How to Set Up Your SaaS Content Marketing Strategy: 6 Steps to Success

Do you have a SaaS business?

Are you publishing content as a way to bring in and nurture potential customers? 🚪⬅️

If so, you need a SaaS content marketing strategy.

To put it bluntly, content without a strategy is akin to a house without a foundation, support beams, walls, or a roof.

Instead of welcoming a constant flux of eager visitors to your beautiful abode, you’ll just be sitting alone on a pile of bricks.

The strategy gives your SaaS content marketing a purpose, structure, goals, and a strong foundation to build on.

Without it, you’ll flounder with content. You won’t nurture leads – you’ll lose them. 💀

The ONLY way to start seeing exponential, compounding online growth with SaaS content marketing is to outline your content strategy plan, fill in the blanks, and follow it to the letter.

Don’t believe me yet? Let’s look at the difference between content created & published without a strategy vs. WITH a strategy.

SaaS Content Marketing Strategy

How to Build a SaaS Content Marketing Strategy: Table of Contents

Content Marketing with and Without a Strategy: What’s the Difference?

2 Years in, Without a Content Marketing Strategy

What Happens with a Content Strategy in Place?

What Do You Need for Successful SaaS Content Marketing? 6 Key, Strategic Pillars

1. Know the Base Levels of SaaS Content Strategy: Define Topic Areas, Goals, & More

  • Goals and Content Mission
  • Topic Area(s) of Focus
  • Content Differentiation Factor

2. Get to Know Your Audience for Solid SaaS Content Marketing

  • Find Your Ideal Target Buyer
  • Research, Research, Research
  • Know Your Customers’ Common Buying Journeys

3. Integrate SEO

  • Research Long-Tail Keywords and Connected Topics
  • Optimize Your Content

4. Build Your Content House

5. Understand How to Create Content for SaaS Marketing

  • Fill Your Audience’s Knowledge Gaps
  • Write to Engage
  • Kill the Fluff

6. Track, Measure, Update, & Maintain

  • Track and Measure
  • Update and Maintain

Your SaaS Content Marketing Strategy Is Covered

With all the offers out there, how can you make sure that your SaaS company and product stand out? 🦩 @JuliaEMcCoy tells how and why you should make SaaS content marketing strategy right now 🐱‍👤 Click To Tweet

Content Marketing with and Without a Strategy: What’s the Difference?

At Express Writers, we’re not selling SaaS, but our content plays the same roles as it would for a SaaS business: building audience trust in our brand, showing our expertise, and nurturing traffic and leads.

Unfortunately, without a content marketing strategy, our content didn’t have the impact we hoped it would. We weren’t meeting our goals at the beginning.

2 Years in, Without a Content Marketing Strategy

  • With 215 blogs published, we were only ranking for 141 keywords
  • Our monthly gross income never topped $29K
  • At most, we saw 500 visitors a day

On top of these lackluster numbers, I was suffering, too.

  • Hustling every day but not seeing any rewards (because I was misdirecting my energy)
  • Stressed and scrounging for leads
  • Working constantly to make ends meet

Then, in September 2016, I finally built and implemented a content marketing strategy.

What happened next?

What Happens with a Content Strategy in Place?

Life was never the same after our content marketing strategy hit the ground running.

  • A few months after executing the strategy, we hit our first, landmark $71K income month.
  • Our ranking keywords shot up from 3,900 to 6,000.

It didn’t stop there.

  • Within roughly one year, we were hitting records every month – January 2018 saw us hit our first-ever $120K income month.
  • We were ranking for over 12,800 keywords
  • My blogs were getting the highest number of shares I’d ever seen.
  • EW ranked #1 for hot keywords (e.g. “content writing outsourcing”)

Today, we’re still blowing our old records out of the water.

  • 99% of our clients come to us from our content marketing
  • We rank for over 24,000 keywords in Google
  • We’ve earned over $4.5 million in agency sales
  • We see 90,000 to 100,000 organic visitors every month

As you can see, no content strategy = 💀🛑😖👎

If you say YES to a content strategy, however…

🌟🥂✔🥳

It’s true for SaaS and non-SaaS industries alike that invest in content.

For those of you tuning in from a SaaS background, stay with me. We’re about to get into how to build your SaaS content marketing strategy.

Do you need a SaaS content marketing strategy? 🤔 Don't think twice. @JuliaEMcCoy shows the HUGE difference in ROI between having none vs. using a well-planned strategy for @ExpWriters. Click To Tweet

What Do You Need for Successful SaaS Content Marketing? 6 Key, Strategic Pillars

So, you need a SaaS content marketing strategy.

That means it’s time to learn how to do SaaS marketing the right way.

The best SaaS marketing campaigns use these 6 pillars. They form the foundation for a working content marketing platform for your business.

1. Know the Base Levels of SaaS Content Strategy: Define Topic Areas, Goals, & More

Your SaaS content marketing plan needs a few basic factors defined before you can get into the nitty-gritty of audience research or content creation.

Goals and Content Mission

First, what is your main goal for your content marketing initiative? What do you hope to achieve? How will you build relationships with customers through content?

Outline the answers to those questions two ways:

  • As an overarching mission for your SaaS content marketing. Phrase it the way you would phrase your broad business mission and goals. The two should be tied together and complement each other!
  • Focused goals with measurable outcomes in the form of KPIs (key performance indicators). For example, Content Marketing Institute offers some solid KPIs tied to common goals for content marketing:
    • Create brand awareness – Track and measure social shares
    • Drive more traffic to your website or blog – Track total website visits monthly, the percentage of return visitors, or the time on site where the visitor was actively engaged
    • Generate leads – Track the number of leads each piece of content earned, or track conversion rates for your landing pages
    • Improve customer retention – Track percentage of repeat customers

Topic Area(s) of Focus

Defining your SaaS content marketing topic areas may seem straightforward, but it’s more complicated than simply copying-and-pasting your general industry niche.

For example, perhaps you sell creative software that helps customers edit and tweak photos. Your topic area might be “graphic design,” but it doesn’t end there. You also should define the intersection between your expertise AND what your audience wants to read.

Does your audience want to read blogs about graphic design principles? Or would they be more interested in guides that help them retouch family photos?

There’s a huge difference between these types of content and who they’ll interest. To get at the exact right topic area of focus for your SaaS, take your audience into consideration as well as what you can write about with authority (more on that in point #2).

Content Differentiation Factor

Another important point to define in your content strategy is your content differentiation factor.

This is the fresh spin you’ll put on your content. It’s the unique angle that will make your pieces stand out from the millions of others on the web.

In other words, how will you help your audience with content differently or better than your competitors?

For more depth on these topics, I teach an intensive course, the Content Strategy & Marketing Course, that will take you through these concepts step-by-step.

2. Get to Know Your Audience for Solid SaaS Content Marketing

It turns out your audience is the lynchpin in this whole content marketing thing. If you “get” your audience on a deep level, you’re going places.

Find Your Ideal Target Buyer

Who is the main type of person who needs, wants, and will use the heck out of your software to improve their life? Describe this avatar all the way down to their hobbies and likes/dislikes.

Research, Research, Research

Interview real people who might fit your target buyer persona. Collect data with surveys and questionnaires. Do social listening, poke around on Reddit and Quora, mine tools like Facebook Audience Insights and Survey Monkey, and record everything you discover.

Image: Facebook

Know Your Customers’ Common Buying Journeys

(You’ll find this out doing research.) Meet them at each stage with tailored, useful content that helps them move closer to trust and/or a sale.

Getting to know your audience is one of the most important steps of creating and executing B2B SaaS content. Without audience knowledge and understanding, you will not publish targeted content that earns results and ROI.

Instead, your content will die a slow death in obscurity. 😬 Yikes.

3. Integrate SEO

Defining your audience helps you write targeted content that speaks to their needs and engages, but using SEO is how that content gets discovered.

Without proper content optimization for search engines, your traffic numbers will be much, much lower. You’ll draw in fewer people who are already interested in what you have to say.

Creating online content MUST include search engine optimization, otherwise, you’ll miss out on the whopping 70.6% of browsing sessions that begin with a search.

SEO is about NOT missing out on this giant source of traffic. Furthermore, it’s not about drawing in any web visitor you can, but rather about targeting only those who have the potential to buy what you’re selling. Targeted, interested traffic >> random traffic.

Research Long-Tail Keywords and Connected Topics

At the bottom of the SEO for your B2B, SaaS content should be long-tail keywords tied to engaging, useful topics in your area of expertise.

The only way to find these is through keyword research using paid tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, KWFinder, or Moz Keyword Explorer.

It’s not as simple as plugging an industry term into a tool and using whatever it spits out, though. You need to be intentional about looking up keyword data and analyzing the results.

Your content strategy should outline a keyword research workflow, including:

  • Which tools you’ll invest in and budget for
  • How often you’ll look for profitable keywords
  • Which metrics you’ll prioritize in the keywords you target
  • Identifying the search intent of keywords
  • After you land on a keyword, doing topic research to discover subjects that will most appeal to your audience

Optimize Your Content

Once you have the topic and corresponding keywords for a content piece laid out, you need a process for optimizing that content for search.

  • What content writing standards will you set for formatting, headers, and links?
  • Will you use any tools or apps to check SEO?
  • Will you hire out SEO? What will the budget be?

Once your SEO plan is in place as part of your SaaS content strategy, you can move on to establishing your content house – the platform you’ll use to publish and promote content, not to mention build your brand presence.

4. Build Your Content House

Where will the majority of your content live? When you promote your content on social media, where will your links point? When people link to you, what domain will they associate with your name?

This is your content house, the hub of your content activity and your main focus for publishing.

For an example of a SaaS brand with an established, trusted content house, let’s look at the SEMrush blog.

This is SEMrush’s main platform for publishing content. It includes blogs, webinars, podcasts, and ebooks:

It’s housed on their own domain (not on a proprietary platform).

Since SEMrush is in total control of what does (and doesn’t) appear on their site, they can focus on building trust with readers and converting them. On proprietary platforms (where your content is ultimately controlled by a third party like Facebook or Instagram), you have far less influence – the focus is always on the larger platform because that suits their agenda.

For instance, SEMrush wouldn’t be able to promote their 24-hour online conference in such a noticeable way anywhere else but their own site:

This is exactly why your SaaS content marketing strategy should focus on your owned domain as the hub of activity. All other channels (guest blogs, social media, etc.) should come second.

Of course, building your content house requires populating your pages with content consistently. To this end, part of your strategy should include determining when and how often you’ll post, and what types of content you’ll prioritize.

5. Understand How to Create Content for SaaS Marketing

SaaS content writing is unique. It’s arguably the most important piece of a SaaS content marketing strategy.

That’s because, generally, you’re dealing with a tech-focused industry with highly educated audiences well-versed in web tools. What’s more, these tools may be downright complicated for the average layperson.

It’s a tricky audience to target and write for on the correct level.

And, as a rule, content creation is getting more limelight these days. People are starting to understand what it takes to produce incredible, engaging content, and they’re investing as such. (Content creation was the #1 investment for marketers in 2018-2019.)

So, what does strategic content creation look like for SaaS marketing?

The golden rule is to understand what your audience already knows, then address what they DON’T know.

Fill Your Audience’s Knowledge Gaps

According to George Reith, an expert SaaS industry writer,

“By understanding what your audience knows and what you need to tell them, you can create a tighter, more engaging and much more compelling piece of content.”

Most likely, your audience already has an awareness of SaaS and what it entails. The key is to figure out where they need additional knowledge to fill in the gaps. Reith continues:

“Here’s the thing most SaaS vendors forget: this stuff isn’t new anymore. Everyone knows what SaaS is. Even if you’ve never heard the specific term, you get the concept.

So, if you spend a whole paragraph explaining what a subscription model is and how it works, you’re just wasting valuable space on your page.”

As you can see, your audience research will be monumentally helpful for SaaS content writing. Audience knowledge gaps should naturally show up once you start digging into who these people are and what problems you can solve for them in your content.

Write to Engage

High-ROI content is written to engage the reader. It should pull them in, speak to their problems or needs, and help them come to some new understanding as simply as possible.

What works for SaaS audiences won’t work elsewhere. That’s why knowing their knowledge level on the topic at hand is so important. Tell them what they already know, and they’ll tune out.

For instance, both a business owner and an IT professional represent two kinds of SaaS audiences. Both have wildly different tech knowledge levels. The writing style that engages one will bore the other.

Kill the Fluff

Also of importance: clear, simple, zero-fluff copy. Get to the point and teach/guide without talking down to your reader (because they’re usually highly educated and intelligent!)

Avoid needless fluff in your writing because it’s repetitive. SaaS audiences want to see the value from reading your content immediately – they don’t have time to read extraneous details.

6. Track, Measure, Update, & Maintain

How will you keep up your SaaS content marketing momentum? That’s exactly what this pillar of a content strategy does – it keeps everything going like the Energizer Bunny.

Track and Measure

How is your content performing? If you’re not tracking and measuring, you won’t have anything to show for your efforts.

Using measurement tools and analyzing the data will help you track how close you are to your goals, too. (Remember those KPIs we talked about?)

Update and Maintain

Updating and maintaining your content involves:

  • Sticking to your consistent content schedule
  • Promoting your content on social media to reach more people
  • Auditing your older pieces to make sure they’re up-to-date and accurate
  • Killing old content that isn’t serving your brand or hurts your rankings
The 6 key pillars for successful SaaS content marketing include: 📑 define topic areas and goals, 🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏿 know your audience, 💬 integrate SEO, 🏠 build your content house, ✍🏿 create content, and 📐 measure and maintain! Click To Tweet

Your SaaS Content Marketing Strategy Is Covered

With SaaS content marketing, it’s possible to create an engagement and conversion machine. Your business is conducted almost entirely online, so it makes sense to use mainly digital content marketing to pull in new customers.

The map to use to reach that magical place is your SaaS content strategy.

Your content strategy and content marketing should tell you how to:

  • Establish your brand voice and style in your content
  • Show your customer solutions to their problems
  • Demonstrate your expert knowledge in your industry
  • Drive brand awareness and pique interest in your message and what you sell
  • Bring in more qualified traffic and leads
  • Build customer loyalty and relationships

And, lucky for you, the compounding interest of all of the above amounts to more revenue, in the end.

Now, isn’t that something?

content marketing trends for 2020

In the Spotlight: 5 Promising Content Marketing Trends for 2020

It’s 2020 already! Are you ready to seize the new decade by the horns?

I sure am! We’re just a few short weeks into the year, and it’s already shaping up to be an exciting one in the world of writing.

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s happening in content marketing, then you’re already a step ahead of the curve.

Several ideas and innovations are maturing, bringing us more possibilities when it comes to writing and distributing our most magnetic content.

Wondering what the future of content marketing looks like? Check it out. I’ve rounded up my best predictions for the 2020 trends in content marketing.

This year is already roaring along at full speed, so we’d better get started!

The 5 Biggest Content Marketing Trends for 2020 You Must Embrace

1. “Good” Is Not Enough! Readers E-A-T Only the Best Content

  • Topic-Focused Content Builds Authority
  • Results-Focused Copy Builds Relevance
  • Customer-Focused Marketing Builds Trust

2. Pictures Become Worth 1 Million Words – If They’re Living

  • Visual Media Is Becoming Interactive

3. An Emphasis on Lasting Relationships

4. Brand Authenticity Approaches New Dimensions

  • Authenticity, Storytelling, and Story Creation
  • Conversational Marketing

5. We Cannot Ignore the New Ways to Search

content marketing trends for 2020

Excited to start the new year with fresh ideas to boost your content marketing to the next level? 🧨 @JuliaEMcCoy shares the best content marketing trends in 2020 you should start following right now. 📈 Click To Tweet

The 5 Biggest Content Marketing Trends for 2020 You Must Embrace

While 2019 was all about refining what worked, the energy of 2020 signals that it’s all about seizing the day – or year. We’ve practiced, honed, experimented…

Now it’s time to put all that newfound knowledge to work to build those dreams as you’ve never built before.

Without further ado, here are the five content marketing trends for 2020 you must absolutely watch.

1. “Good” Is Not Enough! Readers E-A-T Only the BEST Content

The phrase “content is king” has been floating around the internet now for almost a quarter of a century. (Thanks, Bill.)

It’s a deceptively simple statement. Yet, 24 years later, we’re still discovering exactly what it means.

