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5 content marketing lessons and insights from Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti

According to Buzzfeed, 2014 revenues surpassed $100 million and their post in February asking people to vote on the colour of a dress has generated over 38 million views. Buzzfeed hasn’t found success by chance. Their business model and overarching content strategy has enabled them to consistently reach and engage a wide audience with a diverse set of stories, pictures, quizzes and breaking news.

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Content marketing inspiration from Buzzfeed

It’s worth mentioning up front that as a publisher content is at the heart of everything Buzzfeed does and therefore ‘content marketing’ is unlikely to be a practice the company consciously adopts.

However, anyone planning to implement a content marketing strategy can learn from Buzzfeed’s content philosophy and framework. Therefore, as a follow-up to Alex Heaton’s excellent article from 2014, this post aims to summarise some of the main insights from Buzzfeed co-founder Jonah Peretti’s talk at Inbound 2024 in September:

1. Establish a content creation process

Buzzfeed have defined a content creation process and philosophy that allows them to consistently create content that resonates with their audience. Some of the elements of Buzzfeed’s content creation process include:

• Establish editorial integrity – does the content meet brand guidelines? Is it accurate/ factually correct?

• Select appropriate content format types – Quizzes? Lists? Video? Articles? What content format adds value and contributes to the overarching objective of the content?

• Choose channel/ platform – where will the content live? Will it be hosted on the website? Or optimised for a particular social network or channel?

• Review content promotion options – will content be promoted organically and/ or paid? What channels will be used to distribute content and build awareness?

Buzzfeed’s content creation process appears to be working, as evidenced by the steady increase in organic search visibility over the past three years:

2. Define the purpose for the media you’re using

It’s common for brands to create content without considering the objective for how it will be used and consumed by the audience for which it is intended.

Jonah Peretti encourages content creators to put real thought into how an audience will actually use the media being shared and what utility it will add to their lives.

For example, Buzzfeed noticed that people were consuming content at work and this insight led to the ‘bored at work’ network, content created specifically to help people get through the working day!

Buzzfeed are always experimenting with different content formats, such as listicles, quizzes and videos to educate, entertain and help their audience. The growing trend of media convergence (e.g. mobile/social, mobile/social + video) means that Buzzfeed look for opportunities to create content in formats that will help their audience get the most from the content they’re consuming.

3. Create content that works on the internet

This might seem quite obvious but it’s surprising how often content produced for the internet doesn’t quite work.

Buzzfeed was built for the social/ mobile world and today 70% of users access the site via mobile. This is how people consume media today so it’s no coincidence that Buzzfeed created listicles so that people could more easily browse and navigate content on their mobile devices.

Buzzfeed have also identified that emotion is a key driver of success. Content that makes people think, laugh or cry generates intimacy and connection, which in turn helps content spread as people share with a wider audience. This is the essence of ‘shareable’ content.

For example, ‘Basset hounds running’ is both ‘cute’ and ‘LOL’, and whilst friends sharing the content may not remember the specific joke at a later point in time, they do remember laughing together and feel closer as a result.

4. Embrace the distributed content model

Whilst it’s still essential that brands embarking on a content marketing strategy have an effective owned media presence, it’s not always necessary to drive all traffic from outposts through to a central content hub.

Buzzfeed have adopted a distributed content model, a system whereby content is created to live natively on various channels, platforms and apps to ensure that content goes to where the audience is rather than forcing them back to the website.

For example, the Obama video was created only for Facebook and didn’t exist anywhere else. This is an output from Buzzfeed’s experimental social content team BFF who produce a range of original content solely for platforms like Tumblr, Imgur, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and messaging apps.

5. Iterate, learn and adapt

Buzzfeed have built a process that empowers smart people with a deep connection to their audience to continually look at ways to iterate, expand and push the brand forward. The company has become increasingly cross-platform and as a result there are now new opportunities to learn about what is working on each platform and how these insights can be used to adapt and optimise content across multiple channels.

This process will help content marketers to make better stuff, make a bigger impact and serve the audience more effectively.

