Since 2012, interest in content marketing has grown dramatically, escalating in recent times due to the announcement of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm and changes in the way Google deals with penalties. In fact, searches for ‘content marketing’ have increased substantially in Google:
For many industry experts like Alyssa Sellors, 2014 is the year of content marketing, yet many small businesses are still missing out on this excellent way of growing their business online. In this article we’ll look at a couple of successful content marketing strategies, each being successful in increasing website traffic and leads.
The Power Of Long Tail Search
First of all, let’s take a look at just how content marketing can improve your traffic. When most small business owners think of SEO, they usually picture a report of keyword rankings for competitive terms from their SEO company. Content marketing is different.
Instead of focussing on terms like this, which are sometimes referred to as ‘head’ terms, content marketing is based on ‘long tail’ keywords. These are keywords that are much more specific than head terms, and so have lower search volume, yet exist in much greater numbers than ‘head’ terms. Larry Kim’s article at Wordstream does a great job in explaining long tail keywords.
[image link: http://www.wordstream.com/long-tail]
So what is the benefit of going for long tail keywords? Most of your competitors will be obsessed about getting the number 1 spot for a ‘head’ keywords, neglecting long tail keywords. As a result, long tail keywords are much less contested, and, with a single, well written article, you can in fact rank for almost limitless amounts of non competitive keywords that are searched for by your potential customers.
How Do You Rank For Long Tail Keywords?
By now, you may be wondering how you can rank for long tail search keywords. The real question you should be asking is “how do I provide value to my potential customers in an article?”. The best route towards a successful content marketing strategy is to let keywords take a backseat. The truth is, keyword rankings aren’t really that important to your business. What’s important is that through your blog articles and website content, you’re able to attract and convert potential customers. Keyword rankings don’t pay the bills, whereas actual customers do!
To do this, you need a good piece of content that will be useful to your customers. For example, you could troubleshoot an issue that your potential customers could be experiencing, which your product or service would resolve. Or you could provide a solution to a common challenge that your target market could be facing. For example if your buyers were sales directors, you could provide them with a tool or some tips on how to improve their sales methods or streamline their workflow.
Lisa Barone provides some useful advice on how to create quality content for your blog here. You can also check out Brian Clark’s post here, and this round up by Darren Rowse at Problogger for some more tips.
What Results Can You Expect?
It is entirely possible to drive tons of qualified traffic to your site without even worrying about whether you’re ranking at number 1 for any terms.
Below is a screenshot of our top landing pages for last month, sorted by number of clicks. As you can see, a large number of clicks have been generated by two popular posts in particular.
Of the ten top pages, 432 visitors entered the site through articles as part of our content marketing. Meanwhile, 380 people entered the site through the top two landing pages which used more conventional SEO marketing techniques. That means without content marketing, we could have missed out on 432 extra visitors to the site. These visitors then convert either by filling out a contact form or by requesting a free gift using the form at the bottom of many of the blog posts.
Content marketing is a great strategy for smaller players in an industry faced with big competitors, too. Take our client in this case study for example, whose organic search traffic increased by over 150% following the implementation of a content marketing strategy. While competing with their major competitors for the main ‘head’ terms would have been expensive and time consuming, none of the main competitors were using content marketing, allowing the client to receive qualified traffic through long tail searches.
Content marketing is ideal for short to medium term campaigns, since traffic is not 100% reliant on your ranking, which can take several months to build up. It’s also easy to drive traffic to your site through social media or using paid traffic like Taboola or Outbrain. Essential to turning a profit is having an effective method of capturing leads on your blog page, through a free download, contact form, or email newsletter opt-in form.