What does it take to build content marketing effectiveness?
In other words…
Is your content working? ⚙
And, if it’s not, what do you need to do to get it there?
This is essential to figure out because effective content marketing works like gangbusters. 💥
- Customers who read a brand’s content are 131% more likely to buy (vs. customers who read zero content).
- Brands that post consistent content will increase their revenue by 10-20%.
- Businesses that blog see 126% more leads than businesses that don’t.
Fortunately, great content that performs isn’t an impossible formula to crack. Content marketing effectiveness rests on two major building blocks:
- A great website
- Consistent, quality content
Whether you’re building content marketing effectiveness for your brand or your client’s brand, these are the two pillars you MUST have in place at the outset.
Once you do, the rest of the details will align like stars in a constellation. 🤩
Here’s what you need.
Build Content Marketing Effectiveness: Table of Contents
- Great Website Factor #1: It’s FAST
- Great Website Factor #2: It’s Built on WordPress
- Great Website Factor #3: It’s Secure
- Effective Content Marketing Example #1: Product (Sales) Page
- Effective Content Marketing Example #2: Blog
2 Building Blocks for Content Marketing Effectiveness
Without these two vital pieces in place, the rest of your content marketing will crumble.
First, start with a GREAT website.
Building Block 1: A Great Website
Your website is the foundation of your content marketing. It’s your content house, after all.
All roads lead here – your social media posts and profiles, guest blogs, and your guest appearances on other platforms.
Your online authority rests on your website’s shoulders. That includes your blog, landing pages, and informational pages (about, contact, services, etc.).
So if your site is shoddy, slow, poorly designed, or all three, you’re in for a world of trouble. 😣
Let’s discuss the basic website elements you need to address to ensure your content marketing (or your clients’) is effective.
Great Website Factor #1: It’s FAST
Google will not rank a slow website. 🐢
Site speed has been a ranking signal since 2010. Additionally, in their Webmaster Guidelines, Google says faster websites make users happy because they’re easier to use.
Think about it: Have you ever clicked a link only for the website to load so slowly, it was painful (like waiting for water to boil)?
What did you do in that instance? Did you patiently wait…
Or did you click away in frustration?
I’ll bet it was the latter.
Most of us don’t have the time or patience to wait around for the information we need. Gone are the days of sitting and watching websites load, painful inch by painful inch – in contrast, now technology has made it possible for a website to appear on-screen, in full, just seconds after we click a link.
Ultimately, we all just want to click and find what we’re looking for with zero roadblocks. A slow site gets in the way of that good user experience.
With that in mind, a few standard metrics are used across the internet to determine site speed. If you want good performance, you need to hit at or below certain industry benchmarks.
Metrics to focus on:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – How long it takes for the largest piece of content to “paint” the page. Benchmark: 2.5 seconds or less.
- First Contentful Paint (FCP) – How long it takes for the user to see anything on-screen. Benchmark: 1.8 seconds or less.
- Time to Interactive – How long it takes before the user can interact with your page (i.e., click links/images, scroll, etc.). Benchmark: 2.5 seconds or less.
Recommended tools to check site speed:
Here’s what a report from PageSpeed Insights looks like for Content Hacker (see all that green text? That’s what you want!):
Gtmetrix offers slightly different metrics and actually grades your site performance:
If you want a no-frills, simple test of your site, Pingdom’s report is for you:
Each tool offers a breakdown of your scores and how you can improve them, so be sure to study those if you get less-than-stellar results.
And, if you hire a web designer, make sure they know their stuff inside and out and are capable of producing not just beautiful, but FAST websites that are easy to use.
Great Website Factor #2: It’s Built on WordPress
All of my sites have been built on WordPress, from the earliest versions of my old content agency to my current business, Content Hacker.
For my money, WordPress is the best website platform out there.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Industry-wide, WordPress is the standard for building websites for these reasons:
- It’s all-user friendly. Whether you’re a newbie small business owner or an experienced web developer, whether your budget is tiny or gigantic, WordPress is a great option and has something for everyone.
- Support is robust. WordPress offers a giant library of plugins and themes, tons of support and documentation, and the benefit of a massive community of web developers invested in optimizing websites built on the platform.
- WordPress.org is open-source. That means the software is free AND you own 100% of your website built with WP.org. (You are responsible for hosting, maintenance, and backups, but it’s pretty easy to do with the right plugins and a reputable host – I like GoDaddy!)
- You can start small and grow. WordPress is great because it supports both small and large entities, from hobby bloggers to giant companies with ecommerce stores. And you can easily grow with the platform as your traffic and following increase.
