Apr 7, 2021
Guest Post By Brad Smith, Haley Marketing for Preferred Member COATS
Rewind a few years. The staffing companies that were blogging regularly, posting content on their sites a few times a month, sharing posts on Facebook a few times per week – they were the leaders.
They embraced content marketing and devoted time and attention – and commitment – to leverage content to support their branding efforts.
They increased visibility and carved out a great digital niche. Fast-forward to today – everyone else copied them.
Now, basic content marketing doesn’t set you apart, it’s just a cost of doing business.
So, does that mean content marketing is dead? NOPE!
It just means that in order to really stand out, you have to step up your content marketing game. You have to look for ways to be different, add more value and be more strategic with your content efforts.
To help, here are three ways you can adjust your content marketing efforts in 2021 to drive more reach and improve your ROI:
Pillar Content Will Stand Out
Pillar content is a piece of content that digs deep into a specific topic. Where a standard blog post might be 300-500 words, pillar content (or long-form content) may be 2,000+ words and really dig deep. It examines a core topic and then breaks things up into smaller, more detailed subtopics. The reason this type of content stands out is that it’s comprehensive, it tackles a core topic, subtopics, provides key takeaways and is very focused.
From an SEO (search engine optimization) standpoint, by digging deep into the core topic and subtopics, long-form content is seen as more authoritative, a better user resource, and filled with keywords and search phrases. Over time, you may find that more outside websites link to pillar content and the user engagement statistics (time on page, bounce rate, etc.) are usually much better than shorter content. These factors will help improve search rankings and attract more traffic.
Here are a few examples of Pillar/Long-Form Content:
This is a 31-page book dedicated to SEO for the staffing industry and digs deep into all elements that are important. This is a nicely designed piece with graphics, a nice layout, etc.
On the other side of things, you could also have a piece of long-form or pillar content that is just text. This article is for a company that sells vending machine franchises. This topic focuses on the most profitable places to put vending machines. This phrase gets a lot of search traffic, has the opportunity to earn a featured snippet in search, and has a lot of subtopics that get high search volume as well.
With a 2,000-word article on this core topic, this company was able to gain authority and rise in search rank. Over the course of a year, they went from not ranking at all, to ranking in the top 20 for a variety of related terms, then minor adjustments to the article earned them top 5 rankings, and now today they rank #1 for a variety of related terms. This one article drives over 10k visits/month from very targeted searches. This one specialized post is driving extremely high-ROI. And that’s just one article! By leveraging this same strategy on other key topics, their search engine traffic is up over 220% over 2020.
Pillar Content Will Be Repurposed
Once you have a great piece of pillar content, you can look for ways to break that up into smaller, bite-size pieces that all funnel people back to the main pillar content. For example, let’s take our Staffing SEO eBook. We can break this up into dozens of shareable assets. We can take the keyword tips on page 5 and turn that into it’s own blog post, 5 social graphics that each share a tip, a short video tutorial and maybe an infographic. Pages 7 and 8 could be turned into a video tutorial on how to adjust your metadata. Pages 11 and 12 could become their own blog posts about the importance of SSL and security, etc., and that can be shared on social and in groups. Each one of these smaller assets can then drive people over to the main pillar piece of content.
Following this approach, you could have a quarterly content theme, ensure everything flows and works together, and all has a singular action to drive traffic and visibility back to the same place.
Data Will Drive Content Topic Decisions
In the past, many organizations based content plans on gut. What did they "think" people cared about. Moving forward, smart content marketers will use more data to make better decisions about what content to create moving forward.
Here are two data sources I love to leverage:
Google Search Console
Search console allows you to look at your existing site’s search visibility. I can see how often my site shows up in Google for different search queries, what page ranks well, and finally what my click-through rate is. I use this to determine what content on my website could be adjusted to drive more ROI, or where my content gaps might be. I will identify the search terms that have a high number of impressions, where maybe I rank in the 5-15 slots in Google. I will then go back and adjust those pages to rank higher. That might mean adjusting page titles, subheadings, meta data, etc. Or it might mean turning that page into long-form content that digs much deeper into the topic.
Another great tool we use is SEMrush. This is a paid 3rd party tool but provides some great competitive research and data. One strategy I love to use is looking at your core 2-3 competitors and determining what pieces of content or pages drive the most traffic for them. From there, we can look at those pages to determine how and why they rank highly. We then reverse engineer that content and create better, more valuable, and more trusted content around those topics. Once created, we then use the process outlined in step 2 to drive more visibility and links to that content. Over time, we begin to gain ground on the competitors and then leap-frog them. It’s a great strategy to outpace the competition and earn their traffic.
Looking to Drive Better Content Marketing for Your Firm in 2021 and Beyond?
We would love to help! We have a full team of skilled writers, content strategists and digital marketing advisors to help guide, and implement, your content marketing strategy. Contact us today to learn more.
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