Does Your Content Strategy Have These 4 Must-Haves?
A comprehensive content strategy is the key to customers finding your website and engaging with your content—ultimately leading to better conversion rates. The decision to stay on your website or click away takes only a few seconds. Grabbing someone’s attention in those first moments is crucial, so the elements of your content strategy can make or break your website.
The number one aspect of a successful content marketing strategy is (not surprisingly) your content. However, creating engaging content is far more complex than just writing about your product or service in an exciting tone of voice. You must account for search engine optimization, consider the trend toward personalized content, and focus almost entirely on user engagement. If customers can’t engage with your content, they’ll click away.
Mastering content writing comes down to focusing on material that benefits readers. Your strategy must concentrate entirely on providing content your customers will want to read. This can take the form of an interesting blog, problem-solving or how-to articles, or a post with images or video. Mobile users—who now make up the majority of all website users—are beginning to prefer video content to written content. Keeping up with modern trends to answer consumer demands is crucial to creating killer material.
Understanding Your Ideal Client
To start, you must first understand your Ideal Clent. Content marketing is no longer about selling your product or service. It’s about entertaining and educating your readers and giving them relevant information that shows the value of your company. To remain competitive in your industry, you must know your audience inside and out. This means understanding their habits, trends, interests, and expectations.
Knowing what they need from you is the best way to hook your readers and achieve conversions. Your website must fill a gap in your industry and provide something other websites don’t offer. Find out which social media outlets your audience uses the most. If you appeal to the under 30 crowd, they’re most likely on Instagram or Twitter. Older groups trend more toward Facebook. Make your content shareable on your target audience’s preferred social media site. Tracking their trends and interests will ensure your business stays relevant.
Effective UX and UI Design
User experience design (UX) refers to the analytical and technical aspects of the user design process. User interface design (UI) refers to graphic design—although the demands are more complex. Developing a firm handle on both UX and UI is essential to creating a successful website. UX and UI work together to create an engaging, easy-to-use platform.
UX design’s goal is to boost customer satisfaction by enhancing the usability and pleasure your page provides. It focuses on the customer-website interaction. For example, the latest UX trend is to place a greater emphasis on creating a personalized user experience, highlighting customization. Indeed, the customer is now a vital part of the branding experience. The content you create must be as personalized to your audience as possible.
UI strives to create an attractive, appealing website for users. Creating a page that encourages customer interaction (such as one with responsive design) immerses your audience and makes for an all-around more enjoyable experience. Your UI strategy should also guide users seamlessly through your website, encouraging them to stay on the page and explore.
Your content marketing strategy isn’t complete without taking steps toward top-quality branding. An effective branding strategy will give you an edge over competition and leave a positive impression on customers. Branding tells your consumers what to expect from your business and what sets you apart from others. It should give your company value. For example, if your enterprise is the experienced, high-quality alternative in your industry, this is what your brand should convey.
You can’t be all things to all people—and you wouldn’t want to be. Today’s content marketing centers on offering one thing better than the competition. Customers want a company that excels in niche areas of business. Take Uber, for example. Its brand promotes a cheaper, more easily available alternative to taxis. They chose one area of that industry and mastered it. Similarly, your website, packaging, logo, and promotional materials should communicate your brand effectively and let customers know what they can expect.
All in all, your content marketing strategy needs to target what moves your company forward: customers—the lifeblood of any business. If your website keeps readers engaged with relevant material and effective website design trends, your business will stay ahead of the competition.
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Many people don’t know exactly what marketing strategy is or what market strategists do. They may have some idea about the components of a marketing strategy, but few really know what goes into building a strong approach.
An effective marketing strategy has to account for a business, its industry, and current trends to create a comprehensive, actionable, and results-driven set of activities focused on one particular goal or a set of goals.
Below are 6 essential components of a marketing strategy in 2016:
- Understand the company mission. Marketing strategists need to understand a business’ short- and long-term goals to develop an effective strategy. Why does the company exist? What’s important to owners/executives, stakeholders, and consumers? Finding the drive for the business will inform every marketing tactic it uses.
