How to Do Content Marketing The Right Way: My 7 Must Do’s
I used to laugh at the “white hat” SEO people talking about content marketing a couple years back. The majority of my focus was scaling up SpeedRank, which was really the first public offering of Sape links on the English SEO markets many years ago. They were working like magic and back then they were the hottest thing to happen to SEO in a long time.
That service really changed my life, as it ultimately was what prompted me to become a full-time SEO professional. My how times have changed! While I still run that service and it continues to deliver amazing results, I’ve focused a lot on white hat SEO, and I attribute the success of my new agency, SerpLogic, to content marketing.
Yes, I have become a freaking content marketer! 😀
I dove head first into content marketing without really knowing what I was getting into. I felt it was the right way to get my name out there and I can say that I’m very happy with the results so far. I was approached to be a contributor for the Ahrefs blog and I have been interviewed by Inc.com and also Tech.co. None of this would ever have happened if I didn’t dive into content marketing.
I’ve only just started. I have plans to improve my reach through even more content marketing, but as I have learned, slow and steady wins this game. Everyone says that content marketing is beneficial, but nobody really tells you the key elements that are needed for SUCCESSFUL content marketing. Just updating your blog with 500 word “articles” isn’t content marketing.
Hopefully my experience on the “white” side can help you understand what you need to do if you decide to start putting out content.
Here are seven must do’s that I have found are the main contributors to my content marketing success.
1. You must provide real value and not a glorified sales pitch.
This is where a lot of people take a wrong turn. When you spend so much time writing content, you want to make sure you see some sort of return from it. Trust me, it takes a lot of my time to push out my content. I have to brainstorm topics, come up with an outline, and then put the pen to the paper. When I am writing content it pulls me away from my business, but so far the return has been worth it, so I’m just very strict with my time schedule to make sure I don’t let it interfere with my daily business duties.
When you first start publishing content you are going to want see fast results. I know I did. But, I held off and didn’t use my content to directly sell. Instead, I started to put out helpful information that would benefit readers to a point that they would naturally want to see what else I had to say. This leads people to my blog daily and from there they are introduced to my SEO agency and all of our offerings.
When you provide real value your readers are going to take interest in you and want to learn more. They will then seek out your other content and voluntarily read it as well, further increasing the chances of them doing business with you at some point.
2. You must develop your own voice and not sound like a boring professor.
You could have really good information to share, but if you come off sounding like a boring school professor you are going to lose your audience quickly. One thing that I have done is never masked my true personality. You will often find humor and sarcasm in my content because that’s who I am.
While I take my career very seriously and share helpful information.. that doesn’t change who I am. Over the course of the past year I feel like as my writing ability has blossomed, so has my personality showing through my content.
I’m establishing my “online voice” within the SEO community and so far the feedback I have received has been very positive. I’ve seen some negative hate in the comment sections of Ahrefs, but hey, there are always going to be jealous competitors that have nothing better to do since they have no SEO clients! 😉
A lot of people might be scared to let their true personality shine. Don’t be. I can promise that if you are authentic your readers will relate to you much better and view you as a real person and not some boring information provider. Yes, I’m providing information, but the human element and personality I mix in has definitely helped me gain traction and a following.
Just don’t go overboard and start to sound like a guru retard. Intelligent people can smell the bullshit form a mile away. Be real, but without the bullshit.
3. You must be confident and your content must prove to be accurate and correct.
There is nothing worse than reading a blog post only to say, “That is completely wrong” at the end of it. Believe me, there are plenty of “SEO experts” that are publishing content that is ass backwards. They don’t know what they are talking about because they haven’t actually done what they are attempting to teach others about.
This will eventually bite you in the ass. You can only sound like a moron so many times before your readers figure it out. Every single topic I write content about is coming from me. I write about personal experiences and things that I have actually done, whether for my own company or for our SEO clients of ours.
There are far too many people posting content that is either too vague and offers little to no value and then there are those that are just re-writing content they find online and they completely miss the point because they have no idea what they are talking about.
I think one of the reasons my content marketing has worked so well for me is due to the fact that I’m talking about strategies I have used to grow my own Agency and mixing in strategies and experience from the actual campaigns we are running for companies, small to large. I have access to A LOT of information and data, I plan to continue to share that real information with my audience.