2020 may be the year that we (collectively) finally get it.

An emphasis on good content has existed for a while now, largely spurred on by Google’s constant (and often revolutionary) updates to its search engine algorithms. Last decade, we saw several seismic updates that completely altered the nature of search.

Google has a knack for doing that.

However, the last several core updates such as Google BERT and the January Core Update have been relatively unique. Not only have they continued to tailor their algorithms to the human element, but they’ve now begun sending a pretty clear message to the content creation (and SEO) community with every update:

Google really, really, REALLY wants you to stop overanalyzing the SEO situation every time it updates its algorithms.

Why? Because in 2020 SEO has ONE main rule:

Focus on delivering the best possible content to your readers.

Oh look, another deceptively simple statement.

In 2020, content and search engine ranking are fusing. It’s no longer going to be about either optimizing for people or optimizing for search engines. By crafting exceptional content, you’re now doing both.

If there’s anything you take away, it’s these three points for content trends in 2020. (Which are so important, we made an image for you.)

content marketing trends

1. Topic-Focused Content Builds Authority

To establish authority in the search engines, you’ll need to prove to Google that you know something about a topic. That doesn’t mean posting one or two articles on the subject and calling it good. The average content pillar has been 2,000 and 10,000 words with 6-8 sub-topics (or pages) linked.

2. Results-Focused Copy Builds Relevance

Craft content with a purpose. People use search engines to find answers to problems, but only 21% of searches lead to more than one result getting clicked. If your copy isn’t laser-focused on achieving a specific result (like solving the problem that person searched for), you won’t make it to the top of the list.

3. Customer-Focused Marketing Builds Trust

In 2020, the primary means you’ll build trust with your readers is by delivering helpful, useful content. Such content indicates a willingness to be helpful, to give without expectation of monetary returns. Turns out it works. According to research by Conductor, customers are up to 131% more likely to purchase from brands that provide early-stage, educational content.

Don't settle for good this 2020, go for GREAT! How? Focus on these three important points: 🧭 the right topics (to build authority), 🗃️ results (to build relevance), and 🤝 customers (to build trust). Click To Tweet

Take a moment to absorb these three points. They’re what underlie the rest of the content marketing trends for 2020.

BTW – Google is setting a high bar for what is considered quality content. And unsurprisingly, Content Marketing Institute found that 84% of brands outsource their content creation to pros. If you’re concerned about quality, this is the route to take.

Did you know? @cmicontent found that 84% of brands outsource their content creation to pros. Stressed for time? Maybe it's time to trust a pro writing partner. ✍️ Click To Tweet

2. Visuals Become Worth 1 Million Words – If They’re Live

Remember the first infographic ever made? (Probably not – it was published in 1821.) It rocked everyone’s world.

Today, infographics and visuals remain incredibly powerful. We’re going to keep seeing them – but they’re getting a refresh. How?

Visual Media Is Becoming Interactive

Infographics are neat, but unless they’re designed and optimized for social media sharing (like Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook), they’re surprisingly limited. They can pique our interest for a few minutes or flash across our social media feed… but they can’t do much else.

In contrast, live video content is an experience. When something is real-time, we’re primed to think it’s unique. Plus, the real-time nature of the media amplifies the exclusivity and sense of connection with the brand.

🤩 Got eye-catching infographics? Make sure they're all optimized for social media sharing. 📹 Want to work on video content? Try going live to connect to your audience in real-time. Know the other content marketing trends for 2020. Click To Tweet

Don’t believe me? Check out these stats.

  • 80% of individuals would choose to watch a live video from a brand over reading an article
  • 87% of people will choose to watch a live video if it means more behind-the-scenes or exclusive looks at a brand.
  • 56% of individuals want “breaking news” live content over other forms.
  • 67% of live video viewers go on to purchase tickets or seats to similar events.

Live video content is also unique because it blends user experience with one of the ultimate tools of content marketing: storytelling.

It gives brands a chance to apply classic storytelling techniques – in a way that includes the viewer.

Now, you aren’t just telling your story to your customers. You’re involving them in the creation of your story.

How’s that for being customer-focused?

Which brings us to our next major content marketing trend for 2020…

3. An Emphasis on Lasting Relationships

Make no mistake, your readers are smart. If you’re just out to make a quick buck, they’ll spot you coming from a mile away and vanish.

In 2020, they’re getting even smarter.

Possibly it’s because we’re now totally empowered with the ability to find information quickly, easily, and on-demand.

Some 60% of all searches are done on a mobile device – doubling from just 5 years ago.

This trend of instant consumption on the go is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it means readers will gravitate towards quick, bite-sized nuggets of information that won’t disrupt their life.

On the other hand, it means readers are also exposing themselves much more frequently to our content marketing efforts.

It’s that second feature on which we should focus. Our challenge isn’t finding and selling to customers (they’re already looking for us constantly). It’s keeping them.

This year, the prevailing trends will force us to really dive deep into what it means to build relationships and rapport with our readership.

According to the folks at the CMI, almost everyone (79%) is successful at educating their audiences and building credibility or trust (75%).

Fewer people manage to successfully meet goals associated with generating sales (53%) or building loyalty with existing customers (63%).

In other words, they’re putting out quality, helpful content but they’re failing to support their readers in further interactions with their brands. Their copy isn’t results-focused.

According to CMI, there’s a growing disparity between what successful content marketers are focusing on and what everyone else is doing. Successful content marketers nurture long-term relationships with specifics, while everyone else focuses on general (but still important!) goals:

What Successful Content Marketers Focus On…

  • Responding to specific audience needs
  • Using metrics and KPIs to track content performance
  • Crafting content according to customer journey stages

What Everyone Else Is Focusing On…

  • Creating sales funnels/lead generation
  • Producing high-quality content
  • Building authority organically (vs. using paid distribution channels)

What successful content marketers focus on: a) specific audience needs b) metrics and real KPIs to track performance 📈 c) crafting content for customer stages. Everyone else: a) sales funnels b) content by itself. More: Click To Tweet

Remember: all relationships thrive with a healthy balance between giving and taking.

And – according to Sprout Social – some 70% of customers indicate that they feel closer to a brand after reading helpful, useful branded content.

When readers know you and like you, they’ll buy from you. Nurture that to create long-term relationships where you both thrive.

👋 Our challenge isn’t finding and selling to customers (they’re already looking for us constantly). It’s keeping them. This year's the time to start interacting with your audience. Start by replying to their comments! 💬 Click To Tweet

4. Brand Authenticity Approaches New Dimensions

Brand authenticity has been a really big deal for a while. It was a content marketing trend for 2019, and it remains a major trend in 2020 as well.

I’ve hinted a little so far at what brand authenticity for the new decade looks like, but let’s dive in much more deeply.

Authenticity, Storytelling, and Story Creation

In 2020, expect authenticity and interactivity to blend. Brands are increasingly opening the door for more engagement from their customers with their content to include them in the storytelling process.

We’re already seeing this in the case of live video content as I mentioned before. However, there are a few other examples of where it’s also happening:

  • Augmented reality. It hasn’t taken over the consumer world by storm, but it’s definitely here.
  • User-generated content. According to Convince and Convert, 85% of consumers think that brand-related content generated by other consumers is more influential than the content the brand itself puts out. Who are those users generating content related to your brand? They are your most avid fans.
  • Dynamic personalized content. What better way to include your reader in your story than to put them right in it with content tailored directly for them? We’ve mastered personalization. Now enter dynamic personalized content. It’s a form of hyper-personalization that ensures the content presented is both relevant to each specific reader, and fresh each time.
More brands are now opening their doors for more engagement. 🍹 You can see this through the popularity of live video content 🍿. It happens too through augmented reality and user-generated content from fans. 😍 Click To Tweet

What are the components of authenticity for 2020?

  • A real story: Create a genuine, relatable story.
  • The human element: Show off the human side. Give your readers a behind-the-scenes look.
  • Interactivity: Recast your brand as a conversation. Invite your readers to participate.

How can one be more authentic this 2020? Know these 3 components: 📖 share your real and relatable story, 🧍 show your human side, and ☕ interact with your readers! Click To Tweet

Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is a new marketing philosophy that spun out of the discussions around interactive content and the way social media has changed customer service. In conversational marketing, a brand crafts its experience through – you guessed it – conversations.

What do these conversations look like? That depends on your brand. Among the most common conversational marketing tools that leverage content include:

  • Email marketing: But not just any cold email spammed out to a list of thousands. Conversational email marketing actively seeks reader responses.
  • Chatbots: Only recently recognized as a potential marketing tool, the content in chatbots can prove just as valuable as the content on your pages or in your blog.
  • Messaging apps: It’s a non-obvious solution to keeping in touch with your users. Nonetheless, some 79% of customers indicate they’ll use them if it means faster access to the answers they seek.
Conversational marketing is IN. How do you start these conversations? Start with the most common tools like 📧 email marketing, 🤖 chatbots, and 💬 messaging apps. Click To Tweet

All of these tactics are already deployed by savvy content marketers. However, as these tactics have coalesced under a single term, it’s worth watching this year to see what ingenious ideas people implement around conversations and customer engagement.

5. We Cannot Ignore the New Ways to Search

Last but not least, we return to the state of search.

Not how machines are searching, but this time humans.

Over the past year, Google’s core updates have emphasized the increasingly diverse ways that users are now searching for content. In particular, voice search has made significant gains in popularity.

According to research by Adobe, some 48% of general web searches are done using voice assistants.

This is a direct result of the popularity of using mobile devices to find information. The study reveals that users overwhelmingly report voice search as easy to use and faster than fumbling with an onscreen keyboard.

Last year, voice search was an innovative curiosity. This year, it’s a new digital reality.

Content marketers can’t ignore it.

Are you ready?

Voice search has made significant gains in popularity. 🗣️ According to Adobe, 48% of general web searches are done using voice assistants. Don't ignore this and start optimizing content for voice search. 🗫 Click To Tweet

Seize the Year with Killer Content from Express Writers

Content marketing has become a sophisticated field… and that’s a good thing!

There are so many ways to plan, create, and distribute content to build an engaged readership. I’ve covered five of what I suspect will be the prevailing content marketing trends for 2020.

The future of content marketing is here. This year, the stars are aligning with one clear message: with everyone focused on putting out GOOD content, it’s time to set yourself apart with something EXCEPTIONAL.

Don’t leave that to chance. Secure top writing talent now and make 2020 a year to remember.

How are you setting yourself apart this year? Trust our team to craft content that caters to building and nurturing your audience.

content marketing examples

7 Content Marketing Examples from Brands Killing It Online to Motivate & Inspire You

Content marketing is continually reaching new heights. The content marketing examples out there right now prove it.

Storytelling, imagination, deep research, creativity, innovation…

All of these elements and more are evident in today’s best content marketing. 💡

To see what I mean, just look at these seven stunning examples of content marketing prowess. It’s impossible to NOT get inspired by these top content publishers raising the bar to atmospheric heights.

Ready to climb the mountain and check out the view from the top? 🏔

content marketing examples

7 Inspirational B2C & B2B Content Marketing Examples

Some of the best of the best in content marketing examples are right here. In fact, many of them were Content Marketing Awards finalists, and others won various industry accolades.

If you ever need to answer the question “what is content marketing?”, point to one of these outstanding specimens.

We've been always exposed to brilliant content marketing ideas that leave us feeling we've seen it all -- not really. Here are 7 stunning content marketing examples that should inspire you to level up your strategy skills! 🏋️ 🆙 Click To Tweet

1. San Diego Tourism Authority – Bliss Break

This content marketing example from 2018 shows what you can do with a tiny bit of video and a lot of ingenuity.

The San Diego Tourism Authority teamed up with MeringCarson to produce six 15-second clips of beautiful, classic, and surprising California scenery. Sometimes, a coffee cup or a wine glass is in the foreground of the shot, but each one is a peaceful, sweet reminder to appreciate what’s right in front of you.

Of course, the biggest draw is showcasing San Diego scenery like a beach at sunset, a cheerful theme park, calming ocean surf, or iconic palm trees swaying in the breeze next to an ice skating rink.

Some of the videos (like the one featured above, “Good Morning San Diego”) have up to 200,000 views. This campaign was a finalist in the Content Marketing Awards for the “B2C Branded Content Campaign of the Year.”

2. Cleveland Clinic – Health Essentials Blog

If you haven’t heard of Cleveland Clinic yet, well… why haven’t you?

This health center is killing it with content, mostly thanks to its content marketing team (with Amanda Todorovich, their Senior Director of Health Content, at the helm).

Currently, Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials blog draws in 6-7 million inbound visitors every month. That’s over 200,000 visitors per day!

They rank for millions of health-related long-tail keywords – over 3 million, to be precise.

How do they do it? Their content strategy is meticulous. They have it down to a science. 👩‍🔬

  • They publish 3-5 blogs daily with help from over 40 medical experts, who contribute interviews and review each piece.
  • The content marketing team meets up every single morning to “huddle” and ensure everyone’s on the same page.
  • The writers are on-point, too: The content is snappy and grabs your interest – even if you’re not researching a health problem.

To learn more about Cleveland Clinic’s strategy and content marketing team, check out our interview with Amanda Todorovich alongside three other industry experts.

3. Synchrony – State of Pay

Synchrony recently launched its content marketing platform, State of Pay, in 2018, but it’s already garnering notice in the best way.

Dedicated to exploring the ways people shop and pay for purchases, the content offers insights for businesses as well as news about the ecommerce world.

Trends, interviews, original research, and thought leadership are all evident here. In fact, the #1 resource cited on State of Pay articles is original studies conducted by Synchrony itself.

It’s not all blog articles, though. There are also videos, ebooks, and animated infographics posted on social media.

It’s all targeted, cohesive, and ultra-relevant for their audience. Marketers, in general, agree – Synchrony’s State of Pay was another 2019 Content Marketing Awards finalist for B2B Branded Content Campaign of the Year.

4. YouTube – #TheYouTubeAd of the Year

Next on our list of the best content marketing examples from 2018 and 2019: a bit of crowdsourcing from YouTube.

Every year, the media giant holds #TheYouTubeAd of the Year, a campaign that lets anyone vote for their favorite commercials from the past 12 months.

Generally, YouTube keeps tabs on ad performance through their YouTube ads Leaderboard, which tracks the most-watched ads viewed on the platform.

At the end of the year, YouTube chooses categories based on the trends from that year, then culls the list to dozens of finalists. Viewers vote on their favorites, and the winners are announced after 8 days of voting.

This is a great example of giving content on YouTube a second life while also promoting viewership. People are motivated to watch the nominees and vote on their favorites, and more views is equal to more money from advertisers.

Here’s the 2018 winner for the category “#TheYouTubeAd That Deserves Best Picture” (it has over 17 million views as of this writing):

5. Semcon – Add Perspectives

Semcon, an international technology company, is all about innovation. With their content initiative, Add Perspectives, the company set out to feature women’s voices and minds and how they approach product development.

The result was an all-women product development team assembled to come up with a new concept for smart, user-friendly tow bars for hooking up cars to trailers. Semcon documented the process.

In other words, this content marketing example is unique and ah-mazing.

When using the standard tow bar (which hasn’t been redesigned since the 1930s!), most women admitted to feeling insecure. They couldn’t hook up their cars and trailers themselves easily, which made them self-conscious.

Thus, in pictures, text, and video, Semcon told the story of how a team of women tackled this flaw in product design and development.

This impactful content piece is engaging as well as demonstrative of Semcon’s values as a company. In short, it’s a fantastic exercise in trust and authority-building through exceptional content.

6. Western Union – One Year in the Dark

Another good marketing example using video is Western Union’s “One Year in the Dark” – a short, 2-minute clip that captured what it was like living in Puerto Rico without power after Hurricane Maria.

To produce the video, Western Union teamed up with CNN and did field research to find the story they wanted to tell:

“We identified an individual in Jonathan Sepulveda and his family, who had to learn how to live without power, while relying on the help of neighbors like Alana Feldman to bring normalcy to life. With no electricity and banks closed, they had to rely on cash to go through their daily endeavors. With their story, which gets to the heart of our business, we wanted to show how connection and support helped a community deal with the lasting impacts of Hurricane Maria.”

Here’s the 60-second version of the video:

As you can see, it highlights human stories and how Western Union’s services played a vital role in helping the community survive after a disaster. (Note, however, that the emphasis is on the people, not the company.)

