Content marketing’s importance rose again in 2022.
Nearly three-quarters (71%) of content marketers say content marketing has become more important to their organization in the last year, according to the latest Content Marketing Institute research.
That means companies will need to hire and train content marketers for the foreseeable future.
“There’s a greater emphasis now on people in content roles,” says Nick Lake, senior director of global content marketing at Pega. Nick based his observation on research his company conducted for its Future of Marketing report (registration required). “CMOs are going to have more content creators. The salaries for content creators will increase because they see it as a more strategic role in the organization.”
What skills should those content pros have?
We know which skills frontline content marketers believe are important: SEO, data analytics, working with technologies, audience development, and writing and editing topped the list of desired training in another recent CMI study.
But are these the same skills the people who hire content marketers, lead content programs, and consult with brands care about?
At Content Marketing World this year, we asked several content leaders what skills and backgrounds they think are most important for a content marketer.
Read what they told us (lightly edited for clarity), or watch the video for the highlights.
Be curious – I would say that’s one of the skills you should refine. Curiosity is going to fuel you to want to understand your audiences. What matters is what you ought to be creating. – Deanna Ransom, president and executive director of Women in Revenue
Develop a journalistic viewpoint
Ultimately, we’re all telling stories. When you’re in journalism, you’re learning about interviewing skills, writing skills, and really telling people’s stories. I think that’s a great place to start. – Amy Fair, content marketing manager at SpyCloud
The core tenets of journalism are so important for content marketing. Understanding your audience – having a deep desire to answer all their questions, educate them, and be a helpful resource. Those principles are shared by journalism and content marketing. – Monica Norton, head of content marketing at Yelp
Hone your strategic thinking and data analysis
Not neglecting the strategic point of view is important. Even if you’re in creator mode at a certain part of your career, understand why certain content works and others don’t, and make sure you have access to performance data so that you can dig in and really get that deeper understanding. Eventually, that’s going to be how you level up. It’s getting to a more strategic perspective. Even if you keep the creator hat for a while, get as quickly as you can to understanding the strategic perspective behind what we do. – Andrea Fryrear, CEO and co-founder of AgileSherpas
A broad understanding of marketing is needed. I’m not a data and analytics person. But you still have to understand how the content you create works in this specific digital platform. How is it being measured? How is it being promoted? How is it being promoted organically versus paid? What are the inputs that go into creating this content? Who do you need to work with to do it?
When you think, “Oh, I’m going to go work on creating content. I’m going to be a writer,” that’s what you think it is. That’s only a piece of it. You really have to understand the whole ecosystem of content marketing. – Lukas Treu, content strategist at Swagelok
Learn to love numbers. Data and metrics are very important. What are the results? Make sure you’re spending time on the content that’s producing something that’s getting someone to take the next step, that you’re not just doing something for the sake of doing something. How does it fit in with the overall marketing strategy? How do you make sure you know what you’re doing is moving the needle and helping the business grow?
As content becomes more and more popular and more companies and brands are producing more, the ability to rise above the noise is getting harder. The metrics can show you what’s resonating, what people are engaging with, what they’re responding to, and how you can take them on the journey you want. – Jeremy Bednarski, content strategist at Salesforce
Practice (flexible) organizational skills
Project management – checking off things, staying organized, and planning ahead. Being fluid and flexible and able to change the content calendar if you need to. Being able to switch gears if you need to. – Asia Johnson, content marketing specialist at Express Employment International
Have a heart – and improve your improv game
I think what we’re missing is heart. I think we need people with empathy. I think we need people with improv skills. I’ve met some people in marketing. Y’all need some improv skills.
And I say that with love because “yes, and” is about life. It’s not just a business skill. It’s a way of looking at the world. And when the world throws itself off the script, like with COVID, how do we move forward? – Kathy Klotz-Guest, founder of Keeping It Human, Inc.
