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Content marketing is going through an evolution right now. Consumer behaviour, new technologies and the range of devices used to access content have become a game changer.
Do you have a content strategy that will work in the digital space for 2016? If not, you need to gather your team and have a brain-storm. This guide summarises the latest changes and will give you inspiration to rethink your content strategy for the next year. The ultimate goal of a content marketing strategy is to drive traffic to your website, engage readers and increase sales. You therefore need a savvy strategy to monetize your content. But let’s start with the basics for readers new to content marketing.
A content marketing strategy should outline your goals, identify your audience and slot into each stage of the purchasing process. Each piece of content you publish serves a purpose – steering customers towards the buy button. The key to a successful content strategy depends on how effectively you communicate with your audience. Decide who your audience is, where they are in the buying process, what they need to know and how they will access your content – device and platform.
Once you have established which platforms you will target, you need to brainstorm content ideas. At this point you need to decide what purpose the piece of content will serve and determine your marketing message for each step of the buying process.
Research what competitors are publishing. This will help to create a list of titles and themes. Each piece of content should focus on a keyword that is likely to be typed into search engines by consumers. Although keywords do not carry as much weight as they used to, they are still important and should be included in the title, sub-headings and – according to Neil Patel – the first 100-words of your article.
If you are new to SEO, you need to understand the value of keywords and how to best utilise them in your content marketing efforts. If you do not know about keywords, learn how to put together a keyword strategy before you start planning content ideas.Create a great user-experience
Search engines have stressed content which improves the user-experience is going to perform better in search rankings. It has been said for a long time that content has to be engaging. But it has to do more than that. It has to be different. It has to entertain, offer the right information and make readers want more.
Think about developing a unique voice and brand personality for your online business. Start with your blog and wherever possible publish content on third party sites. Let’s take a closer look and creating content.Create a brand voice with personality
Research shows that developing an online identity and differentiating yourself from your competitors is key to building a brand personality. Brands are beginning to recognised the value of publishing entertaining content and this year is likely to see an explosion of new and unique voices surfacing in a scramble to be the best personality on the web – in your industry at least.
A strong voice reader’s trust is one thing. But a voice with personality that entertains your audience and stands you apart from other content that is published in your field is more likely to retain the reader’s attention and make them want to come back again and again.Diversify your content
Diversity is a necessity for content marketers. One of the reasons why content marketing strategies fail is because publishers are posting content that is a regurgitated copy of every other blog covering the same topic. It has become customary for online businesses to publish 500-word blog posts and as a result the internet is swamped with low quality content all saying the same thing. If you have to say the same thing, be creative and say it in a different way.
Your content should cover as many topics related to your industry as possible – even fringe subjects so think outside the box. It can also give your audience an insight into your business and employees, so tell them about any events, achievements and news. The length of your content should bear in mind the device end users are accessing your content on. Although statistics show long-form content of 1000-4000+ words perform well in search engines, lengthy features are not digestible on small mobile screens.
One of the challenges for content curators is catering for end-users across multiple devices, from 5-inch mobile phone displays to 50-inch super-screens. So choose your format carefully. Will a video be better than a written article or infograph etc..? There are many ways to curate content for different devices and social media platforms. You need to decide what message you want to communicate through each channel and the best way of doing that.Structure your content around the purchasing path
Your content needs to be structured so that it takes you readers on a journey. Think about the purchasing path of your product and determine what type of content your customers will need at each point.
To do this set yourself an objective for the content you are creating and determine what the attainable goal is for each piece. What is the purpose of your content designed to do:
Link building is one of the most important aspects of a strong content marketing strategy. Without links it is impossible for search engines to value a web page. The more links directed to a page, the more important and influential it is in search results. Ideally you want other people want to link to your content. But that is not always possible. It is possible through guest posting, but be wary of paying for inbound links that are pointing to your web pages from low-quality sites.
Guest posting is still a worthwhile exercise if you can find the right platforms. Industry magazines will only offer no=follow links. This unfortunately does not improve page rank, but does raise your online profile to a wider audience.
But you can still improve your page ranks using off-page-seo tactics to drive traffic and Googlebots to specific product or service pages. This will help search engines determine the most important pages of your website.Promoting your content
A content marketing strategy should increase your visibility online. You therefore need to organise your promotion a channels and determine what the best outlets are for your content. If you are a start-up you may want to consider paid advertising in search engines or social media in order to improve the online profile of your brand and raise product awareness.
Social media is a great platform for connecting with your audience. You should use your content marketing to drive traffic to your website. Always publish blog posts on your social networks, but also consider running a competition that engages your audience.
A good content marketing strategy also targets off-site platforms such as industry magazines, influencers and Q&A blogging platforms such as Quora. The more platforms you occupy, the broader your online profile is. There are also various methods of promoting content through recognised industry leaders and content platforms. PDF’s allow publishers to create professional looking content and flipbook technology produces stunning visuals that are eye-catching and engaging.Analyse content performance
Performance analytics are an essential asset when fine-tuning a content marketing strategy Understanding how readers are engaging with your content and the type of topics and content formats you are getting the most response to can help you shape your content marketing goals month on month.
You should also measure the ROI on your content. This will provide insights in how much investment you should apply to specific topics. We talked about the need for diversity of topics earlier, but if search terms and engagement is low for certain categories, there is little use over-egging the content in a vain effort to attract more readers. Look at what your customers want. Ask questions on social media networks and try to get your followers more involved about the type of content they want you to produce. Then invest more in making sure the topics your audience wants are covered in greater detail.
A content marketing strategy is not simply publishing content on a blog in the hope internet users will flock to your website. You need to set goals and put a structure in place that meet your business objectives.
2016 is going to see a change in content marketing. Brand personality will play a pivotal role in how companies communicate to their audience. So consider the type of audience you have and determine what personality they will most resonate with.Author: Jonathan Gillespie