If you want to generate qualified leads for your local business through your website, it is important to follow through on Google’s guidelines and provide content that is informative, useful and targeted to your niche.
According to Google, a high-quality website is considered to have “a satisfying amount of high-quality main content.” Google’s quality guidelines say that creating high quality MC takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise and talent/skill. This means is that each page on your website needs to be detailed and authoritative on the topic it covers.
If you are developing content marketing that will be effective for your business, here are some key things to consider.
1. Understand who you’re writing for.
Content marketing for lead generation is a customer-focused strategy. You should be focused on writing stuff people want to read, and will make them want to become customers once they have read it.
Before you create any content that will be effective for your lead generation campaign, it is important to have a clear idea of who your target audience is if you are going to produce the type of content that speaks to their needs and, at the same time, would be of significant interest to them.
It is just as important to understand your audience, and this goes beyond simply identifying your target market. Your content should be focused on establishing trust and credibility with your primary audience.
For example, say you’re trying to optimize your travel blog for the keyword: Things to do in London. You’re writing for potential tourists in a highly competitive niche. According to research by HARP Social, the headline accounts for up to 50% of your blog’s effectiveness, so you need to identify a powerful headline that will grab attention and generate engagement.
For example, you may find that something like Top 105 things to do in London this summer would really stand out in the search results, and adding relevant videos and gorgeous images would make the article really stand out.
2. Aim to Provide Value
Clarify the value you’ll be providing in your content. If you want to generate real interest in what you create, you’ll need to provide real value by satisfying some sort of need, such as publishing useful, practical and actionable content that helps solve people’s problems.
You need to do some research to find out what your audience’s biggest problems and desires are. The content you produce needs to be geared towards using your expertise to solve a specific problem. It should be a problem that people in your industry tend to struggle with, and it should demonstrate your expertise.
Remember, content marketing is not about using your content to impress or dazzle your audience with your knowledge. Rather, it is about directly addressing the needs of your audience and presenting a useful and practical solution to a real problem that they are struggling with. This is what will help you build trust and credibility with your target audience an drive targeted traffic to your site.
3. Focus on Problems You Can Solve for Your Audience
To determine what problems to solve for your audience, start by finding out the most common problems in your niche or industry. Some of the best places to search for topics to write about or problems to solve are competitor sites, Twitter, Q & A sites, niche-specific forum threads and blog comments.
Once you have identified a key problem or topic to write about, do some research to discover exactly how much has been written on the topic by searching on the topic’s keywords. Check out the existing content on the topics to see how you can improve on existing content.
Listen to the conversations of your target audience so that you can understand what it is they talk about online, what is important to them and what their problems and challenges are. You need to understand what makes them tick. What would be interesting to them? What are they tweeting about? What are they sharing? What specific needs or problems are they talking about in their comments?
Understanding the problems facing your target audience will enable you to produce content that resonates with them. It is important to be very specific when you define your target audience in order to make your content more effective.
4. Focus on Long Form Content
According to Neil Patel, “longer posts usually perform better on every level.” This assertion is borne out by countless studies into long form and short form content. For instance, a research study by SerpIQ showed that the average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to create only lengthy articles. You’ll need to mix it up with 300-500 word articles as well so that it appears natural. You don’t want Google to feel that you’re writing specifically for the search engines.
Search Engine Watch notes that Google highlights in-depth articles in its search results. This has been interpreted as proof that Google actually prefers long form content. The higher up you go on the search listings page, the higher the word count each webpage has. Research by Moz also showed a high correlation between the length of the content and the number of links each piece of content received. What the study clearly revealed is that people are more willing to link to content that is in-depth and more comprehensive than they are willing to link to short form content.
5. What has proven successful in your industry?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with content marketing is to create content around random topics that you believe will be popular with your audience. Such an approach is dangerous and could easily turn out to be an expensive waste of time and money. Before you select a topic to write about, do your research into what has proven successful in your industry. And this is tools sites like Buzzsumo comes in.
Buzzsumo is a powerful content marketing tool that you can use to identify topics to write about. The way it works is, you would type in a broad keyword, and it will display the topics and types of content that has generated the most shares on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest in that niche. Once you have identified topics that have been well received by your target audience, this will give you some ideas on what type of content you could be creating.
6. What is the purpose of your content?
Your content is not about you. It is about your audience, and it must be centered on helping your visitors rather than promoting your brand. The purpose of your content should be clear and definite. It should be educational or informative but clearly designed to achieve a specific goal.
This content needs to be unique, actionable and valuable, and not mass-produced or outsourced on a large number of other sites. Write down every possible question your customers are likely to ask at every stage of the sales funnel and use the answers to those questions as the basis for some of the content you create. This will clarify whether the content you are writing is designed to be educational, to drive awareness or to sell.
Consider the Following Example
If you are a web designer, you could focus on specific topics that teaches novice users how to solve a common problem in the latest version of Photoshop. If the content is informational, you can develop a reputation as an authority. People will look to you for interpretation of what is happening in your industry or niche. You can then link to actual sales pages in case readers want to learn more.
As earlier suggested, check out forum threads, Twitter, blog comments and competitor sites to find out what type of questions your target audience is asking. These are the same questions your prospects are going to type into a search engine. If the content is compelling enough, your target audience may find your site through that content. So create content that targets those keyword themes.
It is also important to use the language that your customers use. If your customers tend to search for specific keywords and phrases, you need to incorporate those keywords naturally in your content, writing in a manner that is friendly, personal an informative. This means you need to identify the specific keywords that Google would naturally expect to see in that content.
6. How practical, useful and actionable is your content?
According to a study by Dr. Jonah Berger and Dr. Katherine Milkman which looked at factors that made a piece of content go viral, articles rated as useful, actionable and practical were 30% more likely than average to go viral. To make your content practicable and actionable, provide clear and simple, step-by-step instructions.
Clarify what readers should expect after they follow a sequence of steps. Guide them by moving them from stage to the next. Make your expectations clear and logical. Don’t ask readers to do something you know would be difficult for them to accomplish on their own without asking for your help.
Don’t take your readers for granted. They are wise enough to know when they are being played. You need to build trust and credibility with your readers so that they keep coming back to your as their main source of reference.
Questions to run through to make sure your writing is actionable:
- Do I have enough information about the subject?
- Is my article applicable to all?
- Did I use lists more than long paragraphs?
- Am I overwhelming the reader?
- Am I clear about the expectations?
- Did I write clear and logical steps?
- Did I make sure to use short sentences?
- Did I review the article in terms of grammatical and spelling mistakes?
7. Each page needs to be detailed and authoritative on the topic it covers.
According to Google’s website guidelines, each page should be detailed and authoritative on the topic it covers. For example in the plumbing industry, most plumbers offer a range of services from boiler servicing to unblocking drains and toilets, bathroom installation, etc. Most plumbers make the mistake of offering each of these services on a single services page on their website which lists all of the different services they offer, with a couple of lines describing each service.
Such a website will not rank well for competitive phrases. Each service should have its own dedicated page, with at least 400 words that describe each service.
In the example above, the plumber can describe each service on a dedicated page. For example, the plumber can have a page dedicated to water heater repair and installation. It could also talk about:
- Describe the service you’re offering. What is involved in the process and how long does it typically take?
- Describe what types of repair can occur with a water heater, and what causes breakdown.
- Answer the frequently asked questions that people ask.
- Discuss why prospective customers should buy from you rather than your competitors.
- Address common objections that potential customers may have.
- Describe how someone can place an order for your services.