Working as a Project Manager at a full-service digital marketing agency, I get asked questions – all day, every day – from my teammates and clients/partners alike. On top of that, I speak at digital marketing conferences all around the country and get asked even more questions from attendees who range from CMO’s to content creators from graphic designers to web developers.
So, I went to our marketing team and said, “Look, we gotta do something about this. We need to start answering these questions for people or I’m gonna lose my freaking mind!”
…and thus, we’ve put together a consolidated list of questions and answers for you so I can get back to other, important, matters (Netflix).
Alright, let’s do this, Q/A style…
“I fully understand why our company needs content marketing, but my management team doesn’t get it. How do I get executive buy-in?”
This is always a tough one. Explaining to the C-suite that you need resources and moolah for a strategy that involves commitment and work can be daunting at best, but there are several ways to get their attention and approval.
Detailing how digital marketing has worked for other business like yours is going to help gain executive buy-in. An even better option is to showcase studies of your competition. Show how your competition is doing with their digital marketing efforts using tools like SEMRush. Content marketing works, it really does, while it isn’t a 30-day ROI, the results will come.
“What’s a good balance between paid and organic budget?”
I’ll volley this back with a different question, “What are your goals?” Do you need to get traffic in the door right away? If that’s the case, I would recommend front-loading your digital marketing budget towards paid media so you can find (and build) new audiences and get them to your site.
Once you’ve grown an audience and awareness for your brand, you can start re-allocated budget into organic efforts. We at Vertical Measures try to break the barrier between paid and organic, and instead call it what it really is: search. People use Google to ask questions; the most important thing is that you’re there to answer them.
“I can’t avoid duplicate content across multiple pages of my site, but you mentioned Google doesn’t like that. What can I do?”
The Panda Algorithm Update, released in 2011, began crawling content on your site with new criteria. If you had thin/weak content that wasn’t helping your readers, your rankings were affected. Google didn’t care for duplicate content anymore, either.
We see this oftentimes with location pages, the on-page content is the same, but the address and URL might be different. Google sees two pages with the same content and it’s going to choose the page it thinks is best for the query. And since we as marketers want to control everything around us, especially how our brand is displayed online, this is a bad thing.
If you’re unable to make certain pages unique, add a <rel canonical tag to the page you want Google to index and it will ignore the other page. Remember, Google is a machine and if you confuse it, you will lose.
“I know I need to create content, but how do I prioritize the types/topics to create first?”
Google likes to see fresh, useful content published consistently. If you have numerous service lines or products, it might be hard to prioritize what to write about and when.
First, review your goals. Have you recently launched a new product or service that you need content to support? Are you noticing lower sales in certain areas of your business? When you have a documented strategy that backs your overarching business goals, you’ll be able to prioritize effectively.
“How should we follow up with someone who downloads a piece of our content?”
People love to self-educate; constantly consuming information on their own to answer a question or solve a problem. The goal of content marketing is to provide that information on your website.
Just because someone is reading a blog post, doesn’t mean they are ready to give you money. Set up automated workflows in a lead management system to continue the conversation. This way, when that person is ready to make buying decision, you’re at the top of their inbox. Lead nurture is crucial in the development of relationships, delivery of information and potential for purchase.
While we’re at it…
“How do I build my owned audience?”
Building your owned audience can become one of your most valuable business assets. Gathering information about a potential partner can translate to actual dollars. Let’s think of the different tiers of our future audience:
Tier 3: Short-term
This audience visited your site and you’ve added a cookie to their browser, allowing you to follow them throughout the web, delivering relevant and useful information via re-targeting efforts. The reason these are short term is because these cookies are set to expire (standard is 90-days), so you’ll need to get back in front of them over and over – this costs money.
Tier 2: Non-owned
These audience members may follow you on social media, YouTube or a podcast channel. While these people are “subscribed” or follow your content, you don’t really own any of their information. Think of it this way: If Twitter were to disappear tomorrow (it won’t), so does you’re following on that channel.
Tier 1: Owned
The all-important, Holy Grail of audience ownership. This audience provided some sort of personal information about themselves that allows you to contact them – typically a name and email.
These are people who subscribed to your newsletter, downloaded a gated piece of content or filled out another form on your site. With this audience, you’re able to put relevant and useful information in front of them at the right time and the right place along the customer journey.
Each Tier is important in the development of your owned audience. The ultimate goal, however, is to move the Tier 3 members into Tier 1. That’s the best way to translate your digital marketing efforts into actual revenue.
Until next time…
Did this answer one of your questions? If not, let us know! Content marketing is all about providing useful information to an audience and leading them to solve their challenge. We want to help brands grow like never before. And, we’re damn good at it.
Have a specific question for us?
We have designers, writers, SEOs, analysts, and more amidst our ranks, but when it all comes down to it, we identify as one thing: digital marketers with a passion to transform businesses.