Since the Google Panda update slapped down sites with dubious (and often duplicate) content, SEOs have been clamoring to get a content marketing strategy in place.
While this is great news for copywriters, freelancers need to ensure they are ahead of the game to stay in a job. And one way to do that is to understand the value of planning and strategy for content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a promotional strategy focused on creating unique, high-quality content. Well-written blog posts, white papers and case studies are now the name of the game.
So, as a professional copywriter, you should already have the edge over the competition – quality isn’t something that can be churned out on mass. And, to give yourself a really unfair advantage over your competition, get to grips with content marketing planning and strategies.
Content Marketing Planning
For years the oft-chanted mantra in internet marketing has been “content is king.” And yet, if this had been true all along arguably there would be no need for Panda. Simply producing great content isn’t enough – people have got to find it, love it and above all, link to it.
So what can you do to help your clients create a successful content-led internet marketing strategy?
Remind them of the value of planning.
Questions that you can ask a client to help them to get more from their content.
- Basic targeting questions:Who is this for? What is your target market? What is the purpose of this? What will your reader get out of this? Why should they care?You probably already ask these, but it can help your client to really think about whether what they are suggesting is genuinely something that people would want to link to.
- Promotional questions:How will you promote your content? Have you got a list of appropriate bloggers, journalists and webmasters to promote the content to? Do you plan to use several different promotional techniques, e.g. press releases, Twitter, PPC adverts?Help your client to decide how the great content you produce for them will get in front of the right people – and remind them that social media alone isn’t magic; unless they already have a massive following it will take more to attract attention and links.
- Technical questions:Where will your content be hosted? What format(s) will it be available in? How will users share it? Have you made it easy to use?You need your client to think carefully about this – unless there is a very good reason not to, hosting on site should always be the preferred option. They can make it easy to promote with sharing buttons, embed codes and more, but self-hosting gives them control of their content in a way that social media doesn’t.
- Timelines: When will the content be released? Will they run a teaser campaign? Will they tie in the launch with another large scale event?
Another essential question to help you do your job effectively, but it also includes more sophisticated questions that should help them to develop effective plans.
- Competition:Is anyone else in their niche doing anything similar? Can they build on what’s worked before – or learn from competitor mistakes? Will their plans clash with another big launch?This potentially provides you with research material, but also ensures that your client understands the role of their activities within the wider marketplace.
Your role is to try to help your client get the most from their content marketing. They can use their answers to your questions to build a content marketing plan.
Doing this is a win-win scenario – it helps to ensure that your beautiful content doesn’t get lost in cyberspace. And by encouraging your client to approach digital marketing using traditional offline techniques they are likely to get a better return on their investment and want to use you again.
Content marketing isn’t ground-breaking, but to do it well businesses will need to go back to marketing basics. Help clients on their way to cement your role as their freelancer of choice.
Katie Saxon is a digital marketing executive working for the UK-based SEO agency Boom Online Marketing. She works on both SEO and PPC campaigns, and you can follow her on Twitter @ksaxoninternet for more internet marketing tips.
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