Author Archives: Vladimira Mihaylova

Blogging is among the best ways to add value to your customers and attract them to your site organically. Blogging is also the most common and popular content marketing strategy. All this does not make for an easy task. And to take all the advantage of this activity, you should not merely create a blog, but draft a clear blogging strategy. 

Create a Good Blogging Environment

If you’ve just created your website or you already have an online presence but haven’t started blogging yet, then you should start with setting up the blogging environment.  

Set up a Budget

Blogging seems like a pretty small investment and even a “free activity.” And it may be, if you, as an owner of the site, are an author of all the content. However, most often this is not the case. A good blog requires value-adding resources. And these resources require careful consideration. If you have a team, you better assign some of the articles to it, but also account for the time your teammates will invest in creating these posts. If your team is not made up of the best writers though, then you better outsource the copywriting activity. And last but not least, having a good blog with good content is a great start, but won’t be sufficient unless you promote it well. And that’s another part of the budget you need to consider upfront. 

Set the Right Goals

Before you start blogging, you need to set some things up. And in addition to the purely practical blogging environment, you should consider carefully your motivation and set your goals. What you aim to achieve while blogging? Attract more links to your site and rank better in the search engines? Reach more people through your blog posts? Improve your social media activity? Setting clear goals and objectives gives you purpose and direction and facilitates your entire blogging strategy. 

Research Your Competitors

Once you know what you want to achieve with your blog, you better take a look at your competitors and check what they are doing and how they are doing it. How do their blogs look like? What do they post? How often do they post? Do they promote their content? Who is their main target? This line of questioning will give you a good notion of what works and what not regarding blogging in your specific industry. And you better learn from the mistakes of your competitors and not your own ones.  

Create a User-Friendly Landing Page

The last couple of decisions you need to take regarding the blogging setup concern the landing pages. You first need to design a good blog page with easy and convenient category navigation. Then you need to consider the posts that you are going to create and contribute to other sites and media channels. What links are they going to include? To which landing page are they going to lead? A product page or a blog article one? 

How to Plan a Blogging Strategy: Step-by-Step Guide

Once you are done with all the initial preparation, you better focus on the blogging strategy itself and create a guide map for all your activities. 

Develop a Buyer Persona

What you need to determine first is who you are writing to and who is your target. In marketing, those targets take the form of a buyer persona, semi-fictional representations of your ideal users and customers. And when thinking about blogging, you better develop more than one buyer persona, as you will try to attract more than one category of people. 

Consider Your Keyword Research

Keywords are the basis of any digital marketing campaign and specifically important for blogging. And here you need to focus on the so-called long-tail keywords. Those are longer and more concrete phrases usually with informational intent. If you are selling jeans, you will rarely rank for the query “jeans” itself, but you have better chances for ranking for “how to wear high-waist jeans”. So go back to your keyword research and find all the relevant words for blogging content. 

Create a Content Strategy and Calendar

As you know who you would like to reach, you need to draft a clear content strategy and map it to a calendar. Keep the buyer persona on your mind, when thinking about topics. And then focus on the traditional marketing funnel of awareness, consideration, conversion, and retention. The topics you need to write on to reach more people and tell them about your existence surely differ from those you need to write to convince the same people to convert. Then determine your schedule. How many articles you will post per week, per month? Think about what your users need, but do not forget to consider your capacity. Posting regularly is great, but will you be able to produce this content in a timely manner? 

Choose Your Promotional Channels 

As we’ve mentioned already having great content in your blog is a very good basis. However, if no one ever knows about this content, what’s the point. The easiest thing you could do is share the posts in your social media. Surely, you can boost those with a PPC campaign, too. However, the most beneficial tactic concerning SEO focuses on building links to your blog. This will boost the authority of your site and will help it rank better in the search engines. This, in turn will get you more organic traffic. Of course, there’s no shortcut and this strategy will require continuous efforts, but will also yield long-term results.  

