Are You Creating Quality Content To Boost Your SEO?

Are You Creating Quality Content To Boost Your SEO?

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Search engines love regularly updated websites. Fresh, relevant content indicates that your site is “alive”, catching the notice of web crawlers. The more frequently a site is updated, the more often it is indexed, which in turn affects its search engine ranking. But excessive updates and an abundance of content mean nothing if the content isn’t high-value. As with many things in life, its a matter of quality over quantity.

What is high-quality content? 

High-quality content is content that is current, relevant, informative, engaging, and valuable to your audience. Keeping these factors in mind when developing content can help you achieve higher search engine rankings and draw more traffic to your website.

It needs to be current.

When it comes to web content, there is little value to be found in redundancy. Following a set format and staying on topic are key to your brand, but recycling old information over and over becomes cumbersome, for reader and writer alike. Your readers want to know what is happening now!

Sharing breaking stories and industry news is a start, as they can be linked to high-traffic sources and include many keywords, both of which can increase site visibility to web-crawlers. Plus, it keeps your readers up-to-date!

But if news isn’t on brand for you, well-researched, topical, timely posts might be more your style. The key is to make it stand out! What new information can your site offer that can’t be found anywhere else? And if it can be found elsewhere, how is your content different? Another big tip to stay current: keep up with best practices!

Challenge: Choose three subjects related to your blog and brainstorm five different blog titles on each topic. That’s 15 opportunities for new content!

 

It needs to be relevant.

What is your focus? Whatever content you deliver should be relevant to your website, your brand, the services or products you offer, and the information you share. Many of us have looked for recipes online, only to have 50 paragraphs of story to wade through before the actual instructions. If it isn’t the information your audience is seeking, it can be needless.

Making the desired content the main focus allows readers to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. This can build trust with your audience, as you deliver results without all the song and dance. That being said, it’s a sweet way to personalise a blog and connect with readers, if that is in line with your brand. A consistent brand identity is reliable and easy to recognise.

Content should parallel and support your website objectives. Posting for the sake of posting will serve neither you, nor your readers. While it may boost visibility, if the content doesn’t satisfy demands, scrap it!

Challenge: What is your website’s core message? Compare it to past content, old and new. Does it fit with your brand-identity? Write down what works and what doesn’t, what feels genuine, and what was just for a self-imposed word-quota?

 

It needs to be informative.

Think about what you are presenting. Is it a story? A lesson? A how-to guide? What sort of information are you sharing and why is it important? High-quality content should serve the interests of the target audience, whether they are looking to learn and develop new skills, market products and services, gain confidence, or keep up-to-date with current affairs.

A fundamental aspect of quality content is accuracy; fact-checking and research are essential. This benefits your readers foremost, but it can also be a great asset to you. Linking posts to reliable sites and credible info can increase the chance of your site being indexed, along with its search ranking.

More importantly, it positions you as an authority, building trust between you and your readers. And a strong, trusting relationship is key!

Challenge: Make a list of reliable resources you can link to. This can be authorities on different topics, blogs you follow, people you look up to, your preferred news sites, etc. The list goes on! Keep them handy for inspiration, information, and linking in the future. Some of my favourites are:

Jenna Kutcher

– Neil Patel

Amy Porterfield

 

It needs to be engaging.

What could be worse than a boring blog? Well, many things! But you can avoid boring blogs. Simply don’t read them. That is great for readers, but not so much for you. Appealing to an audience is paramount to quality content. This doesn’t mean every sentence has to be electrifying.

A concise set of instruction is much more practical than a heavily-worded how-to guide. If it needs to be simple, keep it simple. But don’t be afraid to step outside the box when appropriate. A comprehensive blueprint will prove more useful than a loose list of parts.

Know your audience well so you can implement a content strategy that meets their needs. Captivate your readers; excite and inform them! That’s what makes your website memorable and brings readers back.

