Maybe you’ve heard that using a content marketing strategy generates three times the amount of leads compared to traditional types of outbound marketing (and over 60% cheaper to boot).
But maybe you’ve also heard that 82% of marketers say that the importance of SEO is rising significantly.
So which is better? Content marketing or SEO strategy?
Well, I’m here to put in my two cents: you need both. Using content marketing combined with the power of SEO is going to bring traffic, leads, and business to your site.
Keep reading to learn how to create the perfect balance between content and SEO in your marketing strategy.
What Does Content Marketing Do for You?
Why create content in the first place? How is investing in content marketing going to help your business?
It’s going to do three main things: provide customers with understanding, increase your credibility, and pre-sell your product/service.
Content helps your customers and your prospects understand a topic, product, service, or concept that you can help with via your content, your product, and/or your service.
Providing high-quality and helpful information will also portray you and your business as a credible, trustworthy expert in your field. This will make you a credible choice for their product/service needs, which is where content excels at pre-selling your business, your product, and your service.
What Does SEO Do for You?
You could have the best, most informative content out there. But if it never reaches your intended customers or audience, then it’s meaningless.
That’s where SEO comes in. SEO will get your content to the client/prospect, which will then lead to the understanding, credibility, and pre-selling that we discussed earlier.
SEO will also help put you above and in front of your competitors.
The First Steps
In order to set yourself up to create and implement a great marketing strategy using both SEO and content marketing, start with the basics: your site and cornerstone content.
1. Your Site
Is it working? What platform are you using? How is the blog doing? Is everything functioning properly?
You can’t do SEO or create content for on a site that isn’t functioning (or doesn’t exist at all)!
We highly recommend using WordPress for your content and site. This is going to streamline both your content marketing and your SEO strategies, leaving you more time to dedicate to creating and implementing the marketing strategy we outlined earlier in this post.
WordPress also does SEO very well, which will make the SEO part of your strategy easier.
2. Cornerstone Content
Once that’s set up, dedicate time to creating what we call “cornerstone content.” This is content that’s essential to your business, your product, or your service. These cornerstone pieces might not rank well or show up on the first page of search results, but they are going to make it very clear to Google (and customers!) exactly what you’re all about, which will make further content and SEO marketing strategies easier for you to implement.
How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy Alongside an SEO Strategy
So how exactly do you go about creating a content marketing and SEO strategy that works together?
There’s a lot of overlap between the two. In a sense, you can’t have one be effective without the other.
While the specifics are going to be different for every industry and situation, here are the general guidelines.
1. Learn About Your Customers
Figure out the answers to some basic questions:
- What are your customers and/or audience looking for?
- What information do they need?
- What do they want out of their search?
- What types of products/services do they need?
- What content can you provide that will put your business in the forefront of their mind the next time they’re searching for your product/service? Do keyword research to find out exactly what terms and topics people are searching for. Use those keywords you uncover and the information you find out to frame your understanding of what content customers want.
Also, take this opportunity to understand what are your competitors doing right.
What content are your customers getting from competitors that they could be getting from you instead? Is there a keyword that people are looking for that you fit better than your competitors? Where can you insert yourself in this competitive space?
Keep all of these questions in mind as you do your research.
2. Build Your Content Calendar
Now that you know what your customers are searching for, and you know what keywords and information to focus on, you’re ready to start building content around that information.
Build a content calendar with of the content aligned with the keywords you researched in step one, so when that person does the search and they consume the content, it’s going to be exactly aligned with what they’re looking for.
As I mentioned earlier, also try carving out a unique niche space that sets you apart from your competitors.
Whether that’s through different keywords, a different stance on an industry opinion, or a completely different product, anything that can make you stand out from the crowd is going to work in your favor.
3. Execute and Optimize Your Content Calendar
Coming up with a perfectly optimized and well-thought-out content calendar is the easy part. Now, you need to execute your plans and ideas on a consistent basis.
Publishing consistently great content proves to the search engines that you’re reliable. This basically “conditions” Google to say, “Hey, this site publishes new and great content weekly! I’m going to rank them high on search results because of that.”
Staying consistent won’t mean anything, though, if you don’t also keep the content high-quality and SEO optimized. Optimizing that content helps it be seen by your target audience and gets that audience to your site.
This step sounds like a tall order, and it is. But all of this work that you put into your content marketing will only help you in terms of traffic, leads, and business.
4. Reinvest in Old Content
Maybe you created a lot of your old content before you had a marketing strategy, and it isn’t performing well or helping your site succeed.
Don’t let this old content go to waste!
You already have it created, so why not spend a small amount of time repurposing it to work for your current strategy? This is an easy way to keep consistent with new content that works with your new strategy without having to spend time creating brand new content.
The Next Steps
Once you’ve followed those first steps and have moved on to the more detailed steps of your SEO and content marketing strategy, it’s time to promote your content!
E-mail your prospects, set up fill-forms, craft a “subscribe” button to notify people of new content, use social media, link to your blog in business cards and your email signature, etc. Whatever you can do to promote the content you’ve worked so hard to create: do it!
Remember: a content and SEO marketing strategy will only work as long as you continue to actively implement it.