Let’s start with that basics:
What is content marketing?
I love this definition from Copyblogger’s Brian Clark:
“Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.”
When you’re thinking about content marketing, I like Glen Allsopp’s question:
“If somebody else shared this with you, would people thank them for it?”
That’s got to be our North Star.
When NOT to use content marketing
Now, don’t even think about a content marketing approach if:
- You don’t plan on using content that’s unique.
- You’re aiming for vanity metrics like followers, more Facebook likes etc.
- You don’t own the content you’re using (example: Hacker Noon’s exit from Medium), content marketing doesn’t make sense.
Why content marketing works for SEO
- People want resources – Linking out to high-quality resources is essential for a website that wants to rank well
- Rank begets rank – Ranking highly for a highly searched topic drastically increases the likelihood of you getting additional links in future articles
- Brand matters – People are more likely to link to brands/people they know and trust
Tyler Hakes at Optimist put together a killer case study on using content marketing to scale to 100,000 visitors per month. He lists their three objectives with content, which are universally valuable:
- Create content that attracts relevant search traffic from our target audience (college-bound students, their parents, etc)
- Generate links to the website to help us improve our rankings and search visibility
- Gain traction and authority in the space, grow our brand presence through social
A key thing to remember with creating content that gets noticed is that you want to be interesting. You need to have a point-of-view that is based on your own experience (Tim Soulo of ahrefs has a great quote on this).
Once you’ve got that interesting content developed, your relationships play a major role. You want to share the content with the people in your niche who will matter for you. I have a lot about this in my course, SEO For the Rest of Us. One strategy I teach is to create a Dream 100 List of people to share your content with and I also describe how you can find the right targets.
Detailed.com also has a great resource for finding the people you should send your content to.
Finally, remember the effort of creating truly great content that people find useful will pay dividends for years to come. Using ahrefs, I took a look at some of the top linked pages on the personal finance blog Mr. Money Mustache. Even though some of those posts are seven years old, they’re still getting 20-30 back links per week because the content is SO good.
Can we say #contentgoals!?