In the previous post Effective Web Design for CEOs, we discussed the structure and makings of a functional website, and the design elements that will facilitate them. Starting from using a content management system (CMS), to implementing search engine optimization (SEO), all the way to building trust, are essential steps to the success of the website. But the most important element by far is its digital content. A website without valuable, original and engaging content coupled with optimal use of keywords will perpetually remain in obscurity.
Know Thy Audience (PIE)
Content is king. But what makes content interesting is its relevance to its consumer. So task number one for any company is to understand who its audience is, or should be. Draw from your marketing strategy and market segmentation to analyze your customers. And when we say customers we mean PIE, Purchasers, Influencers and End-Users.
Prescriptions for instance are often paid for by insurance companies (purchaser), recommended by Physicians (influencer) and administered to patients (end-user). All three are the pharmaceutical company’s target audience. By profiling each possible audience segment, your web content can cater to each of their often unique needs. A B2B company should segment its audience based on industry, company size, location (national or international), job role and professional title, for which it solves a critical business issue, not based on products or services.
Compile & Segment Keywords
Once you know who your audience is, you can start researching what keywords and key-phrases they search to find the information they seek online that you want to serve them. Each audience segment or persona should have its own keywords. There will be many keywords that overlap, but you need to know all high frequency and long tail keywords for each of your audience segment. There are many tools that can help you build a comprehensive keyword list by looking up what your competition is using. Google Keyword Planner is one of them.
High frequency keywords are usually much more competitive than long tail keywords, generating a high aggregate volume of traffic on the web. Although long tail keywords are less frequent, they are very capable of generating high quality traffic. Also, the longer the long tail is, the higher its cumulative value becomes. Many companies get more than half of their organic web traffic through long tail keyword searches. So work diligently on your long tail!
Form Pillar Landing Pages
Pillar web pages are topic clusters that cover all key aspects of your solution (at a high level) to each segment of your market. Like a table of contents, they offer headings, all relevant keywords, and enough information to make them rise to the top of search results. A good example of a pillar page is the post that we recently published on 10 Areas Where CEOs Can Create Efficiencies. It lists all 10 areas and provide enough information at a high level to pique the interest of the reader. You should build one pillar page per audience persona.
Each pillar page should naturally contain relevant keywords to each audience segment. The same pharmaceutical company should target physicians with much more technical keywords than the way it targets patients. The patient pillar page will focus more on symptoms and emotions rather than science. Its writing style will also be at a layman’s level, rather than an expert level. Set some of the keywords as anchors linking to your in-depth content.
Link to In-Depth Content
Each audience persona should have its own pillar page, which then links to numerous pages offering breadth and depth on each key subject. By catering to each target persona: queries, pains, needs, solutions, wishes, emotions, desires and values, you can draw them to your pages and engage them with your digital content.
In-depth content will reference your products and services with their benefits and features, building your brand and creating value in the mind of your readers. In-depth content can also reference trust building pages like customer testimonials, success stories, client survey results and customer reviews to build confidence in your ability to meet their desires and needs.
If you are a global company, another way to build trust is by offering your readers the ability to learn about your solutions in their native languages. You can plan, budget and engage a translation service provider to help you convert your entire website, or one or more pillar pages, into key business languages, opening opportunities to more than doubling your organic web traffic.
Publish an Engaging Blog
Every website should have a blog. It will add pages and value to your site, keeping it current and lively. The blog’s top role is to drive traffic to your site and engage readers. Blog posts can address a much larger variety of topics than your standard web pages do. They can be very versatile and hold a less formal tone covering topics that include your products, services, industry trends, disrupting forces, marketing events and news about your competition, clients, suppliers, partners and your employees.
If you don’t have a blog, you should start one. Subscribe to Google Alerts to get ideas of what your competition is posting online and consider opining with your own blog posts. Train yourself to write down ideas and experiences that are useful to your web audience as you encounter them in your daily interactions with your company’s stakeholders. Later, create the post outline with headlines. Expand on each headline till you formulate a 600-1200-word blog post. Make sure that the content is useful, engaging, entertaining and packed with keywords pertinent to the reader. Add a few anchor links that will channel the right traffic to your website.
If you don’t have the time to author a blog, hire a ghost writer. Oversee their work adding value to ensure relevance. You can find writers on Craigslist and Upwork or outsource to agencies like The Hoth or Ghost Blog Writers.
Share your blog posts on your company’s social media walls and professional groups. Encourage users to subscribe to them, share them, and contribute via comments. A good blog will establish thought leadership in your industry over time.