- Choose an approach. Most enterprises follow a set of guidelines when building a strategy. These approaches provide a framework for success that executives and marketers can use to work from and measure over a period of time. For instance, Duct Tape Marketing is a 7-step marketing system that accounts for every part of strategy creation, from developing a plan to creating a schedule of regularity to evaluate and reach strategic goals.
- Spend time on research. A marketing strategy starts with a status quo evaluation and relies on consistent updates to tweak the approach and activities and drive results. Include research in the initial phases of strategy development, and schedule routine updates to measure success and help your company tweak. Look at the details of the target market, including personas, interests, and where it spends time online and in the real world. Also understand what competitor companies do well and where they need improvement. A comprehensive picture of the current state of affairs provides a launch pad for other activities.
- Identify weaknesses. The flaws of a company are the flaws of its marketing strategy. Marketers need to know if the business uses aging equipment, if it doesn’t have the infrastructure to continue with a digital transformation, or if it’s having internal issues. Knowing the drawbacks can help marketers focus on the benefits while consulting the company on emerging markets, industry trends, and valuable investments.
- Create an actionable timeline. A company’s strategy includes time-sensitive goals and a plan of action to get there. Create a calendar with set dates or timeframes for success measurement, tactic update dates (i.e. when to refresh content online or optimize articles for current keywords), and when to revisit the overall strategy. Identify someone to take ownership for the timeline. This person, whether a strategist or marketing champion, will play an instrumental role in ensuring the plan’s efficacy.
- Identify your brand and what motivates your audience. There are four common traits (Ego, Freedom, Social, and Order) and 12 archetypes (maverick, jester, regular guy, nurturer, innocent, ruler, sage, magician, hero, creator, lover, and explorer) your brand may fall under. Knowing your brand archetype can help you pinpoint your target consumer’s pain points and leverage your products and services to satisfy them.
Some companies may choose a simple, one-goal marketing strategy to gain market awareness. Others may run a multi-faceted plan to focus on different market segments, objectives, and measurements of success. Either way, selecting an approach and making each goal actionable will improve the likelihood of success. Revisit and change your strategy as often as needed to start seeing measurable results.
Every PWG Marketing client goes through our systematic, step-by-step marketing strategy process and a marketing plan is created, resulting in a custom Inbound Marketing Game Plan built around your business goals.
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Content Tips for Boosting Online Visibility
“Content marketing is king,” as many digital marketers have said. But content itself doesn’t rule supreme; high quality content does. As search engine algorithms become more intelligent and businesses become more customer-oriented, publishing engaging material is imperative. Consider these 6 content tips for boosting online visibility and keeping your company at the top of its content strategy game:
- Get to know your audience. Your production teams need to go further than brainstorming about what they would do if they were a customer. Understand exactly what kind of person makes up the target market, what those individuals find interesting, and how the brand can enrich their lives. Big data and analytics allow companies of all sizes to find this information. Discover this first, and high quality content will follow.
- Focus on originality. You don’t have to come up with something ground breaking every time you post, but it does need to express your point of view and a new angle. If you copy and paste or write an article that looks and feels too similar to another, you may not get results – and you might suffer penalties. Make sure your content reflects your uniqueness in the industry.
- Post regularly, but allow for flexibility. Posting prolifically can lead to success as long as the material maintains originality and relevancy with your audience. For instance, if you post every day and your followers constantly get emails and alerts from your blog, newsletter, or brand journalism site, they might start to back away because of the sheer volume of articles. Instead, focus on writing only when you have something truly impactful to say, and optimize that piece of content to make it work.
- Keep placement and keywords in mind. Where you put your content can also determine its efficacy. For example, a beautifully written article may resonate well with your target market, but if it hasn’t been uploaded where your market spends the majority of its time, it may go unnoticed. Post and share content on strategically chosen sites, and use long-tail keywords to ensure the right people find it.