From this one video, Western Union received over 286,000 impressions through their social media channels and nearly 12 million from CNN’s. They also won the 2019 Gold Stevie Award for Marketing Campaign of the Year – Financial Products & Services.

7. Bank of America – Saving & Budgeting Blog

Last but not least, among the best B2C content marketing examples for 2019 is Bank of America’s Saving and Budgeting blog.

Helpful, guiding videos, infographics, and articles pinpoint topics the average consumer is worried about in their everyday lives:

  • How to budget
  • Easy ways to save money
  • Affording your next vacation
  • How to set up an emergency fund

All the content is engaging to read and demonstrably useful. Look at this infographic about budgeting for your next vacation. As you scroll down, little bits of the scenery animate next to relevant, actionable tips:

Every bit of content is super simple and clear. This is obviously a great content hub to rely on if you have financial questions for day-to-day living and planning.

Looking for content marketing inspiration? 🤔 @JuliaEMcCoy shares 7 brilliant, award-winning content marketing examples from brands like San Diego Tourism Authority and Western Union. 🏆 Click To Tweet

Follow from These Content Marketing Examples and Get Creative

If you’re like me, your brain gears immediately started turning after perusing these content marketing examples.

Creativity, strategy, planning, and imagination – serious inspiration, right here.

One more thing: As you looked through each of them, you may have seen a theme emerging:

Telling human stories is a clear-cut way to engage an audience.

And, as I predicted, storytelling is going to keep making waves in the content marketing world. (The possibilities are beyond exciting!)

Want even more inspiration? We served up a ton of it in our original research report of the Top 100 Content Marketers. This list is full of amazing content marketers who are innovating, creating, and leading the scene in fun, fresh ways.

Content Marketing KPIs

Content Marketing KPIs: Which Ones Do I Track to Identify Real Success? (& How to Track Them)

How do you track your content marketing successes (or failures, to learn from and improve next time)?

It all boils down to tracking the right content marketing KPIs.

Note that we didn’t say all the content marketing KPIs – just the right ones.

You aren’t alone if you’re wondering why some content marketers succeed and others fail.

What makes the difference between the two? 🤔

Is it the volume of website traffic? The number of likes, comments, and shares? Revenue from unequivocal quality content?

All those are examples of content marketing KPIs (key performance indicators). Some matter more than others. If you want success, you need to know which content marketing KPIs to track.

Here are the top twelve that should be at the top of your list. Let’s dive in!

Content Marketing KPIs: Which Ones to Track & How to Track Them Correctly

Why Track Content Marketing KPIs?

The Top 12 Content Marketing KPIs to Track

Content Marketing KPIs for User Behavior

1. Bounce Rate

2. Scroll Depth

3. Time on Page

Content Marketing KPIs for User Engagement

4. Shares

5. Comments

6. Conversations

Content Marketing KPIs for SEO

7. Backlinks

8. Organic Traffic from Search Engines

9. Keyword Rankings

Content Marketing KPIs for Company Revenue

10. Leads

11. Conversion Rates

12. ROI

How Do You Track Content Marketing KPIs? Use These 6 Handy Tools

Content Marketing KPIs Measure Your Success

How do you define real success in the world of content marketing? 🗝️ @JuliaEMcCoy lists down the top 12 content marketing KPIs that you should keep track of to identify if your efforts are producing great results. ☝️ Click To Tweet

Why Track Content Marketing KPIs?

In sports, it’s easy to track success. For example, think of soccer. In soccer, your aim is to get the ball through the goal. One goal equals one point. The team with the most goals wins the match.

But content marketing isn’t that simple. It’s like playing soccer with a hundred goals instead of two. What’s more, when you shoot the ball into the goal, you aren’t sure what score you’ll get. Some goals give you a hundred points while others give you two points.

The key with this type of soccer is first to find out which goals give you the highest points. Then you start putting energy into shooting the ball into them.

This is what tracking content marketing KPIs is all about.

You need to find out which content marketing KPIs are important and give you the highest improvements (scores). Then, you set out to outperform yourself on them.

When you track the right content marketing KPIs, you’ll start winning in content marketing.

Why bother tracking content marketing KPIs? 🕵️ Getting to know which KPIs perform well gives you an idea of how you can further boost them. It's also good to know which ones badly need a strategy makeover. 🔨 Click To Tweet

The Top 12 Content Marketing KPIs to Track

These 12 content marketing KPIs are your safety net and formula for success. Let’s dive in!

Content Marketing KPIs for User Behavior

First of all, let’s look closely at content marketing KPIs that show you how users interact with your content.

1. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the number of visitors who view only one page of your site. It’s one of the top content marketing KPIs because it tells you what visitors feel about your content.

Here are 5 reasons visitors click on your site, scan it, and immediately click the back button.

  • Your content is boring.
  • Your paragraphs are too long.
  • Visitors can’t find what they’re looking for.
  • Your site isn’t user-friendly.
  • Your writing style doesn’t fit user needs.

For example, if you’re a user and you find this as the opening paragraph of a blog?

Source: Grammarly

You’ll most likely run for the hills with your go-to back button.

The more visitors click the back button without visiting any other pages on your site, the higher your bounce rate will be.

So what’s a good bounce rate? According to The Daily Egg, it depends on what industry you’re in. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep your bounce rate below 70%.

2. Scroll Depth

Scroll depth is one of the content marketing KPIs that’s closely related to bounce rate. Scroll depth indicates how far down the page your reader goes before leaving.

What causes a reader to leave your page halfway through reading it? Mostly, it’s when you don’t follow through with the promises you made in your headline.

For example, maybe your headline looks like this.

Source: Have The Relationship You Want from Rori Raye

This headline makes one promise: After you read the article, you’ll know the secret to winning the man of your dreams. Forever.

Now, what if you’ve reached the halfway mark and you’re nowhere near discovering this secret? You guessed it. You’re going to click back.

The point where you stopped reading is your scroll depth.

Keeping track of your readers’ scroll depth will help you figure out exactly where your content stops working. This is one of the content marketing KPIs you can rely on because it helps you measure the success of your content.

3. Time on Page

As the name suggests, time on page refers to how long users spend on your page. Using this valuable content marketing KPI, you can tell what your readers feel about your words.

According to Capitalize My Title, it takes an average of 1 minute to read 300 words.

Now, if your blog has 1,500 words and your reader spent only 2 minutes on it? That’s right. He didn’t read everything.

What you need to track is reader time on page corresponding to how many words your post has. If readers are clicking back after less than a minute but scrolling to the end of the page? They’re scanning your headings but not devouring your content.

As a valuable KPI for content marketing, time on page shows you if readers are loving your content or not.

Content marketing KPIs for user behavior include 🔙 bounce rate, 🖱️ scroll depth, and ⌛ time on page. Know what each KPIs are in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy 📝 Click To Tweet

Content Marketing KPIs for User Engagement

When anything is inspiring, controversial, or new, it will be talked about. This is why user engagement is one of the huge content marketing KPIs to keep track of.

4. Shares

You need to keep track of how often your content gets shared on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Shared content is one of the biggest content marketing KPIs in 2019 because of how big social media is.

To give you an idea, take a look at how popular social media is today.

You need to track this content marketing KPI religiously because, in social media, it’s plain difficult to stand out.

For example, take Facebook. Facebook users are bombarded daily with distractions. There’s instant messaging. Inspiring quotes from friends. Posts from an ex. Photos of a rival’s latest vacation. If your content can compete with all of these and get shares? That’s right. Your content is beyond juicy and delicious.

Here’s an example from Bright Side called 10 Things We Don’t Appreciate Until Life Slaps Us on the Face.

It’s easy to see why this post got 1,700 shares on Facebook. It’s innately human, relatable, and despite being sad, strangely hopeful.

Want to learn the 11 top skills for becoming a top-notch content marketer? Download our Profitable Content Marketer Cheat Sheet here!

5. Comments

Comments on your posts are huge content marketing KPIs because they show that users consider you worth their time.

Let’s take a look at this example from English Literature’s Facebook page.

Source: Facebook

As you can see, the post has only 381 comments compared with 27,000 reacts and 9,900 shares. Why is that?

It’s simple. Composing, editing, and posting a comment takes more time and energy than liking and sharing combined.

So if people are commenting on your posts, sharing their insights, and asking advice? You’ve nailed it with this huge content marketing KPI.

6. Conversations

In content marketing, conversations refer to how you talk to your prospective clients. This includes live calls, chat, discount coupons, and more.

Conversations are important content marketing KPIs because the buying process has drastically changed over time. Buyers are now more informed, skeptical, and careful. They can no longer be bullied into the traditional 4-stage sales funnel that worked wonders in the 20s.

Instead, they go through the marketing lifecycle. Part of this lifecycle is finding value in products and services, asking questions, and getting the right information. When you have experts standing by to talk to prospective clients, you can get a 60%-80% conversion rate!

If you carefully take care of your conversations as vital content marketing KPIs, you’ll win over brands still relying on the outdated sales funnel strategy.

Content marketing KPIs for user engagement include 📨 shares, 🗭 comments, and 🗣️ conversations. Know what each KPIs are in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy 📝 Click To Tweet

Content Marketing KPIs for SEO

7. Backlinks

Backlinks are essential content marketing KPIs.

To understand this, let’s look at what backlinks do. Check out this image from Moz.

As you can see, website A has a link to website B. There are a number of reasons why one website links to another.

  • It makes a site more valuable as a resource.
  • It encourages engagement with other sites.
  • It sends out trackable traffic.

So if other sites are linking to you, what does it mean? Simply, it means they trust you. You have vouch-worthy, high-quality content and a good standing online.

Backlinks are essential content marketing KPIs, but make sure yours are high-quality and not black hat SEO links.

8. Organic Traffic from Search Engines

Another great content marketing KPIs to watch is organic traffic. When you get a ton of traffic from search engines, you’re doing something right with your content.

Take a look at this pie chart from Conductor Spotlight.

Since 64% of traffic comes from organic search, it’s a good idea to keep your Google ranking high.

However, even if your content is good, it won’t obtain a high ranking on search engines if it isn’t optimized correctly. To pull traffic into your site from search engines, you need quality content plus cutting-edge search engine optimization (SEO) practices.

Want to learn how to rank highly on Google through stellar SEO writing? Download our SEO content writer cheat sheet here!

9. Keyword Rankings

Keyword rankings are content marketing KPIs closely related to organic traffic. What to look for is how many keywords your content is ranking for on Google. To do this, you can use great software like Google Analytics.

Content marketing KPIs for SEO include 🖇️ backlinks, ⛖ organic traffic, and 🏎️ keyword rankings. Know what each KPIs are in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy 📝 Click To Tweet

Content Marketing KPIs for Company Revenue

10. Leads

Leads are potential clients who come to you via a lead magnet. In short, users exchange their personal information and e-mail addresses for a freebie you offer.

Here’s a popular lead magnet from International Living.

Want to know the world’s top 10 havens for retirement? All you need to give is your e-mail address. Sounds like a good exchange! This magnet provides International Living with leads and a growing e-mail list.

The more leads you have, the bigger your chance of growing your brand. This is why you should track your leads as essential content marketing KPIs.

11. Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is one of the best KPIs for content marketing because it shows how compelling your content is. Conversion happens when you tell users what to do and how they do it.

Take a look at Great Escape Publishing’s homepage.

Source: Great Escape Publishing

Who doesn’t want to travel the world while creating a full-time income? Users are curious and click find out more. A percentage of them will buy a photography or travel program. This percentage is the conversion rate to watch out for when tracking content marketing KPIs.

12. ROI (Return on Investment) 

ROI refers to the revenue you get minus your total investment. For content marketing, it’s how much you earn minus writer pay, the cost of hosting your website, and other expenses you incur in business.

Source: Business 2 Community

When tracking ROI, take into account the required expenses to get quality content. Then, note how such content is performing. Does it bring in higher revenue than expense?

For example, take a look at this chart.

Stellar content works like this. It builds momentum. As can be seen in the chart, the cost per lead dropped 80% in five months because of the high revenue the content brought in.

Content marketing KPIs for company revenue include 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 leads, 🛒 conversion rate, and 💰 return on investment. Know what each KPIs are in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy 📝 Click To Tweet

How Do You Track Content Marketing KPIs? Use These 6 Handy Tools

After learning about the essential content marketing KPIs that you need to keep track of, the question now is: how do you exactly find these?

It’s easy. You can rely on the tools already provided for free by Google and the social media platforms you’re using. You can also go for paid tools if you need some extra help to easily track and understand these data.

Here are six practical tools you can use:

1. Google Analytics

Checking Google Analytics is the fastest way to get an overview of your site’s performance – the blog posts that are getting the most traffic, page views, bounce rates, traffic sources, and more.

2. Facebook Page Insights

If you’re curious about the shares, likes, clicks, reactions, and comments your posts receive on Facebook, you can simply use its free Facebook analytics tool.

Besides measuring your Facebook page’s performance, you can use this tool to know more about your audience’s demographic data, which is important if you’re trying to build a new buyer persona for your content strategy.

3. Twitter Analytics

For those who are actively sharing content through Twitter, checking the social media channel’s analytics page is a must. Access Twitter’s activity dashboard, and you can find the detailed number of retweets, follows, replies, and link clicks on your Twitter page.

You can also easily check your page’s performance through mobile.

4. SEMrush

You may have already read about SEMrush several times in our blog as a highly recommended SEO tool for keyword research.

However, its usefulness doesn’t stop there. With SEMrush, you get to see updated metrics such as your site’s visits, unique visitors, bounce rate, visit duration (time on page), backlinks, traffic sources, traffic cost, top pages, keyword rankings, and more. Get to see most of the important content marketing KPIs in an instant – all in one place.

5. BuzzSumo

BtuzzSumo can monitor engagement across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit. With BuzzSumo’s Content Analyzer, you can get a list of your best-performing content in a certain period of time just by typing in your domain in the search box. It also lets you know the number of engagements for every major social media platform.

Moreover, BuzzSumo’s Monitoring feature is something you shouldn’t ignore. It can search for your brand’s linked and unlinked mentions, which shows you the brands and influencers that you should build relationships with.

6. The Content Marketing Trifecta Equation

If you are dealing with clients, executives, stakeholders, and business partners, you’ll know that sometimes it’s best to go straight to the point and provide them what matters most in the content marketing KPIs of company revenue: ROI. In this case, you’ll need to look for the average rates of earned traffic, leads, and sales. These three will serve as the benchmark numbers needed to compute the ROI associated with conversions from content marketing.

The Content Marketing Trifecta Equation helps you estimate how many leads and sales you can expect to see per month using content marketing. We actually used this equation in our own blogging ROI case study.

  • Monthly Visitors x 16% Organic Traffic to Lead Conversion Rate = X Leads/Month
  • X Leads/Month x 14% Lead to Sale Conversion Rate = X Sales/Month

Take note that the “16% Organic Traffic to Lead Conversion Rate” is the current average rate for converting organic traffic to leads across industries, based on a MarketingSherpa’s 2013 SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey. Moreover, studies show that leads generated from SEO have an average close rate of 14%, thus “14% Lead to Sale Conversion Rate” is used in the equation.

Learn more about how you can compute and explain the ROI of content marketing in this infographic.

How do you track content marketing KPIs? 🕵️‍♀️ Some of the most practical paid tools you can use include SEMrush and BuzzSumo. But there's also free to use tools like Google Analytics and your favorite social platform's analytics page! 🧮 Click To Tweet

Content Marketing KPIs Measure Your Success

Keeping track of these 12 KPIs will show you if you’re succeeding or failing in content marketing. Not getting good results from one or more indicates serious trouble for your brand.

On the other hand, if all 12 are performing well, you can sit back, relax, and celebrate a little. But don’t forget to get back to work tracking them once the party’s over.

You need content that converts to take your KPIs to the next level. Visit our content shop to get it.

top shared content of 2019

The Top-Shared Content of 2019: 22 Pieces That Rose to the Top

To start off 2020 with a bang, we’re taking a deep, researched look at what went right in content in the past year.

We’re looking at…

Content pieces with huge engagement. 🦄

Beautiful, successful blogs. ✨

And we’re sharing a massive shoutout to the marketers, writers, and teams behind the effort and sweat put into these pieces.️ ♥

(Because content will never be taken over by the robots. It will always, first and foremost, be humanly driven. Humans are the real content MVPs.)

