Content strategy is a trending concept that takes many shapes and meanings. It can define the content you create on your website’s core pages, the types of content you write and publish on your blog, or what forms of content you produce and share on social media.
In general terms, content strategy an overarching way of defining the type of content your producing (i.e. blog posts, photos, infographics, videos, memes, etc.) and how that content being distributed to your target audience. One thing all content strategies have in common is that the underlying intention is to generate more traffic to your web properties – most commonly, your website.
Because every business, brand, and website is unique, not all content strategies work the same for everyone. However, there are a few fundamental strategies, that when properly employed, can be highly effective in driving more traffic.
1. Use Search Data to Instruct an Ongoing Blog Content Strategy
Now more than ever, the type of content you typically see showing up on top of Google’s search results is “blog” content.
The word “blog” is in quotes because “blog” can loosely define any type of publishing platform, whether the strategy involves blog posts, articles, white papers, case studies, videos, infographics, or all of the above.
For instance, take a look at the top organic search listings for the keyword “triathlon watch.” Almost all of them are some form of “blog” content, and not necessarily a product page.
If you’re not already blogging, then you’re missing out on a huge SEO opportunity to generate more organic traffic to your website. As in the example above, blog posts are heavily favored across a wide variety of searches and keyword themes. Think of it as Google’s way of serving users a variety of informative and not always promotional content.
For those who provide SEO services, you’re probably well aware of the importance of keyword research and search data and how that information fits into optimizing a website. Keyword research is also a fundamental process that helps guide a traffic-generating blog content strategy.
Not only can this process inspire new and relevant topics, but the outcome provides measurable insight as to when and how often particular keywords are being searched. For example, check out the snippet of keywords below related to “triathlon watch.” Not only is it interesting to see that “best triathlon watch” gets more searches than just “triathlon watch,” but we can also gain insight into long-tail keywords to help us name and optimize our future post.
Based on further research, we found that “multisport watch” (which the word “multisport” is closely related to “triathlon”) is also a very popular query. This exercise led us to tailor a blog post that combined this data into a review post that was optimized for both of these themes – “triathlon watch” and “multisport watch” – which can you see here.
2. Create Content That’s Better Than Your Competitors
If you checked out that link above to our blog post on “Best Triathlon Watches,” then you may have noticed how incredibly deep that post is. Not only is the entire piece of content well over 2k words of text, but it contains unique images and embedded videos of each triathlon watch.
In short, we made sure that the content was better than all other competitors who are competing in that space. But the only way we could gauge that effort is by analyzing exactly what our competitors were doing.
Most marketers understand the value of conducting a competitive analysis. Essentially, you’re trying to get a clear view of what your up against in the organic search results. Not only does this process enable you to size-up your competition, but you can use this data to better position your own content strategy.
When analyzing your competition, here are some of the most important variables to look at:
- Title and meta description content, use of keywords, and overall resonance and grab
- Copy – How many words? Is it good quality and easy to digest? How well is it organized with headers, charts, bullets, and other text formatting?
- Links – both internal links to other pages of the site and external links to other sites. Are the links to quality sources of information
- Any rich snippets or dynamic search elements showing in the SERP (see the image below of Review snippets)
- Who is showing up in the “People also ask” boxes, and why?
- Use of images and how well images are optimized (via file name, properties, and ALT text). Optimized images indicate thorough SEO and savvy competition.
- Videos and how they’re embedded (self-hosted or Youtube/Vimeo platform). Are they producing the videos, or are they embeds from other YouTube/Vimeo channels?
- Are comments enabled and active? Posts can grow over time with user-generated content by way of comments and reviews.
- Structured data markup/Schema (which influences rich snippets) and overall HTML and technical SEO performance (page speed, size, bottlenecks)
- Backlinks. What referring domains, quality of backlinks, and any domain authority or trust metrics associated with the competitor. A paid tool is typically needed for this. I prefer SEMrush and Ahrefs.
During this process, in addition to documenting your findings, you should also be thinking about how you can angle your content strategy to be unique and better than your competitors. For a more thorough look into this and other discovery processes, check out my SEO content strategy guide.
3. Diversify Your Digital Channels and Content Formats
No doubt, generating organic search traffic with an SEO-driven blog content strategy is the best long-game approach. But supplementing with other digital channels has merit, too.
Many marketers and business owners know that it’s essential to have a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter – but they don’t exactly know how to drive traffic and sales with those channels.
The beauty behind having a blog content strategy and producing high-quality posts regularly is that it gives you something to share on those social channels. Think of it as content ammunition for your social media marketing arsenal. Not only do you have something relevant to share, but you also have something to share that you created, and thereby takes users directly to your site.
This issue is that long-form, SEO-friendly content isn’t always the best format to share on social media. The headspace of social users is far more casual and thoughtless. To resonate with social users, you need highly-visual and engaging content that grabs their attention immediately.
Intuitively, the best formats that resonate with such users are images and videos. Not only does visual media perform better on social platforms, but diversifying your content formats beyond text-based blog posts can add value to your overarching SEO strategy.
Here are a few ideas to give you food for thought:
- Designing an infographic to supplement a high-performing blog post or video
- Turning an in-depth article into a digestible ebook download
- Working with a photographer or videographer to capture original, quality visual content
- Becoming a subject matter authority while growing your brand by starting a podcast
- Producing useful videos and maintaining an active YouTube or Vimeo channel
- Showing a sense of humor with animated gifs, memes, and funny ways to resonate with your audience
- Blogging on other websites to expand your reach and grow link equity (somewhat of a different beast)
Using my triathlon blog as another example, we started seeing tremendous SEO performance with our blog post on “triathlon distances.” Given the informative nature of this post, we diversified the content by creating an infographic to break-down all of the various triathlon distances and the average finisher times for both age groupers and professionals. Here’s a small snippet of what that infographic looks like.
Not only will this visual infographic be an engaging format for us to share on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, but it will add tremendous value to our already high-performing blog posts on this topic.
This article was contributed by Tyler Tafelsky, a freelance SEO content strategist who’s been working in the industry since 2009. Stay connected with Tyler on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.