- The headline matters more than you know. About 80% of your audience will see your headlines, but only about 20% will delve deeper into the content. Entice audiences to take a second look with attention-grabbing, curiosity-provoking, and impactful headlines.
- Multimedia is greater than text alone. Digital content includes articles and blogs as well as images, infographics, short and long form videos, slideshows, and interactive content. People all have content preferences, and some prefer to mix it up. Expand your online material to include a variety of mediums, break up the text, and invite further engagement.
High quality content comes from a place of understanding and willingness to take some risks to increase visibility and drive ROI. Use these tips, make content actionable, and revisit posts that aren’t performing. It’s never too late to make high quality content work for you.
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SEO strategy is the backbone of every digital marketing activity you tick off the list. Without it, you lose visibility in the online marketplace. Without visibility, even exceptional content goes unnoticed. Here are the signs your company needs to reinvigorate or supercharge your SEO campaign in the near future:
- You’ve been ignoring mobile. Your website may rank well in desktop search results, but do you know how well you perform in the mobile world? Having a mobile friendly website optimized for multiple devices is no longer optional. To reach consumers who increasingly prefer smartphones and tablets over a traditional computer, you must prioritize mobile search.
- You’re still basing content solely on keywords. Keywords allow users to find relevant content in search engines, but Google no longer rewards old keyword stuffing practices. Instead, marketers should opt for a few long-tail keywords that accurately match popular search terms with relevant, valuable content. As Google algorithms continue to evolve, you can bet more organic content focused on reader interest and value will rank higher than promotional or generic text.
- You can’t place a value on SEO tactics. In the age of accessible big data and analytics galore, every company can assign value to optimization practices and measure campaign results in a meaningful way. Start mapping the customer journey with hard data on touch points and conversions. Use that information to assign a dollar value to marketing activities. Focus on weaknesses while supporting your strengths. Your management team will appreciate the streamlined, financial ROI reports much more than where you rank or how much traffic your website received last month.
- You’re not engaging online. SEO includes what your company actively does, but it also accounts for secondary activities that drive rankings. For instance, producing content that encourages known-brand influencers to recommend your products or that makes other writers and brands link back to your content helps your SEO. Search engines reward any activities that help users gain access to relevant content. Engage in online communities, and SEO improvement will naturally follow.
- You’re still link building with old standards. Stop referencing your own content unless it’s uniquely relevant. Instead, find ways to earn links from other sources. Find broken links in content that parallels your own, and ask the publisher to replace the broken link with yours. Identify broken links in existing content, and update them. Look for brand mentions and attributions without a source, and ask a publisher to add an appropriate reference.
The digital world is constantly in flux, so it only makes sense that search optimization changes constantly, too. Stay current with the latest search engine algorithm updates, revisit your strategy as needed, and look for game changers that may signal a larger strategy shift throughout the year.
For more information on upgrading your SEO strategy, request your free copy of our eBook, Local Search – A Guide to Increasing Your Local Search Presence. Click below to request your free copy.
If you’re new to the search engine optimization (SEO) game, you may think local SEO and organic SEO are the same thing. They’re not. SEO is a complex field involving many interconnected layers. It drives virtually every marketing and advertising activity your company engages in online, so understanding the difference between local and organic SEO will help you optimize your current strategy for better visibility and consumer engagement online.
Difference Between Local and organic SEO
Organic SEO is an umbrella term that covers the traditional SEO activities you’re familiar with, including creating keyword driven content, using meta-descriptions, engaging on social media platforms and with 3rd party sites, earning links, etc. All of the activities are unpaid, and anyone who has a working knowledge of SEO and a website can use them. Organic SEO is a global approach to earning visibility online. It can include local tactics, but it doesn’t have to.
On the other hand, Local SEO only involves activities that facilitate the movement of traffic towards a physical, geographical location – typically a brick and mortar store or a region of business exclusivity. How many times have you grabbed your phone to locate restaurants or retailers in your vicinity? If a business isn’t optimized for regional keywords, it could lose out to nearby competitors. Any company that has a physical location and wants to target a location-specific demographic should use local SEO tactics to gain the most benefit from online activities.
