Honestly, content marketing can be a bit tricky. Not only is it now considered a technical endeavor with the advent of search engine optimization (SEO), but as more digital marketers learn of its importance, the field becomes substantially more competitive. Seriously, everyone is jockeying for that top spot of Google’s results page. As the trends suggest, 2016 is going to be a great year for Content Marketing.
Even more troublesome is the fact that Google’s algorithms are constantly changing. So, what worked wonders for you and your content marketing team just a few months ago might actually do more harm than good in today’s day and age. Luckily, there’s a way to fix this. You can bring in an SEO guy to make your content marketing more effective, or you can simply do a bit of research yourself and see the same awesome results.
That said, if the latter option is chosen, you’ll need the right tools to get you started and keep you making smart marketing decisions along the way. Yes, you can search the Internet far and wide for the aforementioned tools, or you can let someone else do the work for you. Relax—you’re covered. The following is a list of 25 links to help you become the best content marketer possible. Enjoy!
A Basic Overview of Content Marketing
Nominally, the term “content marketing” shouldn’t really be all that hard to define. That said, it’s much more than simply pushing a product or service through the production of digital content.
So as to more fully understand what content marketing is, what it’s about and what it sets out to accomplish, take a look at each link in this section. Obviously, the first real step towards content marketing mastery is understanding. These links should very much help in that department.
Simply put, content marketing isn’t a subset of the marketing world. Moreover, seeing as how consumers have taken to the digital realm to interact with brands, it’s become the core of any reputable marketing strategy. This piece, produced by Content Marketing Institute, explains why this is in layman’s terms.
2) What Is SEO?
Yes, SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” but there’s more to it than that. Produced by Hubspot, this resource helps future SEO strategists and investors get beyond the basics of SEO understanding. Yup, it’s way more than keywords. Take a look to see what else SEO has to offer.
There are certain relationships that simply can’t be undone, right? Think about it—pen and paper, peaches and cream, salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, etc. Well, in the case of digital marketing, SEO and content marketing are one and the same. Simply put, you can’t have one without the other.
Great content marketers need to be creative, deadline-driven and have a passion for research. That said, there’s a skill that rises above the rest in the ways of importance: copywriting. And this isn’t just any kind of copywriting—it’s content marketing copywriting. What does that entail? Give Neil Patel’s guest post for Content Marketing Institute a click to find out.
If ever there was a full-blown “King of Content Marketing and Blogging,” it would be Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.com. With blogging being such a vital part of content marketing, it’s important that you know how to integrate a sound blogging strategy into your current content marketing and SEO efforts. Luckily, Rowse can help you with just that.
Getting Into the Importance of Keywords
Even if you know next to nothing about content marketing and SEO, you’ve at least heard the term “keyword” being tossed around a time or two. What’s the big deal with keywords, right? These days, it seems that everyone is talking about them.
Well, by no means are they the only driving force behind great content marketing and SEO, but they certainly do play a rather large role in helping out. From keyword identification to implementation, links six through ten tell you everything you need to know to about making keywords work for you and your brand.
There’s no need to feel embarrassed about asking this question. In fact, it’s one of the best ones out there! Basically, keywords are the main driving force behind the copy content marketers produce and the SEO strategies they follow when producing said copy. Interested in a more in-depth answer? You should be. Fortunately, Hello SEO Copywriting has provided a great response in the above link.
You’ve got a jaw-dropping website. That’s great. The only potential problem? So does everyone else. And no matter how incredible your site looks, if nobody can find it, its value is greatly diminished.
This is where keyword mapping comes into play for content marketers. If you’re like many other site owners, you’ve never even heard of “keyword mapping.” No worries—give Adrienne Erin’s piece a read and you’ll soon be making sense of the matter.
Says Beth Hayden of Copyblogger.com, “When you do keyword research, you’re working to discover the actual words your customers use when they search for information about your content topic.”
Enjoy the quote? It’s just a snippet of Hayden’s piece. Her conversational tone makes keyword dominance a near guarantee. Read her piece to take in more about finding the right keywords.
Have you ever wondered why content marketing and SEO can’t be studied at the collegiate level? No joke—you can’t earn a bachelor’s degree in either field. There’s a good reason for that: change.
As previously made mentioned, content marketing and SEO are constantly adapting. Academia simply can’t keep up. Because of this, there are a number of myths and half-truths surrounding both practices. Read Karon Thackston’s piece to identify and avoid them!
Presently, you’re using this list as a tool to help you learn more about content marketing and SEO. However, there’s substantially more out there than could ever fit on one single list. When it comes to using keywords to boost organic traffic, you’ll want to tap into as many resources as possible. Looks like, once again, Neil Patel’s come to the rescue!
The Value of Meta Descriptions
The term “meta description” sounds complex, but there’s really no need to be intimidated. Just in case you’re new to content marketing, a meta description is the written copy that’s found directly underneath a result link after a simple Google search is completed.
These are extremely important in that they often determine whether or not a person clicks on a link. Since your content is competing with millions of other links, needless to say, you’ll want your meta descriptions to be as influential as possible.
As is the case with just about anything having to do with content marketing, if you don’t fully understand the basic concept, you’re in for a world of hurt. So, even if you know a thing or two about meta descriptions, give Moz’s piece on meta descriptions the attention it deserves. Regardless of experience, you’re bound to learn something new!
Content marketing copywriters specialize in a number of copy types: blog posts, white papers, listicles, social posts, etc. That said, few content types are as important for solidifying a click-through rate as meta descriptions. Whatever you do, make certain that yours are as persuasive and engaging as possible.
