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10 Reasons You Need A Long-Term Content Strategy

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10 Reasons You Need A Long-Term Content Strategy

It’s no secret that content is time-consuming.

However, some marketers are so focused on whittling down that time, on cutting corners just to “get something out,” that they ultimately end up losing out.

What do they lose?

The power inherent in high-quality content helps you:

Rushing content, meanwhile, gets you the opposite.

Marketers who view content marketing as a sprint rather than a marathon think they can write 20 short, low-quality blog posts, slap them online, and call it done.

Unfortunately, this is a recipe for major content failure.

For content to succeed – truly succeed, with the rankings, engaged readers, and conversions to prove it – you need to play the long game with your content marketing.

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You need to come to terms with the realization that it may take anywhere from six months to a year (or even longer, according to one study) to get your content ranking well.

You need to understand that your target audience is comprised of humans who need to be nurtured and respected continually over time if you want their trust and, ultimately, their buy-in.

You need to fully own that good content cannot be created in a rush. Great content takes even longer, but great content gets results.

Let’s get deeper into why you should be playing the long game with content.

Why Focusing On A Content Marathon, Not A Sprint, Is A Good Thing For Your Marketing

Think about a footrace for a moment: It’s pretty brutal, right?

To win a footrace, you don’t necessarily need technique or style; you just need speed (at least until you become a professional track athlete, at which point style and form are critically important).

Because of this, the winner of a footrace isn’t necessarily the best runner in the group. Put that same winner into a 10 km and he’d likely burn out at the beginning, right? I bet you see where I’m going with this.

The same thing applies to content.

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While anyone can sprint in a general direction towards the finish line with crappy content and poorly thought-out content strategies, not every marketer can devise an effective, long-term strategy for actually consistently ranking well with content.

This is the main reason that the long-term content strategy is so much better than a short-term content strategy.

In addition to being more sustainable, the long-term approach is also wiser and more fully thought out.

In the words of Tim Ferriss, “There will always be a need for high-quality, and there will always be a need for long-form.”

While short-term content strategies seek to produce instant and short-lived results, long-term content strategies allow marketers to bond with their audiences, build their voice, provide real value, and rank in an authentic and sustainable way.

Because of this, marketers who create long-term content strategies often publish more effective content, build bigger audiences, and garner more shares across the board.

10 Reasons Long-Term Content Strategy Is Better

1. It’s A Better Use Of Your Money And Resources

Imagine going on a diet to lose weight. For two weeks, you eat only whole, clean foods and you exercise for two hours a day.

You feel great and – hey! — you lose weight. At the end of that two weeks, however, you stop exercising and go right back to your old diet habits.

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What happens?

Of course, you gain all of the weight back, and your guise of physical fitness takes a nosedive.

Not surprisingly, the same thing happens with content. Regardless of what you’re doing, content marketing takes money and resources.

If you’re paying someone to flood your accounts with content for two weeks and then laying off your strategy entirely, you can bet not only will your strategy be ineffective, but it will also be a waste of your money and resources.

Instead, you’re much better off allocating your resources to a long-term content strategy that will build readers over time and help you maintain steady levels of traffic and clicks over months or years.

Instead of wasting your resources, this funnels them right back into your company and ensures that you’re building value while also establishing a solid foundation of lasting, relevant content.

2. Long-Term Content Engages Readers

To keep readers interested and engaged for an extended period, you need to offer them comprehensive, in-depth content that helps them address their concerns and solve problems.

And that means long content, in terms of word count per article.

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Don’t think just because we live in an age where attention spans are short that long-form content won’t do well. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. 

An Orbit Media survey found that bloggers who write longer posts (anything over 1,500 words) get better results.

Why does long-form content perform so well as part of a long-term content strategy?

In addition to providing outstanding value for readers, long-form content also allows your company to build authority and establish dominance by showcasing your knowledge on relevant topics in your industry.

3. Content Changes All The Time

As search engines and readers progress, the demand for quality, informed, relevant content increases all the time. Because of this, a long-term content strategy is the best possible weapon.

Designed to insulate marketers against change and help them maintain their traffic and readership despite changing SEO, content, and marketing requirements, long-term content marketing allows space for the strategy to absorb and adapt to changing trends. This ensures more effective content and a more adaptive strategy that doesn’t have to scramble to keep up.

