Web content marketing strategies have become a staple of marketing management at least in Britain and the USA, and to a lesser extent in certain parts of continental Europe. Marketing directors now have to master content marketing strategies, it can’t be circumvented. However, content marketing is not new — it can be traced to John Deere at the end of the 19th century. Even Internet content marketing is, to an extent, old hat. In 2021, Visionary Marketing will be 25 years old to begin with. Yet, standing out from the crowd is becoming increasingly difficult for those who aren’t pure players and can’t spend zillions on traffic management and CPC. So, how do you make your content stand out from the crowd? Here are my 10 golden rules for Web content marketing success.
10 golden rules for successful Web content marketing strategies
10 golden rules to make your content stand out from the crowd
To e-merchants, SEO is key. Large e-commerce websites will typically employ teams of 8-9 people or more to take care of their Search Engine Optimization. As we found out with the SEMrush 2020 state of content marketing report, SEO is where most visits come from, stemming from queries on generic keywords and not from brand name-related searches which smug marketers dote on (“Hey people! Let’s see who searches our name!”)
Brand names are like magnets for self-satisfaction. In a sense, it’s perfectly understandable. Anyone who has ever created a brand knows this. A brand needs to be nurtured, protected and enhanced. Strong brands convey values, bring awareness, recognition, loyalty and sometimes even a community feeling.
Content marketing requires more than just a strong brand name
But it would be wrong to believe that this is sufficient to provide proper Web visibility. Owning a strong brand is, in itself, far from being sufficient. It may be the case with luxury and premium brands, but in no case does this apply to any kind of brand especially those whose markets are more competitive in terms of SEO.
Targeting generic keywords rather than your brand name is indeed more important if you are looking to capture leads, and eventually new clients. Once you have established that, there is a choice to be made between SEO (free marketing) and SEA (paid marketing).
Paid marketing offers instant gratification, but it is expensive and makes you dependent on vendors in the SEA Market definition in B2B and B2C - The very notion of "market" is at the heart of any marketing approach. A market can be defined... where supply is ruled by a fistful of grossly dominant players (once again, check the SEMrush numbers in the 2020 report for details. The insurance market tops the list with keywords at $23 per click!)
Content marketing strategies work wonders as long as you inject heroin content in them
Owned and earned marketing are, logically, less demanding in terms of budget. However, they require time and effort if you want to deliver better results and make your Web assets stand out in the long term.
That’s what Web content marketing strategies are for. Long term awareness and results, not one-offs like SEA. But it requires patience and effort.
Such strategies will also guarantee that your users will come back to your Web assets and will recommend them to others? They will come back repeatedly to your site or blog for more content, as Vincent Flanders wrote on Webpagesthatsuck.com ; Flanders’s language is somewhat stronger as he is referring to “heroin content“. Well, that says it all, doesn’t it?
Web content marketing strategies: when the rubber meets the road
Yet, as always, describing a solution is easy, implementing it is a tad more difficult and demanding.
There are rules you should follow, things to do, traps to avoid.
I have therefore identified 10 rules for successful Web content marketing strategies that I feel are particularly important when it comes to the creation and distribution of Web content. These ten rules are by no means comprehensive.
10 golden tips for successful Web content strategies
- Do not aim at perfection, there is no such thing: don’t try and make your text perfect, perfection doesn’t exist. Often in big businesses, one spends hours on end for a choice of words, but the real question is: “Should I spend more time on this and how much will it bring?” If you can’t answer that question, leave it as is and go to number 2.
- Multimedia is back: Content has become manifold and can be repurposed easily. A podcast can be turned into a blog post, so can a video etc. There are so many content forms one could spend a whole day describing them. That’s an idea by the way, I shall do this in the future.
- Make the most of your content: most brands post content and think it’s over. Well, no, it’s just the beginning in fact.
- Write for people, not for search engines: writing for search engines can be done with robots. Writing for people requires experience, anecdotes, real-life examples… Only human beings can do that, a robot will never have any experience (well, for the foreseeable future at least).
- Avoid siloed content: Good content takes time to produce, make sure you repurpose it.
- A dedicated mindset: More than skills, digital content requires a dedicated mindset, the ability to launch new ideas, invent new things, explore new ways of producing and distributing content.
- The expert down in the basement: Many experts are available. They are right down there in the basement. I made a career of finding them and supporting them and writing on their behalf or interviewing them. They are an endless source of top-notch content.
- Three things matter: Swiftness – creativity – sharing.
- Embrace UGC: User-Generated Content is also an endless source of rich and interesting content.
- Agencies should change the way they work: In my mind, agencies should move away from being content providers and try and coach their clients so that they start eating their own dog-food. It requires different business models and a different mindset. Businesses should also learn from their vendors and the influencers they work with. We do a lot of that at Visionary Marketing, it’s a new way of working, and we enjoy it to the full.
Good Web content strategies require one more ingredient: practice. So, walk the talk and think beyond your brand name and shine!