Add Value & Build Relationships

To sum it all up, marketing is now all about adding value. And so is blogging. Keep this in mind while planning and executing your blogging strategy and it will be a successful one. 

What is SEO and why does it matter for your online shop? 

SEO, the Search Engine Optimization, is a digital marketing technique that encompasses all the best practices, which will help you rank better than your competitors in the search engine results pages and get more organic traffic. And in the e-commerce field, SEO is what delivers the highest ROI (return on investment). So while you should in no way stop spending on social media and PPC ads, you should start thinking more about SEO, as its campaigns yield long-term results and gradual, but stable improvements. And in the e-commerce case, this could mean millions of dollars. 

Step 1: Research and Planning 

SEO as every other marketing initiative is all about research. And here you not only need to know your client but also his or her intent and behavior online. SEO may start with developing a buyer persona, but especially on the e-commerce scene, it ends with a sophisticated and detailed keyword and competitor research. And only then, you start planning. 

Keyword Research for E-commerce

When conducting keyword research, you are first looking for the keywords the users and prospective clients will use to find your shop and get to your homepage. However, for an e-commerce website, you need to go a step further and find pages, which you can map to each product category and section. Imagine you are drafting an SEO strategy for a clothing shop. Surely, you would like users to get to your site when looking for “trendy clothes”, but you would also want them to be redirected to you when their search is more detailed (“blue dress”, “high-waist jeans”, etc.). And lastly, before you think you’re done, you better focus on one more category of keywords and those are the keywords for blogging content. Here you can take advantage of the so-called “long-tail keywords”, which are searches with informational intent like “how to dress for a job interview” and “what are the biggest fashion trends this fall”. Employing those keywords undoubtedly will help you stand out from your competitors.

Competitor Research

Surely, keywords tell a lot about the users and the online environment you aim to fit in. They don’t tell the whole story though. That is why, once you’ve analyzed them, you better look at your competition. Look at the keywords your competitors rank for, the links they rely on, the topics they discuss, and the way they have structured their sites. If something works well for them, it will probably work well for you. So find out the best practices they follow and try to include them in your strategy.

Website Architecture

Once you are done with the keyword and competitor research, you better revisit your website architecture. And for e-commerce this is crucial. Creating the right navigation structure and choosing the appropriate product and category sections for the menus may make a huge difference and a very distinctive user experience. So, put yourself in the shoes of your prospective clients, arm yourself with the keywords you’ve discovered, and set up an easy to use architecture, which doesn’t bury pages more than 3 clicks away from the home one. 

Technical Analysis

While you are still on the planning stage, you need to conduct another analysis, a technical one. Here you are focusing on the overall quality of your site. Are all the pages working properly? Are the internal links active? Is your content unique? Are meta descriptions and titles present on each and every page? Is the loading speed okay? And what about the mobile user experience? Find the answers to all these questions and you will have a pretty good picture of the technical conditions of your site. And for an e-commerce shop, something as simple as a product page loading for more than 3 seconds may drive users to the competitor.   

Step 2: SEO Best Practices Implementation 

Research is done. You have a good perspective on where your site is and why and it’s time to start taking actionable steps.

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization always starts with adding unique and high-quality titles, meta descriptions, headings, image names, etc. Those need to include the appropriate keywords you’ve found in the research, but not be overstuffed, as too many keywords will look unnatural. Another sections to optimize are the URLs and the content itself. Each page needs at least 200 words of unique content to be indexed. So make sure your pages are well-optimized and the positive results will for sure follow.

Internal Linking Structure 

Internal linking seems simple but unimportant. However, it turns out it could be more than beneficial, as you are the one choosing the anchor text and setting the authority. Still, you do not need to overdo this. Use internal linkage, but only when and where it looks and feels natural. When optimizing your e-commerce website, adding links to product pages from the blog articles is both natural and helpful. 

Step 3: Build Your Position 

Your website is now fit for the web and well-optimized, but SEO is a continuous effort and the only way to do better than your competitors is to keep on implementing good SEO initiatives and to build and sustain your positions. 

