Fresh Content for best Marketing Results

Lionel du PlessisBlogging, content marketingLeave a Comment

Fresh Content is key to your online marketing strategy

How to get the best Marketing Results with Fresh Content

Creating fresh content on your website is (and will be for some time to come) the single most important aspect of online marketing. Forget the shiny new distractions like posting cute cats and puppies on Social. It may be fun, but it’s not really helping.

Stop wondering whether all that money you spent building a beautiful website for your business is wasted.

Get busy writing long-form blog posts. Don’t let your website gather dust with aging content – keep it fresh. Here’s what I know:

Nothing happens if nothing happens – the bald truth about online marketing.

Adobe did some research way back in 2013 revealing only 9% of respondents believed their online marketing efforts were working.

9percent-marketers-adobe-digital-distress

Furthermore, the 2016 report reveals “The customer’s experience and the content to support it continue to be the top priorities for both marketers and their agencies when they think about where opportunity lies”. 

creating-content-2016

The customer’s experience and the content to support it continue to be top opportunitiesQuarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2016 Digital Trends

Two things are clear – very few marketers know their online digital marketing is working and very many recognize that Fresh Content Creation is key going forward.

Before I lay down any sort of action plan, let’s step back for a minute and get a sense of the battlefield.

The Internet is vast. Think more than one billion websites. And it’s getting bigger everyday.
If the Internet was a library of a billion or more books, and your website just one thin book in that library, you can see the enormity of the task to be found by the right reader.

Now, with that picture in mind, how do you as a publisher get your book pulled from the shelf and read? (yes, I am suggesting that you as an owner of a website should consider yourself a publisher).

Questions you should be asking yourself:

Is my website updated regularly?

One of the best ways to get noticed is by regularly updating or adding fresh content to your website. The best way to do this is having a blog on your website. Still with the library analogy, every time you add pages, the librarian (search engine bot) will get notified and your new page gets catalogued with a keyword in readiness for the next search query by a reader looking for answers. Fresh content is needed and gets noticed by search engines. A website that is not updated regularly gathers dust. If other websites are adding fresh new relevant content that is better than your content on the same subject, who gets the search results? They do.

If your answer is “Yes, I add content regularly” – Well done. But you may not be out of the woods yet. Read on…

If your answer is “No…” – then you need a Content Creation Plan ASAP.

Is my Blog post optimal?

If you do update your website regularly with a blog, the question is whether you’re doing it the right way. Here are some pointers:

  1. Word Count: 300 words minimum. But longer posts do better. The sweet spot is 2000 to 3000 words. See this post by Neil Patel of Quicksprout to see why.
  2. Aim to be useful: You should always have your audience in mind when you add new content – aim for content that HELPS your audience. Make them GLAD they found your post. Also, it helps to know what your audience wants to read about. Surveys are the answer. More about that later.
  3. Be better than your competition: Want to be found in search results ahead of your competitor? Analyse what they have written around the same topic, do it better. Their post might be outdated – which means you can add more recent information. If their word count is 1000, write 2000 words. If they don’t have an image, add an image to yours.

Is my publishing rate Consistent?

Consistency of publishing fresh content is key according to Neil Patel. Not 6 posts this week and 1 post the next. Aim for 1 blog post a week and choose a day to post, say Wednesday. Then stick to it. If you choose to do two posts a week, that’s fine. But whatever you decide, STICK TO THE PLAN.

I never realized consistency was important until it affected my traffic…in a negative way. Neil Patel

Am I targeting Long Tail Keywords?

I will make the following assumptions about this topic – your blog is not a personal blog, and you are wanting traffic to your website. If this is the case, then your posts or articles should be targeting long tail key phrases.

What are Long Tail Keywords?

It is a many-worded highly descriptive phrase as opposed to one or two words.

Why is this important?

It’s best explained by understanding Searcher INTENT. Let’s say you type in just one word to the Google Search Bar – “cars”. What get’s returned by the search engine is millions of results that are at best very generic. Your INTENT is to find ANYTHING that has to do with cars. Old cars. New cars. You name it. There’s no filter. But you’re not just looking for cars, you want a “NEW CAR”. Better, but your search intent is still very broad.

You are unsatisfied with the results of “New Car” because you’re actually looking for “New Black SUV in Portland Oregon”.

THAT is a very specific phrase that filters out everything else outside of your location, old cars, sedans, and other colors… you get the picture.

The correlation to competitiveness is thus:

A one word keyword is generic and VERY COMPETITIVE.

A Long Tail Keyword phrase is LESS COMPETITIVE.

From a marketing perspective, who would you say is more ready to make a purchase (or consume an article)? Of course it’s the Long Tail searcher.

I suggest investing in a good tool to support your keyword research. Long Tail Pro has a superb keyword research tool and some fantastic training to boot.

Am I collecting emails?

Email is still around. And will be for a long time to come.

Email marketing and a blog serve different purposes, and a smart content marketing program will usually include both.Sonia Simone (the Content Marketing Know-It-All)

One of the best ways to get your fresh content read is to send a teaser email (a few sentences that encourage the reader to click through to read the entire post) about your recently published work to your email list.