4. Long-Term Content Is Synonymous With Cornerstone Content

Every good house needs a solid foundation, and every good marketing strategy needs cornerstone content to provide long-lasting value and relevance to readers.

Cornerstone content is long-term content that might not draw a huge number of clicks right off the bat but remains valuable for months or years after the publishing date.

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Think of it as a down payment toward your own business.

In fact, if you look at the aforementioned Tim Ferriss’s blog, you’ll notice most of his most popular blog posts were written up to two years ago. How’s that for an effective long-term strategy?

In contrast, short-term content strategies are largely aimed at ranking well for a specific keyword or phrase, so they all but neglect cornerstone content entirely.

Unfortunately, this leads to a less valuable and less relevant website for users of all types.

For attracting long-term clicks and ensuring that a website’s readers are engaged, entertained, and consuming value at all times, cornerstone content becomes more of an essential than a luxury.

5. Long-Term Content Doesn’t Turn Off With A Hard Sell

In today’s marketing environment, there is virtually nothing customers hate more than being hard-sold.

Nobody wants to know why they can’t live without your product or why it’s critical for them to “buy now!”

More often than not, these approaches simply alienate customers and make it harder for your company to sell products naturally.

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Unfortunately, the hard-sell is often a tone taken by short-term content.

Because short-term content is insistent by nature, it’s tough to engineer it so it doesn’t push on your customers.

As a result, short-term content strategies run a high risk of alienating customers and making it more difficult to sell your products.

Long-term content strategies, on the other hand, do no such thing. Because they’re not designed to elicit an immediate response from readers, they seek to provide value and relevance rather than insistence and immediacy.

In other words, they succeed in explaining a problem, helping the audience handle the problem, and then inviting them to engage in a discussion about the problem.

This, in turn, is a fantastic way to nurture long-term customer relationships and ensure that your company continues to meet the needs of your clients.

6. Long-Term Content Strategy Is An Effective Way To Approach Current Events

Do you think writing about trending news and industry events makes you a short-term content strategist? Think again.

Trending content-focused blogs are extremely important, and it’s a mistake to think of this as only a short-term strategy.

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In fact, trending news can be critical to your long-term strategy, and can help you establish your website as the source for up-to-date and relevant industry news.

When you focus on using trending, to-the-minute news pieces as a way to enhance and strengthen your long-term content strategy, it’s easy to see how you can improve your brand presence and boost your business overall.

7. Long-Term Content Promotes Itself

Failing to promote your content is one of the most dangerous mistakes in the entire content marketing industry and, unfortunately, it’s one many marketers make.

While short-term content needs aggressive promotion to succeed, long-term content essentially promotes itself.

When you create high-quality, in-depth, well-researched, long-term content and push it out to your followers, it’s easy to rank well for your chosen keyword.

Because long-term content is meant to garner clicks and shares over time, it’s a great way to build steady, long-term rankings that can boost your SERP placement and improve your standing over time.

8. Long-Term Content Is Good Content

One of the differences between long-term content and short-term content comes down to priority and intention.

As a general rule, people who commit to the pursuit and development of content for the long term are much more in love with content.

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While all types of content are important, creating good long-term content requires a different mindset and series of priorities than creating short-term content.

Because of this, long-term content strategies often boast better content that caters more effectively to readers.

9. Long-Term Content Effectively Builds An Audience

When it comes to building an audience, you don’t want to aim for the largest audience possible. This will result in a massive but unengaged group of followers.

Instead, you want to build an audience of people who are genuinely interested in your concept and your content and will engage with it actively when it comes out.

This is one of the areas in which long-term content strategy is so powerful.

Fewer people have the attention span for long-term (or long-form) content today, and by making it a large part of your content strategy, you can build a better audience and earn more qualified leads.

10. Long-Term Content Is Best For SEO

SEO is a complex mix of strategies that companies need to succeed online.

In addition to optimizing content correctly, companies that want to use good SEO also need to ensure their content is high-quality, relevant, and useful to their readers.

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While this can be difficult with a short-term content strategy, a long-term content strategy suits the goal quite nicely.