Content Marketing 

A key assumption many e-commerce site owners make is that their site needs product and category pages only. And here they go wrong. Of course, you need to focus on the product pages, as here is where conversion will happen, but if you want to affect people on the awareness and consideration stage, you will need other content. Content, which intrigues. Content, which adds value. And to extract the most you can with content marketing, you need to create a well-thought strategy and a calendar, which will translate everything into actionable steps, exact dates, and responsible assignees. 

Link Building 

Building links is among the most popular SEO practices, which may end up being extremely difficult in the e-commerce case, especially if your site lacks value-adding content and relies on the products to sell only. However, to rank well you do need some links. So start planning a regular link building campaign. Find a set of sites you want to get links from. Those could be sites linking to your competitors or sites with authority in your field. Offer them guest posts and invest in creating good material to contribute. This may take a lot more effort than the actions described above. But only a couple of links from authoritative sites may improve your ranking way more than everything else done together. 

Wrapping It All Up

The goal of your e-commerce site is clear: to generate sales and profit. The goal of your SEO campaign is also clear: to increase those sales and improve margins. And this all could happen through more conversions and satisfied customers, which enjoy using your site now and in the long-run. Investing in SEO is not a mere pursuit of quick results, but a journey to a more successful business. 

Why do you need a content marketing strategy?

In a world, where marketing is all about adding value, content is among the best ways to connect with your target audience and to communicate your message. Content is king, people say, but it is also a vague term, encompassing a growing number of asset types. Determining what type of content would be most appropriate for your goals, audience, and occasion and crafting a content marketing strategy is, therefore, even more, important than the content itself. 

Communicate your brand identity

Your brand image affects your users and customers at each step of the buyer’s journey. People will be well aware of popular and trustworthy brands and will also tend to buy more from companies they know and respect. And building a brand and communicating its identity is all about content. Do you want to have that “fun company” image? Then work on exciting and amusing content, which has the potential to go viral. Do you aim to attract more clients to your B2B business? Then tell them how successfully you are doing your job by publishing extensive case studies and detailed testimonials. Define your brand identity first, start planning your content marketing, and let the world know about your company. 

Help your company be found

You may be the best in what you do offline, and yet be no one on the online battlefield. No matter how much expertise you have, if you fail to communicate it properly, you would not be able to meet users’ demands and answer their questions. Thus, you will rarely appear on the search engine results pages’ top positions and rank for the increasing number of informational searches. 

Generate Leads

Content marketing has proven to provide higher conversion rates. As long as you deliver to the users the information they need and you emphasize on quality and not quantity when creating your content, you will undoubtedly generate more leads. In addition, once users and potential customers trust you and look at you as a thought leader, the conversion rate will surge, as well.  

Think about your content mix 

You need content, that’s for sure. Only the right content mix though, will efficiently help your marketing efforts, so focus there first. 

Know your target audience and buyer persona 

Delivering value to potential customers and buyers is how you will attract them. However, too often you cannot sum up all of your potential customers into one buyer persona, as different people are at distinct stages of the buyer’s funnel. Imagine you have a company, which produces and sells mattresses. For people, unaware of your business’ existence, you will need to create content on more general topics like “Does a bad mattress affect your sleep or health?” or “The most common reasons behind the 21st century’s widespread insomnia.” Once people are wondering whether they should purchase a mattress from you or from a competitor, you will need to offer more detailed content on why you are better. For instance, an infographic about your mattresses’ form and structure will do. So first define the different groups of prospective customers and then return to the content strategizing.    

Content and the Buying Funnel

To successfully plan the content you need to step into the shoes of each of your buyer personas and think about the problems it faces and the questions it asks. Тhen, you need to come up with the materials, be it articles, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, etc. that would assist your prospective clients in the best way possible. Think about each target audience and then in the context of its needs, plan content across each stage of the buying funnel.  