But here is one thing you must understand – there’s a symbiotic relationship between your blog content and your email list: Content Quality.

If your content is well-written, helpful and easy to digest, it’s much easier to get a reader to subscribe to your list.

Make sure you do the following:

  1. Give your reader an opportunity to subscribe with an optin box.
  2. Put that optin box above the fold (don’t let readers scroll down to the bottom to find it) OR use a pop up. I use both methods.
  3. I highly recommend employing an Autoresponder – Aweber is my favorite. Plus they have great training.
  4. Every time you publish a blog post, send out a broadcast to your list (even if it’s a list of one) with a link to your post and encourage them to share.

I love this post by Copyblogger about combining email marketing with Blogging.

All you have to do is focus on offering as much value as you can in your content. Create the most useful, detailed and action-oriented blog posts in your niche and your audience will love you. Then, when they come across a sign up form on your blog, they’ll be much more likely to give you their email address so they don’t miss any of your valuable content.Liz Willits, Content Marketing Specialist

The following Questions – while not directly related to Content Marketing or Marketing Online can impact on the delivery of your fresh content:

Is my website Mobile-Friendly?

It’s 2016. Do we really have to talk about the fact that mobile search surpassed desktop search way back in 2014?

The main idea here is to have your website be responsive to a mobile device. If you’re using WordPress there are loads of premium themes that are designed to be mobile responsive.

NOTE
We seem to be in a transition phase to AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) – see below – which does affect design. I have been experimenting with how my blog posts look as AMP pages. The results are not amazing after activating the WordPress Plugin for AMP, but Yoast has thankfully brought their Yoast SEO AMP Glue plugin to the table. But I would still recommend that your mobile responsiveness is sorted out without AMP.

Have I been AMPed?

Accelerated Mobile Pages. Yes it’s a thing. Word is Google is making this a priority. It’s the next optimization for mobile friendly pages.

The AMP Project was formally announced on Oct. 7, 2015, with support from Google, Twitter, WordPress and several publishers and other companies.Marketing Land

The project is aimed at FASTER LOADING TIMES of a page using the AMP standard. According to Google, existing technologies result in a page loading time of 6.9 seconds. With AMP it’s down to 1 second. That’s amazingly fast.

There is still much to do regarding this new format, and Search Engine Journal has a great article regarding.

…more brands are choosing to optimize with Google AMP. Being a part of the Google platform, it makes sense that these brands are optimizing with Google over other apps because they understand there may be benefits for not only a faster load time, but possibly with ranking or other factors. Based on this critical mass of large content distributors, it is clear to see why converting blog posts should be next on your to-do list.Search Engine Journal

If you’re using WordPress, there’s a plugin for that. If you are using Yoast for SEO, read their blog post regarding.

AMP Google Results on Mobile Search

Google has dropped the “Mobile-Friendly” label from the results pages. AMP pages are getting served instead.

Is my website marked up with Schema.org standards?

Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. If you’ve ever used rich snippets, you’ll understand exactly what schema markup is all about.Kissmetrics

What is Schema Markup? And should you use it?

The answer is YES! Although Schema has been around for a while now, it is only now starting to get momentum in terms of SEO.

The best explanation for WHAT IT IS – is explained in this article by Kissmetrics: “Schema tells the search engines what your data means, not just what it says.

A client of mine asked me what it is and I said it was “Shorthand to explain to Google and other search engines how to display search results“.  But I like the explanation by Kissmetrics better.

You have seen this process in action already – you just may not have known what it is. Here’s an example of these “Rich Snippets” in action:

schema markup in search results

An example of Schema Markup (rich Snippets) in search results: The top result uses Schema (Review Star Rating, Time to cook, Calorie Count), while the second uses no schema.

Schema Markup can include images, review ratings, time to cook and even calorie count – all available under the Recipe category for the Schema code. Here’s the kicker, it wasn’t Google or Bing or Yahoo who put that code on the BBC website. It was placed there by the SEO guy (or someone who knows about this stuff) working for the BBC Good Food site. Here’s the other kicker – even though those Rich Snippet “Flags” were planted on the BBC site does not guarantee that Google or any other search engine will display the results in this form. At least not immediately after implementation.

Is it easy to implement? Yes and No. Yes there’s a plugin for that – but it takes setting up correctly, and No, because it’s extra work to maintain.

Does it affect your Search Engine ranking? Nobody knows yet, but the fact that it adds extra information that is useful to the searcher PLUS the staggering fact that only 0.3% of websites currently use Schema should be incentive enough to start implementing.

It may just be the competitive advantage your site needs.

Summary:

While this post has really focussed on writing regular fresh content for your blog as the go-to strategy for marketing your site, there are other methods I haven’t yet discussed. Like paid advertising and social media channels. But I would say that without good quality FRESH CONTENT, your efforts will be less than spectacular.

I hope this post was helpful in some way – and would love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

 

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Lionel du Plessis
Chai Wallah at Fractal Marketing
Lionel has always gravitated toward the world of marketing starting a career as a copywriter, then adding art direction to his arsenal, and finally Creative Director for many years. Not satisfied with being proficient with old-school ways, he started coding HTML and CSS, Python and studied SEO for Search Marketing. The journey continues...

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