Simplify Your Inbound Marketing Process: Focus on Content Assets

Posted by kaiserthesage

Content ties everything in the digital marketing realm together—that’s why it is king.

Content creation has been the core part of my blog/business’ inbound marketing strategy this year, which was around 70% of my entire marketing effort. The other 30% was allocated to content promotion/distribution, relationship building, site optimization, and analytics.

So this post is basically a case study of how I simplified a very complex process by only focusing on one integral part of inbound marketing (content), and how that led to hundreds of service leads for our company this year.

On content strategy

Content assets help brands communicate their messages to their target audiences. These may come in the form of visual guides, web-based tools, extensive resources and many more (as also listed by Cyrus Shepard on his recent Moz post).

In my case, I aim for every blog post I publish to be an asset that I can continuously optimize and improve.

So in order for my overall campaign to be really scalable (and for me to be able to easily integrate other inbound marketing practices), I based my content development efforts on these core principles:

  • Create content that contains ideas/information that isn’t found anywhere else.
  • Make the content very comprehensive and evergreen if possible.

And as for the content formats, I mostly focused on creating:

  • Case studies
  • Extensive and evergreen blog posts (how-to’s)
  • Reusable content (newsletters, slide presentations, PDFs, etc.)

If in case you’re wondering about the content assets I’ve repurposed, here are few samples:

2 months ago, I released a 4 part newsletter series that talks about 12 different scalable link building tactics.

After a couple of weeks, I decided to publish the entire series as a long-form blog post here on Moz.

Another sample is with one of my most popular guides this year (that was also featured on Moz’s top-10 monthly newsletter) entitled 22 link building tips from @xightph, which I just recently turned into a SlideShare presentation:

22 Link Building Tips from Xight Interactive from kaiserthesage

Perhaps this approach of allocating the majority of my efforts into content development is easier for me to accomplish because I established my blog’s readership 2 years before I tried it, and also given that I’ve already built relationships with other online marketers who habitually share my new blog posts.

I still believe that this exact process is replicable for those who haven’t yet established themselves. Since it always comes down to what you can provide to your industry and finding ways to let others know you have it.

Content = links

Content assets are able to attract and build links over time, knowing that it is in the nature of content to be genuinely linkable.

Link building becomes automatic when you focus on creating useful and actionable content on a regular basis (and, of course, letting other people who’re interested in your content’s topic know that your content exists).

Your content won’t stand on its own and be linkable by itself, so it’s also important to make an effort for it to be more visible to your target audience. Here are a few things you can do to ensure it’ll get to your audience:

  • Outreach: Connect with other content publishers, industry influencers, and enthusiasts, and see if they’re interested in checking out your content.
  • Social ads: Use content placement services from Facebook or StumbleUpon to get more eyeballs to your content.
  • Conversations: Participate and share your content on relevant discussions from online communities in your space (forums, groups, blogs, Q&A sites, etc.).
  • Distribution: Promote your content assets through other content distribution channels such as guest blogging, regular columns, newsletters, slide presentations, videos, or podcasts.

Further reading:

Content = relationships

Providing high-value content assets on a regular basis will also help you easily connect and engage other content publishers in your industry.

This can somehow impact how other people perceive your brand as a publisher, especially when other thought leaders are sharing your content, interacting with your brand, and inviting you to contribute to their websites (which is quite similar to what Moz has done in past years).

Relationships, partnerships, and alliances are vital in this age of marketing, as they can help increase your readership and follower base, and can particularly help improve the shareability of your site’s content.

Here are a few pointers on how to engage and build relationships with industry influencers:

  • Mention or use their works as a reference for your content. You can also ask them to review and validate the information within your content to build a rapport (which is also a great way to get them to see the quality of your work).
  • Make sure that your content appeals to their audience/followers; this increases the likelihood of getting your content shared.
  • Don’t worry. You don’t have any reason to be afraid to reach out to influencers when you’re really confident with the caliber of your content.

Content = social activity

With the right push, a well-thought-out piece of content will almost always do well in terms of social sharing. Most content assets are designed to be share-worthy, and the common factors that make most content assets shareable are:

  • Their design and if they’re visually appealing.
  • If they’ve been shared by popular/influential entities in their industries.
  • If the content is emotionally compelling, educational, useful, and/or just simply adds unique value to the industry.

Making your linkable assets timeless or evergreen can also amplify its social activity, given that every time it gets a new visitor the content remains relevant, which can continuously increase the amount of social shares it is getting.

And the more you create content assets on your website, the more you can grow your following base and network. Which is why content plays a big role in social media – because it’s what people are sharing.

For more actionable tips on increasing your content assets’ social activity, you might want to also check the post I wrote a few weeks ago at Hit Reach on how to get more social shares for your site.

Content = search rankings

The ways in which search engines determine web pages’ importance (and whether they really deserve to be prominently visible in search results) have evolved over the years.

Major factors such as relevance (which can be measured through usage/page activity) and authority (measured through social, links, domain authority, brand signals, etc.), though, still play a huge role in terms of search rankings. These metrics are also elements that most successful content assets embody.

Great content generates rankings.

A couple of pointers on making the most out of your site’s content pool to boost your SEO:

  • Turn the pages on your website that target key industry terms into evergreen content assets.
  • Optimize your important pages/content assets for interaction, conversions, and user-experience. For example, test your pages’ CTAs, encourag people to share the content, etc. These are the key areas that will make your pages rank better in search results.

Further reading:

Content = email subscribers

Email marketing is an essential part of inbound marketing, because it’s a marketing platform that many businesses have full control of (owned media).

Growing your email list is a whole lot easier when you’re consistently putting new content up on your site (and especially when you consider every piece of content you launch as an asset).

The more content you publish, the more people get to discover your brand, which can ultimately increase your chances of getting them to subscribe or sign up for your email newsletter.

Tips on how to increase email sign-ups:

  • Make your opt-in form(s) very visible on the site’s key landing pages.
  • Incentivize sign-ups by offering free content such as ebooks, whitepapers, newsletter series, and/or access to free web-based tools.

Content = conversions

Content assets can definitely lift conversions, mainly because they can strongly demonstrate the brand’s domain expertise and authority.

If you’ve planted a lot of useful and actionable content on your site, then these things are influencing your site’s ability to convert visitors.

More on improving your content assets’ conversions:

  • Identify which landing pages/assets are constantly driving sales/new customers/service inquiries to your business. Make them more visible by building more internal/incoming links to them, improving or updating the content itself to earn better search rankings, sharing them on social networks, or basically anything that can improve their traffic.
  • Continually test and improve the content’s calls to action.

Becoming a better inbound marketer

Before I became an SEO in 2010, I was a freelance writer. It never occurred to me that I’d be doing both in the future—and actually more.

But I guess knowing how to get the right traffic and having a better grasp of the kinds of content that my audience needs and wants to read made me a better inbound marketer.

I would love to hear your ideas about this approach to inbound marketing, or if you have questions, I’d also love to see them in the comments section. You can also follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

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December 11, 2013  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing

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