Alright, you had a great 2016 marketing your business online and publishing content regularly. You did it all to have your customers knock your door rather than spending hefty amounts on picking them in. However, have you really strategized your inbound marketing plans? As we have moved into another year, it is the right time to assess your inbound marketing efforts.
What is Inbound Marketing?
It is a marketing technique that focuses on helping your customers find you rather than going out to get your audiences’ attention.
It is not about shouting out loud and propagating your product/service USP’s. It is about giving value to your customers – something that gives them information or is beneficial to them; it is about exploring various avenues for content marketing and driving traffic to your site, It is about channelizing blogs, podcasts, eBooks, videos, ezines, SEO, Social Media Marketing and all other types of content to attract your customer.
The mantra of a successful inbound marketing is: Develop content that you think – You as an audience would like to share with ALL your friends and acquaintances.
A major portion of Inbound Marketing strategy is about Content Marketing goals.
“Content marketing is the trend and doing it right is essential and not a choice. “
The gist is to create ‘Great Content’. Now, what exactly is that? A great piece is one that is relevant and useful to people. It is one that grabs the readers’ interest, is liked and shared by them in great numbers.
- Targeted: Assess your audience. A real person is reading your content. Write for THEM and not for the entire industry or the market.
- Valuable: Give value to your customers. Study what your target audience needs and create content that addresses them.
- Structured: You are creating content for a purpose. Structure it wisely. Assess your aim of writing the content. Define whom you are writing for. Moreover, offer value to your audience.
When you have created that ‘great content’, ask yourself: does the message stick? Will you as an audience share the message with all your friends?
Think of this and you shall be ready with the solution to a great content – one that is about your audience and is engaging and useful to be shared with others.
One tip here: Produce quality content on a regular basis. There’s much traffic on the Internet. To be found by your audience, it is necessary to be regular in your content production plans.
Today, in this post I shall discuss how to create content that will set you apart. I will tell you how to create something that your audience REALLY wants.
For this, I have divided this post into two parts – the first part will focus on the planning that goes into creating content that brings huge traffic to your website and hence increases the ROI.
In the second part, I shall guide you on how to attract thousands of unique visitors to your website through strategies like link building and outreach campaigns.
Let’s get on with the first part:
Creating Content that brings Huge Traffic + ROI
Needless to put, your content marketing strategies need to be better than ever before. Why? Reaping benefits of good ROI is getting, even more difficult, – as per Content Marketing Institute, only 21% B2B businesses are successful in tracking the ROI of its content marketing strategy.
To be among the successful businesses, we have to create content that’s simple yet catchy and can relate to the audience. Creating such content involves proper planning. Today I will help you in planning the right content. In 3 simple steps, I will explain the initial stages in content planning. The stages are: Defining Content Type and Content Topic, Keyword Analysis & Creating Amazing Headline for your Content. I shall substantiate these aspects with a focus on ‘writing a blog post’.
Defining Content Type and Content Topic
How successful your Inbound Marketing Strategies will be, depends on how unique your content is. Creating a content that stands out from the crowd is not easy. It involves much time and research to create something that your audience can instantly relate to.
Think what type of content you would want to create? When I say “type of content” I am referring to various content forms like How-to’s, Infographics, Ezines, Case studies, Opinion Post, FAQs, Q&A session, Guides, Surveys, Podcasts, Lists, Webinar, White Papers, Press releases and much more.
Brainstorming is the most efficient way to come up with content topics. Once you have defined your buyer personas, set your mind free and think how you can offer value to him. Arrange brainstorming sessions with friends and colleagues. You shall see you are getting content ideas more than what you’d expected.
There are many tools that my team uses to generate content ideas. I would like to share two easy-to -use and highly useful tools: HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator & Buzzsumo
Just put your desired keywords or phrases related to your industry. The tools will give you fantastic ideas for your content. Go through the result and select your next topic.
The first step towards creating a great content topic is to choose the right keyword. Analyze how your audiences are searching information about your products. Analysing keyword will give you insight on the volume of search being made location wise. It shows how certain keywords are difficult to rank, and cost of PPC involved in purchasing search traffic.
To turbo-charge your Inbound Marketing strategy, selecting the right keyword is essential. Needless to say, you must aim to get to be found on either the first or second page of search results. Ensure that the search phrases you have selected are shorter in length. Use the selected keywords in your URLs, Meta tag, title tag & description tag and page titles.
There are many online tools to conduct keyword research. However, I shall explain you one of the most comprehensive and most popular tool – Google Keyword Planner by Google Adwords.
Firstly, you would need a Google Adwords account. It is free, and the sign-up process is simple.
After you have signed in, look for “Tools and Analysis” and choose “Keyword Planner”. You will see three options:
Let’s use the 1st option: Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.
Enter the keyword related to your product or service. I have used Web Design Projects as a keyword. You may also put your landing page or the product category.
Next, select your Targeting Audience. I have used all locations, as I would want to get web design clients from all locations. You may choose the right option depending on your product/service. Accordingly, choose other options based on your requirements. Then, click on Get Ideas. Here is the result of my search for Web Design Projects. The tool generated 800 keywords. It also shows the average monthly users and competition level of each of the keyword.
