Understanding the need for creating content on your website, and driving traffic, is one thing. Having that content meet your bottom-line business goals, however, is a bigger challenge that requires creative thinking combined with strategic planning. With the help of a professional inbound marketing agency like Inflow, the following 5 content strategies for the web will empower your content to drive targeted traffic from multiple sources (search engines, social networks, referring sites) and meet your true business goals…the ones that pay the bills.
Freemiums & White Papers (Lead Generation)
Offering free, compelling downloads to your target audience is an easy win for building newsletter lists and driving sales leads. Customers love free stuff, and it’s a great way to funnel new potential customers into your buying cycle. Freemium downloads can consist of nearly any type of content that your potential customer will find valuable, but common mediums include PDF files, instructional videos, resourceful lists and even free trials.
It’s important to nurture new site visitors as they enter the beginning stages of your sales funnel, but it can be challenging to drive these visitors without a proper search engine marketing strategy. Working with an SEO agency that is well-versed in keyword research and link building (both on-site, off-site and in the social networks) will ensure that you are targeting audiences through topical content that is heavily searched for…and highly sought after.
Example: Beginning drawers will find a freemium download like this 26 Free Beginner Drawing Techniques (from Artist Daily) incredibly valuable as they begin learning the art of drawing…and it provides a win-win situation for both the website and site visitors. The website builds their newsletter lists by acquiring email addresses of potential future customers, and the site visitors receive highly valuable, free instruction on learning how to draw.
Crowdsourced Contests (Lead Generation)
Customers love to be appreciated, enjoy being part of a community…and also winning stuff. That’s simply human nature. Otherwise, Las Vegas wouldn’t exist, most humans would live as hermits, and customer service departments wouldn’t exist. So, how can you tap into these sociological concepts with your inbound marketing and web content strategy? Simple: crowdsourced contests.
Through the help of an SEO agency, companies can execute a strategy of user-generated content targeting highly searched topics which will drive traffic, list growth/lead generation and even links (via promotion).
Example: This Old House created a Reader Remodel Contest, which allowed site visitors and community members to submit their own home remodel projects for the chance to win $5,000 and a 2013 GMC Sierra. The submission process included users entering their name, email address, phone number and other demographic information…allowing This Old House to nurture their online community, create content from user-generated sources and build their “marketable” newsletterlist for future contact with these site visitors.
Product Curation (eCommerce)
Creating unique content is quite the challenge for eCommerce websites in today’s competitive Google landscape, and unique articles that curate products based on user interest/need is a great way to combat this.
Many site visitors to large eCommerce sites have a difficult time efficiently finding the right products for them due to the plethora of products being sold and categorized throughout the site. Leveraging the brick-and-mortar solution of floor salesmen, eCommerce sites can take this customer-centric approach to their website by simply creating helpful product guides that help site visitors with a more hands-on approach to finding the right products for them.
When coupled with the expertise of an SEO agency who can create a content strategy based on commonly searched topics in search engines, this becomes a super-charged web content strategy that will drive potential customers in cumulative fashion as time goes on.
Example: Interweave creates product-curating landing pages, which exist separately from their product and category pages, to help potential customers more efficiently find the right product for their particular needs. Their Best Crochet Books page offers a helpful solution for anyone interested in crochet who wants to cut to the chase and get recommendations on the top books about different niche crochet techniques.
Bonus Example: Be sure to check out the Learn section of REI’s website to get an understanding of their approach to educating their audience towards smarter buying decisions within different types of outdoor activities (camping, rafting, backpacking, etc.).
Product Rewriting (eCommerce)
The opposite of unique content, duplicate content, is a major problem area for eCommerce stores…especially large eCommerce stores with thousands of products that are also sold on other eCommerce sites. With high domain-authority sites like Amazon to compete with, most eCommerce stores are left with no other choice than to find ways of turning their duplicate content into unique content.
This can be achieved through launching campaigns to build reviews on product pages, rewriting product descriptions or adding some other form of additional content to product pages. Without this, Google has little reason to rank a lower-domain authority eCommerce site highly when other, higher-domain authority, and generally more highly trusted websites have the same product description content.
Working with an SEO agency can help provide strategies toward rectifying this problem through collaborative resource allocation and better product page optimization.
Example: North Light Shop put forth a concerted effort to rewrite a large portion of its product pages in 2012 and has grown 2013 organic search traffic and revenues considerably over 2012 without a major focus on link building. They better leveraged their existing domain authority by providing more robust, and better optimized product pages for both their site visitors and Google.
“Best Of” Resources (List Growth & Link/Community Building)
The concept of curation can also be taken to content websites for the sake of newsletter list growth and lead generation. Content websites can provide great value to to their target audience by creating “Best Of” and other “Resource” lists that serve as a bookmarkable page for users to further delve into their area of interest. When combined with a keyword research strategy, promotion and meeting business goal objectives, this becomes an incredible content strategy for the web that will drive links and build a customer base.
Example: Writer’s Digest offers an annual 101 Best Writing Websites article in their physical magazine, which is also put online in exchange for users subscribing to their newsletter. This highly intelligent web content strategy is the result of strategic repurposing of content in another medium (print) in order to drive an online business goal (newsletter list growth).
Concluding these Inbound Marketing & Content Strategies for the Web
It takes more than creative thinking to turn any content strategy into an effective marketing campaign that drives a company’s business goals. Identifying keyword opportunities, which drive topic focus, and tying business goals into the entire strategy requires collaborative planning and professional skills. Working with SEO professionals who are well versed in the entire process will go a long way toward ensuring that the time, resources and cost produce a profitable return on investment.
Great examples, but I would say that a Content Strategy is more of a vision of your content as it relates to your business (in all it’s forms) and how you are going to implement that vision (Stakeholder Interviews, Message Architecture, Governance Models, Content Flow Schematics, IA / UX, CMS Technology, Technical SEO / Metadata, etc…) than the tactics you plan to market the business vision with.
What you have outlined could better be described as “Content Marketing”. Not trying to be a curmudgeon, just pointing out the difference if you did not already know.
It’s just the beginning. Glad you find it valuable!
Dan this is a great article! I was beginning to get a little jaded about “content strategy” blog posts because they all rehash the same things. THIS is different. Fresh. Great job!