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7 Lessons From My Most Successful Guest Posts

Guest posting is one of the most popular content marketing tactics because, when done right, it can help you grow your online audience.

Despite its usefulness, however, many people have tried it only to get mediocre results.

I’ve done several guest posts of my own. I’ve been fortunate enough to get featured on popular sites including Kissmetrics, Unbounce, and Entrepreneur.

Aside from publishing on blogs in my niche, I also experimented with publishing on other platforms and targeting lesser known blogs.

Some guest posts sent me over a hundred subscribers in a short amount of time, while other posts resulted in hardly any traffic at all. Some guest posts sent me ongoing traffic while other guest articles sent a blip of traffic only to fizzle shortly after it was published.

In this article, I’m going to share some insights into what made some guest posts significantly more successful than others and some tips on how you can get better results from guest blogging.

1. Optimize Your Guest Post to Rank in Search Engines

When guest posting, most bloggers don’t really think about SEO too much. Guest bloggers are usually more focused on creating engaging content for the host blog’s audience or simply just getting featured.

After all, it’s someone else’s blog, so why should you care about SEO?

The obvious answer is that a blog post that is ranking in the search engines can get ongoing traffic, which means more ongoing exposure for your article and your business.

Furthermore, a well-written guest post on a popular blog can attract natural links from that blog’s readers. And once that post ranks in the search engines, it can attract even more links from people who discover the article.

Here’s an example:

My guest post on SmartBlogger is ranking for the term “expert roundup”, which is a phrase that bloggers sometimes search for. I discussed how I was able to create a roundup that got over 5,000 social shares and some of the details that other bloggers miss, which results in most roundups getting less than 100 shares.

By ensuring that the article was of higher quality than competing articles and continuing to promote it, I was able to get the article ranked on the first page of Google.

This post continued to earn backlinks after it was published and sent ongoing traffic to my site, long after it was first published. Ranking for this article would have been a lot more work if I didn’t tap into SmartBlogger’s built-in audience and authority.

2. Promote Old Guest Posts

One reason that guest blogging is so alluring is that we can tap into another blog’s already established audience. Because of the built-in exposure, most guest bloggers don’t bother to promote their guest posts too much on their own.

However, promoting a guest post that you wrote on an authority site can be a great way to make sure it keeps getting you exposure and sending you traffic.

There are several ways you can promote old guest posts, especially ones that have performed well in the past.

You can reference your old guest posts through other guest posts or articles on your own blog. Even if the links are required to be nofollowed, referencing old posts will allow more people to find out about your content which could result in more natural links.

You can also reference old guest posts if you post regularly from the same blog. In addition to helping more people discover your content, the internal links will also help with SEO.

For example, I’ve written multiple articles for Search Engine Journal. Sometimes I’ll mention one of my older SEJ articles in my newer guest posts.

Adding an image along with some descriptive text can be a good way to draw attention to the link.

See how that works?

3. Look for Blogs Outside Your Niche That Have an Audience Interested in What You Do

For guest blogging, most people want to get featured on top tier blogs in their niche. Getting featured on top tier blogs is great for a blogger’s credibility and perceived authority.

On the other hand, some of the top tier blogs that I published on hardly sent me any traffic at all.

On industry blogs, you are competing with lots of other experts that specialize in the same thing. When you target blogs outside of your niche, you can stand out as an expert because your peers aren’t guest posting there.

You may have to experiment and try guest posting to see if a blog deliver results. But don’t rule out publishing on blogs just because they aren’t the most well-known blogs in your niche.

4. Infuse Credibility Into Your Blog Articles

Another thing that you should make a conscious effort to do is infuse credibility into your guest posts. Include screenshots, data, results, and anything else that will boost your credibility in the reader’s eyes.

When writing a blog post, bloggers sometimes get so focused on the content that they forget to insert credibility boosters.

The first time I wrote about how to do an expert roundup that goes viral was on Moz. My post was the most shared post of the week for the phrase “blog promotion”, so in this guest post, I included a screenshot of my post on BuzzSumo.

