Optimizing your website content has never been easy. SEO practices are constantly changing, which can be overwhelming even for the most experienced marketers and content creators. Achieving online visibility through SEO rankings can feel like one of those dreams where, no matter how hard you run, you don’t reach your destination.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is trying to do too much with their content alignment strategy. By trying to rank for every relevant industry keyword, you might end up ranking for none of them. Instead, you should be narrowing your focus toward high-priority goals you can achieve through the use of content.
It’s like trying to light a fire with a magnifying glass. If you have a bunch of light shining through, you’ll make the ground warmer but won’t actually get any fire. Only by focusing on a single point will you be able to spark a flame. That’s the exact mindset you should be bringing to your content alignment strategy.
Use the Golden Circles
Author and thought leader Simon Sinek has shared a valuable piece of insight for businesses struggling with strategy. He calls it the Golden Circles, a concept he first shared in a 2009 Ted Talk that became one of the most-viewed videos of the series.
According to Sinek, there are three Golden Circles in business, each one encompassing the other. The three rings are pretty simple: WHAT is represented as the outer ring, HOW as the middle ring and WHY as the center of it all. The smaller circles indicate that fewer businesses have grasped those concepts, as opposed to the outermost ring.
These circles can be applied to many business and leadership concepts, but let’s use them to explore your content alignment strategy. What you do is pretty straightforward. It’s the role your business plays in the marketplace, whether it’s preparing food, cleaning houses or developing apps. How you do it involves your system of operations, your thought process and the little things you do to set yourself apart from your competitors.
Most organizations get hung up on the why. Whether this relates to their brand image or their content strategy, this is an important thing to figure out. Ask yourself why you do what you do and then use that to generate content. Perhaps you prepare meals to make sure busy families can get the delicious, nourishing food they need to thrive. That why will help you better focus your content for long-term success.
Align Your Goals With Metrics
Once you’ve found your why, it’s time to make it tangible. Without data metrics, your content goals will be nothing more than a pipe dream. Metrics will provide concrete evidence that your content alignment strategy is working or needs work.
Perhaps the goal of your content strategy is to increase brand recognition among your target audience. How do you quantify something so abstract? You can look at impressions, page views and online brand mentions to give you a better idea of how your strategy is panning out.
Try to focus on one content alignment goal at a time. If you try to spread yourself too thin, you will only make incremental changes across the board and see very little real progress. Focusing your content toward a single goal will provide more noticeable effects in a shorter amount of time.
Profile Your Target Audience
In an ideal world, everyone would be clamoring for your products or services. Realistically, your business will find most of its success with a specific audience. For some organizations, this is easy to identify, like a diaper brand targeting young parents. Other times, it’s more complex to pinpoint your target audience, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
Think about the type of person you want to see your content. Let’s say you run a SaaS company that offers top-of-the-line project management software. Your target audience might include managers, entrepreneurs and CEOs with interests in time management, teamwork and productivity.
Once you’ve narrowed down your specific target audience, curate content for them specifically. You don’t need a piece of content for every single demographic that might check out your website. Keep all of your content focused on the audience you believe wants and needs your company’s offerings the most.
Focus on Topics Over Keywords
You can get a lot of gray hairs obsessing over keywords. It’s true, ranking for relevant keywords is an important aspect of content marketing. However, you can get too hung up on keywords, and your content will suffer because of it.
Focusing on topics is often a lot easier than trying to cram every possible keyword into your content strategy. Look for keyword overlap and pair it with search intent. The quality of your content will improve as you tighten your focus, which will lead to more organic growth.
Of course, you can’t just kick keyword ranking to the curb. Google feasts on keywords, and you’ll need them in order to rank well. Just don’t get so lost in keyword research that you forget why you’re developing content in the first place. (Hint: It’s to meet the needs and attract the attention of your target audience.)
If SEO and content strategy were easy to do, everyone would excel at them. The truth is, it takes a lot of effort to develop a content alignment strategy that works for your brand. Start making adjustments to increase your focus and let content carry your business to greater profits, brand recognition and stability.