Tag Archives: Content Marketing

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Written by Caroline Cox on Dec 17

Digital marketing can get you in front of potential customers, while the right strategy can get them to convert.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How search results affect customer acquisition
  • The organic efforts that can help acquire new leads
  • Effective paid marketing strategies for your business
  • How to ensure your site is set up for optimal acquisition

Marketing pros who aren’t new to the game likely know all about the customer journey. It’s comprised of the stages we base our content, campaigns, and gameplans on: awareness, consideration, and decision. (With delight as the bonus step.) And the customer journey is a crucial element when it comes to acquisition.

Customer acquisition is the process of going from a generated lead to a converted customer — it’s basically the whole funnel (or journey) combined. At the end of the day, marketing is about attracting new customers, and keeping customer acquisition top of mind is how marketers can make that happen.

While there’s no one way to pinpoint and acquire qualified leads that are sure to become customers, there are a handful of digital marketing strategies you can implement with customer acquisition in mind. Here, we’ve mapped out six of our favorites.

HawkSEM: 6 Ways to Leverage Digital Marketing for Customer Acquisition

Companies that use paid search for successful customer acquisition know it’s not only about the ad. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Paid search

Also known as pay per click (PPC), paid search is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies when it comes to customer acquisition. That’s because it allows companies to target their specific audience with the right keywords at the right time.

Paid search ads appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) on sites like Google and Bing. If someone’s searching for “women’s black cycling shoes,” for example, and you’re an e-commerce brand selling cycling products (including women’s black cycling shoes), you want your targeted ad to be the one they see. The same goes for brands selling services and other products.

The companies that use paid search for successful customer acquisition know it’s not only about the ad, though. Rather, it’s crucial to pair eye-catching, appealing ad copy with an optimized landing page that boasts consistent verbiage, clean design, and a clear call to action (CTA).

2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

Along with a paid search strategy, having a solid SEO strategy helps your website be more easily recognized by search engines. This helps improve your rankings and, ideally, grow your reach for better customer acquisition.

Proper SEO on your site means having elements including:

  • Unique title tags on your pages
  • High-quality content marketing
  • Internal links and external links (to authoritative sites)
  • A site map
  • Meta descriptions
  • Images with alt tags

Ensuring your site is optimized for search engines won’t automatically get you in the first position (or even the first page) on the SERPs. The search algorithm that determines the best content for each search query is constantly changing, and the details about how search engines determine the best content to show searchers isn’t always clear.

However, by keeping your site up to date, easy to navigate, and educational for prospects and clients, you can position your brand as a thought leader and your site as a valuable resource of information.

3. Social media

When it comes to social media, you’ve got the option to leverage both organic and paid avenues. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that each path can be leveraged in the same way or achieve the same results.

Let’s start with organic social media. The practice of regularly creating social media posts can spread the word about new business offerings or updates, increase your exposure, and even help you go viral (in the good way, ideally).

While organic social posts likely won’t directly result in customer acquisition, they can aid in brand awareness, content sharing, and allow you to highlight the fun side of your brand.

Paid social, on the other hand, can be a powerful tool if wielded properly. When choosing which platforms to advertise on, you should first consider your target audience and the platforms they use most.

From there, you should take advantage of the audience targeting tools most of these platforms have in place, so you can get your content delivered straight to those who need to see it most. Paid social is a great way to meet people where they are in a way that’s nearly seamless.

HawkSEM: 6 Ways to Leverage Digital Marketing for Customer Acquisition

When done right, remarketing is one of the best ways to get past visitors back to your site. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Remarketing

As we’ve touched on before, remarketing can benefit your business in numerous ways. Not only does it keep you top of mind when someone visits your site without making a purchase or requesting a consultation or demo, but it allows you to hyper-focus your ads and ups your chances of turning a lead into a conversion.

Remarketing (also called retargeting) works by leveraging display ads to connect your business with people who have already visited your site or mobile app. The most successful remarketing campaigns aren’t one size fits all, of course — a brand-new site visitor shouldn’t be remarketed the same way as a returning visitor. When done right, it’s one of the best ways to get past visitors back to your site. Bonus: it’s one of the most cost-effective ad strategies around.

