Content creation, consumption, dissemination, and marketing have changed to a great extent. Dare I say, improving in integrity… Many marketers attribute this shift to the pandemic. However, businesses pride themselves on their ability to adapt in uncertain times; creating something extraordinary. This uptick in content integrity isn’t something brand new, it is long overdue.
Brands must invest in what they are producing. In our blog The 5 Strategic Types of Marketing Collateral You Should Create in 2022 we highlighted that your content aids in solidifying your business identity in the marketplace. We also emphasized that content diversification allows you to reach your intended audience across their entire journey across platforms. Remember, before your ideal customer even picks up the phone or email to get in touch with you, they’re going to scope out and engage your content.
Content is still King and the Kingdom is demanding more. We agree! And, our blog post, 3 Tips for Developing Your Web Content Strategy, is full of successful content strategies. We briefly touched on some key strategic areas but realized it’s been a while and we needed to provide an update.
In this post, we will cover some recent updates with tools to improve your strategy and content creation.
So What’s the Big Deal?
The “big” word that we seem to never escape is ‘change’. It is also one of the most feared phenomena in every aspect of human existence. Businesses thrive when change is embraced. Your business or brand doesn’t have time to be combative. Now isn’t the time to pout about your digital content strategy, it’s time to buck up and find what’s wrong; then, fix it! Maybe change isn’t what you need. But, it will never hurt to examine your content production practices and get in line with the changes occurring globally.
Remote work created several changes, especially in the way B2B interactions occurred. Most in-person conference and sales arrangements moved to Zoom. More importantly, representatives are relying on digital content to inform their decision-making process. This means that your digital content must be valuable and speak to specific pain points but still be relatable to other departments.
But, before jumping into that investment, let’s highlight what’s happening with Google and SEO.
Content for SEO versus actual people
The demand for quality content isn’t new. The past few years have seen consumers reacting to more relatable content. B2B activities shifted since 2020 leading to the need for a more human approach to presentations. The interactions changed; so did the type of content that they were looking for.
Google’s helpful content update
The people-first movement has reached Google; breaking the thin line between content for SEO versus actual people. With global privacy updates and cracking down on bots, the need for more relatable but also valuable content is on the rise. Google’s helpful content update is realizing that people are searching for written authoritative information that is clearly intended to improve your business and at least some value for your audience. In the update, Google wants you to answer some specific questions about the content you are creating.
- Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if it came directly to you?
- Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having used a product or service, or visiting a place)?
- Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
- After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
- Will someone read your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
- Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?
Google is on a mission to keep us on our toes and it’s a great start to a long-awaited review of your content strategy. With the year winding down, every aspect of your content creation plan should be revisited to meet some basic requirements.
We would like to add a few checkpoints too.
- Would you find the content you are creating useful? Understanding what your target audience is looking for is paramount. However, what if any of your content would you share with your friends?
- Do you understand what you are creating? The keywords are great. They allow you to create what your audience needs but do you? Can you or your team explain it?
- While the content you are creating is for someone else, targeted or not, there must be some balance established between words cobbled for SEO purposes versus actual useful information people will use at some point.
Google GA 4 is almost here and with the number of changes listed, it is prudent that you undergo the necessary steps so that google can find you. This is your chance to examine your content; to either go back to the drawing board and create new content or repurpose some of the old ones.
Let’s Go Back to The Drawing Board
You always need a plan. A foolproof strategy that is aligned with current trends, customer needs, and overall business goals is optimal. According to HubSpot, 60% of marketers consider content as ‘very important or ‘extremely important’ to their overall strategy.
Even if you already have a strategy, there is always room for improvement. As we have pointed out, change isn’t such a bad word. While some of the recent content quality updates might sound like work, it is giving us a chance to do better with what we give our audience.
Here are 6 Key Steps to Improving Your Content Strategy
1. Define your goal: Decide on and clearly state what you want the content to do. Different stages of your sales funnel do require that your content function in a certain capacity so ensure that the process is clearly mapped out.
- At the awareness stage, people look for answers, resources, education, research data, opinions, and insight.
- During the consideration stage, people are doing heavy research on whether your product or service is a good fit for them.
- The decision stage is where they figure out exactly what it would take to become a customer.
2. Identify your audience: The ‘who’ in your strategy is key. Identifying your target audience is one of the most important aspects of your strategy. Creating an audience prototype answers questions about interests, wants, needs; and, obvious pain points. This allows you to narrow down not only what type of content you’ll produce, but what value you want to impart.
3. Determine the type of content to produce: Video content is in demand but there are other forms of content that can and will provide the same level of value based on your goals and target audience. Longform content, blog posts, eBooks, and others we previously mentioned in The 5 Strategic Types of Marketing Collateral You Should Create in 2022 can provide a stepping stone for you to create other types including videos and podcasts.
4. Create different content types: People like to believe that content creation is easy. And those are the people who haven’t really created any useful content. This part of the process is probably the most tedious and time-consuming. Whether you are creating a video or written content, always bear in mind who you are creating the content for and what you hope to achieve.
The content that attracts the right audience is intentional but also speaks to the problem they are collectively experiencing. From the headline to the subheadings, you must be able to grab the attention of your audience.
- Use sections to allow for readability and ease of skimming.
- Use bullet points or numbers where necessary
- People like stats and it further bolsters your content’s validity.
- Put your key areas in lists. A list is an easy way to give useful information about a product or service.
- Instructions have value. If you are sharing ways to accomplish something, make sure they are as clear as possible.
Here is a short list of some content creation tools (free and paid) that could help with your process and the type of content you decide to create:
1.CoSchedule Headline Studio
Keep in mind that video content and virtual reality spaces are at an all-time high. Before venturing into those spaces, ensure that you have done the proper research to position your brand in front of the right audience. If your audience doesn’t respond to that type of content, then it is best to try something else. Where your target audience frequents is a major determinant of where you place your content.
You don’t have to create ‘new’ content all the time
There will always be something in your archives to pull from. Repurposing old content is a great way to add something new to your portfolio. Take an account of some of the content you created and repurpose them into new social media posts, or even update blogs with new and relevant information.
5. Consistently promote your content: When something new is happening, share it. You occupy social media spaces to bring awareness, build community and attract qualified leads. Social media goes through so many algorithm updates so you might have great results with different posts over time. The key is to consistently share what you make. Awareness and trust are built by consistently showing up in the places your target audience frequents.
6. Measure the results: Google Analytics is still one of the best ways to measure your content performance. The new update was designed to help you understand how well your content is working with your audience. Here is a video you can watch about how to Turn insights into ROI with Google Analytics 4.
But what are you measuring?
According to contentmaketinginstitute.com, you can measure your content performance based on the goals you set. Are you seeking more leads, sales, brand awareness, or audience engagement? Some things to consider are your click-through rate, social shares, and comments, sales conversion rate, or size of contract to determine if your content is working for you and how.
The times have been changing with growing uncertainty in every industry and space. Your content creation efforts must be intentional and geared towards the core goals of your organization.