After reading this article from an SEO company, you will be able to create a content marketing strategy for SEO.
Real life case study of an influencer, Simone Giertz, who discovered she had a brain tumour.
Learn executive actionable insights into content marketing in 7 min.
In this lesson, we are going to teach you how to not just write for SEO, but to create authentic stories that almost conjure engagement and followers en masse, that become the blueprint for your content marketing! We will then teach you advanced persona targeting techniques that we use as an SEO company to target the different segments of our clients’ online audiences to allow for tailored content to influence their websites’ objectives.
We also mention how to find data from social media channels in order to create the personas for content marketing targeting. Then we will delve into the actual layout of content to make it as readable as possible, thereby getting your marketing message across efficiently.
As we are an SEO Company, you may find it strange if we told you that storytelling is at the heart of content marketing and SEO. Content is the commodity that is consumed online after all, and the most successful content of all is tied together by some form of a story! Whether it is a brand’s story or the story of an influencer on YouTube, all successful stories must be underpinned by authenticity – Transformists, Millennials and Generation Z will not have it any other way!
What is content marketing?
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
- according to the Content Marketing Institute
The tragic case study of the wonderful Simone Giertz
Before we begin with different SEO writing and targeting techniques, let’s look at a live case study that will potentially bring you to tears. Simone Giertz has become a famous influencer in geek and tech circles of late, with 1 200 000 + followers as of writing this lesson. Two weeks ago she uploaded a potential last video message on her YouTube account, saying her goodbyes as she went in for surgery to remove a tumour, the size of a golf ball, from behind her right eye. There was a strong probability that she would become blind, brain damaged or paralyzed during the surgery.
She is personal
Now you may think it’s a bit much sharing such personal details or not appropriate, but if you spent time watching Simone’s videos, you would see how her followers are her life, literally. Simone’s journey began by sharing video clips of her life on a houseboat in Sweden and her love of building “shitty robots”. Simone had always had a passion for knowledge and science when she combined this with her attractive looks, a hobby of building robots out of scrap and her quirky jokes, constant cursing, she hit a soft spot with a growing, predominantly male, international segment of tech geeks!
She is entertaining
Being a tech geek, myself, it’s hard to distinguish whether I watch Simone’s videos because of the ingenuity of her robots or her warm, quirky, dry humoured and sometimes sexually expletive nature. Either way, her authentic approach to sharing her life has been a hit as her life is the actual story. It is her authenticity itself that is the ultimate magic ingredient.
She is a real person
From showing us her own excrement when her houseboat’s toilet system was blocked, to building robots that have no use and thus called “shitty”, it is clear that Simone takes a no-holds-barred approach to life and is literally sharing the experience of her life. Even deciding to share her horrific discovery of a brain tumour, makes subscribers feel connected to her as a real person – hence the exponential subscription growth since breaking the news on her channel. Ted talks, having picked up on this, invited Simone to recently give a Ted talk on how she reached stardom in such an authentic way, where she received a standing ovation. See below:
Simone’s channel grew by hundreds of thousands, from 800 000 to over 1 200 000 + subscribers after she shared the sad news about her tumour. Her brave spirit and quirky humour, allowed her to make the dire situation comical, calling her brain tumour “Brian” as an anagram for the word “brain” and fueling the media to tell her story and mass subscriptions to her channel.
Update: Simone Giertz made it and is even cracking shitty jokes.
Age of Authenticity and the SEO Company
Joseph Pine, the author of “Mass Customisation”, back in 2009 already, had predicted that the future of content, or brands themselves, was about authentic experiences. He basically put forward the idea that as a civilisation, we as consumers, had evolved past the mass production, industrial age to a new age of authenticity, mass customisation, true stories and experiences. Watch Joseph pine’s video below, from almost decade ago below, where he predicting where we are today with brands, experiences authenticity in terms of economic value.
We can see this trend as content marketing or digital storytelling changes how we engage our target audiences, how offer value propositions and what content we produce. Millenials and Generation Z are no longer “brainwashed” by super brands as depicted in the series, Mad Men, in the 1950s.
Today, digital influencers are the great “brands”, even hired by brands, in an attempt to make them more trustworthy or to add a dimension of storytelling, because they are authentic unto themselves and therefore trustworthy in the eyes of the consumer. This was the case when HBO asked Simone Giertz to produce a “Shitty” robot based on their series Westworld.
The key is for you to be real, honest, transparent and emotional about your products or services and use brand champions to humanise your brand and to be the voice of the content. Use video to great effect. Users trust this medium, as they can tell for themselves if your brand or company representative is authentic and real. Also, be exactly what your content says you are. If your company website says that you will go the extra mile, go the extra mile!
How does an SEO company achieve objectives with personas?
