The Challenges of Content Marketing
Content marketing and content development may seem like easy tasks at first. Simply write about an interesting topic, add a bunch of keywords, post it to the website and watch the results roll in, right? Unfortunately, a perfect storm of events has changed the game and made it more difficult to see ROI.
First, competition became steeper. As more people began using the Internet to research and purchase products, more publishers followed suit. Research shows that Google now receives over 4 million search queries per minute, and over 92,000 new articles are posted online every day. With so much content available and so many places to visit for information, readers have become overwhelmed, and therefore, more selective about the content they consume.
Second, search engines have gotten smarter. With almost 100,000 new articles posted each day, they quickly realized they needed a better way to evaluate quality and determine which content to serve to their users. Google in particular has significantly cracked down on spam and low-value content. The search engine caught on to common ways people were trying to game the system and adjusted its algorithm to give higher rankings to websites that deliver relevant information and a good user experience (UX).
This combination of events has changed the online content marketing discipline and sparked new questions among brands and publishers:
- Truly understanding your audience: What information would be relevant and helpful to our audience? How do they search for that information? How can we not only provide the information they need, but also entice them to continue engaging with our brand?
- Finding inspiration and ideas: What should we write about? Where should we look for ideas? How do we continue creating interesting content without running out of ideas or falling back on the same old tired topics?
- Creating content: How do we set up a strategic, practical process for content creation? Who is the right person to write the content? How do we scale our content marketing?
- Making it relevant: What do our readers care about most right now? How might their interests and needs change over time? What’s the right balance between timely content that is only relevant right now, and evergreen content that will stand the test of time?
- Resourcing it: How do we hire the right team? Should we focus more on SEO, copywriting or marketing skills? How much time and money will it take?
- Managing, monitoring and measuring it: How do we know if our content development process is working? How do we keep content fresh over time? How do we determine ways to improve results in the future?
- Making it contagious: How do we grab attention? What is the secret going viral? How do we create content that people can’t wait to share?
- Digital Current’s experienced in-house team is here to help answer all of these questions and deliver the online content marketing services your company needs to drive undeniable results.
The Results of Content Marketing Done Right
Content is a critical element of SEO and online marketing. However, not all content is good content. Improving rankings and conversions requires a long-term content strategy that prioritizes quality content creation, strategic distribution and targeted promotion. Together, these tactics provide your visitors with the information they want and your business with meaningful results:
Build an audience
The old saying “If you build it, they will come” no longer applies. Modern businesses need a smart content marketing strategy that intrigues potential customers by tapping into their wants and needs. With research tactics such as user intent analysis, audience personas and search query reports, Digital Current gains a deeper understanding of your audience and develops content that attracts engaged website visitors, social media followers, email signups and more.
Generate more high-quality traffic
You don’t need just any visitors — you need the right visitors. Engaging content positioned in relevant outlets helps improve organic search rankings and attract readers who need exactly what you offer, leading to higher traffic, conversions and sales.
Increase engagement and conversions
Attracting qualified traffic to your website is only the first step. Once they arrive, your content needs to keep them there too. Our team helps create relevant, persuasive content that not only pulls people in, but also keeps them engaged and leads them down the sales funnel. From information that boosts their awareness and interest in your brand, to content that helps them make a decision and take action, Digital Current has mastered the art (and science) of content development at every stage of the sales cycle.
Build your online authority
Authority and brand signals are considered the most important ranking factors. Google’s #1 goal has to been to increase the relevancy and usefulness of their search results, so it has adjusted its algorithm to reward top-tier content producers with higher rankings. The more often readers see your name mentioned in search results and around the web, the more likely they are to see you as a credible, authoritative brand.
Cultivate valuable influencer relationships
One of the fastest ways to build an engaged audience is to leverage influencers in your industry. These are the people your customers already look to for information and advice. By riding on their coattails and enlisting their help promoting your content, your brand can exponentially increase its reach, authority and traffic in a fraction of the time.
