According to SEMRush, 84% of companies have a content marketing strategy; meaning that if you hope to become the “Content Marketing King” of your niche, you’re going to face a lot of competition.
But don’t fret. This article will show you how you can stand out from the crowd.
You will find out:
- Where to invest your content marketing dollars.
- How to use our competitors’ content to generate ideas.
- Why branded content is becoming a winner-take-all market.
But first, let’s explore why certain company blogs outperform others.
Three reasons why blogs succeed (or fail)
There are a million little things that determine a blog’s performance, but there are three main components:
- Is the company getting its blog in front of its audience?
- Are people finishing the articles?
- Does the content ultimately satisfy readers’ objectives?
Let’s take a look at these one by one:
Is the company getting its blog in front of its audience?
You can have the greatest content in the world, but if you’re not ranking on the first page of Google, good luck getting people to read it (unless you want to pay a pretty penny for paid ads).
The good news is that by using the right tools and tactics, you can generate a ton of organic traffic, but you’ll need to invest the time and resources into developing a clear SEO strategy that you can integrate with your current content production methods. If this is beyond the current scope of your team, then you could consider hiring an SEO content agency to manage this aspect of your business. A high-quality agency can help you get your content ranking in the SERPs and make sure you’re targeting the right keywords for your audience.
Are people finishing the articles?
You got your target audience to click on your content. Congratulations… but you’re not out of the woods yet. There’s still a lot that could go wrong.
What if your introduction is uninspiring or your article brings nothing new to the table?
In either case, your readers are likely to bounce before they get to the end. You are competing with dozens of forms of entertainment – yes, even executives that read B2B content use social media – so you need to capture your readers’ attention right from the start, and ensure you manage to keep it throughout the article.
Does the content satisfy readers’ needs?
So, you’ve been able to get your target audience to click on your content and they’ve read through to the end.
But what happens if they are thoroughly unimpressed?
Unfortunately, two things are likely to happen; first, they won’t be clicking your CTA, and second, there’s a strong possibility that they won’t be returning to your site in the future.
If, on the other hand, you give your audience exactly what they want, they are much more likely to trust you and take action on your CTA – be it signing up for an email newsletter or setting a sales call appointment.
Now that you know why blogs succeed or fail, it’s time to look at how you can win your place in the pantheon of authority websites.
It all revolves around content
Let’s say someone is thinking about starting a restaurant: what do you think is the first thing that he thinks about?
What type of food he’s going to cook, right?
If you’ve been tasked with managing your company’s blog, the content – like food for a future restaurant owner – is the first thing you’re going to think about.
What type of content are you going to cook?
Yes, we’re going to stay with the analogy between a restaurant and content.
So… the prospective restaurant owner has decided that he wants to open a restaurant in his neighborhood.
How is he going to decide what to cook?
By finding the type of food that he knows how to cook and that the locals enjoy eating.
You don’t want to be Babu Bhatt from Seinfeld, serving several cuisines and then, at Jerry’s urging, opening the “only authentic Pakistani restaurant in the whole neighborhood” – with no evidence that anyone in the neighborhood wanted Pakistani food. Better to be the “Soup Nazi” (but much nicer), using original, high-quality recipes to make a meal (soup) that is enjoyed by many in the neighborhood.
Your neighborhood is your niche. And you need to create original, high-quality content that appeals to the locals (your target audience).
Think about the problems that your audience is experiencing; get into their heads and seek to find out what is keeping them awake at night or what problems they spend the majority of their day trying to solve.
Once you have a few ideas, it’s time to do some competitor analysis. If you were opening an Italian restaurant, you would want to know what your local competitors were doing right and what they were doing wrong.
Is the chicken parm delicious at the top restaurant in town? Do the locals consistently order the linguine with white clam sauce, but you think you could serve a better version?
For a prospective restaurant owner, some of this data may be hard to get. But for a marketer, there are tools that can help you hone in on the right strategy.
Check out BuzzSumo – the tool can be used to uncover the most commonly shared blog topics in your niche.
Then there’s Ahrefs – a tool that countless SEOs can’t live without. With Ahrefs, you can search your competitors’ domains and see which pages are generating the most traffic for them and which keywords are getting them that traffic.
But don’t try to rank for any highly searched terms. We can look at the Honey Copy website as an example. Cole Schafer is doing an excellent job with it, and two of the pages that get Cole the most traffic are:
- Charles Bukowski quotes
- A list of five “kick-ass” copywriting courses… including his own
Yeah, it’s nice to get traffic from the Charles Bukowski page, but it’s obvious that Cole (and his competitors) would value the traffic to the course list a lot more.
If you were one of Cole’s competitors, you’d want to look at that course page and figure out how you could make a better version of it. It’s usually a tall task to improve upon high-ranking pages, but that’s the name of the game. And it’s why you need to have an excellent content team in place or invest in working with a content agency.
What ingredients are you going to use to create your content?
This is where the restaurant/content analogy breaks down a bit.
If you own a restaurant and you use lower-quality ingredients, you can pass the cost savings on to your customers. Think McDonald’s. But if you want to use higher-quality ingredients – like a Farm-to-Table restaurant – your customers are going to have to pay up.
It doesn’t work like that with branded content, as it’s free for readers to consume, which means they are going to gravitate to the best quality. This means that you have to make your content better than your competitors’ content. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Here’s the deal:
You could have an incredible content strategy, but if your execution isn’t on point, it’s useless.
As Mary Kay Ash said, “Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.”
Those people cost money. There are native English writers that sell their services for as little as 2 cents a word (yes, really), but you get what you pay for. With content marketing quickly becoming a winner-take-all situation, spending 25% of your competitors’ per-post budget is not going to get you 25% of their return.
Look for a provider who not only has experience crafting well-written content in your industry but also comes up with unique insights that sets their clients’ content apart from the competition. You can have someone who writes like Stephen King, but if they’re simply rehashing existing content – intentionally or unintentionally – your readers are going to be disappointed.
What if you don’t have enough time or money?
Becoming the “Content Marketing King” of your niche is a major (and expensive) endeavor.
So, what options are open to you if you don’t have the time or the budget?
If you don’t have the time to create your content in-house, then outsourcing the development of your content strategy and its creation to a content agency may be your best option.
Not having the budget is a trickier issue. If you have a small budget, it’s tempting to shop at the dollar store of content writers.
But you may actually want to pay even more for content than your competitors – especially if you’re currently lagging behind them.
Before you yell, “But I don’t have money!”, let me tell you how you can pull this off:
You can publish less, but when you do publish, put out incredible, evergreen pieces. You may only be able to publish once a month, but if those pieces are a) jam-packed with value and unique insights and b) going to be relevant for years to come, then you can outdo any competitors that publish pedestrian content twice a week. This is an especially great approach to take if you have a few main, high-competition keywords that you want to rank for – and can have high-quality, in-depth guides written for them.
We’re in a new era of marketing; people prefer to be talked to like, well, people.
They want companies to help them solve their problems. Not to be inundated with pesky advertisements.
Being “Content Marketing King” means being your prospects’ go-to problem solver… which is guaranteed to have a massive long-term payoff.