In addition to the fact that long-term content is written with the reader in mind, it’s easier to target a group of keywords with a long-term content strategy than it is a short-term content strategy.

Finally, every piece of content written in a long-term content strategy goes to boost and improve SEO, contributing to more online visibility and more clicks to your website.

The Case For Long-Form Content Strategy

Treating content as a sprint rather than a marathon may seem easier at the outset, but it’s really just a quick way to stall out with content that doesn’t move the needle.

Good, results-driving content takes thought, time, and effort. It takes commitment to a long-term strategy because, by nature, content doesn’t work in the short term.

Ultimately, the time and commitment you invest in your long-term goals and strategy will pay off with higher dividends and a higher ROI. And that adds up to time well spent.

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Featured Image: alphaspirit.it/Shutterstock

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SEO

7 Data-Driven Content Strategy Tips For Improving Conversions

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7 Data-Driven Content Strategy Tips For Improving Conversions

There’s an old maxim in the marketing world, “content is king.” This has been true as long as search engine optimization has been around, and probably dates back even further in the world of general marketing.

But as simple as that adage is, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation, namely what kind of content?

In those early SEO days, it meant identifying your keywords and jamming them into pages anywhere they would fit.

But modern digital marketers are smarter (not to mention that strategy doesn’t work anymore).

These days, successful content starts with a plan that’s backed up by numbers, a data-driven content strategy, if you will.

But what exactly does that mean?

In simple terms, it means developing content using an approach built on user information. This can include information like demographics, survey answers, consumer preferences, etc.

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You probably don’t need to be told why this is important, but just to make sure there’s no doubt, let’s be clear: Using a data-driven content strategy helps you decide where to spend your time, effort, and money.

In other words, you have finite resources. You don’t want to waste them on people who aren’t likely to convert.

A data-driven content strategy allows you to tailor your marketing campaigns to generate the best ROI.

For the purposes of search engine and PPC specialists, it can help you decide which keywords to go after, ensuring you’re targeting the right audience.

Sounds simple enough, right? All you need to do is pop open your content research tool and look for commonalities, right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but there’s a bit more to it than that.

But never fear, that’s why you’re here.

In this helpful guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step approach to developing, implementing, and optimizing your very own data-driven content strategy.

Ready to get started?

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1. Set Your Content Goals

The very first thing you need to decide is what you’re hoping to accomplish. You can’t be all things to all people, so you need to make some choices.

Do you want to increase traffic? Are you looking to make sales? Do you want more leads?

Determine what your content goals are and identify the channels best suited to meet them. Once you’ve done this, you can establish your key performance indicators (KPIs).

Be sure to keep this in mind while you’re creating content.

Everything you add to your website or campaign should serve a purpose. If you’re not sure what it’s doing, your audience won’t know either.

2. Define Your Target Audience

Now that you know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s time to figure out who to go after to make it happen.

Comb through the demographic data and other information you have access to. Spot commonalities that occur across many or some of your targets.

Many marketers find it helpful to create customer personas. Using your data, imagine a typical person for each of the various roles you’re targeting.

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For example, you may have a prospect persona, a lead persona, a buyer persona and a repeat persona.

Put yourself in the shoes of these imaginary people.

What type of language resonates with them? What is their highest level of education? Do they want professionalism or personability? Why are they on your website? What do they hope to accomplish with your help? Be as detailed as you can.

Many marketers even give them a name. For example, if you were creating personas for your plumbing supply company, you may have:

Lead Larry – 45 years old

A mid-career plumber, Lead Larry owns his own one-man business. He makes $75,000 a year. He went to a trade school and his work van is 6 years old. He’s looking for a way to reduce overhead and find cheaper parts than his local supply company. He values hard work, honesty, and professionalism.

Be as creative and detailed as you like, just remember this isn’t a fiction-writing exercise. You’re creating personas based on your typical target, so keep your persona in line with who they actually are.

3. Review Your Competitor’s Content And Do Topical Research

Now it’s time to take a look at what the competition is doing. Maybe they’re just flying by the seat of their pants, but they’re probably putting some effort into their campaigns, too.

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Review what they’re doing and look for what appears to be working.

