Whether you have an inbound strategy or not, I think it's fair to assume that staying competitive, profitable and on top of search engine results pages (SERPs) is a priority for most businesses.
But that requires you to constantly have your finger on the pulse - algorithm updates, ranking factors and changes in your readers’ behaviour will all influence not just a content marketing strategy, but a marketing strategy full stop.
Whether you check in on what's happening on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis is entirely down to you. But, as we enter a fresh new year, let's reflect on some of the key success factors in content marketing right now.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the most prevalent factors fuelling successful content marketing strategies that look set to dominate content marketing in 2019.
Consistency is important for many reasons. Not only do readers expect consistent streams of topics, but with topic-based content now favoured by search engines, veering from your central topics can dilute your content offering and confuse algorithms.
Having a defined content strategy helps enable consistency which means more high-quality content can be produced on a regular basis. Cross-team input and content development should equally be a consideration for 2019 as relevance and author expertise become more important. Monthly or quarterly blog planning sessions are an excellent way of ensuring everyone knows what and when they should be writing.
Ultimately, ensure content is cohesive, consistent, aligned to pillar topics and your topic cluster strategy.
Author reputation is more integral than ever when it comes to content trustability and authority.
86% of consumers claim authenticity is the key differentiator that leads to a purchasing decision.
Google is now looking at the creator ecosystem when establishing the reputation of each writer, which highlights a newfound focus on author credibility and reputation.
The more experts in your field writing about your subject, the better. However, to manage this effectively specific writers should concentrate on specific topic areas, ideally, their individual expertise.
Recent algorithm updates take a more intricate look at author reputation and the trust of the company and/or content author. As with a website, they will be able to build an authority on their topic which in turn helps their articles gain traction.
More focus on ROI
As more efficient tools are being developed to enable marketers to efficiently measure the ROI of their blogging and content marketing efforts, marketers will be better equipped to identify their most successful methods, formats and writers.
Measuring your ROI enables you to progress towards your goals, identify what is working and what isn’t, and as a result, amend and inform your strategy accordingly. We all know by now that business goals need to be S.M.A.R.T., and measurability is incredibly important since it empowers you to identify the best channels and platforms. That way, you can utilise your resources more efficiently and concentrate on ensuring ROI is optimal.
Experimenting with new channels of distribution and content creation will become more important in 2019 as media platforms continue to diversify and users become accustomed to newer types of content consumption. Video, podcasts and audio are set to be huge in 2019, so keep an eye on what is up and coming in your sector and experiment carefully (while measuring) to identify if there are other avenues worth considering.
Transparency and relevance
As Liz Murphy at Impact writes, honesty is above all, the best content marketing hack. Know the pain point you're trying to address, and remove any roadblocks or obstacles that are preventing you from transparently delivering to your prospects and readers.
I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but the evidence is there.
73% of customers say that transparency is a determining factor in purchasing decisions. If you deliver what you promise quickly and efficiently, solving problems and positioning your content correctly, you're on the road to thought leadership and content marketing success.
And while we're on the subject of success, it's worth touching on what not to do too.
The following could rob you of all your hard work.
Avoid at all costs:
'Pogo sticking' is the term used to describe the act of bouncing from one page to other pages within a website to find an answer to your original query. Not to be confused with bounce rates - which in some cases is now viewed as a positive (if the query has been answered quickly and efficiently by the content the user might bounce from the page quickly) - a user might 'pogo stick' from page to page if the original article does not satisfy their query.
Guaranteed, duplication is going to be picked up by search engine crawlers. They’re intelligent little bots - they can even distinguish context now - so if they sense that your content is simply plagiarised from other websites they'll let search engines know, and this could have a serious impact on your reputation.
A common mistake but easily fixed - broken links will only go against you. Taking the time to run site audits and checks is absolutely necessary for your site health. Speak to a web developer or SEO manager and they'll be able to fix broken links quickly.
Mobile unfriendly pages
This one doesn't need much explaining. In 2019 your pages must, must, must be mobile friendly, responsive and optimised!
With the sheer volume of mediocre content published every second, it takes more than a good blog to get you noticed. Content marketing strategies demand regular evaluation, measuring, and defined goals. Take advantage of these success factors as we head into 2019 and let 2019 be the year of success!