Including the screenshot of my results gives me more credibility than other bloggers who are simply writing “expert roundup” guides.

Most bloggers will insert credibility boosters into some of their articles, but remember to look for opportunities to add credibility statements into all of your articles.

Can you find my credibility boosters in this article?

5. Look for Blogs That Promote Past Guest Posts

If you want your guest post to have long term value, then find host blogs that promote older articles.

Here are a couple of things I like to look for:

Internal links to old articles: Internal links help with SEO and also drive new visitors to explore old content. Search Engine Journal, Blogging Wizard, and Advanced Web Ranking are a few sites that include internal links in their articles.

Social media: Some blogs will schedule social shares of old articles. Check their Twitter feeds and other social media channels to see if they are sharing old content.

If you are publishing on a blog that promotes past guest posts, you should also pick a topic that other writers will want to reference frequently.

For example, Brian Dean wrote this guide about how to do email outreach on SmartBlogger. Since email outreach is a popular blog promotion technique, that article got referenced a few times by other articles on SmartBlogger.

6. Plan to Commit to Guest Posting for the Long Term

Guest posting is a long-term strategy, so be sure to guest post consistently and approach it with a long-term mindset. Guest posting for the same blog multiple times allows you to gain repeated exposure to that blog’s audience.

It takes an average of 5-7 impressions before someone remembers your brand, so you will want to guest post multiple times for the best results.

Leo Widrich wrote 150 guest posts to kick start Buffer’s growth and get his first 100,000 customers. However, these results came from 9 months of intense writing.

Guest blogging also might not necessarily send tons of traffic, but sometimes it’s more important to get the right kind of traffic – the kind that converts well.

7. Repurpose Winning Content Onto Other Blogs

One important variable that can really boost your guest blogging effectiveness is creating content that stands out from the competition. However, even top influencers struggle to create content that stands out on a regular basis.

So if you do create a guest post that does really well, then consider repurposing it on other blogs.

I used this strategy a few times to leverage my ideas and scale my blog’s growth. One great example was my LinkedIn publishing study, which accumulated more than 4,000 social shares and became one of the most shared articles on my blog.

LinkedIn had just opened up its Pulse platform to the public, but it was still in closed beta (meaning you had to apply and be accepted to contribute).

Seeing how popular my article was, I also published a similar article on Mirasee’s blog, which resulted in a quick gain of more than 100 subscribers.

I also wrote about my experience with LinkedIn publishing on Matthew Woodward’s blog. Some other people saw my post here and asked me to guest post on their sites, including Ahrefs and WordStream.

You don’t have to cover the exact same ideas in every guest post. I added additional insights that I discovered along the way to make each guest post unique.

Summary

Guest posting is one of the best strategies to improve your SEO results, get you in front of your target audience, and become a thought leader in your niche. For the best results:

Promote your old guest posts.

Experiment with writing for different blogs.

Be consistent and committed to guest posting for the long term.

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One Class, One Day: Lessons From The Wire

One Class, One Day: Lessons from The Wire Students mine series for insights into cities’ social construction

Don Gillis (left) with Jamie Hector, who played Marlo Stanfield, and Gbenga Akinnagbe, who played Chris Partlow, on The Wire. Photos courtesy of Don Gillis and by Cydney Scott

Class by class, lecture by lecture, question asked by question answered, an education is built. This is one of a series of visits to one class, on one day, in search of those building blocks at BU.

As an African American from San Antonio, Tex., aspiring urban planner Lauren Williams didn’t realize how little she knew about low-income city life and the racial issues that often infuse it. Until she took a seat this semester in Don Gillis’ new course, The City in the Media: The Sociology of HBO’s The Wire.

“I believed that I was well versed in the black-white urban culture,” says Williams (MET’11). “But The Wire and Michael Patrick MacDonald’s book All Souls exposed me to a level of ‘urban’ that I never knew existed.”