Sharpen your writing, but don’t stop there
Writing skills. If you can’t write, you really want to go find a new thing to do. I would argue the essential role of any marketer needs to be extreme communication – the ability to communicate at a higher level. You have to use communication in words or video or whatever. You’re really presenting to your audience to get them to take some kind of action. And if you don’t have that skill set, you’re going to be extremely challenged.
Equally important is the ability to understand technology and utilize technology. Know how to use things like Salesforce and how to hack it in the background. That’s how you’re going to be able to duct tape your own solutions and make things work in your organization. The reality is that your goal as a marketer is to be the world’s best marketer for your company. And to do that means you’re going to have to create a lot of bespoke solutions. – Vish Khanna, chief commercial officer at HealthPrize
A little bit of everything, all at once
Content marketers need to be pretty good at research and looking at the competitive set before creating something – or you’re more likely to make something that’s bland and undifferentiated.
Content marketers need to be highly empathetic and have a good sense of how this piece will land or be consumed when it hits that audience.
Content marketers need to be flexible and adapt to new channels and new trends because stuff is gradually changing all the time. Plus, there are production skills, there are writing skills, there are recording skills, and basic editing.
If you like using both halves of your brain all the time, content marketing is perfect for you. – Andy Crestodina, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Orbit Media Studios
Investing in content skills should pay off
Not every content professional needs to excel in each skill mentioned. But if you’re looking for a job, looking for a new team member, or just want to keep your skills competitive, use this list as a starting point.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
How to Create Evergreen Content That Generates Traffic to Your Site
Every digital marketer understands that publishing articles or blog posts on your website is an excellent way to create content for your SEO strategy and build awareness. On top of that, you also get to connect to your audience on a deeper level.
However, many marketers focus on publishing seasonal content or articles on trending topics, which can drive traffic, but only for a limited time.
According to HubSpot’s State of Marketing Trends Report (2022), 83% of marketers say it’s better to focus on quality rather than quantity of content, even if it means publishing fewer blog posts.
But if your content depends on trending topics, how can you create quality content that lasts? Enter evergreen content.
First, let’s be honest; creating evergreen content isn’t a walk in the park. Many marketers have tried creating this type of content on their websites but can’t seem to get the results they need.
So how do you create something that doesn’t age?
In this article, I’ll discuss what evergreen content is, why it is important to have one, and how you can create one that will give you lasting results.
Let’s get started.
Evergreen Content Explained
I’m pretty sure many of you have heard this term many times already, and some of you might have an idea of what it is.
But for those still unfamiliar with it, evergreen content is search engine-optimized content that is relevant all year round and can stay fresh over an even longer period. Some may argue that any content is sustainable, given that it remains published once you upload it to your site.
But evergreen content isn’t just any other content. It continues to be of interest to your target audience even after its publication date, attracting more visitors over time.
The topics used in evergreen content are those that many users will search for at any time of the year, making it an excellent strategy for SEO and content marketing.
This type of content comes in many shapes and sizes. Depending on your products or services, evergreen formats can range from listicles, how-to guides, tips, reviews, and videos. Something to note is that producing these formats doesn’t automatically make your content evergreen.
The main ingredient to making evergreen content is the topic, which should stand the test of time.
To understand this better, let’s look at seasonal content. This type of content contains topics tied to a specific time of the year, a trending item, or even in the news or social media. The hype on these topics usually dies down once enough time is passed.
For instance, marketers often produce content for various holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Content around these times can often generate traffic, but once the holiday is over, it’s unlikely that level of traffic will continue.
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Why Is It Important to Have Them on Your Website?
It’s no secret that seasonal content can quickly generate a lot of traffic to your site, but it can become irrelevant even quicker as new trends emerge.
Evergreen content can give you lasting results and so much more. Here are some reasons why you should start creating one:
- Great for SEO. Evergreen topics are usually searched, which means your content will likely rank on search engines. On top of that, it will always drive traffic to your site and keep on doing so, especially if it’s high quality.