Watch me build a beautiful WordPress website in no time at all in this video:
Great Website Factor #3: It’s Secure
With ecommerce and business transactions happening online today more than ever before, your website’s security should be top-of-mind.
For most online business owners, your website serves as your storefront, your content house, your billboard, and your customer hub. It’s a HUGE asset that needs protecting.
To protect you and your customers’ data, have some baselines in place:
- Keep your software and plugins rigorously up-to-date.
- Vet your web host carefully and make sure they’re secure.
- Choose smart passwords, and never use the same password twice.
- Back up your website regularly.
- Limit who has access to your content management system, and if you must give access, vet that person thoroughly.
Want to know the systems and skills to use to rocket your business to sustainable growth, on top of the strategies? Get inside my free training, where I spell out the entire pathway you need to follow.
Building Block 2: Consistent Content
The second building block for content marketing effectiveness is, naturally, consistent content. This means:
- Your content is always high-quality
- You publish it regularly
- It has the power to rank at the top of Google
Let’s look at two examples of effective content for product (sales) pages and blogs to understand why it works.
(Each of these content pieces rank #1 in Google for their focus keywords AND bring in passive traffic, leads, and even monthly sales for Content Hacker.)
Effective Content Marketing Example #1: Product (Sales) Page
The product page for my Press Release Writing Workshop currently ranks #1 for the keyword “press release workshop.”
It ALSO brings in 20+ passive monthly sales. 💰 (Yes, you CAN make direct sales with SEO rankings!)
That’s pretty darn effective. Here’s how it grabs leads and brings them home:
1. Proper Keyword Optimization
Proper keyword optimization and SEO are a MUST if you want to rank highly on Google.
But first, you must ensure it’s possible to rank for your chosen keyword with research. As you can see, the competition is still low for “press release workshop”, which makes it relatively simple for great content to nudge out the other contenders.
Besides including audience-targeting, useful content, we make sure our focus keyword appears in the title and headers, and secondary keywords and synonyms are sprinkled throughout naturally.
Another key: We wrote a useful meta title and description using our SEO plugin of choice, Yoast.
Finally, all of our images have useful alt tags that include keywords.
2. Benefits-Focused Copy That Answers Questions and Overcomes Doubts
Another element that makes this product page content so effective?
It targets two specific personas and speaks to them on a personal level.
It addresses multiple pain points they might have around press releases…
And solves them with the product as the solution!
Finally, the benefits of the product are laid out. “How will this product help the customer/change their life?” is the main question to answer – which this copy does.
3. Proof of Expertise
Don’t get me wrong – part of your expertise is proven through the knowledgeable content you share throughout your entire product/sales page.
However, you can pump up the volume on this by offering additional proof that you know what you’re talking about. These little “proof nuggets” can include:
- A short bio that talks about your experience and success in whatever you’re selling
- Happy client testimonials
- Case studies of client success with your product/service
Note that this effective product/sales page employs all three.
4. Simple Yet Effective CTAs
Don’t forget – an effective product/sales page must include CTAs sprinkled throughout so an intrigued/hooked buyer can buy right away.
In general, I prefer to keep them simple but punchy, centered on the main action word (the literal call to action) such as “enroll” or “teach me.”
5. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
Also, keep in mind the word “consistent.” This isn’t my only product page, and it certainly isn’t the only one written with the quality I’ve outlined above. ALL of my product/sales pages are created at this level because consistency matters.
Effective Content Marketing Example #2: Blog
This next example of effective, consistent content is a blog on our site currently ranking #1 for the keyword “free DIY SEO tools.”
#1 ranking blogs are huge for your business, as this one is for us:
- It brings in targeted traffic and leads from Google (people looking for this keyword are likely to be interested in our Content Hacker services).
- It builds trust with said leads by sharing useful information that solves a problem or answers a question WITHOUT being salesy.
- Trust built with leads translates to conversions when they download one of our freebies, sign up for our free training, buy one of our courses or workshops, or enroll in our flagship program, The Content Transformation System. We add a few different CTAs to each blog to ensure the opportunity for conversions is right there, as you’ll see.
Here’s the formula for content marketing effectiveness with blogs like this – and remember, to see results, these elements must show up consistently, in EVERY blog you publish.
1. Optimized for Search
The same techniques we used for SEO in the landing page example above also apply to this blog.
- Strategic keyword use and placement in headers, including the focus keyword (“free DIY SEO tools”) and secondary keywords/synonyms throughout (“Google SEO tools,” “SEO checker,” “SEO analysis tool”).
