People ask me all the time if blogging works. This is a blog you’re reading, after all, so surely it must work if I’m taking the time to write it for you. But what does “blogging” really mean? For that matter, what do we mean when we ask if it “works?”
The truth is, blogging can accomplish a very specific function in your content marketing. But in order for content marketing to fulfill its complete mandate, the blogs you write need to be standalone pieces that also tie into the rest of your content. At its surface, you see a collection of blogs, case studies, white papers, social copy, and emails. But when the entire thing is laid out, a clearer and more purposeful connection starts to form. Each piece of content was incepted, written, and distributed with purpose. At the end of the day, the strategy is what makes any of it matter.
Building an Effective Content Campaign
In order for any piece of content to be successful, it needs the support of a thorough and well-planned content strategy. When careful time is dedicated to developing the individual pieces in a campaign, the entire effort becomes more effective. In general, your strategy should appeal to readers regardless of where they are in the customer journey. In order to better understand how audiences break down, we use the content marketing funnel.
At the top of the funnel is the Awareness portion. Folks in this camp are likely unaware of your business or services. In fact, they may not even know that there’s a solution like yours. All they know is that they have a problem. This stage is all about educating and informing, particularly about their pain point and what options exist for relief. The best content for these individuals are blogs, as these can cover broader topics and create direct value for those who find your content. The pieces can still be niche or specific, but ought to be written with an audience in mind.
The next step down the funnel is the Interest group. These people are already aware of your company, but don’t have a lot of knowledge when it comes to your services, products, or way of working. You’re able to do some branding here in any type of writing you choose. Blogs still work, but can now be more focused on your specific value props. More importantly, though, this is where social media and emails come into play. Readers know they have a problem and know that you can provide a solution, so this content ought to demonstrate what sets your business apart.
Lastly, we have the Decision or Conversion portion of the funnel. This is the time for lead generation, and what better way to do that than with a piece of premium content? This might mean a white paper, a checklist, a guide, or a case study. Whatever type of premium content you choose, it needs to provide clear takeaway value to the reader, regardless of whether or not they buy from you. Make sure that premium content exists behind a lead generation gate.
Hyperlinks, Backlinks, and the Art of the Callback
Here’s the time for all you wannabe hackers to shine, because it is link time. While it’s important that each page has unique information, these pieces should be referential to one another when appropriate. This is a completely unique chance to direct readers to further information that is conveniently located on your website. Linking these pages together keeps the story moving and alive. Though not every reader will choose to follow a link elsewhere, even the presence of blue hyperlink text reminds the audience that this is all connected.
Backlinking is equally important, as it connects the past to the present. When you have new writing to publish, take a look back through your older blogs and postings to look for relevant articles. These articles are ready to go pieces of content, and backlinking them makes them magically evergreen once again. Just be sure to review the old pieces for relevant information and make any changes and updates where necessary.
Don’t Cannibalize SEO
Probably the spookiest of all three suggestions, this one ensures the safety of your page rankings. SEO keywords exist as a focused effort to improve organic search. In theory, each keyword should be unique enough that it’s located on one specific page. The writer can use the keyword more than once, or even place it in a headline where it performs better on web crawling. Regardless, the SEO terms have measured value and have a job to do.
When writing several blogs in a campaign, it’s understandable to cover similar ground in each one. You may give a slight nod or quick explanation of another related article from the strategy. This is all well and fine, but SEO must remain intact and uncopied. When one keyword is found in multiple locations, it lessens the effectiveness of this targeted search term. This is especially true when using pillar blogs and pages, where SEO ranking plays an even higher part.
Connected every piece of content in a strategy is an important, albeit often overlooked step in creating a campaign. Luckily, the process doesn’t have to be an overly lengthy one. By keeping an eye on campaign structure, linking practices, and SEO usage, you can rest easy knowing all the pieces are in place.