However, just like high school, building relationships with “the cool kids” is not easy and does not happen overnight. It requires a smart partner like Digital Current, who has the connections and strategy to get their attention and earn their trust.
Unlike your employees and sales team, your content marketing never has to sleep. It works hard to drive awareness, traffic, leads and other conversions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. By putting in a bit of time and effort upfront, your team can create valuable, shareable content that complements their efforts and keeps selling even when they can’t.
Our Unique Approach
Digital Current’s approach to content marketing and content development services is effective and proven. Our in-depth process blends the best of content strategy, SEO and digital marketing to help your brand build credibility, engagement and leads. While others outsource their writing and focus more on quantity than quality, our team of in-house content creators take a more strategic approach that propels performance.
The backbone of your campaign is built with Digital Current’s Five Pillar Strategy, which allows us to deliver real results that impact your bottom line and produce measurable ROI. These pillars serve as the anchor for your customized content marketing plan. With this strategy as a guide, we lay the right foundation; plan content with your audience’s needs and desired conversions in mind; produce, distribute and promote relevant content; properly optimize that content; and earn trust with search engines and your customers.
Learn more about our content marketing process, and contact our team to see how this approach could help your company experience strong rankings today, tomorrow and for years to come.
Step 1: Research and Analysis
Many marketers start creating content immediately, which leads to half-baked deliverables and short-term results. On the other hand, Digital Current always begins with research and analysis to gather the data needed to make sound decisions and develop a smart strategy. This phase often includes:
- Persona development: Profiles of your ideal clients and their specific needs, which help us assess if and how your current content is addressing those needs
- Keyword research: Seeing which keywords you are currently ranking for, identifying new keywords you would like to target and prioritizing which ones are within striking distance
- User intent analysis: Evaluating what users want to do or learn when they type in specific keywords, and generating content topics that will help them accomplish those goals
- Content audit: Taking an inventory of all existing content on your website (including images, videos, documents, etc.), and completing a deep analysis to identify content that needs to be updated, removed, merged and created
- Competitive analysis: Capitalizing on your competitors’ wins by evaluating the types of content they are producing, their focus areas and their avenues for publication and promotion
- Content gap analysis: Using keyword research and audience personas to identify opportunities to fill gaps, answer customer questions, address their pain points and boost rankings
Step 2: Strategy Development
With data in hand, our team develops a strategic plan for reaching your goals. This plan describes the tactics that best align with your objectives, while considering practical details like the team, resources and workflow that will be required to make it happen. The strategy development phase may entail:
- Content strategy: Creating a roadmap that guides content planning, development and governance
- Content ideation: Brainstorming creative topics that will fill content gaps and resonate with your target audience
- Existing content updates: Editing existing content to align it with the overall strategy and improve results quickly
- Editorial calendar planning: Mapping out the weekly and monthly content production plan
Step 3: Content Production
With the strategy set, Digital Current’s team begins content production and implementation. Each piece of content starts with a creative brief that summarizes the purpose, topic, audience, target keywords and more. Then, we create a content hierarchy that is easy to read for humans and robots, ensuring the piece satisfies both UX and SEO requirements.
After the outline and hierarchy are approved, we create a draft in-house, collaborate with you on edits, align the content with your existing website templates and framework, optimize it for mobile and prepare for launch.
While going through this production process, we focus on developing content that reflects industry best practices and our high internal standards:
- Easy to read and digest, not overwhelming and confusing
- Short and snappy, not long and daunting
- Visually strong, not one dimensional
- Mobile-friendly, not constrained to desktop devices
- Captivating, not boring
Step 4: Promotion
Amazing content goes wasted if it is not promoted. Digital Current’s expert content writing skills are rivaled only by our marketing and promotional skills. From amplifying newly created content to repurposing old content into lead magnets, videos, educational material, email nurturing campaigns and more, our team has spent years developing a toolbox of proven promotional tactics that boost results.
Using this arsenal, we create a promotion schedule that multiplies the effectiveness of your SEO content development and ensures it generates the engagement, reach, visibility, links, shares, traffic and leads you are looking for.
