Content marketing may seem like a recent marketing buzzword but it is actually the oldest form of marketing repackaged with an online focus.
Content marketing’s purpose is to connect you with your target audience. A target audience that includes clients, potential clients, associates and strategic partners.
When you are new to content marketing you need to build up your audience and help them find you. The breadcrumbs in the forest that will lead your audience to you are SEO keywords and phrases.
SEO done properly involves making small modifications to your content with the intent of increasing your online ranking and getting found naturally through an online search in your area of expertise. Note the use of the term small modifications. These are breadcrumbs in the forest. You are not clear cutting a swath to drive people to your website and blog.
Nothing takes content from WOW! to UGH! faster than SEO overload.
Your content is a reflection of you and needs to be in your voice. It cannot be strings of SEO keywords and phrases forced together into a story that sounds robotic and uninspired. SEO overload actually prevents your audience from hearing the real you. All your created content, repurposed content and curated content needs to be designed with one goal in mind – connecting you to your target audience.
Connecting with your audience means you need to inform, amuse and engage them so they keep coming back for more. SEO overload may drive people to your blog or website once but poorly written content will ensure there will be no repeat visit.
Providing creative and innovative content is the challenge and responsibility you take on when you make content marketing part of your marketing strategy. Trust in your own voice. You are the expert in your area and your insights and recommendations are unique to you.
Trust Your Own Voice
Be careful about following the styles of reputed marketing and social media superstars. One example I would like to share is of an extremely well known and established blogger that routinely shares posts on how to increase search traffic and build a loyal audience. I subscribed and read his blog posts for three months and then unsubscribed.
I tried to give him a chance to improve, but his posts were just so dull. His posts were brimming with SEO overload and internal and external links with the barest attempt made to even join the links into a story. Maybe he started out engaging but to keep his success and momentum he has obviously decided to use tricks of the trade over quality content.
The point of a blog post is to engage and inform not to shock and awe with SEO overload, links and name dropping of strategic partnerships. Trust your instincts, you know your clients and the problems they are having so reach out to them in a creative and meaningful way.
Your Voice Sprinkled With SEO
This is when the best of best worlds comes together: your expertise, personality, values and passion flesh out the framework provided by your strategic use of SEO. Creativity and the science of SEO meet to bring your unique content to life and ensure you have an audience to appreciate your efforts.
Brains love a good story so don’t feel you need to keep your content industry specific. Share your own learning stories, customer experiences or new things you discovered. Use photos within your posts, videos and infographics to keep the look of your content fresh and visually appealing – have fun with your content.
Beyond storytelling, you can also use content to create calls to action. Be strategic with your calls to action and respect the relationship and trust you have built with your audience. If your content becomes too pitchy and more about you and your goals that about providing value to your audience you will drive them away.
The opportunities to reach out to your audience are limitless. Technology is making us more social so you can reach your audience while they are working, while they are waiting in line and checking their mobile or while they are catching up on Facebook or Twitter at the end of the day. Using your own voice, free of SEO overload, ensures that you become one of their trusted advisors and someone they enjoy catching up with every week.
Jennifer Arnold, Founder at InnovaMap, Ph.D. in neuroscience
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