Challenge: Choose a topic and brainstorm five different ways to present the idea. Don’t just write a list though; research and develop your ideas. Change up your tone, present a cool infographic, conduct an interview, the list goes on.

 

It needs to be valuable.

The most integral part of your site is what it offers. What does it provide to your audience? Be it knowledge, news, lessons, or entertainment, it was created with an intention in mind and should serve a purpose for both you and your readers.

Content should be in line with your site’s objective. That’s not to say you can’t veer off the beaten track now and then. A diverse line-up of topics can grow your following and allow for a wider range of keywords to be dispersed through your content. But use your discretion with keywords. Only include when necessary, natural, and relevant.

Of equal importance is to avoid excessive posts and updates. It’s easy to get carried away, but a few high-value posts have more worth than many frequent updates. What is integral is finding the balance!

Challenge: Brainstorm ways in which your content could change or evolve. What new avenues could prove valuable to your current audience or diversify your followers, while still staying true to your brand-identity?

 

In Conclusion 

Without content, a website is just a blank page. You can add as much as you want to it, but if  the components don’t enhance the overall value, it’s just dead weight. Don’t let it drag you down! Be discerning with your content.

You might have to experiment a bit before you find something that resonates with you and your following. Try things out and see what works for you.

Once you have a strategy for creating and delivering high quality content, the regular and valuable updates to your website will continue to improve your search engine rankings.

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing: How to create your own digital marketing strategy

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing: How to create your own digital marketing strategy

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This blog is a follow up from my five-part series all about digital marketing. In this post, we’ll look at how you can create your first digital marketing strategy.

If you’ve followed along with every part in this series, you’ll now have a more thorough knowledge of the various elements involved in digital marketing (or you can start at the beginning here if you need to!). We can take all of this and use it to help you create your own digital marketing strategy! Of course there are so many different ways you can do this, but solidifying your own digital marketing strategy with the steps outlined below will give you a solid starting point.

Here’s 6 steps you can follow to build your own digital marketing strategy.

My favourite part of all of this is, it doesn’t have to be complicated or take you weeks of research or work. Your digital marketing strategy can be one sheet of paper with a few appendixes (perhaps for your Ideal Customer Avatar, etc). That’s it! That’s all you need to get started. Let’s work through these now.

1.Business goals and objectives.

What are they? Hopefully you’ll have these in general for your business anyways! Be specific; you won’t be able to measure your progress effectively if your goals are too broad. You want your goals to be SMART:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

Remember, digital marketing isn’t only about selling yourself. You should by now realise that it’s also about reaching new customers, learning about your audience, creating community and supporting your audience, building brand awareness, collecting feedback and reviews…there’s way more happening here than just sales. Of course, you can and should set specific goals around the revenue you bring in online but simply bear in mind that this is all about using a good mix, so your selling strategy will be most effective when you’re also using your online channels to connect with and give value to your customers and not just to sell to them.

2.Budget and resources.

Do you have any budget for online ad spend? It’s of course ideal to utilise free platforms, but pairing that with a bit of ad spend if you have the resources for it can make your strategy all the more effective. I always advise clients that they don’t need to jump straight in with a huge ad spend; start small! Watch the numbers, test different audiences, see what works best, and then as you’re able to, start spending more where you’re seeing a higher ROI. At the very beginning, I’m literally talking about spending £5-10 per ad campaign to see what works and what doesn’t. I also believe that how well your paid ads do on social platforms is closely tied to how well your organic content does. You’re going to have a much more difficult time getting your ads targeted and working well if you don’t spend any time or effort on your organic content and presence on these platforms. If you show up intentionally and are creating content that gives value to your followers, you’ll probably find that a little ad spend goes a long way.

Other things that might cost you money could be content creation, social media marketing, SEO, graphic or ad design, email newsletter creation, etc. This is based on what you can do yourself, and what you can outsource. The best use of your time is to focus on what you’re good at and outsource the rest! Of course some of these you’ll be able to figure out, but you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort if you outsource some of this if you really want it done well. You’ll also get the added value of having someone’s experience who’s speciality it is to work on those parts of your digital marketing plan.