4. You must provide information that can easily be implemented by your readers.
This is an important thing to remember: Not everyone that reads your content is going to fully understand all of the terminology and information you write about. You almost have to water down some information that is very technical, so it appeals to a wide audience.
You can always create content that’s tailored to a specific skill set or knowledge level, but just be aware that your reach and the overall effectiveness of the content will drop as you alienate some of your audience.
When I write my content about SEO best practices and other online marketing, I keep in mind that a lot of the readers are going to be noobs and business owners that don’t know all of the technical aspects of SEO. I also like to keep it informative so those that want to try on their own can read the information and actually see some results if they attempt it. A lot of SEO content is written as bait to get leads. Yes, I want to land clients from it, but I’m also putting out information that can be used without paying my company a dime.
I also never require an email address or a social follow to read my stuff. Someone can suck up all my value without giving me anything. No money. No email. Nada.
5. You must constantly expand on and revisit previous topics.
Your content marketing is never done. Just because I publish a post on link building it doesn’t mean I’ll never touch the subject again. I have written several posts about multiple topics, and each time they touch on a slightly different topic. In the SEO world things change all the time. So, a link building post that was done 6 months ago might not even be all that new and relevant today.
Also, one of the benefits of publishing really good content is the organic search traffic you can pull in. If you are smart with it, you can rank your content for multiple long tail keywords. Every topics is going to have multiple long tail keywords and search queries that you can write posts around. This doesn’t mean that you should just pump out shitty content with different long tail keywords. Even if you rank shitty content, it’s not going to deliver actual results.
If someone stumbled onto one of my Ahrefs posts from an organic search and it was shit, they would never want to read my content again and they definitely wouldn’t want to hire me to do their SEO. I make sure that every piece of content that I put out there, no matter how many times I’ve written about the topic, provides value and reveals something new.
6. You must create content that is noticeable better than anything out there.
I’m not the first person to realize how effective content marketing can be. To be honest, I was late to the party. I kick myself all the time when I think about where I could be right now if I had started this a couple of years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with my progress so far, but it’s very competitive now.
Everyone is posting content. From small mom and pop shops to international companies. Every website has a blog and has content, but not every website is posting good content. The 90/10 rule applies to content marketing. 10% of the people doing content marketing are producing 90% of the high quality useful content out there.
The only way you are going to get noticed in a crowded content world these days is to publish content that is head and shoulders above what your competition is putting out there. The easiest way to see what you are stacked up against is to visit the blogs of the top websites in your niche and research the owners and executives of those companies and see if and where they are guest blogging.
Take whatever they are doing, and make it better. Provide more research and in-depth insight. Create longer and more interesting content. Include better images and try visual content, like infographics and PowerPoint presentations.
7. You must always strive to be better and produce content that gets better over time.
As I mentioned before, committing to content marketing has been very helpful in terms of growth of my SEO agency. While not easy, constantly putting out new content on a regular and consistent basis has not only helped my company grow, but it’s made me a much better writer.
It’s kind of like working out at the gym. At first it sucks, but once you start to see results the motivation kicks in and powers you through the learning curve and beginning stages. Then, once you REALLY see results, you make it part of your daily routine and you can’t imagine NOT working out. The same applies to content marketing.
You aren’t going to see overnight results, but once you do start to see results it becomes easier to stick with it. Then, once you see how it has drastically improved your business you won’t stop. Every piece of content that you put out there becomes a piece of marketing collateral that has the potential to always build company awareness and attract website visitors.
When you start to think of content marketing as a long term investment in your business you will start to really focus on always putting out content that is better than the last piece.
I would be willing to bet that some of my readers can notice an improvement overall, in how my content has improved over time. It’s natural growth that you will experience when you just stick to it.
I want you to understand that it has taken me a lot of practice plus trial and error to get to this point. I didn’t just decide to jump into content marketing and hit it big after posting a few pieces of content.
It took time to learn what my audience was into, what they weren’t, and how to turn my thoughts into words. It’s not easy. Not even close.
I can tell you that it’s made me a much better writer, and who knows, I might even write a book someday. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would have websites that I read on a regular basis contact me looking for tips and feedback about SEO and online marketing. Without content marketing I wouldn’t be experiencing any of this.
If you have any specific questions about content marketing, whether you are just getting started or having a difficult time gaining momentum, leave them below. I will do my best to try to answer them all.