Be Intentional about Your Content & SEO Goals or Face Certain Failure – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

We’re seeing more and more companies investing in content marketing, and that’s a great thing. Many of them, however, are putting less thought than they should into the specific goals behind the content they produce. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers examples of goals for targeting different kinds of people, from those who merely stumbled upon your site to those who are strongly considering becoming customers.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about being intentional about the content investments that you make. Now this is particularly important because otherwise it can lead to doom.

I got to organize the Foundry CEO Summit last week in Boulder, Colorado. I’m not sure when you are watching this. It might be several weeks ago now. But in any case, I’m talking with a bunch of CEOs and we have a number of discussion topics. One of the discussion topics, which was my personal favorite, one of the ones I was moderating was the top of funnel customer acquisition.

So I’m talking with a lot of these CEOs, B2B and B2C CEOs, about their content marketing efforts. Virtually everyone is investing in content marketing or thinking about it, which is awesome because it is very powerful. But many of them are investing in it somewhat unintentionally, or they haven’t talked with their CMOs and their marketing teams about precisely what that content is.

So we pulled up a couple of blogs from some of the participants. I’m kind of looking through like, “I’m not sure that there’s a strategic initiative behind all of the content that’s being produced.” That can be hugely helpful, and that’s true both for the content side of it and for the SEO side of it.

Many of the folks who are watching Whiteboard Friday undoubtedly are really deep into the tactics and the SEO side. So this video is for your managers, for your bosses, for you to help them understand how to choose content investments and what to expect from different kinds of investments.

Let me show you what I mean. Different kinds of content exist to target people at different sections of their experience with your site: at the consideration phase, where they’re close to buying, this is really for people who are thinking about buying your product; at the discovery phase for people who are just learning about your product or company; and at the viral or super broad content phase, where you’re not even necessarily trying to attract an audience that might buy from you, you’re doing other kinds of things.

So I’m going to try and walk through each of these. I’m actually going to start with the one that’s closest to the conversion process or the conversion point in that process.

So let’s imagine that I’m going to be the marketer at GeekDesk. GeekDesk sells these great sit-stand desks. I have one at home. I have one here at Moz. I love them to death because I stand up and work. I have sciatica in my left leg that I’ve had for many years, and I’ve been trying to work on that. One of the things I did is switch to a sit-stand desk. I actually almost never put it in sit mode anymore. I’m standing all the time. But in any case, GeekDesk makes great ones, ones that I really like.

So if I’m working at GeekDesk, my consideration phase content might be things like the models page, the models of all the different GeekDesks that I can buy. It might be a page on the advantages of the GeekDesk preset heights. GeekDesk has these little settings. I can push one, two, three, four, and it’ll go to different heights. I have one at home where I can push it to two, and it will go to the height for Geraldine so she can work at my desk. Then I press one, and it goes to my height. Then I press three, I haven’t pre-programmed three or four yet. But in any case, maybe if Elijah comes over, I’ll set one for you.

It might be “GeekDesk warranty and return policy,” or “sit-stand desks from GeekDesk.” These are kind of product-centric things. My content goals here are product awareness and conversion. I’m trying to get people to know about the products that I offer and to convert them to buyers.

This is really about information for those potential buyers. So my audience, naturally, is going to be customers, potential customers, and maybe also some media that’s already planning to write about me, which is why I want to have things like great photography and probably some testimonial quotes and all that kind of stuff.

The SEO targets for these types of pages are going to be my branded keywords — certainly things like “GeekDesk” and “GeekDesk desks” and whatever the models that I’ve got are — and then non-branded keywords that are directly, exactly tied to the products that my customers are going to perform when they search. These are things like sit-stand desks or adjustable height desks. That’s what this stuff is targeting.

This is very classic, very old-school kind of SEO and almost not even in the realm really of content marketing. These are just kind of product-focused pages. You should have plenty of these on your site, but they don’t always have overlap with these other things, and this is where I think the challenge comes into play.

Discovery phase content is really different. This is content like benefits of standing desks. That’s a little broader than GeekDesk. That’s kind of weird. Why would I write about that instead of benefits of GeekDesk? Well, I’m trying to attract a bigger audience. 99% of the content that you’ll ever see me present or write about is not why you should use Moz tools. That’s intentional. I don’t like promoting our stuff all that much. In fact, I’m kind of allergic to it, which has its own challenges.

In any case, this is targeting an audience that I am trying to reach who will learn from me. So I might write things like why sitting at a desk might significantly harm your health or companies that have moved to standing desks. I’d have a list of them, and I have some testimonials from companies that have moved to standing desks. They don’t even have to be on my product. I’m just trying to sell more of the idea and get people engaged with things that might potentially tie to my business. How to be healthy at work, which is even broader.

So these content goals are a little different. I’m trying to create awareness of the company. I just want people to know that GeekDesk exists. So if they come and they consume this content, even if they never become buyers, at least they will know and have heard of us. That’s important as well.

