Last week marked the first official Research Triangle HubSpot User Group (HUG). It
was a wonderful morning of presentations, discussions, and networking, all centered
around content marketing. We’ll be providing our thoughts and summaries of those talks
a little later on, but I thought I’d kick off these recaps with some of the tips I presented at
the top. My goal is for you to be able to take these tips and implement effectual change
today (or as soon as your calendar allows).
Quality over Quantity
It used to be the case that companies could publish something quick 5 times a week, search engines would recognize the new content and the website would get a boost. That reality, thank goodness, is no longer the case. Now, the content marketing game is all about quality. In the same vein as “if you don’t have something nice to say…”, if you don’t have something valuable to say, don’t say anything at all.
Search engines now rank according to time on a page, quality link backs, and metrics that point to quality over quantity. Providing value will both boost your web presence and, overall, your brand. Potential customers will return if they are getting something in return for their time so don’t throw away that opportunity.
Historical optimization is one of my favorite tricks, tucked safely away in my back pocket for when I have a little extra time (has that ever happened?), when I’m training a new employee, or most likely when I’m looking to better leverage an existing piece of content. Refreshing older content items extends its value and ultimately the return on your investment for creating it. Putting pen to paper - or fingers to keys I suppose - is not easy and requires time, research, thought, and motivation.
Simple updates to key areas such as titles, article headers, metadata and CTAs will boost your content in search engines and serve to extend the lifetime value your investment.
Build Around Topics
Whether you call it a pillar strategy or topic clusters, building your content around key ideas, done thoughtfully and strategically, can have tremendous impact. I’ve seen companies rank for incredibly competitive keywords by systematically implementing a dedicated pillar strategy (from 33,000 to 5!).
The idea is that you create one solid overview page, your pillar page. This page is meant to be found by search engines. Your cluster content, using similar ideas and keywords, will link back to your pillar page. The more backlinks, the stronger that pillar page, and your associated keyword, become.
When kicking off a pillar strategy, think about your business goals and the challenges that your customers are looking to resolve. I won’t delve too much into this now as HubSpot (the kind authors of the above image) have written the book on this topic, but you can grab this workbook to kick off your efforts.
Always Be Experimenting
At Penguin Strategies, we’ve adopted a philosophy of experimentation. At the heart of this is our refusal to “get comfortable” or “go on auto-pilot”. Applying the scientific method that was hammered into me in 7th grade science (did anyone else dissect their squid and then grill it on the quad?) we:
Facts and data are at the core of all our efforts. While gut feelings may be a good starting point, the only way you can improve is by testing, measurement, and analysis. Ash Maurya has had a big influence on our office and growth hacking is a way of life. Here is a template that we use for experiments large (ranking for a hyper competitive keyword) and small (A/B testing a subject line). This keeps us honest, provides a documented history of experimentation, and pushes us to always be improving.
What tips are you using to up your content marketing game? Send me an email and let me know what works for you!