Step 5: Measurement and Analysis
What separates the content development amateurs from the pros? Tracking and governance. At the beginning of your engagement, we sit down with you to define what success looks like for your campaign. Then, our team outlines metrics that align with those goals, measures and reports those metrics to you on a regular basis and runs frequent A/B testing to improve the results even further. Key performance indicators may include:
- Traffic: number of sessions, number of visitors, pageviews
- Brand awareness: reach, new visits, inbound links
- Engagement: time on page, bounce rate, social shares, comments
- Conversion optimization: lead generation, sales, form completions, email signups
Top-Tier Tactics for Top-Tier Results
People naturally gravitate toward content that educates and entertains them. Digital Current’s Five Pillar Strategy focuses on understanding your target audience and their unique needs so we can create meaningful content they feel compelled to read, link to and share.
Here are just a few of the strategic content development and promotion tools we use to extend your reach, improve rankings and generate leads.
Fresh Content Creation
Doing the same old thing will only lead to the same results. Digital Current taps into our deep content marketing expertise to develop fresh ideas that keep your audience informed and engaged.
All articles and blog posts we produce include catchy, search-optimized headlines, skilled writing, smart structure and complementary visuals. Then, we expand beyond traditional articles into unique and engaging formats, such as videos, infographics, product pages, press releases and more.
Fresh content creation leads to:
- Higher perception of value among your target audience
- More engaged readers and repeat visits
- More interest from influencers
- Search engine signals that boost rankings
Addictive Content Formats
After being immersed in content marketing for years, our team has studied which formats perform well regardless of the industry or audience. By applying this research to each project and incorporating the formats that align with each step of your sales funnel, we help develop content that drives conversions and encourages repeat visits.
From reviews, mega lists and how-to guides, to interviews, case studies, Slideshare presentations and more, we know how to create the types of content that will pull your audience in and leave them craving more.
Addictive content leads to:
- Higher traffic and engagement
- More social shares and links
- Loyal readership
- Improved brand image
- Higher search rankings
Brand Advocacy and Influencer Outreach
Readers need to know content exists before they can share it or link back to it. Our Brand Advocacy Program builds relationships with industry influencers, expert journalists and respected authors to have them produce content for your site, as well as sites managed by influencers they already have connections with. These influencers usually have a substantial number of social followers and access to publications that are normally out of reach for most guest publishers. Building influencer relationships allows your business to quickly earn credibility, links and brand reach by leveraging their popularity for your own benefit.
Digital Current recruits established authors and influencers on your behalf to write and share content about your brand on high-quality, authoritative industry websites.
Brand advocacy and influencer outreach leads to:
- Articles and link assets that gain traction quickly
- Fast access to a highly engaged social audience that shares your content
- Industry credibility due to your connection with respected influencers
- Brand mentions and links from publications that are typically out of reach
Guest Posting and Content Syndication
As trailblazers in guest posting and content syndication, Digital Current has developed a proven process to create and place content on highly relevant, selective sites.
These services begin with industry and audience research to gather the information needed to create unique, engaging content. First, we develop a list of high-authority blogs and publishing sites and qualify which ones are the best fit for your brand. Then, our outreach experts build strategic partnerships with them, while our in-house writers and researchers create relevant content with backlinks to your website.
Our guest posting and content syndication services include:
- Valuable, journalist-quality content
- Placements on the most relevant and authoritative publications
- Multiple solutions, including per-placement and hourly pricing
Custom Media Placement
If you want to take guest posting to the next level, use Digital Current’s Media Placement solution to develop relationships with editors and contributors at respected, popular online publications. Acting as the digital arm to your PR efforts, our team works with these publications to secure a spot on their editorial calendars and feature your content in videos and articles seen by the thousands of people who visit their site.
Whether we contribute a quote on your behalf or work with the journalist to write a full article, the result is a featured mention of your brand, a significant number of social shares and valuable backlinks to your site.