To compile our list, we used BuzzSumo’s powerful content analyzer and compiled the top-shared content in our topic category “content marketing.”

And after coming up with a list, we manually weeded out the spam.

The result? 22 pieces made of pure gold. We can’t wait to share them with you!

Ready to be inspired?

Inspiration, Lessons, and Insights from the 22 Most-Shared Content Pieces of 2019

most shared content

The 22 Most Shared Content Pieces of 2019

1. 2019 Creative Trends Infographic – Shutterstock

2. 15 Content Marketing Tools for Success You Need in 2019

3. Interview with Neil Patel on Content Marketing with Awesome Rapid Fire

4. 18 Types of Content Marketing You Can Use to Grow Your Business

5. How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2019

6. The Death of Google Search Traffic and What It Means for Marketers

7. We Analyzed 912 Million Blog Posts. Here’s What We Learned About Content Marketing

8. The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Facebook Engagement

9. The Ultimate SEO Tool: Ubersuggest 3.0

10. 7 Steps to Create a Successful, Profitable Blog

11. 17 Charts That Show Where Content Marketing Is Heading

12. Why Local Businesses Will Need Websites More Than Ever in 2019

13. The Best Time to Post on Instagram (and the Worst)

14. 3 Ways Content Marketing Boosts Your SEO Rankings

15. Ubersuggest 4.0: The Ultimate Content Marketing Tool

16. Optimizing for Searcher Intent Explained in 7 Visuals

17. 3 Types of Social Video That Work for Any Business

18. Copywriting: The Definitive Guide (2019)

19. 26 Mobile and Desktop Tools for Marketers

20. 5 Freaking Genius Content Ideas You Can Steal from BuzzFeed

21. The Future of Content Marketing and How to Adapt

22. 5 Trends to Know in SEO & Content Marketing

Now as the year comes to a close, it's time to look back on the top-shared content of 2019 that gained the most engagements under 'content marketing' 🏅(⚡ Spoiler: @JuliaEMcCoy's SEJ post is in the 22nd spot!) See if your fave is here! 🤩 Click To Tweet

The 22 Top-Shared Content Pieces of 2019

1.  Shutterstock: “2019 Creative Trends Infographic

Number of engagements: 17,300

Shutterstock’s post pulses with color, music, and art. It features wild photos of duotone gradients, cutouts of stars and fish, and striking images of leopard prints, snakeskin patterns, and gold chains.

But reading the article is more than falling into a well of technicolor. Here are the key takeaways readers get from it:

  • The major trends based on increased user search are 80’s opulence, raw zine culture, and early-tech neon styles.
  • Rising trends include environmentally friendly products, childlike pastel Kawaii colors, rococo romance, prisms, and hypnotic patterns.
  • For the first time ever, a typography style takes a seat at the creative trends table. Think 3D text made sweet with sugar dusting, chocolate coating, and sprinkles!

Overall, this piece is a colorful adventure to read. Plus, it gives useful insights on styling trends in 2019.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring Shutterstock's '2019 Creative Trends Infographic' Click To Tweet

2. Dillenium: 15 Content Marketing Tools for Success You Need in 2019 by Hina Naz

Number of engagements: 8,000

You won’t be successful in content marketing without an array of fine tools. In this blog, Hina Naz lists everything you need to add to your toolkit in 2019.

What I love about this blog is it isn’t limited to tools for keyword research. Hina lists a tool for perfecting grammar (Grammarly) a headline analyzer (Sharethrough Analyzer), an organizer (Evernote), and more!

No wonder this post made it to number two of the top-shared content of 2019!

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @NazHina's '15 Content Marketing Tools for Success You Need in 2019' Click To Tweet

3. Sorav Jain: “Interview with Neil Patel on Content Marketing with Awesome Rapid Fire

Number of engagements: 6,800

Ever wonder what Neil Patel does to stay fit?

Or how he built his gigantic digital marketing empire?

In this Youtube interview, Sorav Jain successfully mashes entertainment with serious questions about what it is to be an entrepreneur. It’s a mixture of laughter and heart-to-heart that’ll get you thoughtfully nodding your head.

Neil answers questions about:

  • His top three favorite marketing tools
  • The secret to how he built his empire
  • The biggest lie he ever told a client
  • His diet and exercise regime
  • His digital marketing predictions for 2019 and 2020

My favorite part? When Neil tries and fails to say “I love digital marketing and I cannot live without it,” in Gujarati.

The most inspiring thing he said?  “Entrepreneurship is like a rollercoaster… there’s good moments, bad moments, scary moments, happy moments. You’ve just got to accept it all.”

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @SoravJain's 'Interview with Neil Patel on Content Marketing with Awesome Rapid Fire' Click To Tweet

4. Marketing Solved: “18 Types of Content Marketing You Can Use to Grow Your Business” by Kat Sullivan

Number of engagements: 6,100

Most posts will give you a list of the top five or ten types of content that’ll grow your business. Kat goes further and gives you 18.

Each section of Kat’s blog is carefully detailed. She doesn’t only tell you which types of content to post but also why it’ll work for you.

According to her, the big three of content marketing are blogging, social media, and email marketing. In fact, she used this secret trifecta to grow her business to six figures in under two years!

Start with Kat’s trifecta, and once you grow to cover all 18, your empire will be rock solid.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @MrktgSolved's @MrsKatSulli's '18 Types of Content Marketing You Can Use to Grow Your Business' Click To Tweet

5. Neil Patel: “How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2019” by Neil Patel

Number of engagements: 6,000

This post starts off making readers uncomfortable. In the beginning, Neil throws hints about the huge, unwanted changes coming to digital marketing in the (near) future.

The deeper you go into the blog, the more uneasy you feel. The changes Neil mentions will definitely rock your content marketing boat. Here are some of them:

  • In a few years, voice search will make all our current SEO strategies useless.
  • Algorithms will only grow more complex with time.
  • Blogging will become weaker as the web gets more saturated.

The good news? Neil ends the blog with powerful insights on how to confidently prepare for and meet these changes.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @neilpatel's 'How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2019' Click To Tweet

6. Social Media Examiner “The Death of Google Search Traffic and What It Means for Marketers” by Mike Stelzner

Number of engagements: 5,700

Ever seen a movie about the controversial issue of AI technology replacing humans? This post is like that.

But this time, it’s about the death of organic search as friendly AI systems like Alexa and Google make it their mission to answer users’ questions as quickly as possible.

That’s right. No more links, no more web pages, no more web as we know it today. Pretty scary stuff!

So what’s Michael Stelzner’s take on this? How is Social Media Examiner preparing to take these changes head-on?

Here are three things they’re doing to prepare for SEO Armageddon:

  • Working on their conversion rate optimization (CRO)
  • Upping their video and audio game
  • Writing expert opinion pieces

As a content marketer, you should be doing them too!

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @SMExaminer's @Mike_Stelzner's 'The Death of Google Search Traffic and What It Means for Marketers' Click To Tweet

7. Backlinko: “We Analyzed 912 Million Blog Posts. Here’s What We Learned About Content Marketing” by Brian Dean

Number of engagements: 5,700

The headline of this post is a huge attention-grabber. 912 million blog posts is a lot of content to go through!

But it’s not only the headline that’s great about this blog. It’s also the 11 key takeaways that should be part of every content marketer’s bible. Some of them include:

  • Long-form content gets around 77% more links than short content.
  • Long content outperforms short content in user engagement.
  • Headlines ending in question marks get around 23% more social shares.

The 11 findings in this blog can be mixed together as a recipe for producing successful content every time.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @Backlinko's 'We Analyzed 912 Million Blog Posts. Here’s What We Learned About Content Marketing' Click To Tweet

8. BuzzSumo: “The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Facebook Engagement” by Susan Moeller

Number of engagements: 5,700

According to this amazing guide by Susan Moeller, marketing on Facebook is entirely different from marketing on the web.

Facebook is about users engaging with family, friends, and pages they’re interested in.

So how can you compete for user attention in today’s biggest social network?

Here are four (of the many) facts Susan points out:

  • 80% of marketing posts should be videos.
  • The best time to post on Facebook is Sunday.
  • Unlike on the web, shorter posts get more attention on Facebook. In fact, posts with less than 50 characters are the most successful!
  • The sweet spot for video length is between 3:00 to 3:20.
See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @BuzzSumo's 'The 2019 Ultimate Guide to Facebook Engagement' by @SusanCMoeller Click To Tweet

9. Neil Patel: “The Ultimate SEO Tool: Ubersuggest 3.0” by Neil Patel

Number of engagements: 4,900

This post by Neil Patel is all business. In it, he introduces his newly-updated SEO tool: Ubersuggest 3.0.

Here are four things the tool can do for you:

  • Find out how many keywords your site ranks for
  • Learn how much organic traffic would cost you if you were paying for it
  • Find out the most popular pages for a single domain
  • Search your competition and see how their pages are doing (so you can create better, more in-depth content to outrank them)

Of course, Neil stays true to his style and offers complete guidance on how to use his sparkling, newly updated tool.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @neilpatel's 'The Ultimate SEO Tool: Ubersuggest 3.0' Click To Tweet

10. BuzzSumo: “7 Steps to Create a Successful, Profitable Blog” by Mike Allton

Number of engagements: 4,700

This post is every beginner blogger’s ultimate guide to getting a successful blog started. It teaches how to find your unique blogging voice, how long your posts should be, how often to post, and more.

The blog’s structure is simple to digest and follow. It outlines the seven crucial steps you need to get your blog up and running.

Here are some cool tips from the post itself:

  • In the beginning, it’s not about how many blogs to post per week. It’s about how soon you want to generate sizeable traffic. For instance, you need around 50 posts to start getting traffic. If you’re okay with getting that in a year, you can post one blog a week. However, if you want to get it in 90 days, you need to boost your blogging strategy.
  • There are 16x more blog posts under 1,000 words than over it. However, blog posts over 1,000 words get more engagement because of their depth and expertise.
  • To find your unique blogging voice, take a moment to listen to the way you speak. Then, find out how your target market speaks. When writing your posts, blend these two voices together to discover your unique tone.
See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @BuzzSumo's '7 Steps to Create a Successful, Profitable Blog' by @mike_allton Click To Tweet

11. Neil Patel: “17 Charts That Show Where Content Marketing is Heading” by Neil Patel

Number of engagements: 4,700

Today, there are over a billion blogs vying for reader attention. How can your blog stand out, gain traffic, and give you the conversions you’re looking for?

With 17 useful charts, Neil Patel answers these questions. Here are the top things you learn from his findings.

  • Organic traffic through social media is going down.
  • You need at least two full-time employees dedicated to blogging.
  • 60% of your site’s traffic comes from your blog.
  • In 2019, potential buyers will visit your blog 3.5 times over a 2-week period before they’re converted.

Other findings answer questions like how to convert blog readers into customers, how to boost your traffic up to 28%, and how long your average blog post should be.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @neilpatel's '17 Charts That Show Where Content Marketing is Heading' Click To Tweet

12. Moz: “Why Local Businesses Will Need Websites More Than Ever in 2019” by Miriam Ellis

Number of engagements: 4,700

In a world of zero-click SERPs and local ads, we no longer need websites. Right?

Wrong. In fact, we need them more than ever.

In this post, Miriam Ellis goes into careful detail about why we need strong websites in 2019. For instance, she points out that even though Google prioritizes local ads, 75% still goes to companies with strong organic search.

You can just feel the urgency of this post , especially in the last part where Miriam tells us to act fast while 43.9% of searches still go to organic SERPs.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @Moz's 'Why Local Businesses Will Need Websites More Than Ever in 2019' by @Miriam_Ellis_ Click To Tweet

13. Hootsuite: “The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2019 (and the Worst)” by Shannon Tien

Number of engagements: 4,600

As you can guess from the title, this blog is a guide to the best time to post on Instagram for maximum engagement.

But it isn’t any generic guide with arbitrary guesswork on the best time to post.

It’s a study Shannon did by examining 258, 956 posts from 20 of the most popular Instagram accounts.

What did she find?

Here are some examples of when to post depending on your industry:

  • Food and beverage: Friday at 12PM (lunch time!)
  • Entertainment: 12PM to 3PM
  • Professional services: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9AM or 10AM

As a bonus at the end of each section, Shannon mentions the times you should never post on Instagram (the no-no times to post are different for each industry as well!).

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @hootsuite's 'The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2019 (and the Worst)' by @tien_spirit Click To Tweet

14. SEO Alien: “3 Ways Content Marketing Boosts Your SEO Rankings” by Lorenzo Gutierrez

Number of engagements: 4,200

The good news is if you rank highly on Google, you get tons of traffic to your site.

The bad news is Google keeps changing the rules for ranking.

But one thing doesn’t change: provide readers with value, and your site will be noticed.

Why? Simply because that’s Google’s number one goal.

In this swift, succinct blog, Lorenzo Gutierrez gives you three reasons why quality content marketing will keep your rank high on Google — no matter how algorithms change.

Hint: Number one is about gluing your readers to your blog so your bounce rate goes down.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @seoalien's '3 Ways Content Marketing Boosts Your SEO Rankings' by @LGutierrezSEO Click To Tweet

15. Neil Patel: “Ubersuggest 4.0: The Ultimate Content Marketing Tool” by Neil Patel

Number of engagements: 3,900

What could be better than Neil Patel’s amazing tool Ubersuggest 3.0?

Answer: Ubersuggest 4.0.

Ubersuggest 4.0 isn’t only about finding the best keywords to use in your blog. It’s about learning how to rank for these keywords.

Here are three (of many) cool things this tool can do for you:

  • Show you what topics are gaining success online
  • Help you select the right keywords for your blog
  • Reveal who’s linking to other successful blogs with similar keywords

Along with providing screenshots of his tool, Neil gives step-by-step guidance on how to use it to successfully rank for popular keywords.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @neilpatel's 'Ubersuggest 4.0: The Ultimate Content Marketing Tool' Click To Tweet

16. Moz: “Optimizing for Searcher Intent Explained in 7 Visuals” by Rand Fishkin

Number of engagements: 3,700

What’s Google’s main goal?

To find articles with the most keywords? The most links? Solid domain authority? Anchor text? Freshness?

The answer is no to all.

Google’s goal is to keep searchers on Google (instead of finding other search engines).

How does it do this? By providing users with value, of course.

And if you reward Google by providing value, Google will reward you by ranking your site highly on the search results.

I love everything Rand Fishkin provides in this blog: the humor, the surprising insights, the colorful visuals, and, of course, the “aha!” moments when he nailed crystal-clear explanations.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @Moz's 'Optimizing for Searcher Intent Explained in 7 Visuals' by @randfish Click To Tweet

17. Social Media Examiner: “3 Types of Social Video That Work for Any Business” by Melissa Burns

Number of engagements: 3,500

Video marketing is huge today. In fact, 87% of marketers see video as a crucial component in their campaigns.

But what kinds of videos work best?

According to Melissa, there are three:

  • How-to videos
  • Product videos outlining the benefits of a product
  • Customer review videos

After discussing how these videos work, Melissa then goes on to provide useful tips like:

  • The best platforms for video marketing
  • When to integrate a CTA into a video
  • How to make videos attractive and engagement-ready

Her post is a must-read for every marketer who doesn’t want to waste time producing videos that don’t convert.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @SMExaminer's '3 Types of Social Video That Work for Any Business' by @MelissaaBurns Click To Tweet

18. Backlinko: “Copywriting: The Definitive Guide” by Brian Dean

Number of engagements: 3,300

Brian Dean’s blog is a mini e-book in length. But that’s what makes it amazing.

It’s the ultimate, definitive guide to copywriting that gains more traffic, sales, and leads.

Plus, it’s entertaining to read, easy to digest, and packed with helpful images, charts, and examples.

Here’s what the table of contents looks like:

Chapter 1: Customer-Focused Copy

Chapter 2: Pro Copywriting Secrets

Chapter 3: How to Write Amazing Headlines

Chapter 4: Master the Lead

Chapter 5: How to Write Compelling Copy

Chapter 6: Proven Copywriting Formulas

Chapter 7: Advanced Copywriting Strategies

Don’t have time to read it all in one sitting? Have Brian Dean email it to you in handy PDF form so you can download it and take it in at your own pace.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @Backlinko's 'Copywriting: The Definitive Guide' Click To Tweet

19. Social Media Examiner: “26 Mobile and Desktop Tools for Marketers” by Erik Fisher

Number of engagements: 3,300

To stand out on social media, what you need is quality images, video, and audio. And today, creating these is less about being an expert photographer and more about having the right tools.

