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How to Craft a Content-Marketing Strategy That Works

Search-engine optimization (SEO) must be part of your strategy, but not just any optimized content works. Here's what you need to know.

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Did you know there are nearly 93,000 Google searches every second? If you want your content to rank well within any of those relevant searches, search-engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing must be part of your strategy. But not just any optimized content works. To get the highest return on investment from your content, you must spend time creating original, evergreen content that educates readers. 

The power of content marketing

A study from the Future of Customer Engagement and Experience found that people are 131% more likely to purchase from brands that educate them with content. Even a week later, those consumers were still 48% more likely to buy. And perhaps the most important takeaway from the study? Content increases brand affinity and trust over time.

The more content you create to educate your target audience with, the better off you’ll be in the long run. But, as tempting as it may be to take something your competition is using and use it as your own  even with a few tweaks  that’s not going to work. Not only is it potentially plagiarism, but it won’t do anything to set you apart from the competition.

Related: Here's How to Improve Your Business's Content Marketing

Evergreen content, or content that withstands the test of time, is a crucial part of the equation, since it continues to work for you long after it’s created and published. Each piece of content you create that ranks well in search engines can bring in a new customer and build and strengthen relationships. It establishes your expertise and credibility in your industry or niche.

For a solid piece of content, you need a few things working together, starting with well-written content. You don’t have to be an English major since there are plenty of tools available online to help you like Grammarly, Readable and ProWritingAid. If you don’t have time, there are plenty of freelancers out there who can write content for you. 

What else do you need?

Custom graphics

Blog posts with images get more engagement on social media than those that don’t. And visuals make content easier to remember.

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create professional-quality content. And you don’t have to spend tons of money and time learning software like Photoshop. Thanks to platforms like Canva and Crello, it’s easy to make graphics.

And you don’t have to spend a ton of money on stock photos or take your own. You can use the stock library in those tools, as well as a number of Creative Commons sources to find the images you need. Some options include Unsplash, Pixabay and Flickr. 

Video

If a photo is worth a thousand words, a video is worth exponentially more. (An old Forrester study from 2008 claimed it was worth 1.8 million words, but our video consumption has changed drastically since then. That said, there doesn’t seem to be any new research on the subject.)

Add video wherever it makes sense. You don’t have to shoot your own original footage. You can create explainer videos with tools like Doodly or use screencasting software like Loom, Screencast-O-Matic or Screenflow to create video without ever showing your face.

Related: 6 Ways to Source Content for Your Website

Statistics and research

Much like you can see done throughout this article, the more data and statistics you have to support your content, the more trustworthy it becomes. As the content ages, you’ll need to periodically check to make sure there’s not more current statistics you can use. Generally, you should use the most recent data available. Try to avoid using data that’s older than five years, unless it’s the only data available on a particular subject.

Something completely original that solves a problem

With development moving at lightning speed, companies have developed free resources that solve problems for their potential customers. Some examples are bright local creating a search platform that replicates search results from any location in the world as if you were searching from there. Inheritance Advanced created a free loan calculator for website viewers to use for free. 

Examples of content marketing

Canva’s Design School: This resource helps canva users learn about design and how to use the tool.

 Burger King: In the early days of the pandemic, BK did something unexpected on social media. They encouraged people to order from McDonald’s. The point of the post was ultimately to help keep the entire restaurant industry alive while we were all home, but it caught many by surprise.

Related: 7 Steps to Start Your First Content-Marketing Campaign

Research shows that 61% of online shoppers in the U.S. make purchases based on recommendations they’ve read on a blog, and 79% of them spend half of their time researching the products they’re thinking about buying.

Craft content for every stage of the funnel. As you build a relationship with your audience, you’ll increase the odds of converting a reader into a buyer.

George Kocher

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

George Kocher is a data-driven marketing leader with experience building and managing high-performance teams. He is the founder and CEO of Brand North, an exclusive demand-generation agency that focuses on applying sophisticated data-science methodology to drive marketing growth.