Over the course of the semester, Williams and fellow students watched all 60 hourlong episodes of the critically acclaimed urban drama. They also read, among other texts, MacDonald’s 2000 memoir of growing up in a poor Irish family in the South Boston projects in the 1970s. The thinking behind the class, says Gillis (GRS’13), an adjunct faculty member in City Planning and Urban Affairs program at Metropolitan College, was to pierce the so-called BU bubble, where many students dwell while on campus. “BU students spend four years in Boston and many have very little understanding of the major issues,” he says.

The HBO series, set in Baltimore, ran for five seasons, from 2002 to 2008. Created by one-time Baltimore Sun crime reporter David Simon and former Baltimore homicide detective Ed Burns, The Wire probes inner city life from all sides, starting with the drug trade, moving on to unions and the working poor, city politics, public education, and the media. Infused with gritty dialogue, the show was lauded for its authenticity and nuanced exploration of social issues, including the inner workings of police and criminal gangs. Many of the characters are composites of real-life Baltimore figures, and the show’s cast members were largely unknowns, some with their own street-hardened backgrounds.

“The Wire is a perfect text, better than any scholarly journal or book,” says Gillis, who is also executive director of the Massachusetts Workforce Board Association. “The show raised issues that if you look around are issues that we’re facing today—the change in the economy, going from manufacturing to service. We have 15 million people unemployed and the only ones making money are the corporations that aren’t putting people to work.”

After The Wire went off the air, sociology and law departments at a handful of colleges and universities, such as Johns Hopkins, Middlebury, Harvard, and Duke, began offering courses on the show. The Wire has even trickled down to high school curriculums and leapt over the pond to lecture halls in England.

At one class meeting this spring, at the Fuller Building at 808 Comm Ave, Gillis guided the students through the evolution of public housing in the United States, from its post-Depression-era roots as housing for the working class to the contemporary dwelling place of “the savage urban other.” His students had just started watching season three of The Wire, which opens with the demolition of one of the public high rises controlled by Avon Barksdale’s gang, which pushes his drug dealers onto the streets and into previously untouched areas, leading to a bloody turf war.

“What it’s signaling is the change in both the physical structure and the social structure of that community,” Gillis says, walking over to the desk holding his laptop.

He puts up on the screen a slide showing the Pruitt Igoe housing development in St. Louis, Mo., a massive collection of high rises built in the 1950s. Over the years, Gillis says, Pruitt Igoe became symbolic of everything wrong with public housing—its disconnect from the surrounding community, drugs, violence. The complex was demolished 18 years after construction, the first major destruction of a public housing development. He noted that Columbia Point, one of Boston’s first housing projects, was built on the city dump at Harbor Point.

Brian Corbett (MET’11) says public housing around the country grew into vertical warehousing for the poor, with green areas paved over for ease of maintenance and little for children to do other than play with the elevators until they broke down.

“In Chicago, it seemed like the politicians wanted to keep public housing primarily in the slum areas and out of the white neighborhoods, keep them out of sight,” he says. “It doesn’t seem like there was a lot of planning of how to accommodate for children and things like that.”

Later, Gillis asks what responsibility lies with the government in responding to social needs like housing, employment, and income support.

“Those are some of the questions that I think David Simon tries to raise in the series,” he says. “He’s saying we’re a bankrupt country because we don’t really focus on these issues. We let the housing deteriorate, we let these things go on in these communities, people shooting one another. What are we really doing about this as a country?”

The next month, some of his students got the chance to hear from Simon himself. As one of the first universities to teach The Wire, Harvard Law School hosted a panel discussion featuring the series cocreator and members of the cast, as well Donnie Andrews, the real-life inspiration for renegade gangster Omar Little, played by Michael Williams. Gillis’ class was invited. Several of the show’s actors were so affected by their experience that they launched nonprofits aimed at remedying urban poverty in Baltimore and other cities.

“In my opinion the most passionate speaker was Sonja Sohn, the actress who played Baltimore police officer Kima Greggs,” says Elise Kulik (CAS’11). “While speaking about her nonprofit, a community center in East Baltimore called the Village House, she emphasized the importance of paying attention to people because ‘that which we pay attention to grows.’”