So, which are the best mobile and desktop tools marketers can use for crisp audio, stunning visuals, and crystal-clear videos?

In his post, Erik Fisher lists 26 you’ll love.

These include:

  • Video Resizer for IGTV and Frame (never have to worry about resizing videos for Instagram again)
  • Emoji Builder (create customized emojis to match your campaign!)
  • Lumen5 (convert your web page into a video in only 30 minutes!)
  • and 23 more

These tools are great if you’re a writer, video marketer, or anything in between!

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @SMExaminer's '26 Mobile and Desktop Tools for Marketers' by @ErikJFisher Click To Tweet

20. Search Engine Journal: “5 Freaking Genius Content Ideas You Can Steal from BuzzFeed” by Jessica Foster

Number of engagements: 3,300

BuzzFeed is criticized by many as lazy journalism. Its content is said to be shallow, short-lived, and packed with clickbait.

But no one can deny its success.

According to Jessica Foster, you can steal genius ideas from BuzzFeed that’ll make users gobble up your content.

Here are five ideas she lists:

  1. Deeply understand your target audience (for instance, BuzzFeed caters to the nostalgic feelings of millennials).
  2. Use smart quizzes and tools (The quiz doesn’t have to be a lot of nonsense like “What type of cheese are you?” Instead, it can be smart like: “Take this quiz to find the right home décor for you.”)
  3. Go viral by speaking to your audience’s core. Find out their fears, desires, and hopes. Then address them in your writing.
  4. Create roundup posts, asking multiple experts for pieces of advice.
  5. Post timely content (content that’s related to the top trending events of today).

With every section, Jessica offers advice on exactly how to apply each one of her tips. No wonder her post created its own buzz as one of the top-shared content of 2019!

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @sejournal's '5 Freaking Genius Content Ideas You Can Steal from BuzzFeed' by @seocopychick Click To Tweet

21. Digital Marketer: “The Future of Content Marketing and How to Adapt: Trends, Tactics, and Tools” by Ann Smarty

Number of engagements: 3,300

90% of B2B and B2C marketers use content marketing.

In this saturated atmosphere, how can you stand out?

In her fast-moving, value-dense post, Ann Smarty lists three helpful ways you can do it.

  1. Content collaboration. Your whole team should be working on content creation, not just your writers.
  2. Question optimization. Because Google loves to answer questions, it’s a powerful strategy to humanize your writing by asking them.
  3. Personalize. Use first names in email and personalize CTAs and banners.

With screenshots, bulleted points, and clear advice, Ann’s blog is a complete guide to lesser-known content marketing tips and tricks.

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @DigitalMktr's 'The Future of Content Marketing and How to Adapt: Trends, Tactics, and Tools' by @annsmarty Click To Tweet

22. Search Engine Journal: “5 Trends to Know in SEO & Content Marketing” by Julia McCoy

Number of engagements: 3,300

In this post, I share with you some secrets I learned on the best SEO and content marketing practices.

  • I explain why superficial blogs won’t work, and how to supercharge your own blog by creating depth (Hint: I give tips on how long your blog posts should be, plus tricks on how to pack them with value).
  • I show you where to invest in content creation, and why it’s a good idea.
  • I list the benefits of personalizing your content.

I also show you how to expand beyond blogging (think podcasts, webinars, Youtube videos, and more!).

See the top 22 content pieces of 2019 in @JuliaEMcCoy's original study 🔥 featuring @sejournal's '5 Trends to Know in SEO & Content Marketing' by @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Insights from BuzzSumo’s Top-Engaged-With Content for “Content Marketing” in 2019

Reading the top-shared content of 2019 is amazing (as reading anything beautifully written is). Also, it’s a learning experience that teaches you the top tricks, tips, and secrets of content marketing in today’s age.

But it’s more than that.

It’s also a guide on how to create stellar content that goes viral.

So since I don’t want you to go back and comb through these articles again, I’ve pulled useful insights from the top-shared content of 2019 (again using BuzzSumo as my go-to data tool).

Here are four things I found out.

1. The Best Month for Posting Viral Content

We all know what January is like every year. Gyms are full of new registrants. People start buying organic bamboo toothbrushes. The world is new and ready for a fresh start.

It’s no different in the world of content marketing. In January, marketers are prepared to root out old practices, review what went right and wrong in the past year, and research statistic-based data that’ll give them a boost in the months ahead.

So, the best time to post viral-worthy content? January.

2. The Best Content Is Long Content

Content length is as important as the content subject.

While short blogs can entertain and amuse, they only scratch the surface of a topic. Long blogs, on the other hand, have more space to go in-depth with guidelines, statistics, images, and unique information.

So how long should your blogs be?

According to the chart above, a blog between 2,000 and 3,000 words will get you the highest engagement.

Want to get industry expert blogs that’ll boost your engagement? Visit our content shop to learn more.

3. The Best Day to Publish Content

What’s the best day to publish a blog post? Many people suggest weekends, as it’s when users are most active online.

However, according to this chart, the posts which got the highest engagements in 2019 were posted on Tuesday!

Also surprising: The next best time to publish is Monday. Maybe it’s because people are eager to start a new week with fresh minds and new ideas? 🤔

4. The Top Domains of 2019

One thing to note here: a number of these blogs made it to the top-shared content of 2019.

What does that say to you? The best way to achieve a blog that goes viral is to become an established expert in your field.

Know the best time, length, and day to post content based on 2019's top-shared content. 🥇 Also, get to know the top domains of this year that can inspire your next strategy. 🤩 Click To Tweet

Our Top-Shared Content for 2019: Trends on Express Writers

With 6,500 Write Blog readers and over 90,000 visitors a month, we’re definitely nowhere near the numbers of some of these hottest top-shared content of 2019.

Yet, I’m thankful to say that we’ve even earned this status — it’s awesome to pull in business through valuable content creation! 💥

And, it’s one of our quarterly habits to review our top-shared, top-read content to identify and see what topics and concepts our readers like. (As a marketer, you should do this too!)

So without further ado, here’s our own top-shared content of 2019 (Hint: The number-one most engaged is not even an SEO piece!).

1. Our Top Engaged: “How to Find Your Brand’s Unique Content Differentiation Factor and Use It to Your Advantage“*

This post is about finding that single unique aspect of your brand that’ll make you stand out in the sea of businesses today.

For content marketing, I call this your Content Differentiating Factor (CDF).

Once you find it, you’ll be able to answer potential buyers when they ask why they should pick you above other brands.

Want to learn about 11 skills that’ll help you nail your place in your industry? Download our profitable content marketing skills cheat sheet here.

2. Our Highest Two Traffic Posts for 2019 at Express Writers

How to Write a Press Release

In this guide, I give you 11 steps to writing a polished, professional press release. Plus, I give you great samples you can compare your work to – five of them, to be exact!

How to Write a Business Case Study

Case studies aren’t about stroking a company’s ego. They’re about showing potential clients what a business can do for them.

When you read this post, you’ll learn the five essential steps to creating a case study that’ll result in tons of engagements and conversions.

Will Your Post Be One of the Top-Shared of 2020?

In 2020, we all want to be the writer of a blog post that goes viral.

But creating such a post won’t happen by luck or magic.

Instead, it’ll happen when we do a careful study of what went right in the past and why it went right.

It’ll happen because of loads of creativity, hours of effort, and trustworthy expertise.

Where Should I Invest My Marketing Budget

Where Should I Invest My Marketing Budget? How Inbound Content Beats PPC & Other Avenues

Ever asked yourself, “Where should I invest my marketing budget?

What about this followup question?

“How much do companies spend on marketing that doesn’t work?”

Because, let’s be real –

Are you seeing results from your PPC (pay-per-click) ads on Google?

How about your Facebook ads?

If you’re like most ad buyers, the answer is almost always a shrug, a sigh, and a reluctant, “Well… no.”

That’s no coincidence.

The ROI of PPC alone is lower than low. (Sadly low. Ridiculously, hopelessly low.)

How low is it?

That’s what we’ll discuss today: Why PPC ads and similar avenues aren’t worth it, why there are better options, and exactly where you should invest your marketing budget.

(Hint: It starts with an “i” and ends with “-nbound.”) 🤫

Where Should You Invest Your Marketing Budget? The Truth About PPC vs. Inbound ROI

1. Marketing Budget Breakdown: What’s the Real Cost of PPC?

2. Marketing Budget Reality: The Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for PPC Ads vs. the ROI of Inbound Content Marketing

3. The Inbound Marketing Difference

3 MORE Reasons PPC Ads Don’t Pay Off

  1. People Distrust Ads in General
  2. PPC Has a Steep Learning Curve
  3. Many PPC Experts Prioritize Numbers over Human Readers

Where Should I Invest My Marketing Budget? Inbound Is the Answer

Where Should I Invest My Marketing Budget

💰 Been throwing out loads of cash for PPC ads? And was it worth it? 🤔 If the ads in 2018 brought only 0.66x return on ad spend, then it's a 100% NO 🙅‍♂️🙅‍♀️. Where should you invest your marketing budget then? A: Inbound Content 🍯 Click To Tweet

Where Should You Invest Your Marketing Budget? The Truth About PPC vs. Inbound ROI

If you looked at a chart of marketing budgets by industry for 2018 or 2019, you would probably see a fair amount spent a chunk of money on PPC ads. Many probably prioritized PPC above building their organic search rankings.

This is a big mistake, and I want to show you exactly why.

1. Marketing Budget Breakdown: What’s the Real Cost of PPC?

The cost of PPC is easy to break down in surface terms. You bid for the specific keyword you’re targeting – the maximum amount you’re willing to pay every time someone clicks your ad. If your bid is the highest (and your Ad Rank is equally up to snuff), you’ll appear at the top of search results.

Here’s a visual of that from Wordstream:

However, for many highly competitive keywords, bidding can get insane.

For example, to rank at the top of Google with a paid search ad for a competitive keyword like “content marketing,” you would need to shell out $18 per click.

However, before you decide that would be totally worth the cost, look more closely at the click data in Ahrefs.

Clicks are currently going to only 4% of paid “content marketing” search results. Meanwhile, almost all the clicks (96%!) are going to organic search.

Let’s put that into perspective.

  • “Content marketing” has a search volume of 31K.
  • 48% of searches for this keyword ended in clicks (searchers clicked on one or more of the results).
  • That means about 14,880 people clicked a result in this SERP.
  • Only 4% clicked a paid search ad.
  • That means PPC ads are only getting about 595 clicks per month in this SERP. The lion’s share of the clicks (14,284!!) are going to organic search.

Very, very few people are clicking ads in search results like this one.

What's the real cost of PPC? So here's how it goes: you bid for your target keyword aka the max amount you'll pay per ad click. The highest bid gets to the top of search results. Easy. 🎰 BUT, its low ROI will shock you. 📉😧 Click To Tweet

To drive the point home, let’s look at another example of the low ROI of PPC ads.

A colleague recently sent me a case study from one of their clients with declining sales. Without naming names, my colleague looked at the client’s search data and conversion rates and found:

  • About 26% of their traffic was coming from paid search.
  • Roughly 17% was coming from organic search.
  • Their conversion rate for traffic from paid search was 0.27%.
  • Their conversion rate for organic search traffic was 51% – nearly 6x higher than paid search.

Imagine the ROI if this client switched gears and started focusing on improving their organic search rankings!

2. Marketing Budget Reality: The Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for PPC Ads vs. the ROI of Inbound Content Marketing

The return on investment for paid search isn’t looking good.

But wait:

There’s more.

According to The Ad Strategist, the ROAS for Facebook ads (as part of a cold ad funnel, where cold leads are served ads based on their interests, etc.) has drastically dropped within the past 1-2 years.

In 2016, ROAS hovered at a decent 11.88x. In 2018, ROAS dipped to a dismal 0.66x.

Display ad conversion rates have plummeted. Across industries, the average is 0.72% on mobile.

That means, if you spend, say, $450 on ads, you’d only get back 0.0066% of what you put into your campaign. With a 0.72% conversion rate, you would actually lose money. Your small business marketing budget statistics would look horrible.

That’s why inbound and content marketing are incredible in comparison.

Return on ad spend (ROAS) went from 11.8x in 2016 sliding down to 0.66x in 2018. 😡 The average ad conversion rate for mobile is 0.72%. 😱 These are the signs that you should change where you invest your marketing budget RIGHT NOW. 🏃💨 Click To Tweet

3. The Inbound Marketing Difference

On average, across industries, organic traffic from search converts at a rate of 16%. Thus, when you target organic traffic with inbound marketing, the ROI speaks for itself.

When you create content of amazing quality consistently, the stuff that speaks deeply to your target reader’s pains and problems (and solves them!), you can’t help but win.

I came up with a formula for predicting content marketing ROI a few years ago. Let’s compare it to the ROAS we discussed earlier.

  • Start with your average monthly traffic numbers. For the sake of the example, let’s say you get roughly 5,000 visitors per month.
  • To find the average number of traffic-to-lead conversions you could expect from content marketing, grab that average 16% conversion rate and get multiplying:
    • 5,000 x 16% = 800 leads/month
  • Now take your estimated leads and multiply by the average lead-to-sale conversion rate for content marketing, 14%, to estimate monthly sales:
    • 800 x 14% = 112 sales/month

Now, let’s say your average sale is about $10. That means you could expect $1,120 monthly in new sales as a direct result of content marketing.

When you compare the cost of content marketing to the ROI, it all makes sense.

So if you're wasting money on PPC, where should you invest then? Go for inbound marketing. Creating useful content for your target readers can bring in 🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏻🧑🏿‍🤝‍🧑🏽 traffic ➡️ leads ➡️ sales (with an average close rate of 14%!) 🥂 Click To Tweet

For example, a Level 3 Blogging package from our Content Shop costs $1,000/month for 8 expert blogs at 1,000 words each, produced by a subject-matter expert and posted bi-weekly.

It’s pretty easy to do the math and see that you would still come out ahead, even AFTER outsourcing the content creation part (which, by the way, most marketers [84%] do, according to Content Marketing Institute’s most recent B2B report).

*TV infomercial announcer voice* 🎤 But that’s not all!

Content marketing comes in clutch at every stage of the buying process. No matter how close your leads are to buying (or far away), content helps you do everything. It builds brand awareness and secures, nurtures, and converts leads:

Last but not least, let’s pull in a really fun example to go out with a bang: 💥

(Disclaimer: This is an extreme marketing budget example.)

How does the average cost of a Super Bowl ad compare with the cost of content creation for 2 years? (Hint: They’re not even close.)

The average Super Bowl ad costs $40,000 for 5 seconds of airtime. (Read: $5 million for one minute.)

For 2 years of expert blogging PLUS 1 year of EW’s social media plan, PLUS one written and designed ebook, PLUS four lattes from a coffee shop per week for 12 months (for this, you’ll have to rely on your local barista):

$37,000.

That’s 135x cheaper for nearly 200 blogs that will live on your site and compound in value over time. Many of them will still be relevant and draw in leads years from now. (Use that example in your marketing budget presentation if you want to get the boss’s attention!)

Meanwhile, in 2019, the Super Bowl drew in its fewest number of viewers in the past 11 years. If you watched, do you even remember any of the ads? 🤔

Me neither.

3 MORE Reasons PPC Ads Don’t Pay Off

If I’ve made my point clear, inbound content marketing is a better investment than PPC, hands-down.

“But PPC is faster,” you might object. “I want to see sales now, not later.”

Wait one minute, there, Speedy. PPC is NOT necessarily faster for bringing in traffic and revenue. Sure, it shoots you to the top of a SERP (IF you win a keyword bidding war), but your position at the top is shaky.

This is totally unlike if you earned your way to organic position #1 with solid, quality, user-satisfying content.

Why?

1. People Distrust Ads in General

Ad distrust (especially distrust of display ads) has been mounting in recent years. It’s something you can’t ignore if you’re considering ads for your marketing strategy.

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer Report, 74% of consumers say they avoid ads completely.

That includes:

  • Using ad blockers on websites
  • Changing their habits to see fewer ads
  • Finding ways to avoid ads
  • Paying for streaming services to skip most commercials and TV ads
PPC might be faster but consider this: More people distrust and avoid ads. 🙈 They use ad blockers and pay for streaming services just not to see a glimpse of it. Know other reasons why PPC don't pay off in this post by @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Ad avoidance is common. That behavior isn’t limited to display ads or commercials, either. According to a Sprout Social study, 27% of consumers have a more negative view of social media advertising than they did one year ago.

