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Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in 2016. As of June 2021, it’s been updated and republished to reflect current information. The article was cleaned up, recommendations were reassessed, and references refreshed.

In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay on the state of the internet and coined a phrase that’s been a part of digital marketing vernacular ever since: “Content is King”.

What did he mean?

He meant that if a company expected to be successful moving forward in the digital age, they would need to reward people with information that mattered.

Fast forward nearly two decades, and this statement has proven to be right on the money, literally. As more and more people are going online to get answers, content marketing is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle for business success.

Whether you’re a seasoned content marketer or just looking to write your first blog post for your new company, creating content that is effective, and leads to conversions and sales, can be daunting.

If you’re looking to bring more eyeballs to your website and, subsequently, more sales through effective content marketing, continue reading.

Content Marketing Make Over

Here are 9 ways to make your content marketing more effective:

1.  Have a plan.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but having a plan before you ever start writing will make your content more targeted and its production more consistent.

Stat by building an editorial content calendar. Determine which kinds of content you want to share, and which platforms work best, and schedule the frequency of each.

When distributing content, different platforms require different posting frequency, and different forms of content. Twitter, for instance requires multiple posts a day while with Facebook, you can get away with once a day. Photo content is especially suited for Instagram, while TikTok offers opportunity for traction with short videos.

Additionally, know the purpose and objective for each kind of content and its value to readers. After researching your target audiences, you’ll have a clearer picture of what content to write, the tone of the content, and when and where it should be posted.

Get a free website report and use it as the foundation of your plan.

2.  Know your audience.

You won’t get many sales and conversions if your customers don’t care about the content you’re sharing.

Keep your content relevant and focus on how your company’s products or services can help solve a problem. You can use different analysis tools, such as Google Analytics, Instagram Insights, and Facebook Insights to get a better idea of your audience, and then cater your content to better meet their needs.

It’s not that you want to completely change your company messaging or voice, but for blog posts, social media posts, and general website content, you can hit timely topics and concerns that matter now.

Going a step further, you can create consumer personas that represent each of your company’s demographic groups. Write content pieces addressing the questions and concerns and interests of each persona. Your personas will also help you develop a voice and tone that resonates with your audience.

3.  Know when and where to post.

You can write a Pulitzer-worthy blog post, but if it is posted on a site or social media platform your audience doesn’t use or at a time when most of your audience is offline, it will likely disappear into the hinterlands of the interwebs.

Your social media manager should know, for instance, that most of your company’s Facebook fans are online Friday afternoons from 2-4pm. If your company doesn’t have a dedicated social media manager or department, most website and social media analytics tools will have a feature where you can see the most and least popular times people visit your site and social media channels and where website traffic is funneling.

Knowing your audience will also give you an idea as to what websites and industry/business blogs they regularly visit, and which social media channels they engage with the most.

4.  Quality over quantity.

When ‘90’s Bill Gates saw the future of the internet being content-driven, he didn’t mean a plethora of useless word vomits. He meant quality content that was relevant.

It can be tempting to continuously pump out content. Your audience, however, doesn’t want more content, they want quality content that is interesting, valuable and informative.

Potential customers become paying customers because they trust you and believe you’ll meet their needs and solve their problems with your product or service. An abundance of low-quality content will only take up space, and viewers won’t bother reading it.

High-quality posts will get more attention, engagement and shares which should be the goals of a solid content strategy.

5.  Mix up content.

There are many ways you can share content online. Once upon a time, text was the most popular and most expected form of content, but as the internet advances, and time seemingly becomes less of a commodity, images and quick videos gain more and more traction all the time, just look at the growth of Instagram and TikTok.

By having a variety of content, you increase your company’s chances of reaching more people in your diverse target audiences.

6.  Experiment.

What type of content gives you the most traffic?

Again, you can use an analytics program to determine which type and subject of content gets the most attention.

Does your audience love “how-to” articles, inspirational stories, videos? Focus on producing content that draws the most eyeballs. Are they looking for news updates on the industry? You can be the authority who provides detailed information.

Try new things, track the results, and make the necessary changes.

7.  Focus on people, not search engines.

Answering your readers’ questions needs to be the goal of everything you write.

When you take the time to craft quality content provides value to the reader, your audience will show its appreciation by commenting and sharing it. That shows trust. And when a customer trusts you, they are way more likely to buy from you and stay loyal to you.

While implementing keywords into content is still an essential part of getting your website some online exposure, they should be used appropriately. Keyword-stuffed content will do you no good. Not only will your audience see right through your promotional plug, but search engines will be ready to put you in the penalty box.

8.  Optimize your content.

As the previous point brought up, it would be amiss to not discuss using keywords to optimize your company’s content.

Content, like other aspects of internet marketing, is enhanced when it is correctly optimized for search engines. To make your content more effective, try to target one or two keywords in a piece of content.

For text content, this is easy to do. For images and videos, however, more work is involved. For posts with videos and images, use keywords in the title, headings and topic introduction or summary. Keywords should also be inserted into the ALT tags, file names and meta descriptions.

9.  Test, analyze and improve.

It’s important to experiment and test which content gets you the most traffic and generates the most conversions.

Regular analysis will enable you to see which content actually matters to your audience. You can then use this as inspiration for additional content marketing ideas. Then, when you see what works, you will also see the kind of content that doesn’t work.

If your content isn’t as effective as you’d like it to be, some revamping and revising of your content strategy may be in order. Knowing where your content is falling short will equip you to make the necessary improvements.

Your content marketing strategy can take many forms. Your company brand, personality and voice, combined with what your audience finds important, will play the biggest parts in dictating your tactics.

A strong content marketing strategy is a long-term process that involves a lot of hard work and time to properly implement.

At SEO.com, we have a team of content specialists and social media managers who can write and distribute effective content for your organization. We have experience in website content creation, SEO blogging, business blogging, social media content distribution, Facebook advertising, and content optimization.

Want to see where content marketing fits into an overall online marketing campaign? Download this free ebook to find out.