content also represent Google in a way.
The same way a restaurant sets uniform, grooming and tardiness guidelines for employees to follow, Google does the same for any website belonging to a business or individual. It’s not a stretch to think of yourself as a Google brand ambassador. After all, it’s trying to serve up high-quality, relevant content to its search users.
What Is Thin Content, You Ask?
Well, let’s talk about it! In a nutshell, thin content is not giving your drop-in visitors exactly what they’re looking for in search. Additionally, it lacks substantial content or interest. This can manifest in several different ways, so let’s discuss what thin content is and how to detect and prevent it.
Do you remember when you were a child going on a scavenger hunt? One clue led you to the next destination, only to produce another riddle to figure out. Luckily, as a child, part of the fun is there’s nothing at stake other than a handsome reward at the end. Well, in the SEO world, doorway pages are very much like leading visitors on a scavenger hunt, except their time and energy are more precious. And for you, time is money.
A doorway page is one that provides minimal content and instead tries to lead the user to a secondary page rather than providing the direct result or answer, aka the handsome reward. This can be extremely frustrating for consumers looking to gather information on a particular subject, product or service. With attention spans decreasing at an alarming rate, it is imperative that you shoot straight and provide a page with “meaty” and meaningful answers that hit the mark every single time.
The best thing to do with doorway pages is to kick ‘em to the curb! They are not necessary and only serve as fillers on your site. They also give the impression to users that you do not have any relevant, informative or original information to share with them, so they might as well go someplace else. You lose credibility, which means your traffic will go nowhere but down.
At some point, everyone has had that one friend who hears you tell a joke that gets a good laugh, and then they later deliver that joke to someone else in attempt to get the same laugh. You just sit back and give them the “horse eye” knowing that you were the originator and wait to get the credit that’s due – but then you don’t. A great comedian is an original comedian, and although imitation is the highest form of flattery, it is only so when credit is given.
Spun pages are a lot like a bad comedian: They are a watered-down version of the original. These pages are a compilation of information from other sites, reworded (maybe) and renamed as their own. There is no new or interesting insight that makes it stand out, and no relevant contribution to the conversation. In all likelihood, the goal of your site is to build traffic and give your audience a reason to return. If there isn’t original information, you can kiss another opportunity goodbye.
The trick to improving spun pages is to generate content from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Finding writers with experience and a certain expertise in that particular area can increase your rankings and can help you avoid being penalized for having a generic page, while also giving your readers something to look forward to. So, even when the topic isn’t all that original, the key is to write it in your own words and add value.
Low-Word Count Pages
The concept of “thin” is somewhat intuitive, so you can imagine that “low-word count page” means just that: The page is lacking content. Once a standard has been set, usually 300 words, if you have a page that dips below that line, it communicates to your audience that you do not have enough relevant information to provide them or that the content lacks depth. Once again, this encourages them to go elsewhere, taking potential dollars out of your pocket.
A very simple, yet often missed, solution for low word count is to simply increase it – not with “fluff” or “filler” words, but with fresh, engaging information that adds layers to the foundation you’ve already laid.
Granted, not every single page on your site needs to be deluged with paragraph after paragraph (such as “Contact Us” pages), but for everything else, take the time to make it interesting and helpful to the reader. Perhaps bring some statistics and research into the fold, and use your content to answer all relevant questions the average reader would have about the topic that brought them to your website in the first place.
Do You Need to Fatten Up?
So, we’ve jumped in and discussed just a few basic examples of what “thin” content looks like – although there are plenty more scenarios – and touched on how to fix them. Now, let’s rewind for a moment and discuss how you can detect whether your website is “thin” or not.
It’s Time to Get with the Program
The most thorough way to go about detecting thin content is to take a multifaceted approach and tackle it from many angles. Luckily, there are desktop applications like Screaming Frog or Deep Crawl that start with the basics. These applications can do a word count scan and report pages that may need to be “beefed up.” The caveat is that they do not check for quality within the page, and instead focus strictly on word count, so don’t just stop with one of these tools.
Where Screaming Frog or Deep Crawl may leave off, Google Analytics seems to cover the rest of the ground. Google’s tool has the ability to see exactly how much time a user spends on the entire site, and can even break down how much time is spent on each page within a website, in addition to letting you know your “bounce rates.” Google Analytics can also do a general quality check of content within the website to decipher what appears to be relevant and what needs improvement.
However, relying solely on applications can still leave holes in your website that can only be addressed by doing a manual scan and audit of each and every page. Although potentially time-consuming and tedious, a manual audit is a sure-fire way to cover all your bases and ensure your website adheres to Google’s standards, so long as you know what you’re looking for. Hopefully, all you’ve been reading here has given you a clearer idea on how to identify and rectify your own thin content.
Just having any ol’ website isn’t good enough if you have any hope of building a business and reaching consumers. You must stay in compliance with search engines’ guidelines and stay on top of not only your competition, but SEO standards as well.
Thin content can severely impact your website and ROI if not monitored and quickly modified. First impressions are everything, and with the right attention to detail regarding your website – and a little extra “meat” – you’ll be sure to leave a lasting one.