Remember television commercial advertisers pay millions and millions of dollars just to get people to know that they exist. That’s creating those brand impressions, and after more and more brand impressions, especially over a given time frame, you are more likely to know that brand, more likely to trust them, conversion rates go up, all those kinds of things.

I’m also trying to create awareness of the issues. I sometimes don’t even care if you remember that that great piece of content about how to be healthy at work came from GeekDesk. All I care is that you remember that standing at work is probably healthier for you than sitting. That’s what I hope to spread. That’s the virality that I hope to create there. I want to help people so that they trust, remember, and know me in the future. These are the goals around discovery phase content.

That audience can be potential customers, but there’s probably a much broader audience with demographic or psychographic overlap with my customers. That can be a group that’s tremendously larger, and some small percentage of them might someday be customers or customer targets. This is probably also people like media, influencers, and potential amplifiers. This may be a secondary piece, but certainly I hope to reach some of those.

The SEO targets are going to be the informational searches that these types of folks will perform and broad keywords around my products. This is not my personal products, but any of the types of products that I offer. This also includes broad keywords around my customers’ interests. That might be “health at work,” that might be “health at home,” that might be broadly dealing with issues like the leg issue that I’ve got, like sciatica stuff. It can be much broader than just what my product helps solve.

Then there’s a third one. These two I think get conflated more than anything else. This is more the viral, super broad content. This is stuff like, “Scientific studies show that work will kill you. Here’s how.” Wow. That sounds a little scary, but it also sounds like something that my aunt would post on Facebook.

“Work setups at Facebook versus Google versus Microsoft.” I would probably take a look at that article. I want to see what the different photographs are and how they differ, especially if they are the same across all of them. That would surprise me. But I want to know why they have uniqueness there.

“The start-up world’s geekiest desk setup.” That’s going to be visual content that’s going to be sailing across the Web. I definitely want to see that.

“An interactive work setup pricing calculator.” That is super useful, very broad. When you think about the relationship of this to who’s going to be in my potential customer set, that relationship is pretty small. Let’s imagine that this is the Venn diagram of that with my actual customer base. It’s a really tiny little overlap right there. It’s a heart-shaped Venn diagram. I don’t know why that is. It’s because I love you.

The content goals around this are that I want to grow that broad awareness, just like I did with my informational content. I want to attract links. So few folks, especially outside of SEOs and content marketers, really understand this. What happens here is I’m going to attract links with this broad or more viral focused content, and those links will actually help all of this content rank better. This is the rising tide of domain authority that lifts all of the ships, all of the pages on the domain and their potential ranking ability. That’s why you see folks investing in this regularly to boost up the ranking potential of these.

That being said, as we’ve talked about in a previous Whiteboard Friday, Google is doing a lot more domain association and keyword level domain association. So if you do the “problems with abusing alcohol” and that happens to go viral on your site, that probably won’t actually help you rank for any of this stuff because it is completely outside the topic model of what all of these things are about. You want to be at least somewhat tangentially related in a semantic way.

Finally, I want to reach an audience outside of my targets for potential serendipity. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about I want to reach someone who has no interest in sitting and standing desks, but might be an investor for me or a supplier for me or a business development partner. They might be someone who happens to tell someone who happens to tell another someone, that long line of serendipity that can happen through connections. That’s what this viral content is about.

So the audience is really not just specific influencers or customers, but anyone who might influence potential customers. It’s a big, broad group. It’s not just these people in here. It’s these people who influence them and those people who influence them. It’s a big, broad group.

Then I’m really looking for a link likely audience with this kind of content. I want to find people who can amplify, people who can socially share, people who can link directly through a blog, through press and media, through resources pages, that kind of stuff.

So my SEO targets might be really broad keywords that have the potential to reach those amplifiers. Sometimes — I know this is weird for me to say — it is okay to have none at all, no keyword target at all. I can imagine a lot of viral content that doesn’t necessarily overlap with a specific keyword search but that has the potential to earn a lot of links and reach influencers. Thus, you kind of go, “Well, let’s turn off the SEO on this one and just at least make it nicely indexable and make the links point to all the right places back throughout here so that I’m bumping up their potential visibility.”

This fits into the question of: What type of content strategy am I doing? Why am I investing in this particular piece? Before you create a piece of content or pitch a piece of content to your manager, your CMO, your CEO, you should make sure you know which one it is. It is so important to do that, because otherwise they’ll judge this content by this ROI and this content by these expectations. That’s just not going to work. They’re going to look at their viral content and go, “I don’t see any conversions coming from this. That was a waste.”

That’s not what it was about. You have to create the right expectations for each kind of content in which you are going to be investing.

All right everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We will see you again next week. Take care.

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Marketing Strategies for Small to Medium Businesses

Marketing is the process of creating or directing an organisation to be successful in selling a product/service that people not only desire, but are willing to purchase and this article on Marketing Strategies for Small to Medium Businesses explores the major points you need to consider.

Therefore, good marketing must create a “proposition” or set of benefits for the end customer that delivers value through the products or services.