Custom media placement highlights include:
- Coveted exposure in front of your target audience
- Reputation enhancement as a thought leader
- SEO ranking power from top websites
Linkable Asset Marketing
Linkable assets are pieces of content placed on your website or other owned channels that naturally attract links, shares and traffic. Digital Current accelerates the organic linking process by optimizing your existing assets and creating new linkable asset content that can be distributed through social seeding, reciprocity, targeted social outreach, digital PR and paid promotion and syndication.
Linkable asset marketing results in:
- Engagement with real people, not just websites
- Natural links from diverse websites and social profiles
- Long-term link building due to the assets’ evergreen nature
- Opportunities to build connections with influencers and audiences that amplify your content
- Direct search engine rankings for high-volume keywords
Media Relations and Digital PR
Journalists feel pressure to find intriguing stories their readers will love, and newsrooms no longer have the resources to feature all the stories they want to cover. This perfect storm creates a huge, strategic opportunity for SEO content development.
Digital Current’s Media Relations team has a deep understanding of what our journalist contacts want and need. We deliver the tools and content to make their job easier, which also leads to meaningful placements in the media and credible, authoritative links for our clients.
Digital PR produces:
- Coverage in highly visible publications that are relevant to your audience
- Greater brand awareness
- More links from authoritative sites
- Increased traffic and search rankings
Paid and Organic Social Media Promotion
Why make readers come to you when you can go to them? Social media marketing allows you to get in front of potential customers where they are already hanging out.
With organic social media promotion, Digital Current collaborates with you to develop a plan for sharing content through your main profile or page. This helps extend the reach of your content, drive traffic to your site and encourage sharing with others.
Paid social media marketing provides access to advanced tools that take your advertising to the next level. With an extensive list of ad formats and features to choose from, there are endless ways to get the attention of new people plus those who already love your brand.
Paid and organic social media marketing lead to:
- More followers
- Greater brand awareness and reach
- Higher website traffic and engagement
- Social signals that drive higher search rankings
Digital Current’s SEO content development team has helped hundreds of mid-size businesses and enterprise organizations reach their digital marketing objectives. See how we have partnered with brands like yours to create the right kinds of content, for the right objectives and audiences, with the right kind of promotion.
How One Article Generated Top Google Rankings, 1,500+ Social Shares and 80+ Backlinks
Our clients often ask us if creating and promoting high-quality, relevant content actually fuels link building and search rankings. We know it does from past experience, but to prove it, our team wrote an article about mobile SEO using a few of our favorite strategies, including:
- Writing about a timely and relevant news topic (also called “newsjacking”)
- Creating an in-depth, data-rich article with more than 3,000 words
- Optimizing for a mid-tail keyword with high search volume
- Engaging a well-known, highly active influencer to write and promote the article
- Putting a new spin on a successful piece of existing content (known as the “Skyscraper Technique”)
- Leveraging the author’s current connections to promote and syndicate the article in other publications
- Increasing the article’s social reach with an organic and paid promotion strategy
- Earning more links through custom outreach and promotion
- Refreshing the content over time
With this blend of smart tactics, Digital Current received:
- 1,500+ social shares on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
- 80+ backlinks from 34 relevant domains on major sites like Inspired Mag, The Next Web and Ninja Outreach
- 3,500+ pageviews within months and an average 4:22 time on page
- 180+ keywords ranked on the top of Google. Terms like “mobile SEO,” “mobile website optimization” and “SEO for mobile websites”
- Hundreds of consistent monthly organic site visits
#2: 482% Increase in Traffic and #1 Rankings for a Minecraft Directory
The owners of FunMinecraftServers.com wanted to build a profitable directory of Minecraft servers for players to visit their site and join ongoing multiplayer servers. Unfortunately, the domain had a host of challenges that were hindering their search rankings: incredibly thin content, a virtually nonexistent backlink profile and poor-performing site design.
