While content frequency plays a role in search engine optimization, just how much content do business owners such as yourself need to produce? Your SEO consultant may have requested you produce enough content to satisfy the requirements of some arbitrary frequency metric. Here at our Chicago SEO agency, we aren’t advising you to mindlessly blog. Producing massive amounts of bland, mediocre content just doesn’t work. While you may attract the Google traffic at some point, this content may or may not serve its intended purpose. Producing poor or mediocre content is not contributing to your business’s bottom line. Your content needs a strategy and a reason to exist. Every piece needs to have a purpose before it’s inception. Your expertise as a business, and what you want to say to your future customers matters more than SEO metrics.
Table of Contents
- 1. Content. It’s Not All About The Blog Posts
- 2. Setting The Goals For Your Content
- 3. Anatomy of Content and Its Goals
- 4. Creating a Powerful Content Strategy
- 5. Measuring Your Content’s Performance
- 6. Mapping it All Out
- 7. Why Investing in Website Content is a Smart Idea
- 8. So, How Much Content Do Your Customers Need?
- 9. How Much Content Do You Need to Rank in Search Engine Results?
- 10. Final Thoughts
Good content is born out of your expertise and experience within your industry. As a service provider, you can use this opportunity to advise or educate your prospects. This will make it easier for your salespeople to close the deal, or for your e-commerce website to make a sale. Content is a tool that makes a customer believe that you know what you are talking about, and that you are the ultimate solution to their problems.
So, in actuality, you shouldn’t rely on some arbitrary metric such as a daily blog. Instead, think about the kinds of issues your prospects are facing before they can see themselves buying your product. Afterwards, you should utilize the content to improve their post purchase retention. Content marketing is making it possible for your business to maintain engagement and improve retention by positioning their mindset.
I’d argue that your business may need way more content than you can produce at any given point, as most businesses do not think of content production that serves the ultimate purpose of attracting and converting their prospects.
Content. It’s Not All About The Blog Posts
Most people think of “content marketing” as a fancy catch-all term for blogging. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I thought the same way in my early days of marketing. Your writers aren’t marketers, hence the majority of companies have no idea how to do content marketing right.
The misconception that blogging is content marketing is one the many fallacies that businesses face in their struggle to properly implement content marketing. A devoted content budget is simply not enough, as content needs to be more than stand alone blog posts. Content marketing is defining the communication, channels, message, and marketing collateral that a business is producing. It is also visual, contained in your videos and more. Content marketing is all encompassing. It must answer the specific contextual needs housed within the ecosystem that surrounds your business and its access to customers.
Content is every piece you put out on the web, be it an Instagram photo, a Facebook post, tweet, or an email video series. All these components tie in with one another, building the complex puzzle we call Content Marketing.
The job of content marketing is not the job of a writer, nor it is the job of a video producer. Instead, it is communicating thoughts and ideas into the environments in which your customers are already inhabiting, and allowing them to draw their own conclusions. This job may be done by one person, or by a team of people. It will create a series of micro-moments that assist in the final goal: creating a sale.
Content is about creating an army of believers that will evangelize your business or product, thus being the ultimate solution in your ascent.
Setting The Goals For Your Content
Every piece of content needs to begin with an end in mind. This is the way in which we can measure the efficiency of every content piece. Most of your articles will have some kind of goal that will serve as a benchmark. For example, say you wish to write a blog post to position for a specific keyword on search engines. We can recognize that people are trying to solve an issue within the context of what they are searching for, yet it is too early in the funnel for us to determine their actual problem.
Let’s imagine we are running a chiropractic ordination, and we are getting traffic for keywords “searing back pain”. We can’t magically diagnose a patient through the internet, but our content can describe the pain, and then help them pinpoint the issue. We can create an article called, “15 Most Common Reasons for Searing Back Pain”, and measure the efficiency of content by observing which of the 15 reasons is getting the most clicks as we describe the issues.
Within this piece of content, we can internally link to other articles we’ve written on the matter, and discover which of these pieces is gaining the most clicks. As we discover, and then properly direct the users, we can measure the content’s efficiency by observing the click-through rates that occur on the piece. The higher the click-through rate we get, the more efficient the content is. This way, we can produce content that can tie into our business goals. By outlining the actions we want our visitors to take, we can easily improve content performance. Writers or designers alone aren’t capable of defining and creating content that ties into business goals. This is the job of a content marketer. They are the ones that are guiding the creative energy of your writer/social media manager, and giving them context as to what kind of framework they need to be developing the content around.
Lack of goal setting is the reason why many content marketing efforts are failing. With no clear goal, any type of content goes. I’ve seen multi-million dollar companies attempt, and utterly fail, at creating content. You can chalk their failure up to producing content without the end in mind. The only purpose being to satisfy some arbitrary blogging quota of “12 articles per month” and the reason being, “because google said so”.