All 3 options are explained in this complete post.
Creating Amazing Headline for your Content
You do not need any supernatural power to write great headlines. In fact, headlines have to be simple and attractive. It should excite, surprise and induce the audience to go through your great content.
Some of the tips to create super hit headlines are:
- When starting off, write 20-25 headlines for your post. Keep a note of this. When I have completed writing at least 20 variants of headlines for my content, I paste them on an Excel sheet. This helps me to record analyzer data against each headline
- Do not write the headline of more than 70 characters
- The headline should clearly make the user understand what the article is all about
- While writing the headline, address the user reader in the second person. Get him feel that you are talking to him directly. Use words like ‘You’ and ‘Your’
- The Headline should be catchy and written in a simple-to-understand language. Complex headlines will force the user to avoid your post
- Headlines with lists are preferred more. For example “6 Ways to Turbo-Charge Your Inbound Marketing Plan”, “5 Effective Ways to Boost Your Social Media Engagement” and “10 Things Mom-to-be should be careful about” works better and is more likely to be shared
- Make your reader imagine a better life. Words like ‘free’ ‘takeaways’ ‘giveaway’ ‘how-to’ makes them feel concerned, and they like to share such content
- Images used in the post should correspond to your headline
- There are different audiences for different content. Hence, headlines for various social networks should be different
- Do A/B testing for your headline
Megan Marrs has written a very useful post on headline writing tips.
When I am done with writing 20-25 headlines for my content, I try to analyze it through CoSchedule Headline Analyzer . It is simply an excellent tool that gives you a headline score based on few parameters.
Now look here. I have used 10 different headline options for my content. The tool provides scores of all 10 headlines. The lowest score is 64 and highest is 75. So I finalized the headline that has the maximum score.
Now that you have done your keyword analysis, you must be prepared with a great headline for your awesome content. Make your headline based on the appropriate keyword. Spread your keywords evenly throughout the content, at least once in each paragraph followed by a set of long-tail keywords.
Research your content as per your target audience, industry, and your business goals. Write a complete draft. Do not bother about editing when you are writing.
Link your content and use images wherever applicable. Don’t be “salesy”, approach your audience as if you are trying to offer them a solution. Once the draft is ready, edit it well, Check for plagiarism, Use professional tools to check grammar and plagiarism.
When the content is ready, publish it on your website, blogs, social media pages and online forums and communities. So, there you are – you have the perfect ingredient to create a great content and bring traffic to your website.
Now, we’ll discuss the second aspect of Inbound Marketing, which is:
Getting audience for your content
Please remember although you might not directly pitch sales through your content, your goal must be to attract leads.
Google has its set algorithms to rank websites. One of the algorithms is to see how many inbound links the site has earned from other sites. This is popularly known as link building.
If you want your website to be showcased above your competitors – your web page should be more valuable as per Google algorithms OR the score Google Algorithm uses to rank sites for a given keyword.
Here, I would suggest 2 ways for building more links:
1 – Do better than your competitors (competitor analysis for link building)
2 – Outreach campaigns
How to do Competition Analysis for your Link Building Strategy
I use a Moz tool called Open Site Explorer https://moz.com/researchtools/ose It helps me to do competitive link research, check backlinks, and more features for free. There’s also a paid version with enhanced features. The free version is equally good. Now, how does Open Site Explorer work?
It determines the authority of my website pages and domain. It also helps in determining the influence of my competitors’ website domain and pages. It determines how many backlinks my site is getting and also how many inbound links my competitor is getting.
It also shows the authority of websites that are linking to my site and also displays the authority of sites that are linking to my competitors’ website.
Outreach campaigns are about connecting with like-minded professionals who are not you competitors but can be a business that caters to the similar audience or has an audience where your product or service can be sold.
For example, if you are selling ‘sports shoes’ and want to enhance your link building strategy, you should not connect to another shoe seller. Since he is your competitor, he will never wish to link to your website and direct his traffic to your door.
Instead, contact the owner/editorial team of a gym or fitness center. Customers in this fitness center will surely like to buy a Sports Shoe for their fitness regime. Hence, Fitness center can be termed as referring industry, where the business can refer your product or service to his existence customer and audience. In turn, you can also refer his fitness center and his services to your audience as a gesture.
Both of you would only benefit by reaching out to each other; there’s no competition at all.
Lots of planning and execution is required to ensure the success of your Inbound Marketing strategy. Push through all your limits because it will be worth the credibility your website and business shall earn in the long run. All you may require is 484-72 hours of efforts, but you will be able to reap the benefits for several months and may be for a lifetime.
So go ahead. Put your best efforts, do proper keyword analysis, select the best ones, have them strategically implemented in your headlines and content. Plan your content meticulously; put labor into researching the domain and present expert knowledge to your users, then distribute your content to attract links from other credible resources. Just do it correctly and your content will go viral in no time and there you are – all that you aimed at, will be yours.
I’m sure this post has helped you understand quite a bit about Inbound Marketing strategies. But friends, there’s more to come – in my future posts I shall help you with detailed process of each of these strategies so that you can “do-it-yourself”.
After all, success doesn’t come when someone shows you the way – it happens when somebody walks that path with you. Needless to put, we are in the second category.