5. Content marketing

When people hear “content marketing,” they may automatically think of blogs. And while blogging is a great medium for businesses when it comes to customer acquisition, it can encompass much more. Content can be:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Guides and e-books
  • Infographics
  • Checklists
  • Downloadable templates
  • Product descriptions
  • Case studies

No matter the content you create, you want to make sure it’s accurate, helpful, and targeted. The more content you create, the more industry topics you can cover, and the more likely you are to be found on SERPs by those in search of what you have to offer.

You can even take things a step further by partnering with another brand on a piece of content, such as an infographic, webinar, or guest blog. This expands your reach, helps you build a professional network, and boosts your credibility as a reliable source.

6. Email newsletters

As Digital Marketing Institute reports, you’re six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than from a tweet. Newsletters can be a powerful acquisition channel if you follow a few key strategies. The most successful newsletters:

  • Include only one main CTA
  • Offer a tactical takeaway (like a pro tip, discount, or statistic)
  • Feature an attention-grabbing subject line
  • Have an easy-to-read template
  • Are optimized for mobile

When you’re looking to build your non-client subscriber list, get creative! You can add exit-intent pop-ups to your site, or include a subscription box in your site’s footer. Offline, you can give people the option to sign up if your brand is posted up in a booth at an industry conference or networking event — a particularly effective strategy if you’re doing a giveaway or contest.

Pro tip: Let your readers help you spread the word! Include social share links as well as forwarding options in your email newsletter to make sharing a breeze.

HawkSEM: 6 Ways to Leverage Digital Marketing for Customer Acquisition

You’re six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than from a tweet. (Image via Unsplash)

The takeaway

Customers are the bread and butter of any business, and digital marketing is one of the most direct ways to connect with your desired prospects.

By knowing your audience, meeting them where they are, and analyzing the data behind your campaigns, you’ll have the tools you need to not only attract more customers, but keep them loyal and happy as well.

We know a thing or two about successful digital marketing here at HawkSEM. Wondering how we can take your ROI to the next level? Let’s talk.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her nearly 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Dec 13

Having quality e-commerce content on your website is one of the most effective ways to improve your SEO rankings.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How content benefits e-commerce brands
  • How to determine your content topics
  • Why visuals are the key to quality content
  • How to define your brand’s content voice

Quality content and SEO go hand in hand — and that includes e-commerce sites. If you don’t think your website needs content, you may be opening your brand up to being lapped by the competition.

Whether you write it yourself, leverage a team member, or outsource to an agency, these are the elements you need for e-commerce content that’ll make your brand an industry thought leader.

How to Create Quality E-Commerce Content

The most effective content speaks to your audience in their language and with terms they know well. (Image via Unsplash)

Define your voice

Hopefully, you already know exactly who your audience is — from where they shop to how they search. Your voice should reflect your audience while being true to your brand’s mission and values.

The most effective content speaks to the audience in their language and with terms they know well. If your target audience is millennials or Gen Z, for example, you’ll likely have different verbiage and communication styles than you would if your target audience was affluent couples over 50.

Once you define your voice, consider codifying it via a brand-specific content and style guide so that everyone on your team is on the same page. This can also be referenced by the person writing social media posts, since brand voice should be consistent across those platforms as well.

Pinpoint where your content lives

Content can be many things: from videos, blog posts, and your “About Us” section to landing pages, social media, product descriptions, and more.

Not all of these content types will make sense for all e-commerce companies. But if you think a content strategy has no place in your business plan, think again!

Look at all of the content your brand produces and ask yourself things like:

  • Is your tone consistent across your various content spaces?
  • Is the audience you’re speaking to consistent across your various content spaces? (This excludes landing pages that may target different audience subsets)
  • Does the verbiage across these content spaces accurately reflect your brand?