Create a content marketing calendar

Having a content marketing calendar is systemizing your content marketing strategy. So once you have this setup, you are good to go. 

Know and analyze the content you already have

Unless you have just created your website, you surely have some content already. Analyze it, check whose problems it solves, and which keywords it encompasses. Create a clear structure of your blog or knowledge center, or wherever section you plan on uploading your content. Set up different categories and tags, if necessary. 

Decide on what to publish when 

Once you’ve decluttered your current content, think about your future publishing schedule. Depending on your target audience, there would be “good times” to upload and share content and then there would also be not that appropriate moments. For example, in the B2B arena, posting serious and detailed content on a Monday morning would be a complete waste of effort, as everyone is busy answering emails and planning for the week. Publishing this type of material on a Friday afternoon won’t be more fruitful, too. So, timing is key with content.

Make a schedule and assign responsibilities 

Once you have the topics and the schedule, you need to start working on content production. If you have a sufficient team of people capable to create content, you can assign each of them to work on one content piece per month. Thus, you will efficiently communicate the expertise of your team without having to outsource content creation. If you have a small team or lack of understanding on how to write qualitative articles, then you better focus on what you are good at and hire a copywriting agency. 

Publish, promote, share, track 

Content is planned and ready to go. Now either assign a person responsible for publishing and promoting it in your social media channels, or use a platform like Hootsuite, which will facilitate the entire process and save you time and effort. Track the engagement of your content and see what your clients prefer, so that you can improve your content marketing in the future. 

 

What is SEO and why you need it? 

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing the “organic” or “natural” traffic to your website through different digital marketing practices. 

The reasons why you need SEO are multiple, starting with the fact that people are increasingly relying on search engines to find information, purchase products, book vacations, learn, communicate, etc. This means that a bunch of old school advertisement methodologies are becoming obsolete, as they are simply ignored by the modern customer. As people are predominantly online, brands and companies need to make sure they will appeal to this audience in the best manner possible. 

Another behavioral factor is also contributing to the surging need for SEO and this is the trend of people no longer trusting ads. As Seth Godin, a famous marketing guru, puts it, “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell”. And about the value you deliver, we will add. Popping up in the prime time commercials was a guarantee for an increase in sales once, but is a last resort now. People will go to your website only if you offer them something superior and will trust you only if you prove to be better than the competition. PPC could create awareness, but won’t establish you as a thought leader. But an optimized site and a good content strategy could get you there. 

How does SEO work?

An average person searches Google at least 3-4 times per day and we all know that this is a grand underestimation for an average millenial. However, rarely do people think about why does the search engine result page looks like this and how does Google decide on what to show first. 

The truth is that search engines rely on sophisticated algorithms, which allow them to “crawl” each and every site on the web and obtain information about it. All the collected details are stored and analyzed by the engine, which sums them up into an index. Of course, content is key, but other factors have a major contribution, as well, and those are the domain and page authority, the backlink profile, the social metrics, the structure of the site, etc. Optimizing all these would give you much higher chances to rank well and make it worth your while. 

Learn SEO: Step-By-Step Guide

Learning SEO just like “doing” SEO is a continuous process. Neither taking an SEO course once, nor optimizing your site for the search engine once will be sufficient. With digital marketing transforming each and every day and search engines modifying their algorithms, you need to keep on reading and learning, so as to adapt your SEO strategies and techniques and continue achieving good results. 

Step 1: Understand the logic behind SEO 

The now famous “three pillars of SEO” are a good representation of the basic logic behind the entire process as well as of Google’s algorithm. The three words that define SEO are authority, relevance, and trust

Authority could be neither bought nor sold, nor achieved overnight. However, it is what users are looking for when searching for a fix to their issue or an answer to their question. They want tips, advice, information, and stories from the best out there. And to evaluate who’s the best, search engines focus on the quality of the content and the links it has attracted to the site. Google is now capable of analyzing the on-page content, format, and organization and to add this to the page rank developed by summarizing the link structure.  