- Lead magnet. Since you’re showing your expertise through evergreen content, it can encourage visitors to check your product or services. And because it’s relevant all year round, you can use it to attract new leads every time.
- Excellent marketing material. This is one of my favorite benefits of evergreen content. You can promote it repeatedly, making it a versatile marketing tool.
- Add value to you and your customers. Since it answers a common problem that your target audience has, you can help them address their issue. At the same time, the steady traffic it provides can help your website grow.
- Impactful investment. Creating evergreen content takes time. This ensures that you provide high-quality content that will always be interesting to your audience. That’s why it’s an excellent investment by providing significant returns in the future.
- Lasts for years. The idea that evergreen content can last for years ultimately means less work for you. A single high-quality post can give you a real bang for your buck, compared to seasonal ones that only last for a week or, if you’re lucky, a couple of months.
Step-by-Step Guide: Creating Evergreen Content
Now that we’ve established how critical evergreen content is for your digital marketing strategy, it’s time to learn the ropes of creating one that can be impactful for years. Follow these steps to begin:
1. Find a Problem to Solve
For evergreen content to succeed, it should solve a problem your customers face. It doesn’t have to be a major problem, but it’s something that many people may encounter in their lives.
For example, if you sell car parts like tires, one problem many car owners can encounter is changing their tires. You can create an article or a video showing your customers how they can change their tires and how often to rotate them to avoid wear and tear.
Now you’re not only solving their problem but providing extra value!
But I get it that you just don’t magically stumble upon a problem, and you need to put in some work to find the right fit for your website. So here are some steps you can take to find out the best problem you can address in your evergreen content:
- Ask yourself. You know your business well, and you can use this first-hand knowledge to look for pain points your customers are facing.
- Ask your customers. Don’t be afraid to send surveys to your customers. The worst thing that could happen is that they won’t answer it. But the benefits? Learning about their problems and what they expect from your business.
- Check your competition. While some may tell you to copy what your competitors are doing, I think many other opportunities are available to avoid doing this. Instead, check to see what they’re doing so you can understand what works and what doesn’t. From there, it’ll be easier to come up with an idea of what problem you want to solve for your customers.
- Check the internet. The internet is an excellent tool, especially if you know how to take advantage of it. One way is to check frequently asked questions about a particular industry through platforms like Quora and Reddit. You’ll be surprised by what information is waiting for you.
2. Conduct Keyword Research
Since evergreen content is a search-engine-optimized piece, it requires some keyword research to make it as effective as possible. This will also allow you to determine whether the problem you want to solve has merit, and people are actually searching the internet for answers to it.
So how do you go about this?
First, you need to invest in the right tools. While there are numerous tools, like Google Trends and Keyword Surfer, that can provide you with basic keyword research features for free. You might miss out on opportunities that only paid tools can provide. But if you’re not ready to shed some cash, the free versions can also give you valuable insights.
Next, you need to understand what to look for. The monthly search volume is the most important metric you have to check when conducting keyword research. This can tell the potential amount of viewers you can reach with a particular keyword or phrase.
However, note that there is yet to be an actual benchmark on what a healthy monthly search volume is, especially since niches and industries vary in size.
For instance, if you are working on a popular niche like fashion or beauty, you can see that the search volume is high. But a very specific niche, like bass fishing, may have a lower volume. Be sure to only compare different keywords in your niche.
Lastly, use long-tail keyword phrases instead of just keywords. Almost everyone we know uses the internet for answers to just about anything. So, when you optimize your content for longer keyword phrases, you can get their attention easier since it usually focuses on a more specific topic.
Going back to our example on the car parts business, your keyword phrases for tire changing content can include “how long does it take to change tires” or “how often should you change tires.” They also have high search volumes, meaning many people are interested to know the answers to those questions.
