How to Start Content Marketing: A Guide to Creating Content for SEO and Lead Generation
How to Start Content Marketing
Content marketing is the process of creating textual content or interactive media that attracts readers to your site, and in turn, leads to potential customers who may purchase your products and services.
Content marketing and SEO are so intertwined these days, that content marketing is an essential strategy you need to execute in order to gain new traffic, leads, and future customers. Content marketing involves creating high-quality content that helps potential readers, which in turn, leads to Google indexing your content and then sending traffic to your site. You can also gain traffic from social media sites, such as Pinterest, Reddit, and Facebook. Content marketing is one of the most effective forms of lead generation there is, because it ensures a source of potential customers who’ll read your content daily and possibly purchase your products or services.
This is why investing in a solid content marketing strategy is a necessity for your business. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at how to start content marketing, and the best practices you should ensure in order to maximise your success.
1. Plan Your Articles
What would your customers like to read about? No matter what domain your business is in, there’s sure to be an area of expertise that your content can help out with. Even if you believe that this isn’t the case, you just need to do some quick research, and you’ll quickly realize that any business domain can create topical, help-worthy articles.
For example, if you’re a plumbing company, think of the variety of dilemmas that the everyday person would encounter in relation to drainage, pipes, and plumbing. You could write a series of articles around maintaining excellent drainage, or about un-blocking a sink, etc.,
Google will index this content, rank it in their search results, and when readers arrive on your site, if it helps them in some way, you’ve established mutual trust with this reader, and if they feel they need to hire a plumber, they might go to your business or remember your company’s name should the time come. Google often serve local results that are close to the user, so it’s likely that those readers will also be local.
To get maximum benefits out of content marketing, you should make a content marketing plan that involves writing one article a week for three months, so make sure you have titles and brainstormed about thirty ideas.
2. Employ the Use of Effective Keyword Research
However, not all article titles or keywords are created equal, so you need to research the potential profitability of the keywords within your titles.
Select the main words from each of the article titles you’ve created, and then plug them into the Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
You’ll then get metrics on how often these keywords are searched monthly. If less than a hundred people a month search for your keyword, then it’s unlikely that your article will generate traffic, but if over a thousand people a month search for that very keyword, and you rank on the first page for that keyword, then a constant supply of people coming to your site will be a certainty.
However, you also need to ensure that the websites ranking for your chosen keywords are also surpassable. Large, influential websites and news outlets often have entire marketing teams dedicated to creating high-value content and optimizing that content with SEO, so it can be difficult to surpass these sites. You need to check if there are any smaller blogs ranking for your chosen keywords that can be easily surpassed. Do they have low quality content? Or are they relatively unknown, or have little reader engagement? These are all metrics that show your content can surpass this content with the right optimizations.
I’ve worked with blogs for years, and the one mistake that prevents them from succeeding in gaining traffic to their content is the lack of keyword research they do, hence they target keywords that are rarely searched, and then wonder why their site is not getting traffic despite ranking highly for that keyword.
3. Write Your Content
Next, you need to start crafting the piece of content that targets the keywords you’ve chosen.
Make sure to address all questions the reader might have. Does your article adequately surpass reader expectations, and does it do everything the title promises?
Here are some key tips to make sure your content is stellar:
- Is the article longer than 1500 words? If so, your article will also rank for long tail keywords (these are search terms with more than fifty characters), and Google’s spiderbots will also gain more contextual understanding into what your article is about, helping your article gain more trust in Google’s eyes. By writing at least 1500 words, your article will go into extra depth, which is incredibly useful to your readers, and it helps keep them on-site longer. If users enjoyed the article, they might want to subscribe to a newsletter of yours, where you can potentially send them marketing emails. The content you create is the pillarstone to establishing trust with the user.
- Try embed a YouTube video in your article. Most readers will be interested in watching the video, and this will increase your reader’s overall time on site. It will also add a dynamic aspect to your article, and adds another form of media to your article.
- Include as many images as you can, in order to add some dynamics to the overall article. However, never search for images on Google Images without enabling a “Free to use commercially” license filter in Advanced Search. Otherwise, you would be using copyrighted content, and the image owner could make you liable for your use of the image.
You can also adapt imagery with Canva, by adding text or captions, even cool icons, to the imagery you use. These imageries that include text are a popular hit on Pinterest.
4. Promote Your Content with Influencers and On Social Media
Next, you need to get as many readers onto your content as possible, by utilizing effective marketing techniques.
- Spread the word on social media. Try sending a link to your content on Reddit, if it has any “viral” appeal or would be something comical that users would want to share or visit. If your article has a lot of imagery, Pinterest users would find a lot of appeal in your content, and would be sure to pin your images. One article I created went viral on Pinterest, simply because it contained a Made For Pinterest (a graphic containing the title of the article in the foreground) graphic, and I received over half a million views for this article alone.
- Get in contact with influencers in your field (you can find these influencers on BuzzSumo), and ask them to link to your article in any link bundles or resource sharing articles they have. These influencers are likely to have a lot of visitors arriving onto their content, so this can provide a way for interested users to also find your site.
- If you’ve followed the steps above, you should start ranking in search results within two to three weeks after publication. It can take a couple of months for traffic to really start increasing, so make sure to be patient, and keep optimizing your content as you wait.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you with a concrete roadmap you can use in order to get started with your content marketing strategy. You’ll see that it does take time and work, but once you have a weekly plan, make sure to stick to it, and keep producing new content, as well as promoting old content.
You’ll notice a traffic increase with time, provided your content is of high quality and engages its readers. This will lead to more shares, more time spent on page, and therefore your search rankings will also increase.