Marketing Strategies are processes that allow an organisation to concentrate its limited resources on increasing sales and achieving a sustainable and measurable competitive advantage. While tactics are single actions used to achieve a specific strategy.

From a marketing perspective it is important to ensure you understand the importance of getting the four P’s in your marketing plan.

Product – Refers to General policies for product deletions, modifications, additions, design, branding, positioning, packaging etc.

Price – Refers to General pricing policies to be followed for product groups in market segments.

Place – Refers to General policies for channels and customer service levels.

Promotion – Refers to General policies for communicating with customers under relevant headings such as advertising, sales force, sales promotion, public relations, exhibitions, direct mail the internet etc.

So where do you start.

This is a list of the basic points that should be included in any marketing plan. It’s not a complete list, it is simply a list you need to consider when developing a basic marketing plan.

Spend Time Working on Your Business.

Business owners and managers certainly spend a large amount of time working in their business but few spend time working on their business. If you learn one thing from this article then let it be this.  You need to invest a minimum of 2 hours each week or one day each month working on your business.

If you don’t have a marketing plan then you need to think about developing one and ensuring it covers the following points.

Mission Statements need to be short but highly focused. One I read recently was “Profitable growth through superior customer service, innovation, quality and commitment.”

Review your Corporate Objectives ensuring they cover points like, desired level of profitability, what product will be sold to what markets, details on operational facilities & distribution methods, the size and character of your labour force, funding, social responsibility, corporate responsibility and your employer image.

Marketing Audit is a fundamental part of the marketing planning process. It is conducted not only at the beginning of the process, but also at a series of points during the implementation of the plan. The marketing audit considers both internal and external influences on marketing planning, as well as a review of the plan itself.

SWAT Analysis assesses an organisations strengths “what an organization can do” weaknesses “what an organization cannot do” in addition to opportunities “potential favourable conditions for an organisation” and threats “potential unfavourable conditions for an organisation”.

Assumptions use data from the Marketing Audit and SWOT Analysis develop your assumptions on the future conditions for each product and market segment.

Marketing Objectives and Strategy formulation involves estimating the expected results from each strategy with consideration for alternative ways forward and required variation in the marketing mix.

Estimate the Financial Outcomes associated with your marketing plan.

Create a Marketing Budget determining how much you can afford to spend in order to achieve your forecast sales.

Develop your USP by comparing your product/service to those of your competitors identify what makes YOU unique. Spend time on this point ensuring you get it right as it needs to be filtered through all of your Marketing, Branding, Communication and Sales Strategies.

Guerrilla Marketing is the newest and perhaps most talked about marketing development of recent times. It consists of over 200 marketing strategies aimed at increasing profits. These strategies suit the SME market more than the large corporate and focus on MEASURING results.

Expanding programs that works and stopping those that don’t

Its about PASSION

Meme – It is a new word in our dictionary. It is the simplest possible way to communicate an idea.

Theme Line – You have all heard, seen and read them before. Australia Post “We Deliver”

Branding – Brands are not created overnight it take a lot of time and money to create brand awareness. Most of the people who read this article will own a registered a domain name. But how many of you have registered your domain name with all of the extension like “, .com,, .net, .biz, .info. or mobi. So let me ask you this. Is protecting your domain brand name worth $200 a year?

Positioning – No matter what you do, your business will stand for something in your prospective customers mind. Whatever that is it is your niche or your positioning.

Quality –  Quality is not what you put into your product, it’s what the consumer gets out of it. Quality ranks second behind confidence in your business as the primary reason someone will purchase one of your product.

Location – The three main secrets to Guerrilla Marketing. They are Internet Internet and Internet.

Referral Program – If you don’t have a referral program running then you are missing out on one of the most amazing opportunities.

Testimonials – Don’t just ask for referrals make sure that when a client agrees to provide you with one that you have a guide to help them say what you want them to say.

Credibility – The road to success is paved with credibility.

Reputation – Reputation can take a lifetime to build and just minutes to lose. So whatever you do protect it at all costs.

Partial Payment Plans – No matter what it is that you’re selling, it’s likely you will sell a lot more if you take you full price and divide it into regular small payments.

Spying – You just have to do this. If you don’t know what your competition is doing then you are competing blindly in the market.

A Cause to Support – Cause related marketing is one of the fastest growing concepts in recent years.

Passion – If you are passionate about your companies’ product or service it will translate to extra sales.

Generosity – It is not about giving things away for free. That is unless it happens to be your time, interest in your client and their business. Free advice can often be a deal winner.

Speed – The speed with which we respond to a prospective customer will have a direct impact of the prospects decision to purchase.

Neatness – Keeping your premises neat and tidy will have a significant impact on a prospective customer decision to purchase.

Telephone Demeanor – Remember this one simple point. Spend money to ensure your key people are trained and make sure they all answer the phone the same way.

Value – Value is more important than price and perceived value is far more critical than value.

Be Easy to do Business with – You just cant stop working on this point, if you do you will lose the advantage very quickly.

Flexibility – It is all about going that extra yard offering the customer what they want.

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