The reason? 58% said they saw too many social ads and were just plain sick of it.

The nail in the coffin? Most people simply view advertisers as morally and ethically bankrupt, according to a Gallup poll. The profession of “advertising practitioner” is rated among the lowest for honesty and ethical standards.

Behold the myriad of reasons why paid search gets ridiculously fewer clicks than organic search. (Remember that 4% vs. 96% example from earlier?)

Bottom line: IF you go for ads of any kind, think long and hard about WHO might pay attention to them and WHY. In most cases, a better long-term marketing investment (and better ROI!) comes from content marketing.

2. PPC Has a Steep Learning Curve

Every new concept you encounter has a learning curve, but PPC ads, in particular, are not for the uninitiated. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll probably get it wrong and waste money.

For Google Ads, they must conform to specific quality standards, keep under a certain length, maintain clarity and honesty, and more.

If you’re a DIY marketer with no pay-per-click ad experience, learning to be successful with it will take lots and LOTS of time.

Sure, PPC can be interesting to study and use to boost your online traffic -- if you're lucky to grab the keyword and audience you want.🐙 But if you're a DIY marketer, learning all the rules and best practices will take lots of time. ⌛ Click To Tweet

If, however, you decide to spring for a PPC expert…

3. Many PPC Experts Prioritize Numbers over Human Readers

The problem with PPC experts is they are numbers-driven. They have to be because they’re paid to get results for their customers… but, it turns out that’s a problem in itself.

When you’re so numbers-focused, you forget about the real humans on the other side of the screen.

For example, if you pay for PPC ads and you’re not getting highly visible spots on a SERP (or you’re not getting clicks), your expert may just say you need to increase your PPC budget.

But the issue isn’t with your budget. It’s with your content.

It’s what your PPC ads SAY – the wording – that encourages clicks.

Furthermore, if a potential customer clicks and discovers your content doesn’t match their search intent – well, say goodbye.

Even if you own the top paid spot, without content that meets or exceeds the user’s need, you’ll go nowhere.

And, let’s not forget many searchers simply skip over the paid results and go straight to the organic results underneath.

The problem isn’t with your PPC bidding. The problem is you need better nurturing strategies to pull in customers.

Really, let’s call a spade a spade. Where should you invest your marketing budget, if not with ads?

You need inbound for your digital marketing budget plan. 🤯

PPC experts can surely help bring in the traffic you've been aiming for. 🏹 However, this could be a problem itself when the work becomes simply obsessing over getting high numbers. 🤪 A click doesn't convert to a sale in a snap. 🖱️ Click To Tweet

Where Should I Invest My Marketing Budget? Inbound Is the Answer

If PPC and/or Facebook ads have left you high and dry, it’s not wholly your fault.

The industry is working against you. Expectations vs. reality are drastically different because the ad landscape has changed across the board.

Over and over, users are showing us what they want. We have to stop leaning into marketing tactics that used to work in favor of embracing what works now.

Today, people are tired of ads. They avoid them at all costs.

Today, organic search draws in traffic and leads through information sharing, nailing user search intent, and building trust. We can literally build our customer bases through honest, expert, authentic content.

Isn’t that amazing?

Where Should I Invest My Marketing Budget

content marketing planning

Switch to “Managing” Instead of “Doing:” The Secret to Content Marketing Planning Success

I started Express Writers with nothing but $75, a dream, and my passion for writing.

It all began in 2010. I was in college, trying to get a degree I didn’t even want. One morning I woke up and thought: Why not do what I love?

That day, I decided to figure out online writing. At first, it was only doing work for cheap clients. But I pushed on, honing my writing, SEO, and content marketing skills writing hundreds of articles.

And so I reached a point where I had more work than I could handle.

So what did I do?

I didn’t start writing less.

I just hired more people.

That was my first step towards smart content managing. Instead of writing everything for clients myself, I hired skilled writers who shared my passion for creating powerful online content.

And you can do it too when you learn how to delegate to the right people with smart content management.

Just like us, your business can save $92,000 a month (while getting the same results) — this is the figure my brand, Express Writers, saves by not having to spend on a PPC campaign to bring in our monthly traffic.

organic traffic semrush value $90k

(Crazy, right?)

We’ve never done a single PPC ad, by the way. Not even once.

Yet our websites earn 90,000-100,000 visitors a month.

How?

The secret is through successful content marketing and smart delegation.

In this post, I’ll teach you how to do both. But first, let’s get into what kind of content you should be writing.

content marketing planning

Content Marketing Planning Success: 6 Types of Profitable Content and How Often to Post Them

1. Social Media

2. Blogs

3. Emails

4. Website Pages

5. News/Ads/Sales Content

6. Creative Content

Your Ultimate Guide to Smart Content Marketing Planning

The Who, What, and When of Smart Content Marketing Planning

Who to Delegate To

What to Delegate

When to Delegate

Get Ready for the Future with Smart Content Marketing Planning

Are you managing it all, or doing it all, in your content creation for your business? There's a MASSIVE difference in content marketing success if you have the correct mindset. 💯Learn more: Click To Tweet

6 Types of Profitable Content and How Often to Post Them for Content Marketing Planning Success

There are 6 types of content you should be posting regularly if you want to succeed online. What are they? And how often should you post them? Let’s discuss!

1. Social Media

With more than 3 billion users, social media is a huge opportunity for marketing. But it isn’t enough to have a Facebook page and post when you feel like it. You need to be active daily with relevant, intriguing, helpful content.

How often to post: Daily.

Speaking of social media, make sure to follow us on Facebook for daily tips, updates, and more!

2. Blogs

Posting long-form blogs (1,500 words up) impresses both your readers and Google. Blogs can:

  • Establish you as an expert.
  • Gain your site an increase in organic rankings on Google.
  • Help you gain credibility (86% of influencers have a blog).

How often to post: 1 time a week minimum. For better results, go for 2-3 or even 4x a week.

Learn how to write a long-form blog and gain up to 125% more organic rankings on Google here.

3. Emails

Email marketing promises you constant engagement with leads and huge ROI (return on investment).

Source: Lyfe Marketing

How often to send: Weekly.

4. Website Pages

What good is the traffic you get from organic search if visitors are unimpressed by your website? What you need to keep their attention is a concise, impactful copy for all your site’s pages.

How often: As needed.

5. News/Ads/Sales Content

Press releases and ads that solve your prospects’ problems and long-form sales copy are all necessary to keep leads informed about your products.

How often: As needed.

Need copy that converts? Visit our content shop for pricing.

6. Creative Content

Creative content helps you stay relevant and fresh in your prospects’ minds. These include videos, fun emails, poems, short stories, and more.

How often: As needed.

Learn more about all six types of content in my book: So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Content. My video on the types of online content here can help, too.

so you think you can write book by julia mccoy

Want your brand to succeed online? Start regularly posting profitable content types like 🦜 social media content, ✒️blogs, and 📮 emails. Also publish web pages, news/ads/sales, and creative content like short stories whenever needed! 📜 Click To Tweet

Your Ultimate Guide to Smart Content Marketing Planning

Right now, you might be shaking your head and wondering how you can create all of that content consistently.

How do you write 3 long-form blogs, daily social media updates, web copy, ads, emails, and video scripts… and still stay sane?

The secret is to stop doing, and start managing. 

Chances are if you’re thinking of ‘doing it all’ yourself, you’ll end up completely burnt out, missing deadlines, and the content itself will lack quality because it had no space to breathe. Rushed content is never good content.

Switch to “managing,” and you’ll see so much more success. (See a story about my timeline in content, and how getting strategic in 2016 and getting out of the hamster wheel actually brought in more profits from our content. Managed content is successful content!)

content marketing planning

The Who, What, and When of Smart Content Marketing Planning

When you switch to managing instead of doing, you need to be sure you get three things:

  • Quality
  • Quantity
  • Consistency

Let’s dive in more on each.

1. Who to Delegate To

If you’re a content marketer, quality should be your #1 goal. Without this strong foundation, your content house will fall apart.

Take a look at these two examples:

  • Today’s world is definitely full of people who are unhealthy, people who eat a lot of fatty food and therefore gain unnecessary weight. If you are like these people, you might be concerned about your overall health. It is a fact that being overweight can cause a number of debilitating health problems. What you must do, then, is to seek to lose weight in a healthy and safe way. There are definitely a lot of benefits which can be achieved when you experience weight loss.
  • Blogs that are between 400 and 699 words (the conventional number for blog word count) see a lot of quick readers come to the site, read what they came for and move on to the next site. Blogs that have 1,500 words or more give the reader substance and encourage them to stick around on the site, increasing metrics and clicks on the site.

As you can see, the first example is generic and uninteresting. Most readers already know the facts stated. Also, the paragraph’s length will scare even the most daring away.

The second paragraph? It’s clear, concise, and full of helpful facts that convert. With quality content like that, your reader will stay on your site and keep reading.

To get quality content, you need to hire the right people. It doesn’t matter where they’re from. What matters is what they can do.

  • Hire people who are experts in their field. Yes, online writers can always do Google research on topics you assign to them. But to write in-depth content and copy with authority? Only an expert with significant experience can do that.
  • Hire people with writing skills that make content pop. You don’t want your online content to look like a legal document. So instead of hiring just any lawyer for expertise, hire a lawyer who has a passion for and talent with words. This will make your online content jump from the page.

2. What to Delegate

We’ve already looked at the six types of content you need to boost your online presence and brand. Now, let’s look at what you should delegate to members of the staff you’ve hired.

Here’s a quick birds-eye view of that:

Social media posts and updates should be handled by a skilled social media manager. Here are things to look for if you’re hiring one.

  • Ability to recognize leads.
  • Experience with branding and marketing.
  • A healthy sense of humor.

Blogs and email copy require a content strategist, expert writers, and yourself (sounds like a lot, but definitely worth it!). For our own blog, The Write Blog, we have over 5 content creators and a full-time designer!

Lastly, web pages, copy, and creative content should be delegated to trained copywriters and strategists. Make sure your copy:

  • Isn’t salesy.
  • Follows the correct templates for successful marketing copy.
  • Is concise, clear, and compelling.

content marketing planning

3. When to Delegate

When planning your content, the when is as important as the what.

So instead of coming up with blogs and emails a week before they’re posted, create a calendar and make a plan for 3 to 6 months, or even a year of content!

Here’s why this is so important:

  • You don’t get caught off-guard with seasonal or overarching topics. You want to be able to see the bigger picture. When you plan ahead, you’ll know how to stay current all the time with your content.
  • You can do enough research. Nothing says amateur louder than the lack of information. When you’re behind on the latest trends and the hottest topics of the day, you’ll lose your relevance and credibility.
  • You can grab attention by matching dates with topics. For example, the release of a much-awaited movie is a great way to spark reader interest. With a far-reaching calendar, you can plan blog topics for holidays, elections, special events, and more.
  • You can strategize more. First drafts should never be final drafts. The same is true with planning content. If you have enough time to plan what to write about and when, it’ll lead to better content all around.
  • You won’t duplicate content you already posted. Surprisingly, this can happen more than you think. Staying organized with a far-reaching calendar, however, will prevent it.

So get started with your content calendar as soon as you can, and make your plans as far-reaching as possible.

As an example, here’s what our content calendar looks like.

We plan content for months in advance!

Here’s the step-by-step on how to do it.

content marketing planning

The right way of managing your content is by knowing 👔 who to delegate your content to, 📚 what to delegate, and 📆 when to delegate. Check out this handy infographic for smart content marketing planning. 📑 Click To Tweet

Get Ready for the Future with Smart Content Marketing Planning

Six types of content, posted consistently, is a huge deal if you plan to do it yourself.

But, with smart content marketing planning, things become simpler, clearer, and more enjoyable. Content quality increases. Best of all, you can sit back, sip your favorite drink, and watch your company explode in growth.

content marketing planning

 

bad content marketing tactics

Stop Scaring Your Followers Away: 10 Scary, No-Good Content Marketing Tactics to Quit Doing

Do you know what’s super spooky? 👻

The easily avoidable content mistakes happening all. The. TIME.

It’s almost 2020 – a year people used to dream about when they thought of a high-tech future – but here we are.

People are still committing basic content marketing mistakes (sometimes unknowingly, but 🤷‍♀️).

These scary mistakes aren’t something to laugh about, either. They cost you a lot. Think Google rankings, traffic, leads, conversions, a loyal audience, and general content ROI.

If you want your content to perform well (who doesn’t??), if you want to keep your website from becoming an abandoned, haunted house where no one dares step foot…

You must know and avoid these mistakes as if they were monsters prowling the dark of night. Don’t get too comfortable, don’t get close, and if you spot one, RUN, and try to fix it.

10 Content Marketing Mistakes That Are Undermining Your ROI

1. Prioritizing the Quick Sale Over Building Long-Term Trust

2. Not Investing in Valuable, Useful Content

3. Buying Fake Followers (Follower Ghosts!) to Grow Your Online Presence

4. Targeting Focus Keywords and Related Keywords Incorrectly

5. Posting Content Whenever the Mood Strikes

6. Publishing Skeletal Content and Expecting It to Rank

7. Putting Out Lots of Scary-Quality Content

8. Letting Duplicate Content Haunt Your Domain

9. Participating in Ghoulish Link-Buying Schemes

10. Forgetting to Champion Your Reader

Don’t Let Bad Content Marketing Tactics Haunt Your Brand Presence

bad content marketing tactics to avoid

There's no need to have a sixth sense for us to see dead content. 💀 Low-quality copy and unethical marketing practices should get that straight to the grave. ⚰️ Save your content now by avoiding these 10 bad content marketing tactics! Click To Tweet

Run the Other Way! 10 Scary Content Marketing Tactics Undermining Your ROI

If you commit any of these, call a priest – you need an exorcism to save your content marketing soul. 🙏

1. Prioritizing the Quick Sale Over Building Long-Term Trust

Repeat after me: Content marketing is not about the quick sale.

In fact, it’s not really about the sale at all.

Now, hear me out. Yes, the eventual end-goal is to build up enough trust with your readers so they feel confident buying into whatever you’re offering.

BUT.

More revenue is just one possible end by-product. It’s not the point.

The point is trust.

When you look at a solid definition of content marketing (like this one I constantly reference from the Content Marketing Institute), note there is no mention of sales, money, or revenue.

Instead, the emphasis is placed squarely on your audience/customers. Specifically, content marketing is about:

  • Attracting and retaining your audience
  • Driving profitable actions from customers

“Profitable actions” aren’t necessarily sales. Instead, a profitable action could be adding a new subscriber to your email list, or earning another loyal blog follower.

These are profitable situations because they signify interest and growing trust in what you offer. These people may eventually become not only customers but also brand advocates. That compounding future interest helps spread your brand name as an authority, builds relationships with people, and, ultimately, leads to more conversions.

Trust breeds trust. Once the relationship is there, the sales will come later — but they’re not the point.

Don’t settle for pushiness and try to close your leads today. That’s not content marketing. Instead, focus on building that long-term trust that wins real industry positioning tomorrow.

Don't be a real-life undead chasing humans to get them to buy your product or service with your salesy content! 🧟‍♀️ Start building long-term trust instead with attractive, relevant, and useful content. - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

2. Not Investing in Valuable, Useful Content

Content that wins trust and builds loyalty is high-value, useful, and relevant to your particular audience. If your content is none of those things, you won’t reap the rewards of content marketing.

It’s that simple.

Conductor did the first-ever study investigating the impact of educational content on customers. The results were incredible:

  • After reading a brand’s educational content, people were 131% more likely to purchase from them
  • 78% rated a brand as “helpful” and 64% rated them “trustworthy” immediately after reading the brand’s content
  • One week later, the above numbers increased by 8-9%

Useful, valuable content has a direct effect on your readers. Without those traits, however, your content will be useless.

If you want the rewards, you have to invest in creating and publishing the best content you can produce. No ifs, ands, or buts.

3. Buying Fake Followers (Follower Ghosts!) to Grow your Online Presence

Have you ever been tempted — when you’re green with envy over your competitor’s follower count — to just buy some fake followers and call it a day?