Digital Current’s content marketing team accepted the challenge and won the game by developing more and better content, block by block. We started by building the domain’s content assets while focusing on three main types of content: core pages for the website, a combination of timely and evergreen blog posts, as well as off-page content published in places that build backlinks and attract new visitors.
Thanks to this strategy, FunMinecraftServers.com saw:
- Increased domain trust flow score from 3 to 13
- Increased citation flow score from 16 to 37
- Greater online authority
- Higher revenue
- 482% increase in website traffic
- #1 rankings on Google for keywords with over 300,000 monthly searches
Content Marketing FAQs Answered
Content marketing and SEO content development are ever-evolving disciplines that are difficult for even the most experienced marketers to keep up with. At Digital Current, we consider it our responsibility to stay up to date on the latest best practices so you don’t have to and ensure you feel comfortable with the process every step of the way.
Here are some of the most common questions we receive from potential clients, along with answers to help light the way for your team.
- Does content marketing replace other marketing and advertising initiatives?
While content marketing may be the focus on your advertising initiatives, it works best when paired with other tactics that are all part of an integrated, cohesive strategy. For example, creating a great piece of content will only get you so far, but when it is paired with influencer outreach, social media marketing and email marketing, your team will improve the content’s reach and see better performance.
- What does content marketing have to do with search and social?
Content marketing, SEO and social media are all interconnected, especially when you take an SEO-focused approach to content development like our team does. At Digital Current, everything comes back to building audience engagement and natural links that will organically increase authority and rankings.
Content marketing plays a critical role in that process. It guides the development of valuable, relevant content that meets both your user needs and business goals. This content powers provides a constant source of fresh, original information to share with your audience on social media. When this content is optimized for search and encourages sharing, search engines recognize your online authority and increase your brand’s rankings over time.
- How do you track the results of each content marketing tactic, and how long does it take to see results?
Measurement and monitoring are a critical, yet often overlooked step of the content development process. However, Digital Current has created an intentional process for setting and tracking goals for every campaign.
Before we create anything, our team outlines specific goals so we have targets to hit. Then, we use a strict governance process to review progress on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. This helps us identify adjustments and improvements, as well as discuss specific implementation details, such as who will be working on each task and how it will be completed.
The amount of time it takes to see results varies from client to client and campaign to campaign. There are endless variables that affect the timeline, including the type of objective, resources for creating content, promotional strategy, market environment and more.
However, whether our team is working on B2C ecommerce content marketing, B2B content marketing or any other vertical, everything we do is in the spirit of driving results. We work closely with you to set aggressive yet realistic goals, then rigorously monitor performance using advanced analytic tools that track everything from awareness and engagement, to sales and conversions.
- How can I use content to create brand awareness?
Creating brand awareness is all about piquing interest and encouraging engagement. The exact ways we do this depend on your offering and audience, but after working with hundreds of businesses in diverse industries, our team has developed a robust playbook of best practices and addictive content ideas that align with each step of the sales funnel. By drawing from our experience and collaborating with you to incorporate your ideas as well, we help earn and keep your readers’ attention, leading to greater awareness and a higher likelihood of conversion.
- How much does this cost?
Digital Current offers a range of content development services that fit most mid-size and enterprise budgets. The majority of clients find that it takes at least $5,000 per month to develop the content they need to achieve their goals. However, companies who operate in less competitive markets or who have a wealth of existing linkable assets may find that a slightly lower budget is sufficient.
It may cost more to hire a trustworthy partner like Digital Current who focuses on developing high-quality, strategic content. However, choosing the least expensive option often ends up costing even more, takes more time and can lead to problems that require additional resources to fix. In addition, one very well-done piece of content that is promoted to the right influencers can potentially earn you dozens of quality and natural links. High quality may cost more upfront, but it usually ends up costing much less in the long run.
Effective content marketing campaigns require more than just good content writing. They demand smart strategists who can help plan, create, promote and measure to drive real results.
Digital Current has been at the forefront of the SEO content development movement for over 10 years and knows exactly what it takes to help companies like yours connect with readers and search engines alike.