Second in a four part series on SEO Essentials.
Think for a minute about the different phases that occur within a typical sales call. Do you lead off the meeting with a hard-sell attempt to close the sale? Of course not.
Instead, you probably lead off by outlining a common problem or emerging opportunity in the prospect’s industry. You’ll follow that up with information and facts about your product/service and company, positioning you as the most viable partner to help address prospect’s need and/or opportunity. Then, after answering a few questions, you go for the close.
Think about your content marketing strategy in the same way. Blasting hard-sell content from the get-go will actually alienate people who are in the early stages of discovery. You need to optimize your messaging strategy to provide three different types of content, each designed to align with the evolving mindset of the typical prospect in its own distinct way.
In the early stages of discovery and research, many prospects may not even be familiar with your product/service in general. They could also be totally unaware of the emerging opportunities you can help to address. At this stage, informational “what” and “why” oriented content is key to help them get a sense of what is possible. Often leading them to perceive a need they never knew they had.
This is still the category most directly related to achieving the Holy Grail of SEO: conversions. Messaging in this category is designed to provoke prospects who have been through their personal discovery and research process, and are now primed to jump feet-first into the sales funnel.
Link-baiting content with shareability.
The ability to consistently attract links to your site — via your own marketing efforts and social media channels — is a distinct advantage. One that pays dividends in both web traffic and page rankings.
However, don’t think about this with the narrow-minded goal of (somehow) coming up with the next viral video that conquers the universe. Set your sights on creating relevant content that is both truly useful and begs to be shared. Some tried-and-true workhorses include:
- Provocative infographics that present key and/or surprising facts in a visually impactful way.
- Informative white papers that address a common industry or niche issue in a detailed manner, while offering potential solutions in a non-promotional way.
- Numbered “Top 10” style” lists that enumerate expert tips, reasons why, common myths, etc. The number of list items will obviously vary according to the nature and depth of an individual list.
As you develop content across these three key categories, think about the optimum places where they can live throughout your website and content marketing flow. As always, the overarching goal is to provide the right message to the right prospects at the right time.
Read other articles in our SEO Essential series -
Article One: Simple ways to boost your indexability
Article Three: Maximizing link weight to improve rankings
Article Four: Strengthening your identity and offsite SEO