(And, just to be clear, I’m talking about non-real followers, i.e., computer-generated follower ghosts that don’t exist in real life. 👻)

Don’t do it.

Not only is buying fake followers majorly frowned-upon, but it will also have consequences that will undermine what you’re trying to do (build an engaged audience).

HootSuite did an actual case study on buying fake followers on Instagram to see what would happen, and the results were laughable:

1,000 followers, each of them obviously bot-created at random, with zero engagement from any of them.

If you have a large follower count but no engagement… well, that’s an oxymoron AND a red flag. Instagram will easily find your fake account and shut it down, according to their Terms of Use.

Likewise, other brands won’t want to associate with your account. Getting their content or products in front of a ghost audience will do absolutely nothing for them. And don’t think you can hide it – there are tools for analyzing accounts (like IG Audit and Fake Follower Check) and estimating the percentage of the audience that’s real.

Not worth it.

Ghost followers surely make your total follower count look good, but buying these non-existent accounts will just drag you to social media hell 👹👹👹 -- flagged and shut down. - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

4. Targeting Focus Keywords and Related Keywords Incorrectly

We’re no longer living in 2007, but people are still using keywords like we are. Unfortunately, misusing keywords is a great way to make Google ignore or down-vote your pages.

Culprit #1: Thinking you need to use your focus keyword verbatim.

Google has previously defined “close variants” for keywords. Essentially, this means keywords with slight rewording but the same meaning will pull up the same results.

Example: The SERPs for the keywords “vanilla ice cream” and “ice cream vanilla” have identical results displayed in different orders. (Both recipe lists include Taste of Home, Epicurious, David Lebovitz, Taste and Tell, Like Mother Like Daughter, and Allrecipes.)

Vanilla ice cream:

Ice cream vanilla:

If you rank for one, you’ll rank for the other, so there’s no need to rigidly stick to verbatim keywords, especially when rewording them slightly makes your sentences flow better.

Culprit #2: Targeting related keywords separately from your focus keyword.

Are you only targeting one keyword per page? Then you’re missing out on the power of semantic search.

Including related keywords in your content helps both users and search engines determine whether it’s contextually relevant to the topic the user is searching for.

For example, if you’re writing about how to brew black tea, you wouldn’t just target “how to brew black tea.” You’d also make sure to include related keywords like “how long to steep black tea,” “how to make black tea bags,” and “boiling black tea.”

Leaving out related keywords ignores semantic search, which is a no-no. The internet is becoming smarter, and semantic search is the future.

Is this common problem haunting your posts? 👻 Not using focus keywords synonymously with related keywords. 😱 Save your content before it's too late! Here's how. Click To Tweet

5. Posting Content Whenever the Mood Strikes

Do you tend to post content like Dracula preys on his victims – whenever the mood strikes?

This is counterintuitive to content marketing’s core mission, which is building audience trust. (Inconsistency is actually a hallmark of untrustworthiness.)

The more consistently you publish great content, the more your audience will rely on you as a trusted source of information. You’re proving yourself over and over.

On top of that, HubSpot found businesses publishing content consistently received more traffic and more leads than businesses publishing content inconsistently.

Spotty posting schedules and spotty quality are two factors to nix if you expect to make your content marketing work.

Do you tend to post content like Dracula preys – whenever the mood strikes? Inconsistency is a hallmark of untrustworthiness. The more consistently you publish content, the more your audience will rely on you. More: 👻 Click To Tweet

6. Publishing Skeletal Content and Expecting It to Rank

Skeletal, thin content is usually unsatisfying, light on research, and light on expertise. It doesn’t answer the reader’s most burning questions about the topic, and it doesn’t serve a useful purpose. 💀

Granted, there’s a place for shorter content pieces (sharing opinions or news, for example), but not if you want to rank for keywords tied to heavy-hitting topics with lots of facets and depth.

Let’s look at an example SERP to show you what I mean.

For the keyword “SEO content writing,” the top 3 results have an average word count of 1,515. The lowest is 880, the highest 1,967.

To rank for this keyword, you would need to create a content piece of at least 1,500 words, because you’re looking to be a better information source than anything that’s currently ranking.

You can’t write 1,500 words full of fluff, either. You need meaty content that explains exactly what SEO content writing is and how to do it, plus provide examples.

In most cases, skeletal content just won’t cut it.

7. Putting Out Lots of Scary-Quality Content

Okay, you say. You’ll commit to consistency. You promptly write 5 blog posts in one day so you can get them out once a day for a week.

No. No, no, no.

Props to you if you can write 5 high-level, exceptionally researched, thought-provoking, engaging content pieces in one day. You’re either inhuman or a savant.

For the rest of us, this is impossible.

Pushing out content just to push it out never results in greatness. Instead, you’ll just have a lot of messy, yucky content sitting on your website, dragging down your game.

Don’t stoop to letting scary-quality content slide. Commit to excellence, and strive for it with each content piece you publish. This is the only way to build up a solid reputation, become an authority, and give your readers the value they’re looking for.

It’s the only way to rank!

8. Letting Duplicate Content Haunt Your Domain

The most common SEO error marketers make is duplicate content, according to SEMrush analysis.

66% of over 100,000 articles suffered from this problem.

Duplicate content is just what it sounds like: Multiple pages on your site that are identical or closely match each other. These are a problem because search engines won’t know which page is the most relevant, which can impact search visibility.

Image: Moz

To avoid this problem, all of your content pages and copy need to be unique.

Duplicate content cannibals in your content island are just eating each other's rankings and confuse Google. ☠️ Before getting that new post published, make sure it's unique from focus keyword to copy. - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

9. Participating in Ghoulish Link-Buying Schemes

Here’s what I like to call a “content marketing downward spiral.”

You publish lots of poor content because you want to get it out there, fast. Because your content is poor, you don’t earn any backlinks. Because you don’t earn any backlinks organically, you buy into a link scheme to fake your way to ranking. Google blacklists you.

Do you see how shady content practices feed on each other?

Instead of buying links, focus on making every piece of content your best. Make your content worthy of links, and the links will come naturally, over time.

Remember, it won’t happen overnight. Content marketing, if anything, is a study in patience.

10. Forgetting to Champion Your Reader

You can tell when a brand has forgotten their reader when:

  • They focus on themselves in the content and what they’ll get out of it.
  • Their content has little value for the answer-hungry.
  • Their content is riddled with errors and inconsistencies.
  • They’re more focused on pitching than helping.
  • Their content engagement is the equivalent of crickets chirping.
  • Their content topics seem random and irrelevant.
  • Their posting schedule is summed up in one word: “Surprise!”

The thing is, when you put your reader first, all of these content problems naturally solve themselves.

Champion your reader, and your content marketing should fall into place.

Don’t Let Bad Content Marketing Tactics Haunt Your Brand Presence

None of these tactics will help you win readers and rake in ROI. There’s a better way to strategize, create, publish, and promote content.

Prioritize your audience, invest in the best content you possibly can, commit to consistency, and stay far away from strategies only the Wicked Witch of the West would buy into.

Bring your content marketing into the light, and the monsters sucking the life from your success won’t stick around for long.

 

onsite evergreen content

What Onsite Evergreen Content Is, What It Isn’t, & How to Create Yours (A Key to Great Rankings)

This post was updated October 2019. 

We know that marketers that focus on content creations are 13X more likely to see dramatic ROI.

That number paints a clear picture. Powerful, engaging content is key if you want to leverage organic traffic and grow your website.

The thing is, there are dozens of options when it comes to content, yet blogging is my first love ♥ and I’m far from alone.

55% of marketers focus most of their inbound efforts in blogging. That’s because the more content you produce, the more love you get from search engines. Google alone drives 70.6% of all traffic on the web, and you definitely want a slice of that action.

The problem is, over 4 million blog posts see the light every single day.

Most of those are what I call ‘firefly’ content. It may shine bright and catch a lot of attention, but it fizzles out rather quickly.

If you focus only on firefly content, you’ll always be a part of the rat race. Working night and day to put out enough content for the next cycle, while your competitors do the same.

Not all content fizzles out in a heartbeat, though.

Sometimes, content keeps compounding traffic as time goes by. Only of every ten blog posts falls under that compounding category, yet those posts bring over 38% of traffic for most blogs on average.

That’s what we call evergreen content, and if you know how to create it, you’ll have a massive advantage when it comes to rankings.

5 Rules on How to Craft Evergreen Content

What Onsite Evergreen Content Is,

  1. Brainstorm (with your team) and pick a topic.
  2. Dig-in and research your topic to the bone.
  3. Outline your evergreen content.
  4. Get your first draft ready, then start editing.
  5. Update and audit your evergreen content periodically.

We’re going to walk you through the entire process of creating evergreen content but first, let’s get semantical.

Marketers surely know the benefits of creating content and how it brings ROI. But with millions of posts out there, how can you make content that constantly brings in traffic? @JuliaEMcCoy shares the rules in crafting evergreen content 🌳 Click To Tweet

What Exactly is Evergreen Content?

At this point, you already have a rough idea of what evergreen content is, but we can do better.

Let’s go over some quick examples to narrow down the concept even further:

  • In-depth analyses or facts: Cold-hard facts don’t change, that’s what’s cool about them. Let’s say, for example, you write an in-depth post about what content marketing is. The types of content you use might change, but the key concept won’t, and people will keep looking for answers for years to come. That’s a perfect example of evergreen content
  • How-to guides, tips, and tricks: People are always going to look for tutorials and guides to help them optimize the way they do things. The more in-depth they are, the longer their shelf life will be. Plus, writing how-to posts is a great way to increase your blog’s credibility.
  • Industry resources: It’s always interesting to read what industry experts have to say. Any insight you can give into an industry, such as guides on who to follow, case studies, and glossaries of key terms will always be in vogue.

Keep in mind – even evergreen content requires a bit of attention now and then. Think about it as the cacti of the content world. A little bit of water now and then (making sure all the content is up to date) will keep it green, happy, and thorny (maybe not the best analogy!).

What Evergreen Content Isn’t

One key factor when it comes to the longevity of content is its relevance. If we turn to Google to look at what people were looking for in 2018, it paints a clear picture:

Right there, you have a lot of great examples of what evergreen content is not. The World Cup, for example, drives a ton of traffic while it’s going on, but once it’s over, those searches peter out drastically.

Now imagine you spent a lot of time and effort writing match analyses, predictions, and discussing the results online.

That content may have brought in a ton of traffic during 2018, but right now, it’s collecting dust.

With that in mind, let’s go over some other examples of what evergreen content is not:

  • Media reviews: If you’re writing about books, TV shows, and movies, you’ll likely see a peak in traffic shortly after they go live. Then, interest will go down over time and slow down to a trickle.
  • Current events: The news cycle never stops nowadays. It’s almost impossible to keep up with the barrage of news from all over the world, so it stands to reason that content tied to current events doesn’t have a long shelf life.
  • Recent studies or statistics: Readers love statistics. They help you paint a picture quickly and increase your authority. The problem is, statistics and studies aren’t static. Numbers that were right in 2015 might have changed now, so readers will naturally flock to more recent content.
  • Anything that has to do with technology: The smartphone market is the perfect example of this. You can write a killer smartphone buying guide that brings in a ton of traffic and gets you conversions. However, as soon as the next generation of phones comes in, that content is dead in the water.

Case in point: Try any generic search for smartphone recommendations right now and you’re only going to find recent results.

No green in sight anywhere.

It’s important to understand, you don’t need to focus only on evergreen content. That’s not viable and it would ward you off from exploring a lot of cool topic ideas.

Remember that 1 in 10 blog post rule I mentioned at the start of this article? That’s a great rule of thumb. For every 10 blog posts you write, try and come up with an evergreen idea and your rankings should improve dramatically.

Evergreen content is content that lasts. Think about in-depth analyses or facts, how-to guides, tips, and tricks, and industry resources. 🎋 It does NOT include media reviews, current events, and recent studies or stats. Click To Tweet

5 Rules on How to Craft and Publish Evergreen Content that Keeps on Giving

The first step to getting evergreen content right is choosing the right topic, so let’s start with that.

1. Brainstorm (with Your Team) and Pick a Topic

So far, we’ve gone over several examples of what is and what isn’t evergreen content. That means you’re ready to start coming up with some topic ideas of your own.

Your goal is to come up with content ideas that have the potential to keep on giving for a long time. Here are two simple questions I ask myself when brainstorming for evergreen content:

  1. Are people still going to be looking for this in a month, a year, and beyond?
  2. Does this topic have enough depth to transform it into long-form content?

That’s it, that’s basically what evergreen content boils down to – it’s in-depth, authoritative content that will remain relevant.

It’s easy enough to say, but coming up with the right ideas takes work.

I’m a bit old-school when it comes to brainstorming, so I like to keep a notebook handy for when ideas come to mind. At some point, I’ll write down those I think have potential on a shared Google Doc, so my team can weigh in.

I’m just one person, there are angles I might miss, but when you brainstorm with a team, ideas flow at a much faster pace.

2. Dig-In and Research Your Topic to the Bone

Research is one of my favorite parts of writing for the web. If you want your content to hit the mark, it needs authority, so you need to dig deep, that means:

  • Finding relevant studies and statistics to back up your assertions (and stick to recent ones, as I mentioned before!)
  • Looking for similar articles published before
  • Coming up with ways you can improve on that previous content if it’s indeed out there

Research is perhaps the most important part of the process when it comes to creating evergreen content. The more in-depth you go, the more likely your content is to remain relevant for longer.

If you find there’s a ton of information out there, don’t be scared.

Google loves long-form content. So much so, the average length for the top 10 spots in most search is around 2,000 words.

That may not sound like a lot, but it is once you factor in online readers tend to have short attention spans (not you, though, you’re great! 😉).

The more data you find during the research process, the more it validates your pick, so kudos to you.

3. Outline Your Evergreen Content

Outlines are a divisive topic when it comes to writing. Some writers swear by them, others would rather fly by the seat of their pants.

I’m more of a swear-by-them kind of person. It’s not about being an organization freak either, but rather about being able to organize all my ideas and making sure the content I write hits the mark.

If you didn’t skip rule 2, then you’ve got a ton of data in your hands. Now, you have to take that and transform it into something people will want to read and share.

Outlines are your friend here.

What I like to do is start with the important sections. Take this article, for example, it has four major sections outside the introduction and wrap-up.

It took me a little while to outline everything, but once that was ready, the writing just flowed because I knew where everything had to go and all the points I wanted to make.

Outlines are almost a hack when it comes to content writing.

4. Get Your First Draft Ready, Then Start Editing

You’ve done your research, you have the data, and you have an outline. Now it’s time to write.

Everyone tackles writing differently, so I won’t tell you what to do. If you’re a sit-down-with-classical-music kind of gal, go for it.

If you like to write in your sweatpants while sipping tea, sure, why not?

Just do it.

I will, however, share two quick pieces of advice (I couldn’t resist!):

  1. Take your time, evergreen content is the gift that keeps on giving, so you can’t rush it.
  2. Leave the editing until you have a first draft.
  3. Pay special attention to the keywords you want to target and optimize your content for them.

That second piece of advice is debatable. Some people like to edit as they go along, but I find it sometimes takes me out of the zone, so I like to leave it until last.

As far as keywords go, the goal of evergreen content is to bring in traffic. With long-form evergreen content, you have a prime opportunity to dig in and take advantage of long-tail keywords.

You know, those keywords that your competitors aren’t paying attention to? That’s where you want to stake your flag at.

5. Update and Audit Your Evergreen Content Periodically

At this stage, you should be good to go. Your content is ready, it’s green, it’s pretty, it’s chock full of keywords, and it’s ready to rumble.

It’s not always going to look pretty, though.

I don’t want to scare you, but you must understand that even evergreen content needs some attention now and then. Here’s what that means:

  • Making sure it doesn’t contain any outdated information.
  • Updating statistics and assertions to make sure you’re citing relevant, recent data.
  • Making sure that formatting is on point and all media files load correctly.

Think about it as spring cleaning. You’re making sure everything is nice and tidy for when visitors come in.

If you remember to do it, your evergreen content will stay relevant, and it’ll keep bringing in that traffic you love. That’s the beauty of a great maintenance routine.

How do you make evergreen content? 5 rules: 🧠 brainstorm for an evergreen-worthy topic, 🔍 research, ✍ outline your content, 📜 get your draft ready and edit after, and 🗞be sure to update your content periodically. Click To Tweet

Hack Your Way to Great Rankings with Evergreen Content

Evergreen content offers you a great way to increase your site’s rankings and bring in a ton of organic traffic over the long term.

