“Use content as your currency and create content that your prospects are looking for.” – Hubspot
I recently completed the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification program for 2015. There were some great takeaways that I wanted to share with you to help increase your brand exposure this year. If you need a quick refresher on best practices for digital PR, this is a perfect guide. Enjoy!
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is about empowering potential customers with the information they need to help find your business online. Your goal should be to create focused content that will help solve your prospect’s problem. Think about it. When you made your last purchase, did you call a salesperson asking to buy OR did you hop online and conduct thorough research? Chances are, you did thorough research, BUT when you did that research you didn’t type in a company’s name (because you don’t know the names yet). You were Googling the PROBLEM you had. When the prospect searches for their problem, your company needs to be on page 1 so the buyer sees it as a solution.
Why does inbound matter for PR executives?
Inbound marketing is very important for digital PR practitioners, because all companies should have a solid digital footprint. Today, all clients need a solid content library. Even repurposing old releases and turning them into blog posts can help secure backlinks and increase your SEO. A synonymous title for digital PR could actually be earning inbound links!
How do you get started with inbound marketing?
Figure out your buyer persona. Who are they? What information is most valuable to your prospects? How do they like to consume information? Once you have determined who your buyer persona is, you can then focus on creating keyword-rich content to reach them. If you are still wondering, “How can I engage my current customer base more?” you can always ask current clients some of these questions. Their answers can prove to be invaluable in the upfront research. Remember, your job is to deliver information that prospects need to help them make smart, informed purchase decisions. When thinking about the motives of buyer personas, focus on the ‘why.’ Uncovering their motives can lead to a powerful content strategy. Try interviewing current clients and look for trends in their responses. It is your job to know what they want to see, what they want to read, and what issues they are currently dealing with.
“Put the education of your prospect before your personal initiatives.” Hubspot
Keyword research is critical to clearly giving a name to the prospect’s problem. Remember, think about the phrases that prospects are using to find someone who offers your services, instead of thinking about what you would use. Try not to use too much industry jargon either.
What format will you use? Is your persona a visual learner? Do they read blogs on a regular basis? Do you have a valuable piece of content that belongs behind a form vs. on your blog? Here are some options that were recommended in the certification program for creating content:
- Case studies
- White papers
- Slideshare decks
CTA (Call to Action)
Every blog post should also have a call-to-action, or CTA. Examples of calls to action include: download, request, sign up and receive. When writing your CTA, focus on action verbs.
Awareness, Consideration, Decision
After a prospect is aware of their problem, they are in the consideration stage and are committed to understanding all available methods to solving the problem. You want to make sure you reach your prospect in the consideration stage by creating keyword-rich content. Remember, consumers don’t want to be sold to; they want to be educated. Once they are in the decision stage and have decided on a solution strategy, they are focused on the method of approach. It is important to have content prepared for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Avoid Inbound Marketing Mistakes
The buyers journey has to be from the buyers’ perspective, NOT yours.
Your content needs to answer their problems vs. going straight to your business solution.
Your blog shouldn’t even begin to discuss your specific solution until the decision stage.
Content Creation Tips
Understand their problem: In order to provide a solution to potential customers, you need to first recognize the problem. Ask yourself, is your content focused on their problem?
Tailor the post: Write blog posts tailored to who you are trying to reach and what they are interested in. The best content has to be grounded in the correct context.
Question the post: After you write content, ask yourself if the content helps your buyer persona. If your answer is that it helps anyone other then your persona, it belongs somewhere else or shouldn’t be created. ALWAYS focus on mapping content to your persona and where they are at in the buyers’ journey. Make it EASY for them to consume your content. Type in the last 5 blog posts you have created with 5 client names. Would these clients read the content? Another trick: If you are stuck creating content, ask yourself this: What questions might buyer X have that your company could provide solutions to?
Distribute content: Make your content available through other platforms so prospects can find it more easily. It’s not enough to just have content. You need others to re-distribute it.
Leverage sales for content mapping: What questions do people have who are interested in what you do? Work with the sales team to leverage prospects’ questions into great content! Figure out what your prospects are searching for so you can make sure they find your site. Make sure you are addressing a topic your prospects actually want to learn about.
Categorize keywords: Do this by stages of the buyer’s journeys. Keywords should include: problem-based keywords, solution keywords, branded keywords, and casual language. Use keywods.io or Google’s webmaster tool to get suggestions.
Tips for Optimizing SEO: In order to optimize your content, you need to be specific with your service offerings or else SEO will actually be more difficult. It is easier to rank if your keywords are more specific and targeted. If you are looking to quickly boost your SEO, be sure to set up business page on the top online directories including Yelp, Yellow Pages, local chambers of commerce, bing, Yahoo, Google plus and more. This will help increase links back to your site.
Create content that uses natural language and variations on the long tail keyword.
Shorten the title to under 60 characters. If it is over 60 characters it will get cut off in search results page.
You should know what the value of the post is and what you learn from the title.
Format the post so search engines can easily find it.
White space is your friend. Focus on content, not clutter. Use section headers, bullets and lists to help break down the content.
Optimize the page around long tail keywords, including your page title, url, post title, image alt text, body, headers.
When measuring the success of your content strategy, be sure to focus on the following metrics:
- Number of visits
- Page views
- Leads generated
- Shareability on social media
- Inbound links generated
Remember, your content is a solution to your prospects greatest challenges. Make sure you use keywords that will draw attention to your client’s business by crafting a stellar content strategy. If you want to get inbound certified, click here.
Ruby Media Group is a premiere public relations firm in Westchester County. For more information on optimizing your exposure, contact kruby @ rubymediagroup.com