According to research by The Next Web, 57 percent of the world’s population—4.4 billion people—are online, spending an average of six and a half hours on the Internet every day. As the largest repository of information in the world, that’s a lot of content consumption. With this massive audience, it makes sense to implement basic content marketing best practices.

In content marketing there is a myriad of strategies and tactics that can be deployed—some may get results, others may not. As you get started, make sure you add these best practices to your task list:

Create a Content Marketing Plan

If you enjoy spinning your wheels, then by all means, don’t create a content marketing plan. However, if you’d like to build your company and sell your products in an efficient manner, then let’s start with the foundation of content marketing best practices.

A content marketing plan starts with setting objectives: What do you want your content marketing to do for your company? Then ask yourself, “why?” Keep asking yourself “why?” until you get to the root reason. From this exercise, craft your objective statement to reflect the what and the why behind your content marketing plan.

Once you have an objective, all content should serve that objective. With the objective at the start, then create broad content topics like overviews—also known as cornerstone content—at the next level. Then, create specific content based on the broad topics. In this way, you’re creating a cornerstone piece of content with related content branches coming off of it. Having these content hubs aids SEO efforts, as well as site stickiness.

Research Head and Long-Tail Keywords

If you haven’t already, link your site to Google Search Console. This tool will reveal the keywords your site visitors used to find your site. This is one aspect of your keyword research.

Think about the top five topics your business covers. From those five topic buckets, create a list of keywords, including longtail keywords, that are relevant to your business. What would your audience type into their browser to find you?

After filling your topic buckets with keywords, use Google to search each of those keywords and review the “related searches” that Google serves to you. In the suggested related searches, you might find new keyword phrases to add to your topic lists.

Analyze the Data

Taking a look at the data from your website is an effective way to gain insights about your audience and where they spend their time on your site.

  • What page/content gets the most traffic, or the least traffic?
  • What pages get shared on social media—those shared the most and the least?
  • Which content led to a conversion?
  • If you offer downloadables, what is downloaded the most?
  • What ads convert the best?
  • What social media channel drives the most engagement?

There are plenty of questions you can answer through gathering and analyzing your site data. When you find the things that work, think about how you can further the reach of those content pieces, or how you can expand the content around the keywords that are working.

Build Targeted Landing Pages

The essence of content marketing is delivering valuable information—the keyword being, valuable. Targeted landing pages that offer your audience a valuable ebook, checklist or template, is another content marketing best practice.

Think through the topics you compiled in your keyword research. What landing pages can you create around those topics, using the associated keywords? Perform a Google search for landing page templates and see how others are using landing pages in their content marketing.

How Do I Create Content that Answers Users’ Questions?

Research around voice search shows that users are asking direct questions to their smart speakers. With the growth of voice search, the industry is seeing an increase in long tail keyword phrase searches in the form of questions. Back in the day, Google searches went something like this: “Content Marketing Planning.” Now, users type questions like: “What is a content marketing plan?” or “How do I create a content marketing plan?”

In your online content—including social media, ads, and blogs—include questions as subheadings, or as the lead sentence in a paragraph. Then be sure the content answers the question.

These are just a few content marketing best practices you can implement now that will make your efforts more effective. If these ideas have you wondering how you can do all of this research and create these plans, then we’d like to talk to you about how we can help. Contact a SHERPA today and let’s get started on a content marketing plan!

Jennifer Wilder

Jennifer Wilder

Jennifer is a writer, editor, and content manager with over 25 years of experience spanning publishing, public relations, and digital marketing. Through her creative pursuits, she has worked with Rinnai America, Truck Accessories Group, The reThink Group, LifeWay Christian Resources, and John Maxwell Company. When not working with words, she's making all-the-memories with her husband, Nathan, son, Tucker, and Labrador Retriever, Copper.

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