Clearly, in order for meta descriptions to drive traffic, they’ll need to do a number of things like appeal to a target audience and communicate a base message both clearly and concisely. Yet, that’s not even close to the totality of what’s needed.
In this article, Rachel McCombie of White.net provides thoughtful insight into the subtle tricks that are needed to make your meta descriptions as solid as possible.
Most millennials think they know their fair share of social media marketing tricks. While the proverbial jury’s still out on whether that’s true or not, one thing most social media marketing experts—and far too many content marketing specialists, for that matter—forget about is the value of meta tags for social efforts.
Oftentimes, the best way to learn about a particular copywriting niche is by simply looking at a few examples. Sure, teachers can teach, e-books can inform and webinars can instruct, but at one point or another, you’ve got to sit down and write. Compiled by Tim Aldiss, this link provides you with 33 of the best meta description examples out there. Be real with yourself—how well does your copy match up?
Making the Most of Blog Titles
Believe it or not, way back in the day, many of the world’s largest newspapers—The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune—had an on-staff writer whose sole responsibility was to craft engaging headlines.
Pretty crazy, huh? Though newsrooms continue to downsize all over the globe, the value of headlines has remained just as powerful—if not more so, realistically—for content marketers, SEO experts and bloggers.
There are many reasons for which headlines play an important role for content marketers. Sure, the more stable a headline, the better it will perform on social media, but that’s just the surface of what top-notch headlines can do for content marketers. Give Julie Neidlinger’s piece a read to see what else excellent headlines can do for your brand’s content marketing plan.
When it comes to content creation, especially with blog posts, there are basically two passionate groups of people: those who feel that content should be built around what search engines want and others who say that an audience’s needs are what really matter.
Depending upon which side of the fence you’re on, you’ll write headlines differently. This piece does an excellent job making sense of this mess so that you’re content reaches its full potential.
Are you addicted to BuzzFeed? How about Upworthy? In recent years and months, these two sites have come under fire for being deceptive with their headlines. In the eyes of many, they’re little more than cheap clickbait.
But seriously, when you read something like, “Which Taco Bell Menu Item Speaks to You On a Spiritual Level?” it’s hard to not click on the link. Fortunately, there’s a way to build headline intrigue like Buzzfeed, but in amore white-hat way.
Of all the e-books, e-courses, podcasts, webinars and how-to pieces out there on content marketing, there are few that rival the efficacy of a good, old-fashioned headline generation piece.
Here, you’ll find over 30 exceptional formulas to help you write marvelous headlines. Ya know, the kind both search engines and people will love.
Sometimes, it feels like writing blog titles is a hit-or-miss activity. If a title’s creative, it’s too long to register with Google’s algorithm. Or, on the flip side of things, if a title contains the perfect number of characters and even a few keywords, it’s not engaging enough. Finally, there’s no need to pull your hair out over the matter. ProBlogger is back with just what you need!
Optimizing Images for Search
With all this talk of SEO, writing, keywords, meta descriptions and blog titles, it’s easy to forget that images also play a valuable role in content marketing. Think about it—if you’re like most Google enthusiasts, you don’t only use a search engine’s web feature. In fact, from time to time, you also search for images.
So, how does Google determine which images show up first once a search has been conducted? A great content marketer will not only ensure that his written content ranks well, but will go out of his way to ensure that images—especially if they’ve been custom-built for a project—also develop rapport with the Internet’s most popular search engines.
The answer to this question is an easy one: “yes.” Most content marketers—and even SEO managers, for that matter—often think that image optimization means nothing more than using a few keywords as alt tags.
While the logic behind such a move makes sense, there’s definitely more to it. Originally published on YouMoz, you can take Kasy Allen’s teachings in the above link as doctrine. They’re spot-on.
Image optimization isn’t as easy as one might think. In order to rank for an image search, the optimization of both images and page elements is necessary. This is definitely one of those tasks that’s easier said than done. No need to fret, however. Dave Davies of Search Engine Watch is here to help.
This resource is invaluable in that even the most seasoned SEO professionals couldn’t provide you with 10 image optimization tips off the tops of their heads. From different ways to name images to how to intelligently use alt tags, this Mark Hayes piece for Shopify makes image optimization a breeze.
Have you ever considered that optimized images might be the ideal means through which more site traffic can be generated? If you haven’t, know this now—they can really help. The trick to this is found in loading speed.
As a user, nothing is more annoying that being forced to wait as a Web page loads. In fact, for every additional second of download time, you lose nearly 7 percent of your conversions. Shocking stuff, to say the least. Optimize your images to eliminate this problem.
There’s an idea out there that the best of anything should always be saved for last. Though this collection of 14 amazingly free stock photo websites isn’t necessarily the best of digital tools found on this list, it’s not far from the top.
Whether you’re a graphic designer, web developer, video production specialist or content marketer, finding beautiful stock images can sometimes be frustrating. Fortunately, thanks to Casey Ark’s collection, that shouldn’t be much of an issue anymore.
There you have it! An easy-to-use compilation of the 25 greatest digital resources to help inspire content marketing greatness. Before signing off, let one thing be known—this list is by no means comprehensive. Truth be told, there might even be a few better options out there than what’s been presented here.
So, if you feel like someone or something has been shafted by this piece, hop on down to the comments section below and share a link or two of your own. That way, everyone stands to benefit. Until heard from below, best of luck to you with your newfound content marketing ability.
This article was written by MOHAMMAD FAROOQ from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.