I’ve written a lot about content marketing over the last 3 or 4 years — ever since Google changed their ranking algorithm to favor the creation of new, valuable content on a consistent basis in determining SERPs (search engine results pages — or where you post shows up in Google search). Obviously, SERPs are important because users rarely go beyond the first page (and often beyond the first 3 organic results on the page).
If you don’t believe me, look at these results from Search Engine Journal. Across all major search engines, 95+% of links clicked are on the 1st page.
Image courtesy of Search Engine Journal
Given the importance of content marketing for SEO, what advice is there to guide content marketers who want to improve their search ranking?
I’m glad you asked. Here’s an infographic from my friends over at CJG Digital Marketing listing the top trends in content marketing for 2017, based on data gleaned from a number of reputable sources.
The top trends are:
- Increased emphasis and ROI from documenting your content marketing strategy
- More visual content, including video
- Businesses generate more niche content that is specific to particular problems
- More user-generated content, especially in social media, images, and video as opposed to long-form content, such as blogs
- Promotion is key to getting value from your content marketing
- Increase importance of influencer marketing
- Buzz marketing using guerrilla tactics and storytelling
Don’t think content marketing is only for big businesses, it’s maybe even more critical for small businesses. Here’s a post on how to create content that delivers on a small budget.
Next, I’ll go through each of these trends.
You need a written content marketing strategy
And that means more than writing some disjointed tactics on the back of a napkin. Without a clear, well-conceived written strategy, your content marketing isn’t optimized.
If you’ve never written a strategy before, here’s my template for creating a content marketing strategy.
According to a CMI report, 41% of content marketers don’t have a well-documented content strategy and only 17% are planning to create one in the next 12 months. Every content marketers should expend the time and resources necessary to create a written strategy including KPIs and other metrics to monitor performance.
Visual content is increasingly important for performance
In the same CMI study, 65% of senior marketers believe visual content is a core means for transmitting the brand’s story.
That’s because people interpret images better than mounds of data and images are more memorable that text. It’s not hyperbole that folks across disciplines agree that “a picture paints a thousand words”. Take a look at the image below for an example:
Image courtesy of Data Mentors
SMEs may believe they can’t create original content, such as infographics and other images to use in their content, but it really doesn’t have to break the bank with the number and ease of tools available for creating images.