Every year, content marketing gets shaken up a bit.
Google’s algorithm updates are largely to blame, but general trends and the influence of big data shouldn’t be ignored, either.
When you and your marketing team sit down to discuss content strategy, don’t turn to strategies from the Stone Age.
In this article, I’ll give you a few insider tips as to what trends you can expect to see over the coming year.
Most readers love to see fun or informative visual content. We’ve seen a steady rise in the amount of infographics, memes, and photos in blog posts on corporate and private sites. Expect to see that trend continue and diversify. Video is set to make a big splash this year, too.
As Ecommerce Insiders emphasized in a recent article, visual content is huge. For you, that’s good news. Video can be cheap and easy to produce; you can even Fiverr a video commercial for YouTube. Beware of content that’s too cheap, however. You get what you pay for, as the adage goes.
Recent marketing and advertising campaigns like the personalized Coke can campaign from Coca-Cola are exploiting the Millenial generation’s love of all things personalized. For a while, that was a difficult task for content marketers to tackle. Things are about to change, however. From identifying customers by name when they enter your site to choosing what content they see and when, you’ve got more access to web personalization now than at any point in history.
Just to be clear, content personalization is nothing new. Amazon, Netflix, and many other major online players have been honing their use of it for years. Think about it – when you open Amazon, it knows who you are and what you’ve bought. The company claims that they hope to be able to anticipate your orders before you make them, and have the products waiting to be shipped before you’re aware that you want them.
But for the average ecommerce retailer, that kind of data is unthinkably complex. You need more computational power than you have access to at present, and chances are that you don’t know how to begin that kind of strategy.
For information on personalizing your company’s content, check out this article on Search Engine Watch. There are a few simple tweaks and inexpensive add-ons for your site that can make a world of difference for your conversion rate, and Judge Graham does an excellent job of explaining the basics.
Google’s Authorship program is dead. The importance of authorship and content isn’t gone, though – you can still make a name for your brand and increase your web visibility by authoring guest posts. Google still has ways of identifying which writers are attracting attention, and inviting a few guest posts to your company’s blog can still drive a lot of traffic.
As many information marketers continue to promote the idea of guest posts as reputation builders, expect it to be more competitive to book a guest blog gig. Don’t expect to get as much reach, either. The amount of content published daily on the web is staggering; millions of blog posts are published daily on WordPress alone.
Content is competitive – so focus on quality. Take the time you need to build respect and recognition for your brand by publishing high-quality content regularly.
Google’s algorithms have gradually shifted away from ecommerce, making a few retailers panic. It’s not as easy as it once was to get top billing for your site or your products. The solution is to produce content that readers are searching for. Think like your demographic – or better yet, co-create and crowdsource content from your clientele. Just make sure that you are answering the concerns of your ideal customers.
If you want your content to make it to the top in search rankings, focus on making your articles your audience wants to read. Longer pieces are better, and don’t forget to include social share buttons. To spread, your content needs to be sharable.
SEO is changing quickly. Many companies got away with black hat (no-no) practices like keyword stuffing for years, but that’s quickly becoming more costly and dangerous. Search engines know how to spot synonyms and jargon that would be expected in articles about specific topics. You can’t keyword stuff and survive. Use too high of a keyword density and your content will be penalized.
What can you do? Get smart. Use long-tail keywords. There’s more than one benefit to this strategy:
1) Less competition, meaning lower cost for PPC and higher placement for articles
2) Warm and hot leads – you’re targeting a specific group with long-tail keywords, and getting the right crowd to your site
3) Lower bounce rate (and higher ranking as a result) – content built around long-tail keywords that answers reader search questions will keep people on the page longer and drop your bounce rate. Google will love you.
Kombucha = short-tail keyword
Kombucha tea = medium-tail keyword
Continuous brew kombucha = medium-/long-tail keyword
How to make continuous brew kombucha = long-tail keyword
Creating content is important. Most ecommerce store owners know that a blog can make or break your business. It’s not just about using the right keywords or producing quality content, however. You need to distribute your content far and wide – with so much being published, it’s tough to be seen.
Focus on integrating your social media marketing strategy with your content strategy, and gather as much data as you can on where your readers are coming from, what they like, and what kinds of content are getting the highest share counts. You may not be able to track the exact dollar amount for your content’s ROI, but you will get better results if you use a targeted approach. Think about it – if your audience is mainly on Pinterest and your social media strategy is more focused on Facebook, it might be time to rethink things.
Grow your personal network, your business’s connections, and your social media communities. Like the six-degrees of separation theory – your reach expands exponentially with every new contact. Take advantage of that this year.
Write smart content that dynamically adapts to your customers’ needs, and focus on long-tail keywords. Trust that guest posting will return to its position of prominence in content marketing, but understand the world your company’s blog exists in – to stand apart from the crowd, you need to focus not only on production, but on distribution. Content is a powerful marketing tool if used correctly, but it can be a time and money-sucker if you ignore best practices.
Image Credits: Daria Nepriakhina on StockSnap.io