Kulik says Sohn and the show have made a deep impact on her thinking and how she wants to spend her professional and personal life.

“I have to offer my time and talent to address these issues in whatever city I live in next,” she says. “Not necessarily out of duty, but because The Wire gave faces to the crime statistics and high school dropouts, serving as a reminder that the ramifications of poverty, segregation, brokenness, racism, and poor education happen to real people—people deserving of my attention and sacrifice.”

Gillis will teach MET UA 403: Boston Urban Seminar in fall 2011, focusing on Boston’s people and neighborhoods.

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at [email protected].

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Managing Content Marketing In 2014

Recommendations on improving your content marketing capabilities

In our recent Smart Insights – Hubspot research on Managing Content Marketing, we asked five industry experts for their views on how content marketing can be successfully managed. Here they go into more detail of approaches to improve the effectiveness of content marketing.

You can learn more ideas on how to better manage content marketing in this free webinar from Dave Chaffey showing examples and 10 techniques and examples to make content marketing more effective (recording available).

The challenges of managing content marketing

The research showed that there were a common set of challenges of managing content marketing that companies need to manage.

We can see there are common challenges  of content quality, content frequency and measurement which were rated as significant challenges. Of the other challenges mentioned such as challenges, budget, making the case and skills were less significant, suggesting that many organisations have been successful in making the case for investment and identifying budget and resource.

So, what approaches are needed to overcome these challenges? Here’s what our panel of experts said.

He says that doing more of the same won’t produce better results. Instead write down what you want consumers of your content to do. Then, and only then, list the content ideas and content pieces that will help you achieve your goal. This small, yet vital modification: turning your content marketing process on its head, will vastly improve your inbound marketing performance.

According to the research, ‘Developing a content strategy is top of the list for 2014’.  (56% of European marketers don’t have any kind of defined strategy in place, and 26% of European marketers rated strategy as their top priority for content marketing in 2014.’

Daniel Rowles from Target Internet recommends focusing on the challenge of managing the quality of the content, saying that ‘it’s clear that organisations not only need to look at producing more content to improve their inbound marketing, but they also need to look at producing better quality content and managing it more effectively.’ 

Daniel adds that, as more and more organisations adopt a content marketing strategy, the volumes of free content available will continue to increase and standing out from the crowd will become increasingly challenging.

How can Google help?

Daniel explains that Google has also made clear changes to their algorithm (see his briefing on the latest algorithm changes) that try and differentiate high quality content from that which offers little original value to the web audience. The need for high quality content that is effectively distributed, managed and tracked is essential.

‘The words on the page that help Google identify the relevance of our sites, but also the links and social signals that are needed to demonstrate value and trust. If we create great content people will link to it and talk about it, and that’s exactly what we need to differentiate ourselves and achieve great search results’, according to Daniel.

‘Content marketing can work at a number of different stages of the sales funnel, but one of its most important abilities is to help achieve high search rankings. Content marketing ticks the boxes that Google is most interested in when deciding where to rank content’, according to Daniel.

Lee Odden, CEO of Toprank Online Marketing, supports Daniel’s views, stating that ‘Marketers are struggling with content adoption within their company.’

The report highlight that 71% of European company adoption of content marketing has been inconsistent or worse.  

Lee reminds us that Content Marketing is not only an SEO tactic. He describes Content Marketing as the planning, development and promotion of content for a target audience with specific outcomes in mind. Across the sales cycle, content marketing provides information and engagement to fulfill buyer expectations as they move from awareness to purchase.

Where should companies be focussing to drive a successful content marketing program?

In order for companies to successfully adopt content creation and marketing, a clear understanding must be achieved in terms of how a content marketing program can help a company achieve its goals, how a content investment will help customers move along the sales cycle and what resources, processes and tactics will be necessary to make it all happen.

Survey findings The majority of marketers are only spending a small portion of their budget on content marketing. 49% of marketers in Europe spend between 0-20% of their marketing budget on content marketing.