Leveraging these content areas can be highly beneficial, not only by making your brand stand out, but by showing your target audience that you’ve taken the time to craft clever, eye-catching copy that speaks to them on their level.

E-commerce brands can leverage content in a number of ways. If a photo you post on one of your social media accounts does well, you can consider adding that photo to a blog or other page of your site.

The same goes for professional product photoshoots you do for products — consider using those images on social media in collages, carousels, or even Shopping ads if they resonate well.

Highlight what makes your brand unique

It’s simply a fact that no two brands are exactly alike. Because of this, content is a great way to showcase what makes yours unique. Write about your company’s mission, journey, and origin story.

Do you source your materials sustainably? Did your grandmother ignite your love of fashion design? Are your products cruelty-free?

These days, an increasing number of consumers want to buy from brands that are trustworthy and sustainability-minded — content can remind them that there are people behind your business.

HawkSEM: How to Create Quality E-Commerce Content

No matter the type, the most effective content has great storytelling at its core. (Image via Unsplash)

Use e-commerce content to educate and problem-solve

Content marketing shouldn’t be about trying to game the search engine system. Rather, the primary role of your e-commerce content should be to educate your consumers and help them solve problems.

This can have many different interpretations, depending on your industry. If you sell camping equipment, you could highlight how certain products could be best used in warm and cold climates. If you offer career coaching, you could post a blog article highlighting all the different professional stages where talking to a career coach could be beneficial (and how).

Focus on storytelling

“How tos” are widely understood as one of the most effective types of content you can publish. And while this may be true in the B2B space, B2C can be a bit more tricky. But no matter the type, the most effective content has great storytelling at its core.

According to Social Media Today, “Storytelling is one of the best, most effective ways in which [e-commerce] businesses can connect with prospective buyers, and also generate traffic and social shares.”

Think about the marketing campaigns or pieces that stick with you. Most likely, there’s an emotional element to the story the brand is telling, which helps make it more memorable to the reader.

Great storytelling comes from great writers — if your team doesn’t have the chops (or the time), you can consider partnering with an agency or hiring freelance writers via sites like Upwork.

As far as topics go, think about the stories you want your brand to tell. It could be anything from an inspiring customer journey to the way your business gives back.

Prioritize visuals

Visuals can take your content from good to great in a flash. Not only do images help us retain information better, but content with images often results in more engagement and shares as well.

While it’s not required, it’s also a good idea to make sure the graphics on your site are accessible to visually impaired people through descriptive text or captions.

Like your brand voice, the images on your website should be in line with your mission and audience. Add visual elements to your e-commerce content through things like:

  • Licensed or free stock photos
  • Well-designed graphics
  • Videos
  • User-generated images

Speaking of user-generated images, this can be an effective way to add a visual element to your content while highlighting your customers. See if someone’s tagged your business on social. If the image is high-quality (and in line with your brand’s aesthetic), use it!

Just be sure to ask their permission before sharing. Let the person know when the content is published so they can re-share with their networks for an extra boost of exposure.

Pro tip: When uploading any images to your site, it’s important to title the images beforehand to serve as alt text, which helps improve your SEO.

HawkSEM blog: How to Create Quality E-Commerce Content

User-generated images can be an effective way to add a visual element to your content while highlighting your customers. (Image via Unsplash)

The takeaway

For e-commerce brands looking to boost visibility and sales (and what brand isn’t?), implementing a solid content marketing strategy is the way to go.

By publishing content that’s authentic, in line with your company ethos, and speaking directly to your target audience, you can continue to see your SEO rankings improve.

Curious how we help e-commerce brands improve their SEO, SEM, and more? Let’s chat.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her nearly 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Nov 14

From paid search to content and everything in between, these are the can’t-miss marketing conferences happening around the country

Here, you’ll find:

  • 12 innovative marketing conferences to attend in 2020
  • What to expect from each event
  • The types of sessions and speakers at each conference

For those who work in the ever-changing marketing field, it can be hard enough to find time to grab lunch, let alone carve out days away from the office.

But in fact, taking the time to attend an industry conference can be greatly beneficial, both personally and for your company.

