Four Factors To Help Develop a Content Strategy that Provides Value to Customers
With leading search engine providers heavily focused on enhancing overall user experiences, hosting content which is actionable, engaging and high quality is now more important than ever. But what constitutes “high quality content” and how has the definition morphed over time? Today’s content must not only align with your small to medium-size business’s overarching marketing goals but must also stand out from the static to inspire users to action. By examining four essential factors of your content strategy, your business can go beyond chasing the SEO tactic du jour, and, instead, focus on providing value to users.
Evolution of Effective Content
Several years ago, hosting optimal content on your website meant embedding a never-ending stream of keywords and related phrases into barely readable articles. Although often effective in boosting SEO, it offered no real benefit or meaning to an end-user. The search engine landscape shifted over time to factor in content length in addition to keywords and phrases. This shift caused many businesses to seek content pieces exceeding 1,000 words, without a corresponding change in overall content quality.
The Deeper Meaning of High Quality Content
Over time, as search engines became more focused on enhancing the overall user experience, “quality” evolved to become synonymous with content which:
- Avoids strategies designed exclusively to boost search engine rankings
- Is not deceptive to users
- Provides value to customers
- Generates discussion and engagement
- Engages users and offers thoughtful insight into a topic
Ultimately though, high quality content may include any content which helps your business reach (or exceed) your marketing quotas, goals or other growth milestones. If done effectively, content can help:
- Foster an enhanced awareness of your business and marketing differentiators
- Boost search rankings through user engagement
- Enhance your business’s image through social networking
- Unlock new marketing opportunities and generate sales leads, and more
Essential Steps to Develop a Viable Long-Term Content Strategy
The following four factors may help your business go beyond chasing ever-evolving SEO “tricks” and, instead, focus efforts on long-term successful strategies.
1. Assess your business’s overarching marketing goals.
Begin with the end in mind. What are your marketing goals? Do you have a set quota for a number of new leads to develop each month? Are you targeting a specific demographic or a geographic area? Laying out these goals in clear, specific terms is essential to the next steps.
2. Determine how content can help you reach these goals.
Developing, purchasing or hosting content without an underlying strategy is often not effective. Align your desired content with your underlying goals. Do you want content to boost user engagement, help demonstrate your authority on a subject or boost conversions?
3. Identify content gaps.
During the next phase, it is essential to conduct a thorough website gap analysis to help identify what your current content lacks. Do you need to go in a different direction entirely or can you build on existing content efforts? With targeted content, you can help address these gaps and focus on maximizing value to your customers.
4. Host content worthy of a share.
Remember, your customers are bombarded by content every day. What will make them want to view, and ultimately share, the content you post or take action? Consider alternatives to traditional articles such as blog posts, photos, short videos, infographics or even taking a unique spin on a topic to drive user discussion.
Ultimately, your content should be a reflection of your business, drive user engagement and contribute value to your customers.