Where should a company start with planning their content marketing strategy?

Creating and implementing a content strategy is pivotal to seeing success with content marketing. 58% found their content to be much more effective with a content strategy in place. 

A content marketing strategy draws from both brand goals and the unique information demands of specific customer segments. The approach of answering questions through content and becoming ‘the best answer’ wherever prospects may be looking is the strategy that wins.

49% of marketers in Europe spend between 0-20% of their marketing budget on content marketing. Creating and implementing a content strategy is pivotal to seeing success with content marketing. 58% found their content to be much more effective with a content strategy in place.

Where do companies go wrong with their content marketing?’

A clear, focussed and measured strategy is pivotal to delivering return on investment from successful content marketing. Brands that believe they can just ‘bolt on’ content marketing to their existing activities as another tactic are missing the point that it can deliver engaged, enthused and qualified customers in ways that outbound techniques cannot’, according to Geraint.

Annmarie Hanlon, Digital Marketing Strategist, Author and Trainer at Evonomie explains too that the ‘greatest challenge for content marketing is often in the Boardroom. We’ve seen cases of senior teams to consider content marketing as ‘giving away the crown jewels’. There is a belief that if, say as a firm of solicitors, they explain they key elements to be addressed in a will or testament, the client will opt for a do-it-yourself approach. ‘They won’t need our services as we’ve explained what to do.’ The fear of sharing too much knowledge is a threat to content creation.

How to resource a content marketing strategy – in-house or using an external Consultant or Agency?

Annmarie finds that developing content in-house is often preferred amongst companies she works with. An educational provider told her:

‘Our in-house teams understand our language. If we outsource, we have to spend so long editing the material, that we may as well do it in-house. They don’t understand our full course range, which again, we need to take time to go through the details, so it’s easier to develop our content in-house’.

To blend in-house and outsourced resources, create a detailed style guide. This could be needed for new internal staff. Engage outsourced content writers to create content needed for the medium-term (that’s probably only 4 to 8 months!) as this gives you the opportunity to work with the outsourced team to get it right.

What Is The Content Marketing Funnel?

You’ve identified your target prospective customers, are consistent with your content creation, and leverage different content types to promote your product or service. Your content strategy seems solid enough then, right?

The truth is, your content marketing efforts can, and should, always be evolving.

Just as marketing strategy best practices shift and adapt to current consumer behavior trends, so too should content marketing.

Your sales team has likely already mapped out a sales funnel to better understand what your target audience is thinking and doing at each stage of the purchasing journey.

You, too, can create a content marketing funnel to guide your ideal customers from the awareness stage to the conversion stage where they become actual customers.

In this post, we’ll explore what exactly a content marketing funnel is, how to create a successful content marketing funnel that converts, and the types of content pieces to include in each stage of the funnel.

What Is A Content Marketing Funnel?

A content marketing funnel enables content marketers to visualize how to leverage existing content to attract potential customers and guide them through their journey until they reach the end goal.

This end goal may include a sale, a demo, a download, or another type of conversion.

A marketing funnel can provide brands with greater visibility into where they may have content gaps along the customer journey.

For example, if a brand has a considerable amount of content aimed at buyers in the awareness stage but not enough content in the decision stage, they may want to shift their efforts to creating more bottom-funnel content.

How To Start Mapping Your Content Funnel

When reviewing each piece of content, you’ll then want to assign what stage of the buyer journey the content aligns with. These stages will include:

Top of the funnel (TOFU): Awareness stage. In this stage, potential customers are searching for information.

Middle of the funnel (MOFU): Interest and consideration stage. In these stages, potential customers are looking at your products or services and reading customer reviews. They may also present this information to key stakeholders.

Bottom of the funnel (BOFU): Intent, evaluation, and conversion stage. Buyers are ready to move forward with their purchasing decision.

As you can see by examining each stage individually, your target audience needs diverse pieces of content depending on where they are at.

Your funnel content can’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, or you won’t effectively reach potential buyers. Relevant content must be presented at each funnel stage.