Guest-Blog for Backlinks
Prominent search engines like Google, don’t rank your site based on what you think, but rather on what other prominent sites think of it. The important consideration is how often high and low authority sites link to your content. Valuable original content will generate backlinks which will boost your site’s authority on search engines.
To help accelerate the creation of backlinks, offer to host a blog on someone else’s site. The SCORE Manasota Chapter Chair, Dennis Zink, for instance, hosts a column each Monday in the Herald Tribune’s Business section relating to topics that the Tribune’s readers enjoy while drawing attention to content hosted on the SCORE Manasota chapter and national websites. HeraldTribune.com is ranked 7/10 on Google PageRank and has Very Strong Quality and Domain Authority levels. Backlinks from HeraldTribune.com to any website are valuable. Getting them on a weekly basis is priceless!
Get active on social media. Offer your comments on industry blogs and articles while subtly bringing attention to your blog. As you build your online reputation as a thought leader, approach other bloggers and professional writers with article ideas that would be interesting to their readers and that could potentially link back to your website. Ideally, you want all high authority websites covering your industry linking back to your site.
Offer Killer Calls-to-Action
When your digital content strategy revolves around offering value, offering killer call-to-action gated content becomes less of a challenge. Your company has already established a leadership content position on your website. That content can be repackaged to create the gated pieces that I call quid-pro-quo content pieces.
The most important aspects of gated content are title, description, and package. If the offering looks, feels and sounds appealing, it will create action. The content itself is not a factor since it is not known till the exchange of information has taken place. Here are some examples of gated content that you can develop and guard.
A whitepaper’s purpose is to educate the readers on a certain topic. It can tackle a number of subjects like in-depth analysis, how-to, case studies, success stories, best practices, research, opinions... Your blog content can also be good fodder for your whitepapers. You can take 3 or 4 related blog posts and repurpose them into one appealing whitepaper.
Technically, whitepapers are the easiest to assemble and offer since all you need is the textual content, some graphical elements and an authoring tool. A PDF is often created and posted on the site with a web form that leads to it. Whitepapers are usually the most desired content format due to the convenience and flexibility they offer regarding ease of access and consumption.
Whitepapers can be converted to a PowerPoint presentation and presented live online to webinar subscribers via GoToWebinars, Zoom or similar tools. You can also record one of the webinar sessions and offer it on your website for visitors to view at any time. Use forms to enable people to subscribe to your webinars or to view prerecorded ones.
If this strategy works for you, a multimedia audiovisual service can convert your presentation to a professional video, properly scripted and displayed with professional voice talent. The video can be promoted on your website and YouTube.
The audio recording of the webinar can also be converted to a podcast. With only audio, it is easier to edit and clean the track. You can also record podcasts of meetings and interviews with experts. A good example of a podcast is Been There, Done That, available on the SCORE website.
Videos are gaining popularity as internet bandwidth concerns are no longer an issue in most industrial countries. They are easily disseminated through YouTube and most social media platforms. Videos are also the most likely class of assets to go viral. A good video can go a long way in generating visibility and traffic to your website. Video production can be costly and very few go viral.
With the proliferation of e-readers and mobile devices around the world, eBook popularity grew exponentially. Most books in the USA are now read electronically. Producing and promoting an eBook will help establish you as a thought-leader and expert in your field. Having blogged for a few years on your company’s industry and practices, you should be in a position to compile many of your most popular posts into an eBook. Make the eBook intro and graphics compelling and either sell it online on Amazon or offer it on your website via your gated content. Offer your eBook for free to your clients.
All your gated content should offer added value to the reader beyond what they get off your website or your competitors’. It should also include a call to action. This could be a free consultation offer, a free sample, a free quote, a discount on the next purchase, or other incentive offers. Secure your gated content by not making it visible on your sitemap or through internal searches.
Content is King
Valuable content attracts more visitors to your website and will keep them there longer and compel them to visit again. Search engines keep track of; how much time a visitor spends on each page of your site; where they land; where they exit; what they click on; and if they have visited your site before, as well as many other important characteristics. The longer you keep visitors on your site and the more pages they visit, the higher authority your website gains in the eyes of search engines. With higher authority, your site will rank higher in searches leading to an increase in top page results on Google, generating more organic traffic.
Take your time building your digital content. But build it with pride. Build it with passion! Digital content is the lifeblood of your inbound lead generation strategy. Once your content is online, it will stay there forever, steering leads and business your way for many years to come!
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