3.Your audience.

Who is your audience? Again, be very specific! You should create an ideal customer avatar for your business. What’s their name? How old are they? What are their likes and dislikes, their background, their favourite hobbies? The more you understand your ideal client, the easier you’ll find it to reach them online. You want to talk specifically to this person every time you put out a piece of content. This way, while you may repel some people, you’ll also really appeal to exactly who you want to work with; your ideal client.

This is hugely important, and again doesn’t have to take hours of your time. If you need to, create more than one! I’m a huge fan of Amy Porterfield, and she has tons of amazing resources. She recently did a great podcast all about how you can identify your ideal customer avatar, and I highly recommend having a look at that before you start this exercise. You can find her post about that here.

4.Your channels.

What channels of digital marketing will you use? Think of everything we’ve covered: SEO, SEM, social media, display marketing, content marketing, and email marketing. Again, I would always advise clients to start smaller and work their way up to using more. Far better to choose maybe two or three channels and work your way up to using more, rather than try a little bit of everything, get overwhelmed and stop doing all of them.

A lot of these are going to have more long-term results rather than short wins (which is a better way to build your business for long term success anyways!), so you should choose the channels you feel you’ll be able to stick with consistently. Personally, I chose to start with content marketing, email marketing, social media (organic and paid) and SEO. I would also argue again that content marketing falls under most of these areas and is intertwined with every aspect of digital marketing, so you should feel comfortable with producing high quality content for your audience as part of most of these. You’ll build a much more engaged online presence for your business this way!

5.Plan your activity.

So you have your goals, budget, you know your audience and what channels you’re going to use, and now you need to plan your activity. This will be based on what you’ve decided in all the previous steps! Everyone has different ways that they like to work but depending what channels you’ve decided to use, much of your work can be done ahead of time. If you’re mainly using email marketing, you can plan your content and then schedule or automate your emails. If you’re using social media, you can use tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Planoly to plan and schedule your posts ahead of time. If you’re publishing blogs out on your WordPress site, you can write them up in advance and schedule when you want them to be published! You might find it easier to create a two or three month content plan than to think about it on a daily basis (but that’s maybe a blog post for another time…!).

6.Measure your efforts.

Again, you’ll want to measure your efforts here by setting some SMART goals. For example, if you’re focusing on social media marketing, don’t set a goal of ‘increasing followers on Instagram’ or ‘increase brand awareness on facebook’. Set a goal like ‘increase engagement on Instagram by 10% over 4 months’. Set your goals, see how you do, and don’t be afraid to fall short! I believe good digital marketing is all about testing things out, checking in, adjusting as you go, and not being afraid of failing so that you can learn more about what you need to do better next time. Failure is good because it teaches us! So don’t be afraid to fall short of your goals sometimes if it helps you learn more about yourself and your business and ultimately, helps you succeed.

In conclusion

You should now have your own digital marketing strategy; congratulations! It doesn’t need to be a big, scary, time consuming event to create your strategy. I hope you found it useful! There are a few final things I would like to share that (I believe) will make a huge difference to how well your strategy will do.

  • Consistency and visibility are key. Choose something and stick to it. Focusing on your blog? Write one a week ideally, or whatever you feel you can commit to doing consistently. Email marketing? Same thing. Social media? Make sure you post and engage consistently, on your own posts and with others! If you use your digital marketing channels with intention and to give value to your audience, you’ll create far more worthwhile connections with your audience.
  • High quality content is invaluable. Written content, videos, photography. If you can do these well or don’t enjoy them, outsource them or even just parts of them!
  • Think of the big picture. Always go for the option that will help build and serve your business in the long term and not just the quick wins; you’ll build a much more stable business with an audience who is much more invested in what you do.
  • You’re already ahead! I know, you’ve only just put together your digital marketing strategy. But getting started is the hardest part! You’re already ahead of 90% of others by actually getting started and not just talking about what you want to do. How far ahead you already are combined with your digital marketing strategy means you’re going to make awesome progress.