Let’s explore the most effective types of content for each funnel stage.

Top Funnel Content

The top of the funnel is where customers are gathering information to help guide them through the buyer journey.

At this stage, a customer is likely just getting familiar with your business and what you have to offer.

Here, you want to build a positive customer experience to show the buyer you’re worth engaging with further.

A study conducted by Semrush found the following types of TOFU content work best when attracting traffic.

“How-to” guide (72%).

Landing page (35%).

Infographic (28%).

Checklist (27%).

Ebook/white paper (26%).

Video tutorial (23%).

As you can see, most of these types of content are educational materials designed to provide more information in the awareness phase.

The primary goal of your content in this stage is to offer help, and it shouldn’t be too sales-oriented.

Middle Funnel Content

Once your ideal customers reach the middle of the funnel, they’re no longer looking for surface-level, introductory content.

You’ll instead want to look towards creating content that nurtures prospective customers further down the funnel. They might be looking for customer stories, product reviews, or a how-to video.

Looking at the results from the same Semrush study, the following types of MOFU content work best when attracting traffic.

“How-to” guide (44%).

Product overview (40%).

Case study (34%).

Landing page (31%).

Webinar (31%).

Success story (30%)

Consider these potential customers were likely already introduced to your brand during the discovery stage, and therefore should not be presented with discovery stage content. An effective content strategy entails personalizing content for your audience.

In fact, research shows 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions – and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.

If you’re not tailoring your content plan and content marketing formats to customers at every stage, you risk creating a poor customer experience with your business.

Bottom Funnel Content

Once a potential customer has reached the bottom of the funnel, they’re seeking content that helps them finalize their purchase decision.

They’re looking to learn how your product or service will make their return on investment worthwhile and why you’re the better option than your competitor.

Because these customers are well beyond the awareness stage and looking to potentially convert, the type of content you present to them is crucial to building trust and, ultimately, completing the purchase.

The content you present during the consideration phase can make the difference between a conversion and a lost sale. The top-performing content types in the BOFU stage include:

Product overview.

Customer review.

Success story.

Consider sharing success stories of current customers that are similar to your prospect at this stage of the funnel.

Other examples of content to include at this stage are email campaigns featuring positive customer testimonials and product collateral. Include special offers, free trials, or live demos, too.

What To Do Once You’ve Assessed Your Content

Once you have a comprehensive view of the content that already exists for every stage of the journey, it’s time to identify where you have gaps.

You’ll also want to determine the types of content assets you need to create. For example, maybe you’ve identified you don’t have any how-to content for buyers in the awareness phase. Or, perhaps, you don’t have enough customer success stories.

After you’ve identified content gaps, it’s time to put together an editorial calendar to prioritize what you need to tackle first and when.

Your editorial calendar should be monitored daily to keep track of what you have in the queue, what’s coming up, the intended content audience for the piece, and where the piece falls in the content marketing funnel.

It may also be worthwhile to conduct a competitive analysis of your competitor’s content marketing strategy to identify opportunities for new additional content pieces and how you can make your content better.

You want both relevant and helpful content to meet Google’s Helpful Content System’s standards and create an optimal user experience.

Conclusion

Having a comprehensive and cohesive content strategy is critical for creating a rewarding buying experience. Keep your audience in mind with each piece of content you create.

You’ll also want to have a thorough understanding of your target customer, how they think, what they are looking for, and how you can solve their problem.

An effective content marketing funnel takes time, testing, and patience to perfect, but it’s absolutely necessary to outshine your competitors and come out on top.

More resources: 

Featured Image: Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Shutterstock

How To Remove Content From Google

Sharing content early or deleted pages still indexing can affect your site rankings. Here’s how to remove your content from Google

Having written a lot of blogs around how to get your website rank higher on Google, we’re not surprised when we are asked this question:

“How can I remove my site, or a part of it, from Google?”

If you’re scratching your head trying to get yourself to rank higher, this question might puzzle you. Although, your being here implies you’re actually scratching your head for the opposite reason.

