Great content articles begin with a content audit
Have you been blogging for a year or more? Or have outdated website copy?
A content audit is very important to make sure that you always have fresh content, that it’s performing as well as it can and that you’re refreshing your SEO activities regularly.
Furthermore, your editorial planning will become a breeze and a content audit is well worth the time and effort.
What is a content audit?
A content audit is a structured process of reviewing your website’s content with the view of keeping a record of what you have live, how it can be improved and what function it serves. Broken down, that means going through every single blog post that you’ve ever published and keeping a record of it.
It helps you go through your existing content to see which pieces meet your marketing objectives and which don’t. It will also provide an opportunity to see what content is missing and any gaps that need to be filled. It will also help immediately identify the strengths, weaknesses and challenges in all the existing content.
Ideally, a content audit should be performed regularly, such as every six or twelve months, depending on how often you blog. Given that SEO best practices can change quite frequently, it also helps you to keep on top of them and position yourself well.
How to do a content audit
Firstly, start with a spreadsheet of all the posts ever published. The spreadsheet should contain title, topic, keyword, URL, external links, internal links, category, what type of content it is (eg evergreen, listicle, time sensitive etc) and include a section for actions required.
Although it depends on your business goals and marketing objectives, here are some basics to look for when conducting your content audit:
Benefits of a content audit
Having a content audit and being able to clear see what content you have, will be useful for getting the whole team on board and utilising the content. For example, if you have a series of blog posts that answer some of the most frequent questions that your sales people have to answer, you can save your employees time and resources. This is such a prevailing step because a lot of content gets lost and not used to its full potential. ‘SiriusDecisions estimates that 65 percent of B2B content ends up languishing unused.’
Taking inventory of your blog posts will also provide an opportunity for you to view potential curated posts. As I did in Best five copywriting posts of 2018, you can see your top performing posts and curate them into one post for the ease and benefit of your readers. Be sure to write original blurbs introducing each post, rather than cutting and pasting from the original posts, to avoid Google penalties.
Using Google Analytics and your website’s own data, compile a list of the top ten (or whatever number) best performing posts. Performance can be determined in alignment with your marketing and business objectives, eg are your performance metrics based on how many people read it? Or how many conversions (eg how many buy a product from your site)?
Analyse the top performing posts and work out why they performed so well. Did they receive better attention when it came to spreading the word? Did you write about something unusual and unique? Or was it directly written to what your audience really wanted to know? One of the keys to a great performing website is to repeat what is working well.
Similarly, you can identify which content can be repurposed easily. A lot of existing content is often ripe for repurposing, not just as content articles but other forms of content (such as downloadables, ebooks, videos etc).
Having this bird’s eye view of your content will supply an easy and thorough opportunity to create recommendations for powerful content going forward. Here are some examples of content recommendations that I posed when undertaking a recent client content audit:
Recommendations to capitalise on these posts include:
As a bonus, you might rediscover content that you had forgotten about. This forgotten content can be added to your social media strategy, outreach or PR campaigns.
Although it may fill you with dread and seem like it will take ages, the amount of effort and time you invest in doing a content audit each year will save you time in advance by making your content articles more useful, targeted and usable.
Here are some top audit tools to help with your blog audit.
My content writing strategy offers a thorough and actionable content audit as part of the package.
Copywriting squeeze pages
It is almost impossible to surf the net for more than a couple of minutes without encountering a number of squeeze pages. This is not surprising since email marketing is considered one of the most powerful marketing tools, with an average ROI of 3800%. There are several email marketing activities that are great at capturing email addresses and building your enews database but the one that has incredibly effective results is a squeeze page.
What is a squeeze page?
A squeeze page is a type of landing page that is designed for one specific purpose; to “squeeeeeze” an email address and a name out of you prospective clients that land on the page.
When looking to collect personal information from internet users who strive to remain anonymous at all costs, you have to employ a lot of guile. Squeeze pages are designed to lure website visitors to put in their personal details (an email address and name, and in some cases a phone number) in exchange for a reward such as more information, a discount, a tangible or digital asset or a free service.
To achieve this, there has to be a form of subtle pressure designed to compel website visitors to fill in their details. This is usually done using expert web copywriting, deliberate colour schemes and purposeful layouts to place your offer in the best possible light while asking for just a measly email address.