I would love to hear more about your digital marketing strategy, and if you found this post useful. Leave me a comment and let me know how you get on with your strategy or if you have any questions about your own digital marketing strategy!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Part 5 Fundamentals of Digital Marketing: Email Marketing

Part 5 Fundamentals of Digital Marketing: Email Marketing

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This blog is the final piece in a five-part series all about digital marketing. In this post, we’ll dive a bit further into Email Marketing.

In Part 1 of my series on the different aspects of digital marketing, we covered a brief overview of all of the elements that make up a well-rounded digital marketing plan. In the rest of this series we’ve been looking at each of these elements separately so that we can get a better understanding of each, and then use them to create our own digital marketing strategy.

 

Isn’t email marketing…boring?

Email marketing is probably the least exciting part of digital marketing and (I believe) gets a bit of a hard time. But it is so important; way more important than most people believe, and are therefore willing to spend time on. In comparison to social media, how exciting that is and how publicly people can see how popular you are with your followers, it seems pretty boring. You can’t really show off how many people you have on your email list, you know? On top of that, did you know your social media posts organically reach only around 6% of your followers? Email marketing gives you a much more direct and personal approach to your audience.

 

How often do you have someone that you love following on social media, you interact and engage with on a regular basis, and then you suddenly realise that you haven’t seen their posts for 2-3 weeks? So you head over to their profile, expecting them to have not posted for that amount of time, and see they’ve been posting away and you just haven’t been shown their posts in your feed because for whatever reason the algorithm decided not to show them to you. That happens to me all the time. On the other hand, how often do you go a day without checking your emails…? I’d be willing to bet it’s not very often.

 

I listened to an awesome podcast on Jenna Kutcher’s Goaldigger about this recently, and I would highly recommend you listen to it too! You can find out more about it here. The bottom line is, email subscribers are worth a lot more to your business than social media followers who are owned by whatever platform they found you on.

 

What do I do with my mailing list?

This will depend a bit on what industry you work in and what how you present your brand. If you’re a musician, you should definitely be making use of your mailing list. Your audience wants to hear from you! They want to come see your gigs, and buy your albums and other products. You could send out an email once or twice a month with upcoming gig dates, a link to your latest YouTube video, a link to your album that’s on sale, or a special coupon for gig tickets for being on your mailing list.

With your mailing list, you don’t want to constantly be selling yourself either; give your followers something of value for being on your list. Serve, serve, serve, and then sell. There are some amazing, easy to use platforms; my favourite is Mailchimp. It’s super easy to build nice looking emails, and a great way to build your list. Here’s a handy list of things to check when you’re sending out your emails too:

 

 

Okay, so how am I supposed to get people to subscribe in the first place?

There are lots of great ways to do this! First of all, make sure you have lots of obvious places on your website and across your social media channels where people can opt-in to your email list. An easy way to grow your list is also to offer people a discount on a product or a freebie for signing up to your list. So for example, you could give a 10% discount for one of your CDs or tunebooks, or a pdf checklist of the best ways to work on a certain technique for your instrument, or a free e-book you’ve written.

 

Using email marketing to connect with your audience

In the podcast I’ve recommended above, Jenna talks about how she sees social media as being your virtual ‘handshake’, a way to let people get to know you, and how your mailing list is where you can truly serve the people who want to connect with you. Ultimately, people are on social media to have fun and connect and aren’t always in the frame of mind that they want to be sold to. However, the people on your mailing list want to buy what you have! They most likely already know who you are and what you do, and actively want to stay connected with you. There’s another great article here about how email marketing can be more powerful than social media. I hope that this gives you the push you need to get started on building your mailing list, and to learn a little bit more about why it’s so important!