Best Practices for Organic and Local SEO
The tactics for approaching organic and local SEO overlap, but they have some defining characteristics. Consider this list for optimizing both practices for overall results:
- [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Optimize mobile for local SEO. Roughly half of all mobile searches are local in nature. Someone needs to find a gas station, a coffee shop, or a realtor in the area. If someone types in “coffee shops near Phoenix,” will he or she find yours listed on the first page of results? If not, it’s time to start focusing on mobile friendliness and local keywords.Focus on diversification for organic SEO. Any number of pathways can drive organic SEO. Companies should concentrate on discovering where their target markets spend the most time online and what devices they’re more likely to use and start building tactics from there.
- [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Focus on social media, reviews, and citations for local SEO. Make sure area directories list your business information. Create locally focused content, and engage with consumers on social media. Revisit and address online reviews regularly to promote a positive reputation in your vicinity.
- [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Optimize websites for organic SEO. Spend time making sure each landing page has a positive user experience and the right keywords to drive traffic to the website and encourage engagement. Publish content that offers valuable information and clear calls-to-action.
- [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Focus on on-page SEO. On-page search engine optimization (SEO) refers to factors that have an effect on your website’s ranking in natural or organic search results. On-page SEO factors are things on your website that are visible and controllable by you; things like page title, page URL, header tags, ALT image tags and Meta description tags.
Many of these activities overlap. When you start working on your organic SEO activities, including website optimization and diversifying your channels, you’ll naturally build visibility online. Any local tactics you pursue in addition to organic SEO will boost how often your geographically targeted market sees your brand in search results.
Our eBook on local optimization titled Local Search – A Guide to Increasing Your Local Search Presence, may help you further understand and take advantage of this trend. Click below to request your free copy.
There are a ton of ways to generate leads, but there are only a few ways to get leads targeted to your business. Your firm’s website could be the most valuable tool in gathering ideal potential clients that need your specific services. While there is a lot that goes into inbound marketing we’ve come up with a 3-step process that, if followed, could help you see consistent leads coming right from your site.
Step 1: Clean Up Your Act
Is your current site taking care of the visitors you are already getting? If you were to get a sudden influx of online traffic would everyone know exactly what you wanted them to do?
If you answered no to either of those questions, your website might need a tune up. An online lead generator needs to have a focused purpose.
Find targeted traffic, educate them about your law firm, and get them to contact you.
The design is an important aspect, but looks aren’t as important as the clarity of your message. If you want to represent individuals who have been injured in a car accident then, your website should be an educational epicenter of information on the subject. Answering every last question a person in that situation could ask.
Putting a steady stream of helpful articles or posts online will help make your site ready for the action.
Step 2: Get the Message Out
The best part about using your website along with inbound marketing to generate leads is that you may not have to get on camera. A commercial may seem like a good idea, but why not gather the people who are already looking for a good lawyer?
Using search engine optimization (SEO), you can get your website found by people who need you. The more your content targets ideal clients, the more likely they are to find you. SEO can be a tricky business, but it boils down to providing valuable information that people are looking for. SEO has the potential to create long-lasting and sustainable leads without getting in front of a green screen.
Step 3: Tell Them How to Move Forward
Once you have a growing number of people, who are coming to your website because of all of the value that it is providing you need to tell them what you want them to do next. Offering this information is a great way to get your name out there, but if it doesn’t attract leads, there is no point. You need to set up calls to action.
Have specific next steps that each visitor should take to move them along the process. Things like scheduling a consultation, a quiz that gathers information letting you know how warm the lead is, etc.. Doing this will help you recognize how close the client is to needing your expertise and keep those who may need you in the future in contact.
Take these steps and you’ll have a website that works for you like another office associate. If you would like help implementing these strategies on your website you can contact us for a free consultation today.
Want more information on how to turn your law form website into a local lead generation machine? Click the button below to download our free e-book, Local Search: A Guide to Increasing Your Search Presence.