Conferences give you the opportunity to learn more about your field, stay up to date on the latest developments, meet like-minded people, and gather inspiration (and ideally a to-do list) you can bring back to your team. 

With all the marketing conferences out there, it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. Don’t worry — we’ve done the work for you. Below, we’ve highlighted 12 worthwhile marketing conferences happening around the country in 2020. 

Image via Unsplash

(Image via Unsplash)

1. Industry Preview

Find out what’s new, next, and on the horizon for 2020 in the world of marketing technology at this AdExchanger conference. Glean valuable insight from high-level leaders from companies like Google, Amazon, Wayfair, Verizon, Facebook, and more. 

Attendees can expect 50 visionary speakers and more than 30 session options in between mingling and networking with hundreds of fellow industry pros. It’s a conference that’ll ensure you start the new year off on the right foot.  

When: Jan. 28-29, 2020

Where: Grand Hyatt New York, NYC, New York

2. Search Marketing Expo

This two-day event is touted as the conference for those obsessed with SEO and SEM. With search marketing as one of the most effective digital marketing tools at our disposal these days, SMX aims to help attendees boost conversions, increase sales, grow awareness, and achieve their goals.

Sessions will cover topics from new nofollow and snippet rules to driving profitable sales with Amazon ads and how link building has evolved. Plus, for the first time, the 2020 event includes a new two-day track specifically geared toward e-commerce marketing.

When: Feb. 19-20, 2020

Where: San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, California

3. Social Media Marketing World

Get the lowdown on the latest in social media marketing at this results-driven conference. Over the course of three days, expert speakers will cover social strategy, social advertising, content marketing, video marketing, analytics, customer advocacy, and more.

With plenty of sessions, workshops, and after-hours parties to choose from, this is the go-to conference for many social media marketers, digital marketing managers, agency owners, consultants, network marketers, and corporate marketers alike. 

When: March 1-3, 2020

Where: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California

4. SearchLove

Looking for insight into SEO trends, mobile search, Google algorithm updates, and PPC for inbound marketers? Distilled’s SearchLove conference has you covered.  

Past speakers have come from the likes of Moz, Microsoft, Unbounce, and HubSpot. You can even get expert feedback on your website at one of SearchLove’s site clinics.

When: March 26-27, 2020

Where: Kona Kai Resort, San Diego, California

5. MarTech

As a marketer, you want to boost ROI — and MarTech wants to help you do just that. This three-day gathering is for all levels of ambitious marketers looking to expand their industry knowledge. 

Get tools and tips on building a digital marketing operation from the ground up, creating true multi-touch attribution, innovating within a budget, and everything in between.

When: April 15-17, 2020

Where: San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, California

6. Incite Marketing Summit

This two-day conference from Reuters Events encourages attendees to look ahead at the marketing industry’s future to better prepare for what’s to come. Their three pillars of focus are:

  • marketing with purpose
  • data and personalization
  • compelling content

Learn how you can bring all of these concepts together in your own marketing strategy while hearing from accomplished speakers representing brands like Marriott International, CareerBuilder, HP, and Forbes. Psst: Incite is offering readers $100 off the ticket price with the code 5109HAWKSEM100!

When: May 14-15, 2020

Where: San Diego Hilton Spa and Resort, San Diego, California

(Image via Unsplash)

(Image via Unsplash)

7. DigiMarCon Midwest

For those looking to leave a conference with pages (whether actual or digital) of actionable insights, look no further than DigiMarCon. With a program designed to help attendees build and develop their audience, expect to learn about growing traffic, creating brand awareness, leveraging the latest tools, and plenty more.

In addition to sessions led by acclaimed speakers, DigiMarCon offers limited-edition Master Classes. Past classes have gone in-depth on topics like AI & Programmatic Advertising, Brand Storytelling, and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). 

When: June 17-18, 2020

Where: Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois

8. MozCon

Stay ahead of the curve while learning next-level tactics on everything from ranking higher to making better data-driven decisions at this three-day search marketing extravaganza.