 

Up next: how to create your own digital marketing strategy

If you need to catch up, you can read Part 1,  Part 2, Part 3 or Part 4 (phew!) on my blog. Next time, we’re going to take everything we’ve learnt about digital marketing in this series and use it to help you build your own digital marketing strategy. It’s not as scary as it seems, I promise! Keep an eye out or sign up to my mailing list to get my blogs delivered right to your inbox. As always, I welcome your comments and questions below!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Part 4 Fundamentals of Digital Marketing: Content Marketing

Part 4 Fundamentals of Digital Marketing: Content Marketing

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This blog is the fourth in a five-part series all about digital marketing. In this post, we’ll dive a bit further into Content Marketing.

In Part 1 of my series on the different aspects of digital marketing, we covered a brief overview of all of the elements that make up a well-rounded digital marketing plan. In the rest of this series we’re going to look at each of these elements separately so that we can get a better understanding of each, and then use them to create our own digital marketing strategy.

 

What is content marketing?

As we covered in Part 1, content marketing is the creation and distribution of high quality content tailored for your users. It can encompass content in written, audio and visual form for your audience to consume across any channels you’re active on. I think the important part is that, no matter what part of digital marketing you want to make the most use of, content marketing is going to be an essential part of your strategy and process, not something separate. The Content Marketing Institute has a great article here that outlines how content marketing is integral to every element of digital marketing, and also has some great free resources there. Neil Patel also has tons of great info and resources about content marketing on his site.

What type of content should I create?

Your content is anything in written, audio or video form that you create for your audience. Which of these you choose will depend on what you feel most comfortable with. Video is great, but if it makes you feel too awkward if will probably be obvious and not look too natural. Podcasts are great and becoming increasingly popular; people can listen to them while doing day-to-day tasks where they otherwise wouldn’t be learning or consuming anything, and as such you can get more of their focused attention (i.e. while they’re driving to work, going for a run, doing the dishes, etc).

Written content is also hugely valuable and easy to share on your website and social channels, and can take less time than writing a script for video and creating a good quality clip. Whichever form of content you choose to use in your content marketing (or whatever mix you’d like to do!), you need to think about what is more useful for your audience and what can give them the most value. Here are some ideas for types of content that people love to consume:

How do I use content marketing for my business?

The content you produce is integral to every part of your digital marketing strategy. You can create written blog posts on your website which you can then publish to your social channels as part of your social media marketing efforts and then send an excerpt to your mailing list as part of your email marketing strategy. You can create videos that you upload to YouTube or Vimeo and then share them across your website, to then go out to your social channels. Regular, high quality content will also greatly help your SEO efforts. Publishing new and relevant information on a blog page or news section of your website will help keep your website relevant and useful for your consumers, which will help you rank more highly on search engines. All of this combined will also help build your brand, which makes you more memorable and relatable to your followers while also strengthening your SEO.

Where do I start?!

Rather than try to cover all your bases and risk not doing a thorough job of each, you should choose one form of content to produce and start creating one piece of high quality, long form content on a weekly basis. Focus on content that will be useful for your followers, something that will help them solve any problems they might have. Ask them what they want to hear! Choose a form of content to create that you’ll be comfortable with, brainstorm a list of ideas, and set aside a block of time to start creating. Often, it can be easier and more productive to spend a whole day creating upcoming content, rather than dipping in and out a couple times a week.

Using content marketing to build your brand

Ultimately, content marketing will be a part of the process of your overall digital marketing strategy, rather than a separate factor that you can take or leave. Marketing can’t exist without content to market! There are so many great resources around to learn more about specific parts of content marketing, and you can learn so much with really in-depth tools provided by key industry leaders these days. Content marketing is a means of telling a story to your followers that helps them solve their problems while building your brand.

Up next: best practice and pointers for Email Marketing

If you need to catch up, you can read Part 1,  Part 2 or Part 3 on my blog. Next up in this series is the final instalment, where we’ll take a look at social media marketing. As always, I welcome your comments and questions below!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

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