Bill Gates once said, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on internet”. Clearly content is the king but not just any content. Olga, a product marketing manager at SEMrush talks about how content can help you generate leads and what the essentials of a content should be.
If you missed it, you can view the webinar here.
Here is a brief of the questions asked during the webinar:
Q1. How often should the content be uploaded?
A1. It depends on your goal and the statement of your product and service. Let’s say, you have some major updates in your product or company and there is a drastic change in your existing content. You will have to update it immediately. From my experience it takes around three to six months before you need to update your content because it’s rare that something changes much in such a small amount of time or usually its some minor changes that doesn’t require an immediate update. But in three to six months’ time, you will have enough of new content or updates (something can change in the market or you can gain some new experience). Another suggestion is, when you think about the content update, it’s when you actually do content audit. You can check if your content has stopped performing as good as it did before, or if your content position has gone down in google search so that we can try to find why it started to fall.
Q2. How important is it to target the audience first and then create the content vs creating the content then publishing it to reach the masses?
A2. I would say that you must create content to establish the audience. It will go in parallel. You can’t wait till you have millions of people to follow you without creating sample or engaging gullible content. In the same time, you can create and publish 10,000 pieces of content every week and gain people. It is important to do it in parallel. You shouldn’t wait till the moment when you have a lot of people at your site. At the same time, it’s not right to create content before you have some audience to view it. If you are talking about database for newsletter, then you must write till you have at least 500 to 1000 people to send the newsletter to, but before that you can slowly create/establish your audience by publishing your pieces of your content on the blog and distribute the blog article through different channels or influencers and exchange your content with your blog partners. Step by step you will have a good bunch of content for people who are going to account for you. I hope I explained it clearly.
Q3. How does content fit into the overall business plan to help achieve goals?
A3. Let’s say, a business has a plan to increase retention, sales or brand awareness. The content will help achieve those goals. For example, at the awareness stage when we create educational content we help business increase brand awareness. Even regarding increase in sales or increase in revenue, content can help your business reach those goals such as content on the decision stage (the content we create for our customers) can help the company develop loyalty and retain customers. They can also become a fan of your tool and further advocate it. Generally, content helps to generate leads and convert those leads to your customers and then keep them retained. Content will be a good strategy to reach your business goals.
Q4. How can I increase the ROI of my content?
A4. If you want to increase ROI of your content, you must firstly see how it performs, how much traffic or leads it generates and what distribution channels are there. You will have to change it frequently and try different platforms and resources. You can also try to restructure your content and include more call to actions or lead generating forms. You must make sure that the content has those triggers. Your call to actions may not be visible or might be at a wrong place or stage of the content. For instance, if you have a long greet and your call to action is at the very end, not everyone will reach it and then they wouldn’t convert to the next stage. You will have to place you call to action in the middle of the long greet or provide the link somewhere in the middle to ensure that the person will see your call to action and won’t miss it. You will have to test different steps and types and combine some of them to prove effective.
Q5. Do you use a content calendar to plan a content and if so, do you recommend a format?
A5. Yes, I use a content calendar. Generally, I use our content marketing calendar that we have at SEMrush. They launched it recently. When we organize a new marketing campaign, I create a campaign item in the calendar. All the activity that I mark under this campaign shows in the calendar. Everybody who uses this calendar will know at which stage I am, what the stage of the content is, what time I created the campaign, who is responsible for content creation and all the other information. Before that I was just using some simple excel datasheet. In excel it was just a table where I was planning what are the dates of the activity or a content post and who is responsible for the content post. I was placing links to the drafts of the content to ensure I put the main message or main keywords that I or external writers should use while creating this piece of content.
Q6. If you are aware that you have very diverse audience segments, would you recommend different content for each segment or would you say it is better to try to cater for both in a single post?
A6. No, I would recommend different stages. If you have a lot of segments, you should decide which one you are concentrating on. It shouldn’t just be one segment it should at least be three, but don’t mix up those audience/segments in one content piece. It is better to create two with a clear message. The golden rule is “One piece of content, one clear message and one clear call to action”. Try to follow this rule.
Q7. What messaging should be embedded in the content to get the reader to take the desired actions as it relates to the main phase of the buyer’s journey and smaller call to action steps too.
A7. What we usually do is, we write a paragraph about the problem or an explanation about how to solve the problem. We explain what steps are to be taken to solve a problem or reach a goal and then at the end of the paragraph we place links. For example, if you feel that its right or if you feel that it is a good solution for you go here and see what can be done. Usually these links are the links to a content of a different stage. If I am writing educational content for awareness stage I would place the link to a consideration stage content which highlights the product benefits. If I am writing consideration stage content I can place links to case studies, landing page, free trial or a suggestions page. Just experiment with call to action at different parts of the content.
Sources for Trending News
Q8. What are some sources for what’s trending?
A8. Reddit and Quora are very good sources for trending topics. You can see conversations around everything there. I am brand monitoring all the time. I monitor my own brand, my competitors brand and some industry keywords. Let’s say, if my industry is content marketing, I will search for content marketing and see what stories are appearing around this keyword. There is Feedly, where you can find a lot of stories. They are news aggregators. There are different aggregators like Topsy but I am not using it anymore. I think it’s Reddit, Quora and brand monitoring that helps me find some trending topics.
Q9. What kind of content should you share in Reddit?
A9. Generally, we try different types of content but mostly we use “How to articles”, which explains how to handle a problem. We don’t put our product’s content instead we put educational content where we don’t explain our product features but show the steps involved in solving the problem and gently point to our solution (brand). For instance, you can say, “If you want to implement all those tools, here is some more content to know about” and then you can lead the person to your blog, where he can find how to content. This type of content is more productive.
Q2. Should the content be long or short? Is there any limit that works better on Reddit?
A2. I won’t say that there is a golden standard for this. It depends on your goal. For Instance, if you want to raise interest of a person, it is better to provide some piece of the content (sneak peak of what you can explain) and then provide the link to your blog or any content set at your site. You can then explain all the benefits of your products and get some contacts (emails or phone numbers). I think his would be better. We did try this in our practices.
Q10. What methods would you suggest in determining the key purchase drivers and purchase obstacles?
A10. There are different points. We can suggest a solution to the customer and say, “if you are trying to reach this goal you can try these steps”, or we can explain how to use our service or product. If the person is confused before purchasing, we can provide some comparisons. This seems to work because sometimes the customer is not sure about which solution or brand to choose because he doesn’t have all the information about the brand or he can’t clearly identify what the pluses and the minuses of a solution are. From my point of view the best quantum type would be some comparisons where you can clearly explain the pluses and the minuses. I think that works the best.
Q11. Is this for B2B marketing or B2C?
A11. I made it for B2B marketing, but some of the points/aspects might also work for B2C. It is a bit different but even your B2C buyer persona has the same stages. You must change a bit of your main messaging or the quantum types at the decision-making stage. At that stage you don’t need some huge data sheets. You can give away free trials, promo codes or some discounts to attract them towards your company. If you are talking about B2C content marketing, think in respect to the buyers at the decision-making stage.
Q12. What impacts more, backlinks or social shares?
A12. Definitely back links. If you are talking about SEO factors, social shares are good for brand awareness, but it is not proved that google really counts it as a ranking factor for your content. It does count back links so if you can choose what to work on, choose back links. Concentrate on gaining good trust worthy and relevant back links from relevant websites. It would really help.
Q13. Do you use infographics? Does infographics help with SEO?
A13. Yes, we use infographics and it also helps with SEO, but we don’t publish infographics all by itself. We create some piece of content before or after the infographics to explain points and use the targeted keywords to optimize the text for SEO optimization.