In 2017, one of the most important steps for winning in the content game is integrating content marketing with search engine optimization (SEO). This true partnership will prove to be necessary in order to create content and optimize it — even for average results. Companies in the past which have completely separated these two divisions should make sure these silos work cohesively on a combined strategy. While a long-term plan (always with a shared content calendar) is needed, there should be extensive overlap and ongoing communication between content marketers and SEO professionals.
Here are three specific steps you should take to avoid a failed content strategy:
1. Ask Yourself, Where’s the Value?
It’s no secret that we all are bombarded on a daily basis with more than enough content for our attention spans. Therefore, creating mediocre content or just repurposing others’ content is a big negative. Gone are the days where a few blog posts here and there on something you feel inclined to share are garnering clicks much less an eventual sale. The content you’re producing must address your specific audience’s interest and needs—providing them with overall value and satisfaction.
The end goal of a successful content marketing strategy is to position yourself as an industry leader and build trusting relationships with your audience. When people trust what a company has to say, they will remember that feeling when they’re ready to purchase. It may not be the first, second or even third time someone comes across your content that they convert to a customer, but if you’ve created a lasting impression, they will remember you when they need you.
2. Use Your Analytics
Analytics are vital in measuring the success of your digital marketing efforts. By tracking your analytics for both SEO and content strategies, you’ll gain a better understanding of your customer, their journeys and next steps. Numbers don’t lie and when you’re sitting down to develop these strategies; it’s crucial that you benchmark previous campaigns.
You should pay close attention to which keywords lead viewers to your content, which type of content and channels generate the most viewers and your return-on-investment (ROI). Too many content marketers are blindly producing content without knowing if it’s working or not. While it’s true SEO requires a steady stream of content—if you’re doing it right you’ll never stop researching and evolving with the industry.
3. Merge Content & SEO Efforts
For content teams who like to plan months in advance, working closely with SEO professionals can pose a significant challenge. It’s critical, however, to optimize each piece of content for SEO success before it’s published. 10x digital’s Director of Digital Strategies offers some helpful advice on this process, “SEO professionals can provide content marketers with recommended topics and keywords for articles, as well as assistance in ensuring SEO factors such as alt tags, canonicals, meta tags, etc. are correctly configured. It’s best to collaborate on promoting the article via outreach, social media and other channels to maximize success.”