For example, if they’re blogging, they may have a view counter on the page. If so, what type of blogs are getting the best results?

Look for trends in your industry. What’s everyone talking about? Is there a big trade show coming up? Or a new technology about to be released?

Figure out who you’re competing with for clicks, not just to see what’s working for them, but also to gain ideas for content of your own. Start making a list of things you want to cover.

If there are influencers in your niche, this is also a good time to check and see what they’re posting about.

4. Conduct Keyword Research

Once you’ve settled on what your content should be, it’s time to perform that old SEO staple: keyword research.

Using a tool like Google Analytics, Semrush, or something platform-specific like YouTube’s Search Insights, figure out the type of language your content needs to use.

This will help you in more than just the SEO aspect, too.

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Using keywords in your content demonstrates to your audience that you speak the same language they do. And that doesn’t mean English, it means using the nomenclature everyone in the niche will understand.

Going back to our plumbing supply example, that means referring to a product as a “three-fourths full port threaded ball valve,” rather than a “metal connection thingy.”

Okay, that’s a ridiculous example, but you get the point.

The good thing is that you probably already have a working, if not expert knowledge of this.

5. Create Content That Aligns With Your Goals

If you remember, the very first step to creating a data-driven content plan was to determine your goals.

Now, equipped with everything you’ve done since then, it’s time to create the content that addresses them.

Don’t be intimidated. You don’t have to be F. Scott Fitzgerald to write the kind of content your audience wants. And you’ve already done a lot of the foundational work – now it’s just time to put everything together.

Your content could take nearly any form, videos, blog posts, infographics, case studies, or white papers.

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If you’re not comfortable doing these on your own, it should be reasonably easy to find a writer or videographer in your area or extended network. Just ask your connections for recommendations.

If you’re still not confident in your ability to deliver or you can’t afford to hire someone, don’t worry. We have an excellent piece that will walk you through everything you need to know about content creation.

6. Promote Your Content On The Right Channels

You’ve created your masterpiece of relevant content. Now it’s time to share it with the world. But how do you do that? Do you just post it on your corporate blog and wait for Google to index it?

You could take that kind of passive approach, but this is great stuff you’ve just made. Everyone in your niche will want to consume it. And to make sure you get the eyes you want on it, it’s time to promote it.

But before you go linking to it on Facebook, Digg, LinkedIn, and every other social media platform and aggregator site you can think of, pause for a minute.

When you were developing your user personas, you hopefully received some data about where your targets live online.

Are they regular Twitter users? Do they haunt industry-specific forums? Are you connected to them via Slack or other instant messenger apps?

Find out where they hang out and post away. In most cases, if you’re not sure if your targets use a platform or not, you should just go ahead and post anyway.

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There are some sites where you can be dinged for unpopular content (Reddit, for example), but most of the time, there’s no harm.

This is also a time to start thinking about how you can repurpose your new content.

Do you have an opportunity for a guest blog post on another site? Or, would your new infographic fit perfectly in your next investor report?

If your data-driven content is built on the solid principles we’ve discussed, it will get engagements.

7. Use Analytics To Measure Results

After your content goes live, you can begin measuring your ROI to see what you did well, where you missed the mark, and what could be optimized to perform better.

This is where the KPIs discussed back in step one come back into play.

Some of these are easier to track than others.

If increasing sales or conversions was your goal, you should have data that backs up performance. Likewise, if you set out to improve traffic to your website, you should have the analytics to track that.

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Things like brand visibility can be a bit trickier.

Regardless of what it is you’re using to determine success, you should find the data you need to track performance in Google Analytics.

For a detailed walkthrough of this process, we’ve provided information on exactly how you can measure content marketing success.

A Data-Driven Content Strategy Is A Winning One

Data is a marketer’s best friend. It tells you exactly what works, what doesn’t, and often, why that’s the case.

And a data-driven content strategy is vital for success in today’s hyper-competitive business and SEO environment.

Use the tools available to you to gather data – that’s why they’re there.

Learn to identify what the numbers are telling you and use them to help you craft the kind of content that not only attracts views but gets shares and achieves your goals.

More Resources:

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Featured Image: metamorworks/Shutterstock

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