As an SEO company, we know that content is everything and that each piece of content is an opportunity for SEO. With mobile shares, likes and comments influencing SEO as social signals, we know the importance of mass customisation is when it comes to earning actual engagement. As we mentioned, HBO realised that Simone’s audience was aligned with their targeted personas and therefore reached out to her to create a shitty robot based on their series.
We always help our clients to find their authentic voice relative to their users by using a method of creating personas. A persona is a psychographic character or personality model that is created to represent what we imagine the users of the website would be like, especially those who we would imagine would achieve the website’s objective. We use information from Google Analytics, social media commentary, analytics and user data but often it’s a “guestimation” if a company is launching its site for the very first time, to create a personality of the different users we intend converting.
We even go as far as to name our character and attribute certain demographics and personality traits. A simple example for the online user could be:
Rob is a 35-year old man from Cape Town, adventure seeker has accumulated savings and travels the world to live life to the fullest. He loves fresh, organic ingredients where he knows the history of how the food arrived at his plate. He has post-graduate qualifications but is also a life-long learner.
We would then adjust the content output of our content strategy to Rob’s persona, but a large company will often have many personas that may even vary wildly for certain broad-based services or products. Content can be designed to reach multiple personas, especially if they have overlapping needs suitable to the brand or website’s value proposition. With personas, we can ensure that these segments are being reached in their own unique or relative tone of voice and content offering.
Sources of data to craft personas used by SEO Companies
Head over to your Twitter company page and check out the analytics here you will find detailed information about your current audience that will allow you to group characteristics into personas. Tabs like the people tab, lifestyle tab, even a mobile footprint tab.
Youtube even offers traffic sources reporting. This will allow you to see where your current audience is coming from and this will, in turn, give you hints about what their interests are.
Facebook offers user analytics in its people, posts and likes reports. Even reading user comments can give you ideas about common characteristics that could be grouped into personas.
The audience tab in Google analytics offers a plethora of insights into age, sex, language and location. There is even a report that shows you how people migrate through your website. Google Analytics is by far the supreme tool to be used by an SEO company in crafting personas.
If you have any data on past customers, it will be extremely valuable in using to create personas. It also goes without saying, that you should begin collecting data from past customers from phone or email surveys if you have not been doing so. As an SEO company, we introduce content marketing strategies aimed at adding extra value for our past customers for interacting with us.
How does an SEO company decide on what content to produce?
Given that we have learnt from the case study above that all content must be authentic, how do we decide on what to produce? SEO companies are hired not just to drive traffic to websites but to drive a certain type of user who has the highest propensity to convert according to the website’s objective. This is extremely important because you guessed it, the content we produce must ultimately bring a certain, targeted persona to our website.
By conducting the persona exercise earlier, we had the opportunity to predict what our targeted user would be interested in based on certain data and hunches we may have. Content can be broken down into 4 main characteristics to attract engagement.
How to structure written content for efficient absorption by users?
As mentioned earlier, as an SEO Company we know that video is the ultimate content marketing resource and it will continue to grow with engagement and will be the ultimate media to gain trust and detect authenticity. Copy, however, is still the most practical medium of content for firms that don’t have the time or budget to create YouTube videos. Also, search engines still heavily rely on text or copy for ranking. Since large swaths of text often result in being skipped by the online user instead of reading, we follow certain structural techniques as an SEO company to avoid this.
Always begin with the most pertinent facts first! Go to cnn.com or any other large online new site, all their content almost follows an inverted-pyramid format. The main facts are presented first to entice the user to continue reading, with lesser facts mentioned after the main facts. It should also be noted that all content is enriched by various forms of media, videos and images. Humans lazily rely on videos and images to save them from having to actually read.
Users have a plethora of apps, messages and blatant advertising to contend with each hour in today’s digital existence, getting users to actually absorb content is a huge challenge. The key to getting your message across is to allow users to almost intuitively absorb your content, with headings, bullet points and smaller chunks of text. Large swaths of monotonous copy, with no breaks or sub-components, is just automatically skipped by the reader.
How does an SEO company retain users after completing the objective of the website?
The key to retaining users is marketing automation, including email marketing. The users will receive a monthly email drawing their attention to new content relative to their ascribed personas. Content production frequency should follow a set cycle to allow users to create mental markers in anticipation of the content.
Marketing automation can allow for a natural progression of content marketing, matching the consummation or time period between consumption of online users and then used to drip market.
How does an SEO company measure the engagement or interaction with content produced?
Content should gently nudge users it is engaging to fulfil the objective of the website. This could be to subscribe to the e-newsletter, make a purchase, in Simone’s case donate to her pantheon account or in BrandSeed’s case, to become a client for our SEO services after realising how smart we are about SEO.
Other metrics that should be studied in Google Analytics and Search Console:
How long do users spend on the page?
Do users hit the back button almost immediately?
How many shares is the content getting?
How many other websites link to the content in referencing relative content? What is their domain authority?