However, all that doesn’t come for free. Great evergreen content requires a lot of planning, research, and effort. That’s why a lot of websites stick with run-of-the-mill content.

If you want help from expert web writers to help you create evergreen content, check out some of the services we offer at Express Writers.

seo marketing

SEO Marketing: Your Essential Guide to Putting Together Powerful, Google-Friendly Marketing

SEO marketing is incredible — and more powerful than ever (despite the groans of ​”SEO is dead!” ​that you hear, literally everywhere).

Here’s why.

Today, 60% of ALL traffic on the internet comes from Google.

(Add in traffic from other search engines, and you’ll find about 70% of all traffic, ever, starts with a simple search.)

Whoa.

Combine that with a simple fact: with the right keywords, topics, quality content, and some elbow grease, you can draw in search traffic from all over the world. All the people that might never have found you otherwise.

By creating content around keywords they’re searching, including phrases and topics that matter deeply to them, you essentially become a magnet for buyers (with Google’s help).  🧲

You pull leads into your orbit without advertising, without selling – without much effort at all beyond the initial strategizing, planning, and creating.

That, my friends, is a good, basic definition for today’s term.

SEO marketing definition: noun. A series of actions, strategies, and best practices that help your website content rank higher in search results.

And, before you ask: Yes, it matters big-time.

When you rank higher in search, more people will find your content, read your content, and act on that content.

With numbers like “70% of all traffic originates from a search,” needless to say, capturing search traffic is a HUGE deal. If you have an online presence, this type of marketing is essential to master for better visibility and more leads coming in.

Need more reasons to invest in SEO marketing? We’ll explore some convincing ones coming up, plus a checklist with marketing tools and techniques to help you ensure success from start to finish.

seo marketing guide

Your SEO Marketing Guide: What’s Ahead in Our Guide to Powerful, Google-Friendly Marketing

5-Step Checklist for Successful SEO Marketing

1. Create Quality Content (With a Case Study: How the Write Blog Nets Over 24K Keyword Rankings)

2. Get Your Website Design & Site Tech Fundamentals Right

3. Follow Google’s SEO Standards for Quality (E.A.T.)

4. Be Smart About Keyword Usage

5. Use SEO Plugins and Tools to Help You Get It Done (Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress, Keyword Research Tools: SEMrush and KWFinder)

3 Things SEO Marketing Should NOT Look Like

1. Cheating for Rankings

2. Keyword Stuffing

3. Thin, Shallow, Low-Quality Content

Have you already invested in SEO marketing and creating site content optimized to rank in Google? In this Write Blog, @JuliaEMcCoy shares killer reasons why Google reigns supreme for traffic sourcing, PLUS a bonus checklist 📝 on the… Click To Tweet

3 More Reasons Why SEO Marketing Is Such a Big Deal

SEO marketing tools and techniques are good for your bottom line.

How good?

Ridiculously good. For starters:

1. Rank #1 in Google Organically, Perform 30% Better

Besides the fact that Google holds 76.03% of the total search engine market share as of June 2019, there are other reasons to aim for #1 in Google search results.

Mainly, ranking #1 in Google is a surefire way to outperform results #2-10 and earn the best ROI. It’s how you ace SEO marketing.

According to data from Advanced Web Ranking, the organic click-through rate for position #1 is 30.97% on desktops.

Compare that to the CTR for position #2: it gets slashed in half to just 15.29%.

The lower you go, the more steeply CTR drops. Position #5 gets a 4.11% CTR. Positions #9 and 10 get just over 1%.

That said, even the lowest positions on search engine results pages (SERPs) get a higher average CTR than display AND search ads, including pay per click marketing. This chart with Wordstream data shows what I mean:

The average Google Ads CTR is 3.17% on the search network and 0.46% on the display network.

Compare those numbers to the average CTR for position #7 and higher in organic Google search results, which is over 2%. In fact, as long as you rank in the top 5 positions, you’ll score an average CTR of at least 4%.

PPC marketing seems pretty lame by comparison, especially when you can double or triple your CTR by focusing on organic search results, instead.

2. Leads from SEO Marketing Are More Powerful

Let’s add more fuel to our SEO marketing fire with this little statistic: Leads coming in from SEO are far more likely to convert.

According to a Marketing Sherpa study on conversion rates for organic traffic, the average traffic-to-leads conversion rate across all industries is 16%.

That number is really, really impressive, considering the average conversion rate for Google Ads across all industries is 3.75% for search ads and 0.77% for display ads, via the Wordstream data mentioned above.

 

3. Search Traffic >>> Traffic from Social Media

Another good reason to dive into SEO marketing: Search drives more traffic to websites than social media (via a Shareaholic study).

Meanwhile, according to ConversionXL, clicks from social aren’t very high, either. Facebook has an average CTR of 0.72%. LinkedIn draws a dismal 0.06%. Twitter gives you the best shot at clicks with a 2% average CTR.

When it comes down to numbers, search is the better bet for pulling in traffic.

Why is #seomarketing a big deal? 3 awesome reasons: 📈 ranking #1 in Google makes your site perform 30% better, 🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏽 powerful leads, and 🚶 more traffic from search than social media. Click To Tweet

Your Go-To Checklist for Successful SEO Marketing

You get it: SEO marketing is powerful, effective, and SO worth it.

It’s time to implement. Here’s a checklist to start with, including 5 basic steps to achieve successful SEO search marketing:

1. Create Quality Content

Quality content is everything to SEO marketing results. In fact, I would say it’s THE #1 factor.

How do I know? It’s what I’ve seen with our content at Express Writers.

Case study time.

Case Study: How Our Content Quality Nets Over 24K Keyword Rankings

I never pay a cent for ads, I never do outreach, and I never pursue backlinks. Despite that, our content at EW has seen mega-growth over its lifetime.

(Check out my most recent case study for all the little details.)

For this blog, I pulled some fresh stats: As of mid-July 2019, we are currently ranking for 24,800 keywords in Google:

And, Alexa ranks us #100,548 out of billions of websites worldwide, and at #43,373 out of 876.8 million active websites in America – craziness!

Our content quality is the major determiner, here. It’s why we have reached these heights and achieved this level of success. (Most of our consistent clients at EW see the same kind of growth, too.)

Combine content quality with consistency and volume, not to mention relevancy to our core readers, and you have a winning formula for SEO marketing.

Also…

Wondering why our graph jumped so much in growth?

January of 2016 from July of 2019 has seen a ton of growth.

In this Write Blog on how to build a content strategy framework, I detail exactly what we did to go from a measly 140 keyword rankings back in early 2016, to 3,900 keywords indexed in Google in the next 12-18 months.  

Two things:

2. Get Your Website Design & Site Tech Fundamentals Right

Unfortunately, even if your content is of the highest quality, if your website design sucks, none of it will matter.

This is SEO marketing 101: For Google to rank your website content, the search engine crawler has to be able to find your pages, understand them, and index them.

Checking all of these boxes is more complicated than including your target keywords in the right spots or making sure your content is accurate and exceptional. While those are good practices, the more techy stuff needs to be in place, first, on the ground floor:

  • The HTML code underlying your site needs to be standardized. Why? Web crawlers read the code like a language to understand what your page is about and how it’s structured. This is called site architecture.
  • As search engines crawl your site, they use the links present to understand connections between pages, move from page to page, and understand your site’s page hierarchy. (The reader browses your site in the same way.)
  • Most websites have sitemaps that provide an overview of all their page links and page hierarchy. These maps make it easy for search engines to crawl and understand your entire site. Here’s a diagram of how a sitemap works from HubSpot:

In a nutshell, good web design practices are necessary for good SEO. The structure of your HTML code, pages, links, and navigation will all impact how search engines crawl and rank your site. Get it right, or suffer the consequences.

3. Follow Google’s SEO Standards for Quality

If your website design and site architecture are already great, you should worry about your content quality next for effective SEO marketing.

But what IS high-quality content? What does it look like?

Don’t worry: Google has answered this question in full. Enter their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. These were written for search quality raters (humans who help hone Google’s algorithm and the accuracy of search results), but are equally useful for marketing. The ideas they present about quality content are golden.

This guide explains the kinds of pages that fit Google’s definition of “high-quality,” as well as which specific factors influence high- and low-quality ratings. These factors more than likely are similar to Google’s standards for ranking web content.

E.A.T.

One of the main factors Google uses to determine whether a page is high-quality is the acronym E.A.T. – Expertise. Authoritativeness. Trustworthiness.

  • Expertise – Is the content creator an expert on the topic or industry? What are their background and reputation?
  • Authoritativeness – Is the content creator an authority on the subject? Does the content display proof of that authority (accuracy, citations to trusted sources, links to other authorities)? Is the website on which the content appears an authoritative source?
  • Trustworthiness – Are both the content creator and the content itself trustworthy? I.e. Would you feel safe implementing the information, tips, or advice from the content in your own life?

Need a high-quality blog example for search marketing inspiration?

I constantly point to Smartblogger as an example of stellar, high-quality, amazing content.

In particular, this post, How to Become a Freelance Writer, checks every box.

✔ It’s long-form (over 3,000 words!)

✔ It includes engaging writing targeted for the intended audience.

✔ Facts and data back up claims.

Even an expert blogger like Jon Morrow includes stats and figures in his content to add an extra shot of authority.

✔ Images and screenshots illustrate points.

✔ Steps are clearly outlined, and each tip is detailed.

The double-whammy of clear steps and illustrative images make this blog jump from really good to incredible.

✔ The topic and focus keyword line up seamlessly, AND they connect to the reader’s search intent.

To sum up: This is an awesome blog and a great example of high-quality content in action. Read it, study it, and learn from it.

4. Be Smart About Keyword Usage

We’ve arrived at the piece of business marketing everybody knows about: keywords.

Keywords have the potential to be pretty magical for your SEO marketing strategy, but only if you know how to find and use the RIGHT keywords in the most intelligent ways. This is one of the key principles of marketing online.

Smart keyword usage includes:

  • Choosing keywords that connect to your topic AND the search intent of your audience (in other words, relevant to your buyer!)
  • Sprinkling in synonymous or related keywords along with your main or focus keyword
  • Placing your focus keyword correctly inside the content
  • Avoiding the wrong keywords (too broad, strangely worded, or too competitive)
    • Here’s an example of a broad keyword that would be a poor choice for a small brand to target in their content, because the competition is fierce:

Targeting the right keywords is a tricky business. To do it right, learn all you can about keyword research and keyword strategy. Do the grunt work to find your best possible keywords, and use those keywords strategically inside your content.

For reference, Yoast has a good guide to check out. For a step-by-step to doing keyword research in SEMrush, check out our guide, too.

seo marketing awesome CTA

5. Use SEO Plugins and Tools to Help You Get It Done

In SEO marketing, the right tools and SEO plugins for WordPress will get you everywhere. These are the ones I recommend over and over again to make implementing your search marketing strategy much more efficient and simple.

Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

Among the free SEO plugins out there, Yoast is high on the list of must-haves. Installing it is an easy way to ensure all of your blog posts are optimized.

In particular, tweaking the Yoast SEO settings helps you correctly optimize your metas (title and description) for search engines.

This all in one SEO plugin also analyzes your content and gives you suggestions for improvement automatically:

WordPress and Yoast go together like bread and butter. Don’t leave home (or your WordPress SEO) without this handy tool. 🛠

Keyword Research Tools: SEMrush and KWFinder

For search marketing, keyword research tools are indispensable – I repeat: indispensable!

Without them, you won’t be able to research keyword metrics like search volume, difficulty score, or competition. In other words, you’ll be flying blind.

My favorites, of course, are SEMrush (incredibly accurate data, in-depth charts and graphs, position tracking and monitoring) and KWFinder (easy-to-use, readable interface, a perfect quick research tool).

Hot tip: To get the most accurate keyword data, don’t rely on just one tool. Use multiple tools, including paid tools, to get a clearer picture of potential keywords you can rank for. No single tool is 100% accurate!

Here's @JuliaEMcCoy's quick go-to checklist for successful #seomarketing: ⭐create quality content, 🖼️ get your website design right, 📜 follow Google's SEO standards for quality, ✔️ use keywords correctly, and 🧰 use SEO plugins and tools. Click To Tweet

What SEO Marketing Should NOT Look Like

Now that you know the basic do’s of SEO marketing, it’s time to dive into some don’ts.

What shouldn’t you do to climb the Google SERPs? Why does it matter? (What’s some of the worst, most horrible SEO advice I’ve ever heard?)

Let’s dive in.

1. Cheating for Rankings

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Cheaters never prosper.” Well, it’s true for SEO marketing, too.

Plenty of people believe they can game the system to improve their SEO rankings without doing any real work on their content or website.

The thing is, while cheating may work initially, it never lasts indefinitely because Google is constantly evolving and improving. One small algorithm update can bring cheating tactics to a halt.

Here are some common SEO tactics that amount to nothing, because they attempt to game the system rather than work with it:

  • Buying backlinks – Many companies attempt to improve their backlink profile by buying links. Backlinks work like votes for your website, so buying fake ones is akin to rigging an election. Not good.
  • Clickbait – “We want more clicks on our content, even though it’s mediocre. Let’s make this headline so ridiculous, enticing, or sensational that no one will resist!” That, right there, is clickbait in a nutshell – when the content doesn’t deliver on the promise in the headline.
  • Manipulating metrics – Another tactic some website owners use is manipulating their site metrics (bounce rate, dwell time, etc.) through unsavory means to look better in the eyes of Google’s algorithm.
  • Duplicate content – Most site owners commit this sin accidentally, but some create duplicate content on purpose to inflate their rankings. To do it, they publish multiple pieces of content on extremely similar topics, or they simply copy-and-paste a content piece, tweak some of the wording, and publish. NEVER a good idea.

2. Keyword Stuffing

Believe it or not, some people STILL think keyword stuffing is the way to go to rank. (Yikes.)

On this blog from Dan Taylor featuring terrible advice SEOers have heard during their careers, one SEO Director recounted how a client repeated his brand name keyword 1,000 times on a page. He thought using white text on a white background would fool Google – all because a guy “who knew SEO stuff” had told him to do it.

(I’m betting if the pseudo-SEO-guru had told this guy to jump off a bridge, he would have done that, too.)

Today, everyone knows this tactic equals SERP death (…right?). Keyword stuffing is a signal to Google to DE-rank you, not the other way around.

3. Thin, Shallow, Low-Quality Content

If you want SEO marketing to work for you, you have to create content that satisfies your ideal reader. That means thin, shallow, poor-quality, unsatisfying content will sink your ship.

Thankfully, just-plain-bad content has a bunch of giveaways:

  • Low-quality content is usually (not always) short.
  • It does not fully address the topic it covers.
  • It doesn’t answer reader questions fully or satisfactorily.
  • Low-quality content is rooted in opinion, not fact.
  • It’s full of errors and inaccuracies.
  • It’s not written by an expert on the subject.
  • It’s not written by a native English speaker.
  • Most of all, low-quality content doesn’t benefit the reader in any way.

Usually, poor content is cheap content. If you pay a penny per word, you will probably get content of this caliber in return.

Can you say “not worth it?”

Just say no. Invest in your content at every stage to produce blogs, articles, ebooks, and more that contain actual worth for your readers – because content that doesn’t satisfy your audience is worth nothing.

In SEO marketing, you should NOT 👎 cheat for rankings, 🙃 stuff your keywords, and 🤮 create thin, shallow, low-quality content! Read more about @JuliaEMcCoy's #seomarketingguide Click To Tweet

SEO Marketing Matters: Today’s Takeaways

takeaway card for SEO marketing guide

Without SEO marketing, where would online brands and businesses find themselves?

The potential for brand reach and visibility would be cut down to next-to-nothing. Potential buyers from around the world wouldn’t find solutions to their problems, information for their quandaries, or products and solutions tailored for their every whim.

Most importantly, without SEO, buyers wouldn’t be able to take their buying journeys into their own hands.

SEO marketing connects businesses with buyers in a way that’s natural, seamless, helpful, and relationship-building. It’s the present and future of marketing, and it’s powerful in a way we’ve never seen before. 💯

So, my next question for you is obvious: Have you jumped on board yet?

The time is now.

seo marketing awesome CTA