Consistency in implementing best practices is the ticket to long-term success in content marketing.
The demand for content is huge. A recent statistic in DemandGen’s 2015 content marketing survey report revealed that 75% of B2B purchasers rely on content as a research medium when they’re looking to make a buying decision.
If you’re looking to drive more search traffic and build a profitable online business, you may have to seriously reconsider your content strategy.
Learning from the successes and failures of others can help you generate search traffic and leads. That’s how we learn what “best practices” are, and that’s exactly what this in-depth article will show you. I’ll reveal 21 content marketing best practices to help you cut through the noise and reach your ideal customers.
Let’s do it:
1. Build More Targeted Landing Pages
My search traffic almost tripled when I created advanced guides for SEO and several other internet marketing topics. Each of those advanced guides has its own separate landing page, optimized for the applicable keywords.
Nuffield Health generated 60% more revenue by optimizing their landing pages for the right keywords. They consistently sought to learn more about their market and customers and then integrated their new discoveries into content creation.
Or take a look at Copyblogger Media. Copyblogger has dozens of landing pages, each aimed at a keyword that the target audience is passionate about. That’s a lesson for you: when creating more landing pages, think strategically about keywords, and build your content around the right ones.
2. Segment Audience to Increase Engagement
Smart content marketers know they need to segment their audiences based on product need. Segmentation is crucial for one simple reason: most of your blog readers, for instance, aren’t buyers, but others are.
Simply put, your content can’t suit everyone because they’re at different phases of the buying cycle. So, for instance, content designed to create awareness with new customers is wasted on loyal repeat customers.
You can also segment customers based on their personas. Remember, a buyer persona is a fully fleshed-out profile of one segment of your audience. It enables you to develop content that speaks to each segment more effectively.
Segmenting your target audience is difficult to do on your blog or website. Instead, use your email autoresponder.
In fact, email list segmentation is a must if you want to get the most from your list. According to Emarketer, 39% of email marketers who segment their email lists see better open rates, and 28% report better email deliverability and increased revenue.
3. Know Your Audience, and Give Them What They Want
Before you can create successful and engaging content, you’ve got to know your audience very well. One technique to employ in this regard is keyword research, aimed at discovering what your ideal customers are looking for.
Start by getting a better idea of the existing demand for your topic through Google Trends. Just type your main keyword into the search box to learn how many searches it received within a specified period of time.
For instance, here’s the Trends graph showing the popularity of the keyword “online business consulting”:
Remember, the more you know about your readers, the more precisely you can target your content to them, and the more effective it will be.
4. Focus on Facts and Think Tactically
Sometimes, you need to personally verify results or data through your own experimentation. What was true five years ago – or even last year – may no longer apply.
So, instead of accepting everything you read on other sites and blogs at face value, get in the habit of thinking tactically and critically.
Results are relative. You may experiment and get a different result – something that happens 98% of the time. Through observation, brainstorming, and testing, you can come up with a new concept that others can learn from. That’s how you become an expert.
Brian Dean applied the same concept to his business and developed the popular “content upgrade” strategy (at least, I first heard about it from him). Now, lots of marketers are using it to easily build their email lists.
5. Target the millennials with adaptive content
The millennials are a special segment of the human race. A 2014 report from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers revealed that, as a group, millennials value community, family, and creativity at work. They’re also the largest and most diverse generation in the U.S.
Almost certainly, millennials constitute a large chunk of your target audience. Your content should speak to their needs and values.
Adaptive content is the way to go. Adaptive content is simply the content that supports meaningful interactions across different platforms. Think of it like water – whatever you pour it into, it takes the shape of that container.
In other words, your readers should be able to access your content on a desktop computer, then continue where they left off using their smartphone or complete their purchases through your mobile app, with absolutely no hassles at all.
Although this concept is relatively new, it’s gaining ground in the ecommerce industry. According to Luxury Daily, 48% of shoppers said they’d like to shop with their mobile phones while in stores.
6. Leverage the Hedgehog Content Model
A hedgehog is a small mammal that has a rounded body with stiff spines and a small, pointed snout. So what does a small mammal have to do with content creation and marketing?
Well, it simply means that you should start from where you are, then scale from there. Why worry about the fact your blog isn’t generating 1,000 monthly visits yet? Instead, start small. Create and consistently use a content strategy that will help you reach your goals.
Instead of obsessing over reaching 1,000 monthly visitors, focus on 100 each month. Just make sure that your goal is realistic and measurable.
If you’re able to hit that smaller goal, the objective of the hedgehog model is to treat them marvelously well with high-quality and useful content that they’ll share with their friends.
Apply the same technique to your email list. Focus on getting 3 – 5 subscribers every single day, instead of your first 100 subscribers. By the end of the month, you’ll have 90 – 150 email subscribers.
7. Consistently Run A/B Tests
Are you consistent at split testing? A research study by AdPushUp showed that conversion rates typically range from 1% to 3%. A/B split testing helps you convert more. And even a single additional percentage point in your conversion rate can be significant.
Running A/B split tests is crucial if you want to know for certain which headlines, calls-to-action, and types of content work best for your readers. Once you know what strategies work best for you, your work becomes that much more effective.
You can split test just about anything. Since you’re concerned about search traffic, however, you should focus on the elements that impact search performance, such as headlines, site speed, visuals, landing pages, CTA, and so on.
According to Bryan Eisenberg,
Most websites don’t have a traffic problem, but every site has a conversion problem.
A/B split testing can send more targeted buyers to your product pages as well. For example, Lyyti.com, an online event management software company, ran a split test on their product pages. They set up a product page variation and tested it against the control.
At the end of the testing, the variation page performed better. It clearly showed features offered in each plan, while the original design wasn’t quite clear enough. Implementing the results of this test increased visits to their “Free Trial” sign-up page by 93.71%.
It’s also time to look into mobile testing. According to Digital Buzz Blog, 91% of people worldwide have a mobile phone, and 72% of tablet owners purchase products from their tablets every week.
Clearly, you can’t afford to run A/B split tests solely on desktop users. If you’re experimenting with mobile testing, look at any key user behavior, especially behaviors related to conversions, such as email opt-in form and landing page preferences.