The second pillar behind the SEO logic is relevance and it is pretty straight forward. If you aim at ranking for “how to make the best chocolate ice cream”, you better offer a resource about exactly the same recipe. If your content is not relevant to your target audience searches, even if you are authoritative and trustworthy you won’t have good positions on the search engine result pages (SERPs). 

The third pillar sounds simple, but encompasses a wide range of factors to evaluate the trustfulness of the site. Starting with the length of your content (Google will rarely index pages with text content below 200 words) and its type (pages with images, videos, and infographics will have an advantage over purely textual pages), search engines will check whether you have external links to authoritative sources, what the speed of your site is, how much time people spend on each page, etc. While improving the authority and relevance may sound easy, increasing the trust factor is a continuous process and requires patience and attention to the detail. 

Step 2: Learn about the different types of SEO 

Once you’ve understood the basic SEO logic, you need to learn more about the different types and SEO activities. If you aim at improving your overall ranking and to gain more traffic and exposure, you’ll have to act upon all three pillar, which in practice is achieved through technical and on-page optimization and link building campaign. 

The technical SEO focuses on solving the backend issues, which may hinder the user experience. It is also known as website and server optimization and solves the problems of privacy, speed, sitemaps and structure, mobile friendliness, etc. The technically fit website will achieve a higher trust factor. 

The on-page efforts summarize a wide range of page elements and how optimized in respect to basic SEO rules and Google’s algorithm they are. Those are URLs, titles, meta descriptions, headings, alt tags, file names, and many more. 

Assuming that you’ve created a website with great content, structure, and technical background, it will still attract no traffic and users, unless the world and the web learn about its existence. And they will learn about it through an improved authority. To achieve this you need to design and deploy well-thought link building campaigns and promote your website to other website owners. 

Step 3: Case Studies: Theory meets Practice

Theory is all good, but you will only learn to optimize your site for the search engines, if you dive deep into the practical part. The web is flooded with SEO case studies and success stories which also include good illustrations and explanations. Analyze them and find out how businesses actually made it to the top of the SERPs and increased their sales and conversion through SEO efforts. At the end, work on your first SEO strategy and try to adapt everything learned to the needs of your business and the desires of your audience. 

The Best SEO Resources that would help you advance 

David Booth’s “SEO Foundations”

This 4-hour course for absolute beginners delves deeper into the SEO fundamentals and teaches you the basics of keyword research, content planning and optimization, link building, measurement of the final results as well as mobile and local SEO. With more than a decade experience in the digital marketing and transformation field, David Booth explains everything with simple terms and welcomes you to the SEO world. 

Google Webmasters Videos and Google Webmasters Official Blog

Learning directly from the people who draft Google’s algorithms is always a good idea. Browse their youtube channel and find variety of useful resources or go to their blog and find all the updates about crawling, indexing, and ranking. 

Moz and Ahrefs SEO Blogs

Those two are the leading providers of SEO software as well as the renowned thought leaders in the field. And not only are their toolsets extremely useful and beneficial to your SEO efforts, but their resources answer all the question that could pop up into your mind, while you are making your way into the SEO environment. 

Conclusion 

SEO is a field for the brave and for those, unafraid to never stop learning. It is neither static, nor boring, but a rigorous field that requires an agile approach and a strong motivation. Start learning it now and observe the miracles it could bring to you. 

When marketers discuss different digital and content marketing strategies, they often keep business-to-customer (B2C) in mind and set appropriate for such an audience objectives. They talk on how to create a video to entertain the masses and how to affect individuals at each stage of the marketing funnel. And while this may be sufficient on the B2C level, the efforts for reaching another business and another company differ and require a specific approach and mindset. Knowing the distinctions between those two content marketing efforts would definitely give you an edge and allow you to target, reach, and convert other businesses more successfully.