Hear from a variety of knowledgeable session leaders while networking with those well-versed in SEO, content marketing, paid search, social media, and agencies.

When: July 6-8, 2020
Where: Seattle, Washington

9. Inbound

HubSpot’s highly anticipated marketing event is part conference, part festival. Each year, the brand brings together a mix of industry leaders from big-name brands and celebrity entrepreneurs to share their knowledge. 

With interactive booths, live entertainment, a buzzy food truck lawn, and hundreds of sessions across multiple venue spaces, expect valuable lessons and takeaways for every type of marketer at Inbound. (See our top takeaways from the 2019 event here.)

When: Aug. 18-21, 2020

Where: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston, Massachusetts

10. Content Marketing World

Content is a key part of any good digital marketing strategy’s foundation. This four-day conference wants to arm attendees with creative ideas, organizational tools, and effective insights to take any brand’s content marketing to the next level.

Thousands of attendees from more than 500 companies are expected to attend the 2020 event, meaning nearly endless opportunities to learn, connect, and collaborate.

When: Oct. 13-16, 2020

Where: Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio

11. Onward

Big names like Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Seth Meyers, and Seth Godin have graced the stage at this Yext conference geared toward search marketing. The 2020 edition promises to be just as impressive.

This often sold-out conference highlights buzzy topics like AI, technology trends, and evolving industries, all through the lens of search marketing. Learn innovative ways to meet customers where they are, with a side of live entertainment and after-hours fun. 

When: Nov. 16-18, 2020

Where: New York Marriott Marquis, NYC, New York

12. Digital Summit

Digital Summit wants to empower attendees to go from just another fish in the sea to becoming marketing leaders. Their multi-city events offer engaging info sessions on all aspects of marketing: content, search, email, mobile, UX and design, social, and strategy.

The success of the Digital Summit series has caused the event to grow, spanning various dates and cities throughout the year. Look for this can’t-miss conference to pop up in cities including Seattle, Raleigh, Denver, Los Angeles, NYC, Atlanta, Houston, and more. 

When: Various dates

Where: Various venues

(Image via Unsplash)

(Image via Unsplash)

The takeaway

At the end of the day, marketing is about connection. When you attend marketing conferences that let you connect with ideas, strategies, and people who are passionate about the same things as you, amazing things can happen.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her nearly 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Nov 6

From ideation to optimization, these steps will help you create a solid process for high-quality content marketing

Here, you’ll find:

  • Methods for sourcing content ideas
  • How to prioritize your content calendar
  • Tips for effective content writing
  • Ways to promote your content to your audience

A site without strong content simply can’t compete with one sporting an extensive blog, an array of case studies, and other helpful written resources. Having quality content on your website is one of the most effective ways to take your SEO from “eh” to “awesome.” 

Whether you write it yourself, leverage a team member, or outsource to an agency, these are the elements you need for content that’ll make your brand an industry thought leader.

HawkSEM blog: 11 Steps to Create Quality Content

After you have your plan written down, you can update and optimize as needed. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Start with a content marketing strategy

Before you put pen to paper (or marker to whiteboard, or fingers to keys), take the time to lay out your content strategy. Ask yourself things like:

  • What are your content marketing goals?
  • Which KPIs will you measure?
  • How often will you publish?
  • What tools will you use to stay organized?
  • Which forms of content will you publish?

Once you’ve worked out the nitty-gritty details, lay them out in a content strategy doc. After you have your plan written down, you can update and optimize it on a quarterly, biannual, or annual basis as needed.

2. Flesh out your personas

When you’re building your plan for creating quality content, it helps to go back to basics. After all, the ultimate aim of content marketing is to:

  • Raise awareness about your company
  • Educate and provide value to your audience
  • Build loyalty and credibility
  • Improve your search engine results page (SERP) rankings
  • Differentiate your company as a thought leader
  • Drive sales

The most effective content marketing speaks directly to a company’s ideal client persona (ICP), in a language they understand. So, if you haven’t already, make sure you’ve fleshed out your personas

Once you can visualize who your content is speaking to, you can then begin to target their needs and wants, buyer’s journey stage, and interests in a more concrete, specific way.