- Keyword-optimized meta title and description
- Keyword-optimized image alt tags
- Quality content, exhaustive on the topic, that addresses the reader’s questions and answers them (figuring out the user search intent part of SEO is essential to writing good blogs that will get clicked and read from search).
2. Long-Form (Provides Immense Value)
Long-form content creation is a best practice in content marketing for a reason.
Long-form gets more results, including shares and backlinks.
And our example blog is massively long-form, to put it mildly. It weighs in at a whopping 4,174 words. 🏋️♀️
But it’s not just long — it’s exhaustive on the topic with zero fluff.
This piece could have easily become a rote list of tools with a brief description of each. But it goes much deeper.
Most of the listed tools include step-by-step guides on how to use them, cool features, or tips.
The post also includes advice on when to buy paid tools, why cheap tools sometimes have a steep cost, and information on upgrading to the best paid tools. This thoroughness is key to great long-form content.
3. Quality Writing & Research
Maybe it goes without saying, but quality writing and research are absolute musts for effective content.
“Quality” doesn’t just mean grammatically correct, either.
It also means that words and ideas flow together. In a way, the writing acts as a guide, leading the reader from point to point so all the dots connect. The research, meanwhile, adds support behind what you say from reputable sources.
Ultimately, “quality” means clear. Understandable. Useful. Direct. Accurate.
Good use of formatting and headers can do a lot in this scenario. So will transitions, or sentences that gently direct you away from the previous topic and prepare you for the next one. Here’s a good transition example from our blog:
In every blog, hyper-focus on your reader – a.k.a. your ideal audience member or persona.
In our example blog, look at how often we address the reader with the word “you.”
Put yourself in their shoes. Talk TO them about the things they care about!
99% of the time, that does not include your company.
Customers don’t care about how great you think you are. They don’t care about company news (unless it affects them), and they don’t care about your incredible services – not yet, anyway.
They want solutions to their problems and answers to their questions. They don’t want to be sold to 24/7. (There are enough ads out there without your brand adding to the noise.)
Instead, be helpful. Be useful. Provide value. That’s how you build your online authority and build a loyal audience that turns into leads.
5. Strategic CTAs
Don’t spend precious blogging space on hard selling to your audience. BUT –
DO sprinkle in strategic CTAs to lead magnets, downloads, your email list sign-up page, and other opt-ins.
The key word here is strategic.
The CTAs you add to any blog should be:
- Relevant to the topic
- Relevant to your audience’s pain points
- Used sparingly in key places
Conversely, irrelevant and spammy CTAs will not capitalize on the trust you’re building with great content. They will squash it like a bug. 🐜
In our example blog, both text and image CTAs are used in key places, but not too much. They’re relevant to the blog topic and the user’s pain points. Most importantly, they’re useful and capitalize on the reader’s growing trust and interest as they read this blog.
Measuring Content Marketing Effectiveness: Keep It Simple with 4 KPIs
Once you know the formula for content marketing effectiveness, you need to be able to measure your progress (or your client’s progress).
I like to keep it very simple and focus on four KPIs (key performance indicators):
- The SEO rankings you want to achieve. (Example: Earn #1 ranking in Google for 75% of our keywords in 3 months.)
- The budget you want to stick to. (Example: 12 blogs at 1,500 words, $450/blog)
- Your goal for website traffic to your content. (Example: Earn 500 visitors/month from Google in 3 months.)
- Your goals for conversions – how many calls, demos, memberships, etc. you book directly from that content. (Example: From the goal of 500 visitors/month, expect 10 inquiries or bookings – a 2% conversion rate.)
Remember, set goals before jumping into content creation (especially for clients). Then, once your content is in motion, you can start tracking progress.
It’s Time to Commit to Content Marketing Effectiveness
If I can leave you with any important parting words, it’s these:
Don’t overthink content marketing.
Keep it simple.
Commit to the two building blocks outlined here (a great website + consistent content) and success WILL be a byproduct. 🏆
And if you need help putting the two together, don’t worry. I’ve got you. ❤
Inside my 12-month mentorship, The Content Transformation System, you’ll learn the building blocks of effective content marketing AND the skills and systems you need to grow your brand sustainably.
Every single thing you need to take your biz to the next level is right here.
Every. Single. Thing:
- Strategies to grow through content
- Business skills to build your brand on a strong foundation and keep it running smoothly
- Systems to implement to make everything simpler, from hiring to delegating to managing your ship
Let’s get you out of burnout and build up your business (and content marketing!) together.