As specialists in content marketing, we hear a lot of questions from clients.
One common one is why they have so little traffic if their site has plenty of content that they add to on a regular basis.
If this sounds like you, the short answer is that you’re likely not planning your content well enough. Here are some tips for improving your content planning, depending on your ultimate objectives.
Your Content’s Four Main Goals
Your content serves many purposes. Some of the most common goals your content can have are:
- To attract organic traffic (content for SEO)
- To increase social media engagement (content for social media)
- To attract backlinks (link bait content)
- To generate leads (lead gen content)
When planning content, you should have a good idea of how your users are most likely to find you and orient your content towards this goal.
For example, if you’re a startup with a brand new product no one has heard of yet, your users probably won’t come to you through search engines: you’ll want to focus on another area, depending who your target audience is.
Send the Search Engines in Your Direction
If you’re aiming to improve search traffic, you should be looking at three things when coming up with topics for articles:
- Is there already lots of information online? Can I offer something new, interesting and useful?
- Search queries (keywords): Is the search volume for my target keywords high enough? Could I change the topic slightly to use a keyword with a higher search volume?
- Competition: Look at both keyword competition and topic competition. How easy would it be to start ranking for this topic?
- In order to meet SEO goals, your content should be optimized for users’ search queries.
- In order to rank ahead of the competition, users should find useful info on your page, stay to read it (improving metrics like bounce rate and time spent on the site) and browse to other pages.
- This is why your chosen topic should be covered thoroughly. In other words, plan a set of subtopics for your article.
Stand Out in Crowded Social Media
If your users are easier to find on social media, then create content that will grab their attention there. Keep these main ideas in mind:
- Have great visuals. They catch users’ eyes and drive them to you. Use visuals that will appeal to your target audience: show new moms a baby, show young men a guy with a beard.
- Have your message in the image (Note: if you’re planning to boost the article with paid promotion on Facebook, your text can cover a maximum of 20% of the image.)
- Mention influential people in your article. Quote them. They’ll be happy to reshare your article with their audience.
Acquiring new followers is hard. But even when you have followers, it’s a challenge to get your message in front of them. That depends on the engagement rates of your content.
With social media, you need to reach your audience’s feelings. Think about Humans of New York for inspiration – they share people’s true stories and touch the hearts of thousands of people. Aim to hit similar targets.
Make Friends With Other Websites
Attracting backlinks is one of the most challenging goals. You need to create content that other sites will want to link to. So here’s your plan:
- Research who might be interested in linking to you. There are two ways to do it: (1) researching your competitors and which sites link to them; (2) researching your target audience and see what websites they are reading.
- Brainstorm what content might be interesting for these potential connections – is it an infographic, research, or a new tool?
- Create this content and pursue outreach to generate backlinks.
If you’re targeting media outlets, aim at a controversial but newsworthy topic. If you’re targeting bloggers, create something of value for their readers.
One strategy for gaining backlinks is to interview experts for your site and have them link to the interview on their own site or blog.
Get Businesses Heading in Your Direction
If you’re targeting other businesses (B2B), the best approach is to have content that will generate leads for you.
This is the inbound marketing strategy – give them something, show them you’re an expert and they’ll come to you.
When planning content for lead generation (such as an ebook or guide), make sure that you:
- Have a clear target audience – the more specific your content is, the higher your conversion rate will be.
- Write quality content and make it visually appealing and easy to absorb
- Promote it well, with a clear plan for the next step in mind – what will you be doing with all the leads you’ve collected?
Keep Your Content Working Hard
Your content may be serving a lot of different goals, but all of these should lead to an increase in your overall web traffic. If this isn’t happening, you need to take another look at your content planning strategy. If you’re unsure whether your content is serving your company’s goals, feel free to contact us or leave a comment here. There’s a lot of content out there: make sure yours stands out!
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