3. Create a Topic Using Your Chosen Keywords
Now, let’s go to the fun part. Once you have all the details you need and have collected all the keywords you want to use, it’s time to think of a topic for your evergreen content. To help you out, here are some questions you can ask yourself when coming up with a topic:
- Will it be relevant to your customers after a year?
- Will your customer and potential customers always search for this topic?
- Will it be easy to reshare this topic on various platforms over and over without seeming outdated?
If your answer is all yes, then you found your golden ticket. You can frame this as your working title to see how to structure and position the content and think of any other related topics you might want to touch on along the way.
Important Things to Remember
Creating evergreen content may sound easy, but there are other things you need to consider to make it successful. You already have a topic in mind, and that’s a good start. However, there are other things that you need to remember when you’re putting it all together.
1. Make It Informative
Always remember quality over quantity. While longer blog posts can rank higher in search engines, it’s better to provide value to your audience than the search algorithm. As an example, if you were writing about the benefits of Google My Business software or social media marketing trends, your articles should still give some value to the readers. With this in mind, ensure your evergreen content is as long as it’s supposed to be—no fluff to achieve a particular word count. Your content should be made for humans, not robots.
2. Don’t Forget the Layout
Even if you have the best evergreen content piece in the world, if it doesn’t have good design and proper formatting, your efforts are put to waste. So, apart from ensuring your content can rank, you must deliver a memorable reading experience.
This will not only build customer trust but can potentially convert visitors to customers.
When it comes to optimizing the layout and design of your evergreen content, make sure that there is enough white space between the paragraphs. This makes it easy for your visitors to consume the content.
Next, don’t put a lot of distractions. If you do, they won’t be able to finish the content and will jump to another page. Lastly, make it visually appealing. You can add relevant images or videos to break walls of text. Just make sure you can get your readers at the end.
Remember, the longer readers stay and read your content, the higher your chances of turning them into qualified leads.
3. Regularly Update Your Content
Just because evergreen content can last for years doesn’t necessarily mean you can just upload it and never touch it again. Since your main goal is to provide information to your customers, you must ensure that those details are updated every time. It doesn’t have to be every week; you just need to ensure that the information is not outdated so you won’t mislead your readers.
You can also use this opportunity to link other website pages from your content. This can help with your overall SEO strategy, especially if the piece generates a lot of traffic. If you have already created evergreen content, here are some things you need to update:
- Data and Statistics
- Screenshots and images
I don’t recommend adding dates to your evergreen content URL if you can help it(e.g., Best-Apps-for-Video-Editing-2022), as it will quickly become outdated, and your SEO efforts are going to waste every time you change the link.
But if you’re using one in your title, make sure you update that too. You can also use the help of AI writing software to add extra paragraphs and beef up your post a little.
4. Write for Beginners
This may sound counterintuitive, especially if you want to assert your expertise in the field. But people who search for broad topics are usually not experts, so ensure your content can cater to a large audience.
That’s why it’s best to avoid technical jargon. It’s okay to mention it when necessary. Just ensure that you give a brief explanation about it. At the same time, keep your tone conversational. Read your sentences and paragraphs to check if they sound natural.
5. Promote Your Content
Now that you’ve put together your winning content piece, it’s time to put it to work to reach your audience—it just doesn’t automatically give results after you publish it. This is where content promotion comes in.
There are various ways you can promote your content. This can be through social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. You can also promote it via email, especially if you have an extensive mailing list. Or even via guest blogging.
Since this can stand the test of time, you can promote it repeatedly, which is perfect for times when you just don’t know what to post.
Before evergreen content can give you the desired results, you must ensure that Google knows your site exists. If not, then you should index your site first and then work from there.
Creating evergreen content that lasts requires a lot of work, and you should be willing to do it. By following these practices I’ve shared, you can make an effective piece to drive ongoing growth to your site.
The results may not be quick, but if you do things right, you’ll reap the benefits far longer than you think.
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