The Content Marketing Evolution – What You Need to Know for Your Clients
Content continues to grow in importance for your clients’ businesses, and because of this, it must take on an elevated position in your strategy recommendations for them.
The days of creating an infinite amount of thin content are over. You can create content less frequently for your clients as long as you structure it correctly and provide a ton of value.
I’ve seen a lot of success with what I’m calling hub pages and I think they can be very valuable for your clients. Below are a few tips for building these pages and why you should be doing so.
If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s that content marketing starts with keyword research. When you think of an editorial calendar or approach with a client, keyword research should be one of your first steps.
However, I think keyword research still revolves a bit too much around SEO for many marketing consultants. Instead of looking for keywords and phrases that you could go out and “win” and optimize for, you need to really focus on quality over quantity these days, meaning more depth.
The only way to “win” sought after keyword phrases these days is to put a tremendous amount of energy and structure of a website around winning those phrases.
So, while the keyword research idea still applies, what you should really be trying to do is identify four to five topics and themes that are going to help your clients meet their business objectives.
The steps I’d recommend taking with keyword research are the following:
- Brainstorm and research – Clients typically at least have an idea about what they should be optimizing content for, or the type of content they’d like to show up for, or content that their clients and customers are looking for in regards to a business like theirs. You can conduct this research using tools like the Google Keyword Planner and Keywordtool.io to find themes and topics that you re trying to understand. When doing this, just try to identify 4-5 hub topics that you should be building all of your content around.
- Look through forums and Wikipedia. These can provide such a great understanding of your audience’s intent and are often formed around the topics that people are asking about. I also use Wikipedia because it’s amazing how much information you can gather from the outlines of a given topic that the site provides.
- Choose hub themes – As mentioned, the purpose of all of this research these days is to come up with a handful of hub themes. This provides your customers with a very valuable asset that they can begin using in a short amount of time that should start ranking relatively quickly in Google.
Additional research tools to consider using include:
- Google Search Console (free)
- Google Trends (free)
- Answer the Public (free)
- Ubersuggest (free)
- SEMrush (paid)
- Ahrefs (paid)
- SpyFu (paid)
There’s nothing wrong with coming up with a year’s worth of content as we’ve done previously, just do it with hub themes in mind.
Sample hub themes include:
- January: Local Marketing
- February: Content Marketing
- March: Marketing Strategy Plan
- April: Consulting Business
- May: Mobile Marketing
Figure out how you’re going to deliver this content and create a plan around it. You can create a hub page in a month (it’s a lot of work), or you can spread it out across a number of months. It really doesn’t matter as long as you have a plan for what you’re going to create.
These hub pages, or guides, should be full pages on your website that include a logical table of contents that point to deeper subtopics for people to dive into. These resources should be both internal and external content that support each of these subtopics (click sample themes above to see examples). These pages should almost be looked at as courses for the given hub themes for somebody who is trying to learn about that theme.
The main purpose of these pages is to make them so useful that people will share them. This is how Google wants to see content today. They want it to be valuable for your audience.
With all of the traffic the pages will generate, how do you convert this traffic and capture leads so that you have the ability to build relationships with these people? You need to add content upgrades that people can download by providing their email address. This content upgrade should tie in very specifically to the rest of the content on the hub page in order to increase conversion.
Use content as the voice of strategy
When I talk about content, I really believe it is the voice of strategy. To create guides and resources for a given hub theme is to start looking at each of your client’s channels and the stages in the Marketing Hourglass and ask yourself and your clients:
- How would somebody start looking for a business?
- What kinds of questions would your audience ask when looking for your client’s specific business?
By understanding the audience’s questions, intentions, and goals, it will help you solidify what the content plan will look like around the hub pages.
Content today is used in every channel of your marketing. By investing the time and energy to build an asset with your content, you can use it as a way to generate referrals, share in social, use for advertising, develop a webinar, craft an email…the list goes on. This is why it’s OK to put so much time and energy into creating epic content.
As you can see, content is more than just blog posts.
This is a healthy way to show clients what content entails. They are often so sick of hearing people talk about content and equating it to blogging so show them there is so much more to it.
Help your clients understand that content becomes an asset over time. It will drive higher traffic that will allow people to stick around, share other content, and ultimately convert. This concept often isn’t sold hard enough by marketing consultants but it needs to be. Your clients must invest in this approach.
Are you currently taking advantage of this content approach with your clients? If not, I’d recommend getting started as soon as possible.