How to Build the Right Content Strategy For SEO

  

ManySEOs are conscious of the importance of providing content that is relevant tousers since the Hummingbird algorithm updates and subsequent buzz about Rank Brain. This sounds straightforward in theory, but what does it actually mean in practice? Many SEOs believe they already do this by relying on keyword research to drive their content strategy.   

It is not a good idea to rely on keywords alone to driveyour content strategy. Not all content needs of your audience can be capturedby search. Ask your customer service representative where they are located and what questions they answer daily. I guarantee that you won't find all the keywords volume questions in a keyword research tool. 

Keyword research can be tempting if you aren't sure whatto write about the topic. While you might increase organic traffic, are thesecustomers going to convert?   

It will help you create high-converting SEO content bymoving away from a keyword-driven content strategy. Although keyword researchstill has a place, it is important. However, it should be done later in the process after you've conducted a deep dive into your audience as well as your own brand expertise. 

This is the approach that the most successful contentmarketers use. This is a strategy that SEOs can use as well to create morerelevant content for their target audiences. 

How does an audience-focused strategydiffer from a keyword-focused strategy? 

A content marketing strategy begins with the targetaudience. It then dives deeper into understanding your brand's expertise andunique value. Keyword research is an excellent way to discover how people talk about topics that are relevant to your brand. But it can be limited when it comes down to understanding your audience. 

Imagine your potential customer's journey from inquiry toconversion. Are they using search to find the information they need? If you'recollecting leads or serving up ads for remarketing, it is unlikely. Therefore, your audience understanding should not be limited to keyword search. 

A content strategy can be described as a comprehensiveplan that addresses questions such:    

Who is my audience?" 

  • What are their needs? 
  • What type of content would these people like to     consume? 
  • Which location are they currently having a     conversation (online or offline?) 
  • What expertise can our brand offer that is     unique? 
  • How can our expertise be matched to the needs     of our audience? 
  • Finding your unique content angle   

To connect with your audience, you must create your owncontent angle that finds intersections between the brand's expertise in yourniche and your audience's pain points. The Content Marketing Institute refers to this as a "content tilt" because it involves taking a larger topic and tilting it in your own way. It is not always easy to define your brand's expertise.   

While it is common for brands to declare their productunique, it isn't unusual for them to do so if they have a similar product. Whatmakes your organization different from competitors? 

Here's an example 

 

When Iworked for Kaplan Financial Education, a professional licensing and exam prepprovider brand under Kaplan Professional, finding our tilt was a real challenge. Kaplan Financial Education has many product lines that all fall under the umbrella of financial services. But each line is targeted at a different audience. We needed a tilt that worked for the entire Career Corner content hub we were creating. Our core audience had one thing in common. They all have low entry barriers and high turnover. Anyone who wants to enter the financial services industry must be able to pass their licensing exams and still be a professional in the future.   

Kaplan Financial Education has many content rivals. Theseinclude websites like Wikipedia, Investopedia, and governing bodies like FINRA.Kaplan Financial Education does have something its competitors don't: a large student network. Kaplan Financial Education competes with other providers of licensure exam preparation, but they don't offer the same range of exams or continuing education. The only brand that offers licensing education to individuals in the financial industry as they move through their financial careers is Kaplan Financial Education. Marketers call it "From Hire to Retire."   

Our instructor and student network provided valuableinput to make our content more conversational. We also used their insight andquotes to create content and make it more human and personal—all of our content related to financial professionals' success -- whether they're licensed or not. Instead of telling people what to do, we used content to empower our students and instructors to share their knowledge with prospective students.   

You may think, "So I can only create content thatfits into this tilt?" Isn't that restrictive? 

SEOs can find it difficult to let go of keywordopportunities that aren't in line with the content strategy. It's true thatthere may be some keywords you could use to increase your organic traffic. However, if these keywords don't align with the needs of your target audience and your brand's expertise, then it won't be the type of traffic that converts.It's unlikely. You don't have enough resources to create content and distract from your bigger strategy goal.   

How to build your contentstrategy    

Your     goals are important.

Start at the beginning. What are you really trying toaccomplish? Do you desire to increase the number of leads? Are you trying toincrease sales by a certain amount? Do you want to increase subscribers to your newsletter? This is the first step in establishing your goals. This will help you decide what content you want and what calls to action you should use.

If leads are your goal and you own a Kaplan business,then ungated content is a proven strategy. It provides valuable insights butallows for further exploration. Calls-to-action should direct you to a specific piece of content, which requires some contact information.

A dealership like a car dealer will have one primarygoal: to get people to buy a car. They don't have to be exclusive, but theyshould give a local flavor and address common questions customers have about the car-buying process. They have to fight the stereotypical used car salesman, and trust is essential in that industry.

2. Identify your primary audience.

Next is to determine who your content is being targetedat. You have many options to assist you in this step. Consider these groupswithin your organization:

Customer Service 

  • Sales 
  • Technical Support 
  • Product Management 
  • Marketing Products 
  • Social Media Marketing
  • undefined

These are often those who have the greatest interactionwith customers. Find out what your audience struggles with and how you cancreate content that addresses their needs. You can also conduct some research by yourself, searching social media and forums. Reddit Subreddits that are related to your topic could be a goldmine. Sometimes, there are active groups on social media platforms like Facebook and Linked In. If you have been to the MozCon Facebook group, you will know how much content is created to address common questions related to SEO.

 

Profile Creation  

 

 

Forum Posting   

 

Blog Posting   

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