Anatomy of Content and Its Goals
Now that you understand that setting goals for your content is crucial, you will want to take out some segments and observe them independently. I will give a big picture name to every group of items that comprise a content block. Some of these will make sense intuitively, so bear with me.
A content block is a group of elements that work together to create the overarching bigger picture.
Let’s say you want to send an email marketing campaign to your list of subscribers. A newsletter update would be a macro element, a content block as I’ve just referred to. Every unique content block consists of a multitude of smaller content elements. In the example of email marketing, we have the following pieces of content and goals:
- Email subject line
- The content snippet in an unopened email
- The sender of an email and how this name is displayed
- Body of an email
- Email Signature
- Optionally, there is a visual segment of an email comprised of HTML
- Call to actions and in-body call to actions
While email may sound simplistic, I’ve pinpointed the big picture micro elements of a single email. Now you can prioritize these elements based on visibility. The primary purpose of your email subject line is to interrupt and engage the prospective customer. It is probably the single most important aspect of the content, as it drives the highest performance. The email subject line’s primary goal is to increase the open rate, that’s it! We can observe this from the top-level perspective.
Too many marketers just want to send out an email, without giving much thought to the headlines. Here at Alpha Efficiency, we prioritize your content marketing efforts based on the order of their appearance. This means that email subject lines will be optimized first. Once the reliable metrics are confirmed, we move to the next item. Each piece of the content’s anatomy will have its own goals:
- Subject lines – open rates
- Snippets – assisting the open rates
- Sender name – assisting the open rates and improving credibility
- Body of an email – creating engagement or leading a consumer towards your website
- Email signature – increasing engagement or driving traffic to your social media profiles
- HTML – Assisting the click-through rates
- Call to actions – improving the click-through rates back to the site
This is how you will map out the purpose of every content piece you create. For content to work, you will need to hit on all of these marketing objectives. Otherwise, you may drive people to open your emails, but never click. Always be willing to change things up until you get optimal results.
Imagine you have a perfect email, yet it doesn’t have a good subject line. This could result in a 95% lower open rate. You can’t accurately gauge whether an email or an in content call to action is working if your email isn’t getting read enough. In and of itself, this could be preventing you from finding out how the rest of the content is functioning.
What this translates to, is optimizing the content to its peak level to deliver the most bang for your buck when it comes to email marketing and the content that relates to it.
Creating a Powerful Content Strategy
The days of being able to post two short articles a week and call yourself a content strategy leader are over. In today’s day and age, you have to create a powerful strategy if you want your content marketing to hit that sweet spot of relevance with your customers.
Your content strategy is a high-level framework for making decisions about your content. It is rooted in the most important things we have talked about – your goals and values. Once you have that framework in place, you can use it to plan, produce, and distribute content.
To create a solid content strategy, you need to answer the most important questions about your content:
- Why am I creating content?
- What goals should my content help me reach?
- Who is my content geared toward?
- How do I want my audience to respond to my content?
- Where will I distribute my content?
Answering these questions will make the decision-making process much easier, as well as helping to shape your entire body of work. Keep in mind that your body of work is not just a blog. It also includes emails, podcasts, videos, social media posts, and so on. It is something that represents you and your brand within the digital world.
A lack of cohesion is the most obvious sign that your strategy is failing. To avoid this common pitfall, go back to the basics of who you are, and what your brand represents. The best way to do this is by answering the following questions:
- What is my distinctive brand persona?
- What is my unique selling proposition?
- What are my core values?
- What kind of conversations do I want to have with other people?
- What kind of people do I want to connect with?
The answers to these questions will help you determine which content is the best fit for your brand, and which platforms are appropriate for you to distribute your content.
Great content is purposeful, and has a clear end result. This is why you need concrete long-term and short-term goals. They will help you decide which content to release at what time based on the different stages of the sales funnel. Two questions that are most helpful when defining this strategy:
- What one big goal do I most deeply want to accomplish with my content?
- What milestones are essential to accomplish that?
Once you have your identity and goals set, you need to decide your content’s topics. A good content strategy should be built around a small number of core topics explored from different angles, as most people need to encounter ideas more than once to acknowledge them. Answering these questions may help you decide:
- What do I know more about than other people?
- What am I good at explaining?
- What unique experiences can I share?
Quality over quantity cannot be stressed enough. Rather than randomly publishing something on every idea that you have, you should craft them in a way that builds on, and ties into a bigger picture. This is how you maintain a high level relevance your customers will appreciate.