1. Goals and Objectives

As with any digital marketing campaign, the core of the content marketing one is the right set of objectives. And those differ with the target audience. With B2C content marketing, the effort is focused on reaching as many people as possible and building brand awareness, so 84% of those companies report this as their primary goal. They want customers to have heard about their offering so that they can consider it while choosing among alternatives. In the business-to-business environment, the number of people reached doesn’t matter that much. Most important here is communicating the right message to the right set of businesses which are also potential clients and partners. Here, awareness steps aside and conversion and retention are the keys to success. 88% of B2B marketers claim they value customer loyalty the most. A common KPI in the B2B content marketing context, therefore, is the return on investment (ROI).

2. Content

Having set the goals of the marketing campaign, one thing remains certain: valuable content will win the hearts of both B2C and B2B audiences. However, the intent of users is different. In the B2C environment, users will often browse aimlessly and scroll for hours without a specific purpose. They will be led by simple curiosity and a desire to be entertained. They would trust fellow customers and would love to interact with them. The business representatives, however, have no time to waste. Or at least, no time to waste while doing their professional duties. They will, therefore, look for specific information that would answer their questions and meet their needs and wants. Instead of searching for funny cat videos, business people will be specific in their search queries and will evaluate the expertise of the authors. They are often willing to trust and interact only with the thought leaders in the field. The content one will produce and craft for these two audiences, therefore, must take this distinction into account.

Differences in Research, Keywords, and Content Planning

While both content marketing strategies rely on keywords, they take two very different research approaches. In B2C marketing, the keyword research facilitated by famous tools like the Ahrefs one is leading. What the users look for the most defines the content type and direction. However, for B2B marketing, the keywords of the highest volume will not matter as much as the insights gained through direct interaction with other businesses. Here, the content is planned based on experience, an awareness of recent trends, and an understanding of partners’ needs.

3. Content Format

Following on the previous difference in the type and intent of the content is its format. As already mentioned, the B2C content marketing strategies focus on breadth and aim at creating something viral, easy to comprehend and share. Visuals are the king. The text needs to be minimal and content must be attractive and impressive so as to have a chance in winning the battle for people’s attention. Videos were reported to increase time spent on site with 100% and people who watched a product video were 85% more likely to later purchase. On the other hand, B2B content marketing focuses on depth. Accountant, engineers, and managers do not seek fancy visuals. So, it is not so important to create content to appeal to all and everyone. Drafting a unique expert piece which is more comprehensive and of better quality than everything else on the web will automatically make you a favorite both of your audience and of the search engines. Specific infographics, detailed case studies, useful templates, and valuable e-books are the right format for this audience. Focus and invest there.

4. Outreach

Knowing your goals and having your content is half the work done. The next key step is delivering this content to your target audience through the right channels. And pretty logically, those differ, as well. For a B2C company, the message will be best received in the social media where its users spend the most time. For certain brands and products, this could be Pinterest, while for others this would be Instagram. Sharing entertaining and interesting content there has the potential to reach thousands of people. No one puts a detailed and professional case study on Instagram though. This type of content is better received in the professional channels or social media like LinkedIn and often is boosted with the help of advertising and PPC efforts. Thus it could reach the target audience and its fullest potential. Search engine optimization is also key, as business people will come with specific questions and look for expert and specific answers, preferably in the top results on the search engine result page.

5. Time Span

Generally, there are two types of content, one that follows the trends and one that elaborates on evergreen topics and problems. The B2C content targets immediate results and aims at capturing all the current fashions and transforming them into actual results. In the business-to-business environment, what matters most are the good relationships and partnerships. Marketers do not aim at closing a one-time sale, but at building good connections with other businesses and establishing trust. Therefore, immediate results and conversion may be left behind in favor of the pursuit of long-term goals and objectives, which in turn have the potential to bring much higher returns.

Key Takeaways

Different in nature, these two basic content marketing strategies still have one huge thing in common, which is also the heart and soul of contemporary content marketing, and that’s value. Determine your audience correctly, let your efforts be just value-driven, and you will surely notice the impact of your campaigns.