How to create a content strategy that actually drives organic trafficSep 20 by Kimberly Aris
The world of digital marketing is filled with variables, but we can all agree on one fact: content is king. But content alone, without the support of an efficient content strategy, will not give you the outcome that you’re expecting. Crafting a content strategy that helps you generate the organic traffic that you’re aiming for is crucial.
How does one fine-tune a content strategy to fit specific needs? Which technique is suitable, if your main objective is to increase organic traffic?
These are the questions that you’ll get an answer to. Take the following steps in order to learn how to create an efficient content strategy and to progressively improve your content’s ability to drive organic traffic.
#1: Build a customer profile
Before you start coming up with engaging content, you’ll have to get to know the audience that your content is going to have to reach. This step involves a lot of research, but it will guarantee that all your future efforts won’t be done in vain. The content that you create has to be what your audience is looking for. You have to discover the needs of your potential customers before trying to satisfy those needs. In order to discover the needs of your audience you’ll have to create a customer profile.
A customer profile offers you the possibility to target your efforts towards individuals that are most likely to become clients. Once you finish this market research, you’ll have a better idea of what your ideal client’s age is, their typical income range, their geo-location, and what keywords they use when they’re looking for a product/service that’s similar to what you have to offer.
This behavioral study helps you create a buyer persona, thus giving you the opportunity of making informed decisions, when it comes to your content, as opposed to reaching your audience using an ineffective trial and error strategy.
#2: Use your ideal customer’s frequently used search terms as your content’s keywords
After completing step #1, you’ll have an outline of your ideal customer’s behavior. If your audience fits within just one group, all you have to do is find out what kind of content are they searching for. You have to discover what style of writing they enjoy, in which format they want to find the content, and what subjects are they interested in. In order to drive organic traffic, you need to tailor your content to what your targeted audience is searching for. The logic behind this fact isn’t complicated: your targeted audience searches for a subject, so you publish content that covers that same subject, thus your amount of organic traffic increases.
Finding out what your audience is frequently searching for isn’t as difficult as it seems. These are the 3 basic things you have to do:
1. Improve your knowledge of the niche
This advice is just stating the obvious. In order to be efficient as a content creator you have to make sure that you’ve done in-depth research of the niche you’re approaching. Every domain has its particularities, so make sure that you use appropriate language and that you are able to interact with your audience at their level and above.
2. Choose a few long-tail keywords that your audience searches for frequently
After developing a familiarity with the niche, make a list of a few long-tail keywords that are most likely to be used as search terms by your audience on a regular basis. These keywords have the purpose of narrowing down the results of a search.
To make it clearer, let’s take an example. A keyword such as “car” isn’t going to drive organic traffic. You need to make the keyword more specific, thus helping the user find exactly the topic that he’s interested in. To improve the relevance of a search you should use keywords such as “car engine”, and then create long-tail keywords based on those keywords. You could create content related to “car engine performance”, or “car engine design”, and even expand them to “car engine performance parameters”.
3. Create in-depth content based on topics that your audience enjoys
If you find a topic that is already proven to be successful among your targeted audience, then feel free to research and create content that goes beyond just scratching the surface of a subject. Using the previous example, you can use “car engine performance” as long-tail keywords for tutorials on improving performance. Take keywords that were successful in driving organic traffic, and give users other perspectives and additional useful information on the same topic.
#3: Find out what content format does your audience enjoy most
Every step of this process goes back to your initial findings on step #1. The majority of companies use a mix of different kinds of content formats, in order to reach a wide variety of users. But it you want to concentrate your efforts, you should study what type of content your audience responds better to.
This doesn’t mean that you should eliminate any other type of content format. It just means that you have to prioritize the type of content that works best for your audience. Here are 7 of the most popular content formats and the niches that they usually work best for:
- 1.Blogs. This is the fail-proof content format which is ideal for any business. There are several niches that rely solely on blogging to reach their audience. If you’re targeting one of those types of niches make sure that you include SEO friendly features into each blog post.
- 2.Images. If your audience needs to see it to believe it, invest in high quality images to get your message across.
- 3.Email campaigns. For an audience that needs content on the go, a strategically-efficient email campaign can work wonders. These are niches that usually have an audience that wants to be reached, and doesn’t spend a lot of time doing research. Be sure to keep your mailing list engaged!
- 4.Webinars. This type of content works best for users that want to study a subject in-depth. They are willing to trust you as their primary source of information.
- 5.Social media platforms. If you’ve found an active and engaged audience on one of the many popular social media platforms, go all in! Don’t be afraid to concentrate your content-creation efforts on a platform such as Twitter. If you give your followers the content they’re looking for, they’ll spread the message for you!
- 6.Video content. This type of content isn’t ideal for everyone, but once you get the hang of it, it can make your brand’s success and popularity skyrocket! Video content requires significant financial investments, and it should usually be backed up by blogging.
- 7.Audio content. Audio-books, podcasts, and other variations of audio content are not as popular as the other formats, but they are still successful, especially when combined with proper advertizing. If your audience spends a lot of time in traffic or traveling, this type of content can be ideal for your niche.
Keep in mind that what you offer has to be what your audience is searching for, not what you would search for. Cater to your audience’s content needs, and they will make you successful!
#4: Sustain a consistent attitude and style that your audience enjoys
A brand that offers its audience a consistent level of quality, a steady message, and that approaches buyers with the same attitude and style that made them become customers in the first place, is sure to succeed.
Just like in real life, you want to associate yourself with people that are likeminded and with whom you can form a bond over all the things you have in common. That’s why in your content marketing strategy you have to be consistent in attitude, style, while sustaining a close relationship with your audience.
Encouraging user-generated content and including it into your strategy is one of the most successful approaches in nowadays’ market. Make your audience part of your success story!
#5: Give your audience something to look forward too
Now that you have a better idea of what your audience expects from you, and you’ve learned what to deliver, it’s time to learn how to deliver the content. One of the most significant aspects is: timing! Here’s how you figure out how often you should interact with your audience:
1. Choose the ideal frequency based on the type of content you deliver
Depending on the type of content that you’re planning on presenting to your audience, you’ll have to decide how often to deliver. In order to decide on the ideal frequency, you should take into consideration the time, effort, and financial investments, that go into each type of content.
The frequency of your content delivery should be high in the case of social media updates, and progressively decrease as the chosen type of content requires more resources. On a frequency scale, after social media updates, come blog posts, then infographics, webinars, eBooks, and ultimately paperback books.
2. Let your audience influence the frequency
You still need to focus on your audience, especially when it comes to posting content in which you’ve invested a lot of resources. Study when your audience is most likely to access your content, what is the posting frequency that’s had the best results, and what is the ideal timing for your content to reach the audience.
3. Create a schedule
When you’ve outlined the ideal frequency pattern for posting content, you have to create a schedule, and then stick to it! Including this step into your content marketing strategy will make things easier for you, and it will show your audience that you’re dedicated enough to be consistent.
There are several online apps that can help you pre-schedule social media posts, and even help you post at distinct pre-set times of day through automated programs. By being consistent in your content delivery, you will gain a loyal audience, and increase organic traffic.
After you’ve set up a content marketing strategy, and you’ve started putting it to work, you have to do it over and over again. Driving organic traffic is a long term commitment, and it requires a lot of adjustments. You’ll have to base your next content marketing strategy on the feedback you get from your audience.
Does your content marketing strategy produce the desired results? What’s your take on driving organic traffic?