Your identity and goals are revealed in your choice of topics and the manner in which they are presented. Without a clear and consistent style and voice, your content will lack impact. Approach this question strategically. Analyze your competition and determine what separates you. What is it that makes you unique? This will aid in crafting a solid, professional, attention-grabbing style.
Measuring Your Content’s Performance
Once the content piece is created, we need to see how we can measure its performance, and whether it makes sense to move forward with the optimization. Data is a very tricky part of the content marketing journey, as it allows us to pinpoint where problems lie. That is why you need to follow the simple rule of ABM: Always Be Measuring!
Without measuring, you will never know what isn’t working. You need to keep your experiments as close to scientific as possible, because that is the only way you will be able to benefit from the conclusions the data yields.
When measuring the information, you need to be patient. Too many marketers are hasty and want to pull the plug, without reading up on statistical relevance. You need a lot of clicks before you can draw a scientifically accurate conclusion. If you don’t follow the statistics to a certain degree, you risk losing out on infallible conclusions.
You wouldn’t be the first person to think that they are smarter than the statistics. A word of caution, decisions made too hastily will not allow your marketing the breathing room it needs to fully realize its potential.
Mapping it All Out
Content marketing is simply navigation for your prospect’s “customer journey”. You can easily identify what is a top entry point for your prospects, and map it out. Let’s say that you are utilizing cold email marketing lists that have a drip-email campaign whose sequence consists of 5 consecutive emails over 5 weeks period.
You can define a purpose for these 5 emails, and put them into a flow chart. Using your existing knowledge, we suggest creating a context for your cold list and attacking one archetype of your prospective customer. Let’s say you are a Rehab Center, and you want to divide your funnel based on age demographics. You know that younger people are typically looking for a rehab for themselves, whereas older people are looking for a rehab for their children. Knowing this can help you better tailor your content towards your intended audience. This will enable you to better determine what their objectives are, as well as communicate more openly with them.
Why Investing in Website Content is a Smart Idea
Since modern web searchers have a library of information just a click away, we can argue that traditional advertising and marketing campaigns don’t produce the results they once did. Just look at these numbers:
- Small businesses with blog posts get 126% more lead growth than those without
- 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content
- Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less
- 70% of customers would rather learn about a company throughout an article over any kind of advertisement
- 60% of customers won’t purchase from a brand with poorly written content
As we have already said, it is not about the pure quantity of content you produce. The key to success lies in creating content that is genuinely valuable to your prospects. Content that should ideally help them make better decisions. Only in that case will your company be recognized as the authority on a subject. If you do it right, you will have an army of followers plus your website appearing on the first page of Google search results for relevant keywords.
You need to be a writer first, and SEO expert second – not the other way around!
With that being said, many business owners start shaking at the mere thought of having to create hundreds of unique website pages. Although writing a lot of website content takes effort, your potential customers need well-written and compelling content to make an educated decision on your product or service.
So, How Much Content Do Your Customers Need?
With everything we have talked about so far you should realize that this is not the right question to be asking. A better direction to take would be this:
When visitors come to your website trying to find a product, while also sorting through your content, how much copy is enough? Conversely, how much feels like a waste of their time?
To understand whether you have too much or too little content, you need to understand who your target audience is. There are two primary types of audience:
- Maximizers – People who indulge in as much content and options as possible in order for them to make the best decision possible
- Satisficers – People who feel more rushed and therefore are looking for “good enough” rather than expend the time it might otherwise take
If satisficers make up the bulk of your audience, you can get away with less content since they tend to look for the fastest and easiest solutions. Conversely, your audience may be comprised mainly of maximizers. In that case, quality and versatility of content play a bigger role since they tend to scrutinize even the tiniest nuances before making their decision.
How Much Content Do You Need to Rank in Search Engine Results?
Even Google understands that people like to do their own research rather than being served commercials. They also understand that people like to read well-written content and draw their own conclusions rather than being offered a solution they may not trust. That is why content length, quantity, and quality are all search engine ranking factors.
After reviewing thousands of company websites, we have found that the websites that rank well in search engine results are those that tend to have a lot of text-based content on each page. We recommend that your company adopt the practice of having a separate landing page for each product or service you offer. Alongside this, we recommend a supporting blog post and FAQs section. This is why the best websites have thousands of pages.
When it comes to the number of words you need to rank, the average number is around 2400. For niche-oriented industries, it is around 1600 words per page.
Executing any strategy is a series of trials and errors, even for the most experienced marketers. But as long as you keep your content relevant, with a genuine concern for your customers’ well-being and problem-solving, you are set for digital stardom. Sure, SEO ranking is important, but that doesn’t mean that you should chase quotas. Going digital doesn’t mean losing the human connection. As long as your visitors are coming back for more, your company will grow and get better SEO rankings naturally.