Like SEO, content marketing best practices are constantly changing. And it’s important to tweak your approach to incorporate the latest trends – including these 3 hot content marketing trends you can’t afford to ignore.
But you shouldn’t just chase after all the new trends. There are important tried-and-true content marketing practices that you absolutely should not abandon. Because they work.
Here are 4 key content marketing practices you should maintain your commitment to, even in a shifting online world:
1. Center your customer’s needs with hyper relevant content.
After leveraging social and SEO to drive traffic to your site, ultimately your audience is left alone with your content. And if your content doesn’t center your customer by meeting a need or answering a question, your audience will leave. If your content does center your audience, they will stay, interact, and deepen their relationship with your brand. And deeper relationships lead to more sales, over longer periods of time.
So producing valuable, meaningful content for your customers is of paramount importance, no matter what search engine algorithms are doing this month (or next).
But the goal of search algorithms is to get the most relevant content to people who need it. So if your “north star” is to produce valuable content, then search engines will want to reward this (and changing algorithms will hopefully just continue to increase the visibility of high quality content).
Of course, keyword research can help you better understand the exact language your audience may use, but you can also rely on your own audience research and feedback to guide you in producing this content.
2. Leverage the hub and spoke model for content.
The hub and spoke model for content essentially consists of writing about all different aspects (the spokes) of a single topic (the hub). Sometimes the hub will have an extremely in-depth piece of content or two to center all of the tangents of content.
For example, a web marketing agency may produce a long form piece of content about what it takes to redesign a website. Then it may have “spokes” of tangential content about project managing a website redesign, best design trends for your website, facilitating meaningful reviews and feedback for your website redesign. You get the idea.
This is valuable for the customer, because they can find answers to specific, niche questions as well in-depth overviews on a topic. That builds trust, and it also is a way to continue to engage and build a relationship with your audience.
The hub and spoke model also establishes your brand as an authority on the topic with search engines. If you write comprehensively about a topic, they are more likely to direct traffic your way, because it shows that you know what you’re talking about!
3. Define your goals and measure against them.
Content marketing can bring a lot of different kinds of value to your company throughout the content marketing funnel (this blog I wrote gives a quick overview of the value opportunities throughout the content marketing funnel). It can generate leads, nurture existing leads, facilitate repeat sales, and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
But its vast opportunity can also make it possible to lose track of what is most important for YOUR company to achieve. Perhaps it’s important to prioritize developing new leads for a product your company is about to launch. Or maybe you know there’s untapped potential for repeat business with past clients.
You have limited time and resources, so it’s a tried and true best practice to spend time identifying your company or organization’s strategic goals, then establishing key performance indicators that you can track to show your progress and give you an indication about when you need to make a change.
4. Bring a holistic perspective of your customers’ needs by gaining feedback from your whole team.
Your content shouldn’t just be something your marketing person dreams up. It should reflect the insight and wisdom your entire company brings to your customers.
So work with the whole team – engineers, account managers, customer service representatives, designers, [insert role in your company] – to hear what questions and concerns they encounter with clients. Then develop content that encompasses information on ALL of those topics.
By sourcing content ideas from your whole team, you’re actually providing a more comprehensive range of support to your clients.
Remember, it’s important to keep an ear open to respond to developments in the content marketing industry. But it’s equally important to repeat practices that continue to serve companies well.