Five steps to writing a valuable squeeze page
1. Create an enticing offer that has some value
How often have you seen this phrase – 'To download XXXXX, simply enter your email here.' Your enticing offer can be anything: a free ebook, software, template, webinar, online course or design aid that is important enough for the visitor to want to give up their email. The important thing being is that it has some specific benefits, particularly to the reader.
Think along the lines of:
2. Let your customers do the talking
Customer reviews have influenced an extraordinary amount of buyer decisions, with some reports suggesting 93 per cent of people impacted by online reviews.
Allowing your customers to do the talking builds trust as this shows prospective customers what they will experience if they use your product or service. You might remember we’ve talked about this in terms of social proof. It’s also just common sense as a customer would rather trust another customer’s (who they see as unbiased) review than any marketing material you may have.
3. Spend time copywriting your page content
Copywriting is the act of writing content with the aim of advertising, marketing or increasing brand awareness. Copywriting is absolutely necessary because we are all lazy readers, especially when it comes to online content; your visitors are more likely to scan and skim through the page content. So great copywriting will help them do just that with a bold headline, compelling subheadings, captivating pictures and prominent CTA buttons.
4. Keep it simple
No, really! You have to keep things really simple to the point when it would even make sense to anyone and everyone. Simplicity sells and using clear concise statements will make your copywriting easy to understand and skim. Opt for simple short sentences using basic words to describe exactly what you want to say.
5. End things with a compelling CTA
Your call to action button will be the deciding factor on whether your squeeze page converts (turns someone into a reader to an actual sale) or not. One website saw a 321 per cent increase in opt ins when they provided visitors with a compelling reason to subscribe.
Visitors usually spend a short time deciding whether to opt in to your offer and a button that says ‘Yes, I want the free report,’ is more likely to convert than one that says ‘Download report.’ Adding the super, all time converting word free is also a good way to increase the chances of them clicking on your offer.
As a professional or amateur author, you have a website already live or are in the planning stages of creating one. Whether you’re one of Australia’s most popular authors or just starting to hone your craft, I cannot express enough how vital it is to have a website as an author and as a business. If you want to sell— books, yourself, products, whatever— then you need to have a website. Even if your debut novel isn’t coming out for another three years, it pays to set up your website now as longevity is something that contributes to positive SEO.
Make sure that your website looks great and keep the design simple so that it’s easy for people to navigate. If your website has fluorescent pink Times New Roman font on a black background, or if your website looks like any of these ugly sites, it’s time to invest in a web designer. 38% of consumers will stop engaging with content that is unattractive in imagery or layout.
Here are some easy to implement tips to ensure your site is a standout author channel and will help you sell books, get the interest of a publisher or literary agent and develop a fan base.
'What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though,’ J.D. Salinger.
Web pages to add
'Not all marketing people are writers, but all writers must learn to be marketers,' Joanne Kraft.
Other features to add to your author website
Examples of great author websites:
You might like to consider studying and reviewing these Australian authors' websites for inspiration and guidance. They all have great design and well written information about being an author and their books. If you’re finding it quite hard to write about yourself (even writers have that trouble), don’t hesitate to get in contact and I will help write your website.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating useable content that your customers, clients and end users get real value out of (eg, learn information) and sharing it on your own channels to increase your credibility and entice new leads and sales.
All good things need a plan but getting started with your content plan can be daunting. Below, you will find some simple steps on how you can get started with your content strategy.
'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.'
How do you decide what topics to focus on and what format to use?
When writing and planning a bunch of content, it can be challenging to know where to start and what to write. You might want to write about dogs and bowties but how relevant is it to your broader marketing plan? What kinds of topics will draw in more sales and new customers?
Topic focus should be based on your target demographic and what content appeals to them to engage their interest and convert sales. What do they already consume and what articles and blog posts influence them to purchase?
Keyword research as part of your SEO investigation and strategy is a great place to start when it comes to planning your content topics. By discovering a list of applicable keywords and long tail search terms, you determine which content articles and web copy would be an important, primary and immediate focus.
What steps should you take to develop a content strategy?
How do you track and know if your content has performed well?
Utilising analytic programs (such as Google Analytics) and other tools to ascertain performance of content, you can report on key metrics and data in accordance to your predetermined KPIs and objectives, which you would assumedly focus around views, increased site traffic, increased social media engagement and metrics and most importantly conversions to sales.
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