Need help spotting thin content on your site and with producing high-quality information and media to replace or enhance it? Eminent SEO can help. Learn more about our Website Content Services here, or call 800.871.4130 today!
Marketing practices have dramatically evolved over the years, and it looks like changes within this industry are not slowing down any time soon. The boom of the internet has rapidly altered the way we target niche audiences, which means that expectations for marketing agencies have shifted. Clients are expecting a much more symbiotic relationship in which the marketing agency is held accountable for its actions, or inaction.
Building Trust is Key!
When perusing the internet for a specific need, customers support the companies they feel are transparent and which have a simple and effective solution for their dilemma. The same idea applies when shopping for a marketing agency to boost a company’s online presence.
You want your marketing firm to show transparency and point out any inefficiencies in your current tactics or approach. Gone are the days of simply clocking hours and sending an invoice. Clients are looking for creativity, speed and efficiency, as well as an agency that can be proactive rather than trying to keep it “business as usual.”
Just Keep It Simple
With so many new technologies to track demographics, results, etc., marketers will have to take the initiative and become proficient in these programs and software to alleviate client stress. There’s just too much for the average client to keep up with. By becoming the expert, marketers are able to simplify the tasks of the client to save them time and labor dollars, as well as the stress of trying to learn new programs.
Pricing Structure and Effectiveness
Moving forward, evolving marketing agencies are beginning to get hip to the idea of pricing based on effectiveness rather than productivity. Clients now are looking for outside-the-box thinking and proactivity in their campaigns, and many of these tactics aren’t “billable.”
It’s easy to track time spent, projects completed, dollars per hour, etc., but how exactly do you bill a suggestion to change a strategy or creativity? Well, agencies sure are figuring this out if they want to stay relevant!
What About Content Marketing?
Content marketing has evolved and become much more intuitive and niched. Advances in technology have allowed this new generation of marketing to move at lightning speed to rival the shortened attention spans of millennial users.
Content marketing isn’t as simple and direct as it has been in the past. Marketers now have the ability to actually reach out to their demographic of consumers with features like geo-fencing and push notifications. This type of proactive and intuitive marketing allows businesses to gain more traffic by identifying their customers and sending them valuable content, rather than waiting to be searched for.
The Rise of Technology in Content Marketing
The rapid and relatively recent explosion of technology continues to challenge marketing agencies to improve their strategies by providing immediate feedback, tracking and general analysis of websites and content. Since a major goal of content marketing is to generate interest in and traffic on a particular website, simply tracking final sales would be an inaccurate and incomplete measure of success.
Evolving marketing agencies need to look for programs and software that provide enough information to be able to shift tactics in a reasonable time frame, so that they avoid investing time and money into a failing venture.
How Does an Evolving Marketing Agency Measure the Value of Its Content?
This is a tough question to answer since there isn’t a clear distinction between digital and traditional marketing anymore. Compelling content isn’t as simple and straightforward as it used to be. It isn’t just informational; it’s personal. It requires much more creativity and must possess an empathetic tone to customers.
Keep in mind, however, that the same blueprint cannot and will not work the same for each business. This is why it is imperative for agencies to invest in content creation and stop thinking of it as an expense.
The need for journalists with strong PR backgrounds is also on the rise. This particular skill-set is essential in creating the right type of content to generate “clicks.” The initial investment in this type of content has the potential to drum up business for years to come.
The Blurred Lines of Media Convergence
Another development that evolving marketing agencies need to keep their eyes on is the convergence of media platforms. This means that several current platforms will eventually blend into a single digital form. As this happens, content will become more diversified and the quality and value at which it is produced will increase.
The downside, however, is that as information becomes streamlined, many demographics will become underrepresented and unheard from. Those controlling the technology driven industry run the risk of losing potential customers when content is no longer relevant to diverse markets.
The Business-to-Business Element
As if the marketing game hasn’t changed enough, another element to consider is B2B, or business-to-business marketing. Creating value is the name of the game. Many companies are beginning to understand that other businesses are a huge source of revenue for them. However, some are now realizing they can’t market to a business the same way they market to an individual consumer.
B2B marketing promotes the sale of goods and services to other businesses in a way that adds value to the prospective client’s practices. The trick is to market in such a way that a business that purchases your product becomes willing to endorse your name. You have to make it clear what’s in it for them.
The Change Is Here
The content marketing arena has proven to be an aggressive force in redefining the slowly dying career track of journalism. Subsequently, evolving marketing agencies are currently paving the way for the future of their industry by quickly adapting to the technological advances in our ever-advancing digital world. Companies must be able to understand how their audiences are receiving and responding to their messages, so they must hire agencies that can provide compelling and creative avenues to reach a range of consumers.
The expectation of marketing agencies is changing, as are the litany of challenges they face in staying ahead of their competition. These agencies are required to be much more transparent and show more empathy toward potential clients. Evolving marketing firms are learning to get out of the driver’s seat and instead walk hand-in-hand with their clients. The relationship is changing, but if agencies and their clients can learn to meet in the middle, the result will be a new and satisfied customer – which is the greatest result of all.
Looking for a marketing agency that offers customized solutions for your needs and meticulously tracks all results while maintaining the utmost transparency? Talk to Eminent SEO today at 800.871.4130.