Download our Individual Member Resource – Successful SEO guide

Our comprehensive guide to Search Engine Optimisation best practices isn’t just for SEOs, the clear explanations mean that it can be used by marketers to ask the right questions to boost their SEO.

Access the Successful SEO guide

For the uninitiated, there are a number of reasons why you might want to delist your content from Google, including:

Some information has leaked to the search engine too soon, like details about a new service or products that are yet to be launched.

The page is actually deleted, but its information is still available, for example mistakenly published information.

The website’s information is updated, but the search engine still displays the old version.

Now, let’s get to the question at hand.

How to remove information from Google?

If you control the website that contains the information you wish to delete, make sure you have access to your Webmasters Tools account. If you’ve got that, you can simply delete the unwanted page.

This process works precisely like getting your website listed on Google – by using the Webmasters tools. All in all, there are broadly two preconditions for removing any content from Google:

The page that Google indexed is deleted or its address has been changed.

The website on which the page is located has been verified with the Webmasters tool.

Removing your brand new website from Google

Building fresh web content takes a considerable amount of time and effort. You need to be entirely sure that it remains off the radar of search engines – at least till the time you’re ready to get it live. But with just a minor misstep, the half baked info of your website can leak to Google, resulting in your unfinished website getting indexed and ending up under the scrutiny of the public.

Such a “leak” can appear if you share the link to your unfinished website on Facebook, whether in chats or groups. The links might also end up getting indexed if you share it via email or Skype. Basically, if the link travels to any platform monitored by Google, your website might end up under Google’s eyes.

However, before you request the removal of your website from Google Webmaster Tools, you should ensure that the problematic page has been renamed or removed. Even when you rename it, make doubly sure that it doesn’t get scrutinized by Google too soon.

In the next screen, select ‘Create a new removal request’ and simply enter the exact URL of the page you wish to delete.

After this, Google will ask you to choose your reason for removal. Don’t forget to check ‘Remove page from search results and cache’.

Once you’ve performed the above-discussed steps, it might take up to a couple of days for your request to be fulfilled by Google. You can check the status of your request from the same dashboard where you made the request.

The same method can also be used to remove an outdated page, i.e. a page that contains outdated information about your products. 

Leaked information while updating your site

Unintended premature information might also slip into Google’s purview if you’re updating just some parts of your website. Ensure your site is ready and is already indexed by Google, and you’re willing to launch a new section.

It’s a good idea to hide the new section from the menus, but this doesn’t cover it all. Once you add a single link to the newer section in any part of the website that’s indexed by Google, the new page will automatically be crawled and indexed, albeit prematurely.

Again, you need to ensure that your content isn’t available in the public domain. In addition to just renaming the page, you can take one additional step – removing premature content from your page, publishing it and then re-entering the information.

You should follow the steps explained in the previous section, too. Find the troublesome page, get its URL, and request the removal using Webmasters Tools. 

Cached content and search engines

What we have discussed so far is Google showing unwanted results that you want to be removed. But what if the search results were correct but the cached pages still provide outdated data?

In this case, you should ensure that your updated website is indexed.

How do I cancel the request for removal?

Once Google confirms your removal request, the site or page won’t appear in search results for at least one and a half months. However, if the same page is still accessible even after those 90 days, Google might index it again.

But, if you want the page to show up before 90 days have passed (if you’ve finished adding fresh content to it, for example), you can get it listed simply by removing the removal request in the Google Webmasters Tools.

When to not use the URL removal tool

A guide on how to remove content from Google is incomplete without discussing this point. Even Google has listed some cases where they don’t recommend using the removal tool, such as:

When search displays results that link to already deleted pages. Google removes these pages automatically on regular updates.

When you want a fresh start and the domain you’re working on was previously held by another organization. For this purpose, Google recommends you submit a separate request.

Good to know

With that, we come to the end of this guide. Evidently, knowing how to remove your content from Google is as important as knowing how to get yourself to rank higher. Knowing all we discussed, you’ll find yourself in a comfortable position when dealing with unwanted content that you wish to remove.

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