Content & SEO: How a united strategy can help your brand Posted on May 11, 2018 (May 14, 2018) by Krista Herring This is the last in our series of guest posts for the month. Here we hear from one of our digital marketing agency partners, Classy Brain. We love Classy Brain for their smart approach to SEO and digital marketing. Here they weigh in on what it takes to drive a consistent strategy across your web assets. – Hannah If you are a business owner, you have probably been solicited by a digital marketing company at one point or another to provide services such as Pay Per Click, SEO, Social Media, Website Design and Development, Content Writing, etc. Some of these digital marketing companies may offer a few of these services, all these services, or just one of them. It is rare to find is a digital marketing company with a strategy to integrate each of these services so that they build off one other. Instead, you will typically be provided with an analysis of your website, social media, and brand, and a strategy proposal for each service offered individually. Time is money, so let’s talk about how combining a strategy for content writing/content marketing and SEO can save you so much time, but also get more eyes on your content and products (more leads!). Can’t we all just get along? Just because a single company doesn’t offer all these services doesn’t mean you have to settle for a piecemeal approach. But there are a few steps you need to take to ensure that you have a consistent brand voice and messaging. You can either develop the overall strategy and provide the guidance to each agency, or make sure your marketing agency teams get to know each other early in the process so they can collaboratively build it for you. As with any team scenario, make sure you define early on who the authority is in case of an opinion difference – you, or one of the agencies. And, make sure your end strategy plays to the rules below. Build Trust. We all know that Google doesn’t just scan your site anymore for specific keywords and rank you accordingly. (If only it were that easy, right?) Google looks at your business and your brand, as a whole, and essentially asks, “Will customers find what they are looking for, and have a good experience doing, so, with this site?” and “Is this site trustworthy? Can customers establish a relationship with this company?” Trustworthiness for some is whether a site is “secure” when it comes to payments. We aren’t talking about that kind of trustworthiness. Does your brand show a potential customer not only who you are, but why you do what you do? Can a customer relate to your business on a personal level? What opportunities have you provided to them to connect with your business, your brand? Explain Why. Online users act based on emotion (if you don’t believe us, Google “emotional buying”). Your brand gives you an opportunity to paint a picture for your customers and future customers of what life is like having your brand in it. Painting the picture isn’t telling your customers who you are and what you do, it’s why you do it and why their lives could be better because of your product, service, or even just a simple Instagram photo in their feed. So how do you establish this type of trustworthy connection and relationship with customers, so Google? How do you con [so Google sees that you are a trustworthy site providing searches with the products and experience they are looking for]? Authentic Content. We aren’t talking about just any content, we are talking about authentic content that has a very intentional strategy to reach your customers on an emotional level. This content should be upfront and honest with your audience – transparency opens the biggest possible door to a trusting relationship. Content Strategy. Your content strategy should have a consistent plan for producing new content for viewers (and new content for Google to see your business is active, engaging, and continuing to create trusting relationships). The content attached to your brand should be current, eye-catching, and offer an action to your users. Action. Engagement with your brand. Building a relationship between your brand and that customer. Another opportunity for Google to see your business continue to establish and maintain relationships. Quality SEO. So where does SEO come in? Your content strategy is an effort to build a trusting relationship with customers, which increases the authority of your business/brand/website (the higher the authority, the more likely Google will place you in search results, which is also one of the main goals of SEO. When activating SEO efforts specifically with content marketing, your SEO will work to get that content viewed by more people, resulting in (hopefully) more positive, trusting relationships with potential customers, which will continue to build your authority. The way content and SEO should work together is on a never-ending loop – one should not exist without another, and they desperately need to intertwine and be part of the same strategy to create the results, and traffic, you are looking for. Where do I start? Whether you have a digital marketing company helping with your content and SEO or not, here are some steps to get you headed towards a content marketing and SEO strategy working in tandem: Brand Identity If you haven’t looked deep into the soul of your brand recently, you need to. This is something that needs to be looked at on a regular basis. Define your brand. Who are you? But more importantly, why do you do what you do? Does your brand have a name? What does your brand like to do on the weekends? What is your brand’s favorite color? Who does your brand want to talk to and interact with (who is your target audience)? It may seem silly, but questions like these can really help your employees and your digital marketing company to understand what picture to paint through customer interaction and content placed online. Generate Content Sure, you’ll have your about page to tell everyone who you are and what services you offer, but what other content should you have? What social channels are you currently on, and which ones should you really be on to reach your target audience? What kind of content do your competitors create and publish? If you don’t view them as competitors, what kinds of content do the top companies in your industry create and publish? Where are they sharing that content? What kind of engagement/interaction are they receiving? The most important aspect of your content is providing insight to your brand, so your audience can feel connected to you, leading to a high-trust relationship. Use SEO in Content Every piece of content you create should have some SEO strategy attached to it. Keywords, links (or both!) should always be incorporated into content, no matter where the content is hosted or shared. If you have a digital marketing company handling your SEO, your account manager should speak with multiple employees of your company. This provides them with a perspective of the entire company and helps them accurately portray the “why” of your business and better represent your plan. A great SEO company will take the time to get to know you, your company, AND your employees. Promote Your Content Your content should always be high quality, and any high-quality content should have a plan to be promoted. Look for opportunities to have it shared on high authority sites, share on appropriate social channels, look for brand ambassador or influencers that may be appropriate for your products/content, etc. Guest blogging is a great opportunity to share content with an appropriate new group of people. Track You and/or your digital marketing company should track all efforts made with content and SEO. See what worked for you, and what maybe didn’t work as well. Adjust accordingly, but we highly suggest committing to a content & SEO strategy and sticking to it for several months before adjusting the plan. Just like regular SEO, you won’t (typically) see results overnight, but you should see results after a few months of following through consistently on your plan. Please stop using separate SEO and content strategies. Combing them into one strategy will allow your brand the opportunity to quickly build more of an online presence with trustworthy strength. We look forward to seeing more SEO and Content Marketing Strategies united in the future. And if you need a great team on your side for digital marketing and web design, let us bring ours to help you out. Happy Fri-Yay!