So you create content to attract visitors to your website? That’s great, but do you actually bring added value to those visitors and to your business? Read on to learn how to create an effective inbound marketing strategy.
“SEO Is Dead, Vive Le SEO”
The SEO community has been a bit shaken last month after Matt Cutts’ statement on guest blogging:
“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”
Following this statement, SEO bloggers and guest blogging platforms (of course) went into some kind of panic and published heaps of articles to reassure people(1).
Of course, guest blogging is not dead. Even Matt Cutts had to add a note to reassure the good fellows out there:
“I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.”
So if you have distributed some high quality posts on good quality sites, you should not be concerned at all. However, if you have been exploiting guest blogging just for the sake of building links, then you should probably stop right now, (and even do a bit of cleaning) and start re-thinking your content strategy all over and move away from “old-fashioned SEO”.
Why Old SEO Is Not Sustainable Anymore
Nowadays, it’s certainly commonplace to say that SEO has changed but unfortunately some people still don’t get it. No, there is no (or very, very little) value in getting links with optimised anchor text in blog rolls, directories or low quality articles on crappy sites. The Google algorithm gets incredibly smarter each month and can now understand Conversational Search. So really, you shouldn’t try to fool Google. If you do so, you are wasting your time and even shooting yourself in the foot as you’ll be sooner or later penalised by Google. Just follow Google’s guidelines on links schemes instead.
It’s no secret that Google now puts a lot of importance on social signals (Google+, Facebook shares, post comments, etc.). These signals reflect user engagement towards your content and therefore how useful your content is to them (not to all Internet users – but to the ones YOU target).
How To Create High Value Content For Your Audience
The methodology below should help you to produce this content that will drive engagement from people who matter:
1. Identify your personas
2. Understand their Decision Making Process (DMP)
3. Create a relevant content for each “persona / step of the DMP” pair
4. Create (and follow) a content production plan
1. Identify Your Personas
Personas are the cornerstone of your content strategy, and of your business.
They are your customer segments represented by fictional characters, with their attributes (demographic, geographic, income, etc.), values, needs and goals.
Below are the general categories that each buyer persona profile should include:
- General information like name, job title, etc.
- Background information to help frame the persona
- Demographics of this persona
- Common identifier characteristics
- Goals of the persona
- Challenges of this persona
- How we help solve these challenges
- Quotes that this persona would commonly say
- Common objections
- The marketing message we want to send this persona
- The elevator pitch used for this persona based on points of pain and solutions
Creating these profiles will help you better identify each of your targeted audience and the key difference(s) between them.
It will help you to see where and how you should talk to them to address their needs.
2. Understand Their Decision Making Process (DMP)
Whatever your product or service, your potential buyers will always go through a DMP. However depending on the degree of involvement and knowledge, buyers may skip some steps such as information search.
Likewise, each of your buyer personas will have a different decision making process. The key is to understand their DMP and ensure that your business provides a relevant information and support for each of these steps.
3. Create Relevant Content For Each “Persona / Step Of The DMP” Pair
Once you have identified your personas and their DMP, you need to assess the most suitable type of content and format.
5 types of content will be typically used across the DMP:
- Content to ATTRACT your audience and increase your brand AWARENESS;
- Content to EDUCATE people who actively search for information to fix their problem or fulfil their need;
- Content to convince your prospects, over come their objections and CONVERT them into customers;
- Content to CLOSE the proposition and ease the conversion;
- Content to DELIGHT your customers to retain them and turn them into brand advocates.
Below is an example persona FIRST developed for The Rugby Site. This example shows what content should be best used for the Pro Coaches persona.
4. Create (And Follow) A Content Production Planning
A strategy is nothing without a clear roadmap. Creating a plan will allow you to:
- Organise your resources and allocate the tasks between your team/partners;
- Get your team and partners involved and commit to the project (deadlines can be very effective to get the job done in due time);
- Ensure you have a good balanced strategy, i.e. varied type of content targeting your different personas.
To conclude, I will leave you with some quotes from some great marketing minds:
Good SEO is simply good marketing.
- Grant Osborne, Head of FIRST
Our job is to make change. Our job is to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.
- Seth Godin
Companies pay too much attention to the cost of doing something. They should worry more about the cost of not doing it.
- Philip Kotler
- Matt Cutts Says ‘Stop’ Guest Blogging for SEO: Here’s Everything You Need to Know – Search Engine Land
- The Future of Guest Blogging (No, it’s Not Dead, Despite What Matt says) – PostJoint
- News Flash: Matt Cutts Declares Guest Blogging Done, Except When It’s Done Well – Content BLVD
- Inbound Methodology – Hubspot
- Personas Will Rock Your Inbound Marketing & Sales – Savvy Panda
- Creating an Inbound Marketing Content Strategy – ClickZ