While you can get as detailed as you want, thorough personas often include:

  • Name
  • Photo or graphic representing the person
  • Company type or industry
  • Job title
  • Key responsibilities
  • Pain points
  • Helpful demographic info (like age, salary, city or region, etc.)

3. Define your voice and tone

Your brand’s voice and tone are illustrated through your website, your content marketing, your ad copy, your social media, and more. These things are reflected in how you speak to your audience. Your voice and tone should make sense for your audience as well as the overall ethos of your business.

A good place to start with identifying your voice and tone is by looking at your target personas. How do they talk? How formal or casual are they? How much time do they have to consume your content? All of these elements can factor into your voice and tone. 

Next, revisit your company’s mission and values. Some businesses use bright colors, youthful acronyms (like LOL), and other nontraditional marketing elements in their branding.

Others have an audience that prefers a minimalist design, a serious demeanor, and no-nonsense verbiage. By blending together the right combination of elements, you can define your voice and tone.

Pro tip: You can codify your voice and tone by creating a content and style guide exclusive to your company’s content marketing. This can include goals, guidelines, and any mechanics you want to make clear, along with info on voice and tone.

4. Conduct keyword research

Grab your shovels — it’s time to do some digging. Identifying your best SEO keywords can help inform your content goals and the topics you cover. If you want to improve your SERP rankings, high-quality content informed by proper keyword targeting is one of the most effective SEO tools at your disposal.

Keyword research can tell you what keywords you’re currently ranking for, what keywords bring users to your site, the most popular keywords for your industry, and more. You want to pinpoint what the user would be searching for (what terms and phrases they’d often use) to find your product or service.

Conduct your research by listing out topics relevant to your business. Next, determine the keywords that would fall under those categories. You can then use an SEO tool (like Google Keyword Planner) to find out the monthly search volume. You can also go directly to the SERP to see how you stack up against your competition.

Ideally, you have a mix of long-tail keywords, which are phrases that usually have three or more words, as well as one-word keywords. Just keep in mind that one-word keywords usually aren’t high converters.

It’s not so much about search volume or length of the keyword — the goal is to rank as high as possible on the highest intent keywords. Targeting is how you find the keywords that have the highest buying intent behind them.

Pro tip: While it’s good to check out which keywords your competition is ranking highly on, don’t spend all of your time and effort trying to outrank them. There’s plenty of value in carving out your own niche as well.

HawkSEM blog: 11 Steps to Create Quality Content

Once you’ve determined your goals, done your research, and consulted your team, you should be able to prioritize your content ideas. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Gather and organize your ideas

Keyword research is a solid jumping-off point when you’re creating your quality content plan. But it shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of your ideation process. This is a great opportunity to leverage people on your team and in other departments to help decide which subjects your content should cover.

Consider hosting a brainstorm session or creating a Slack channel where content ideas can be shared and discussed. This is a great way to leverage colleagues (like the sales team) who are regularly interacting with prospects and clients and hearing about their pain points, needs, and interests. Put all of these ideas onto a cloud-based doc that can be regularly modified, added to, and updated. 

Once you’ve determined your goals, done your research, and consulted your team, you should be in a place where you can properly prioritize your content ideas. Figure out which topics you want to tackle sooner and later, then create a content marketing calendar to keep it all organized. 

While there’s no one way to create your content calendar, it’s a good idea to include elements such as:

  • content title
  • content type
  • writer
  • due date
  • publish date
  • keywords
  • funnel stage or persona

As far as formatting, you can create your own spreadsheet or opt for a pre-made template.

6. Determine your creation process

The creation process for your content will depend on things like your bandwidth, the size of your content team, and the amount of content you want to produce in a certain time, among other things. But laying out a process will make the whole endeavor seem less overwhelming and more manageable. 

A common content marketing creation process looks something like this:

  1. Determine topic
  2. Conduct research
  3. Gather information
  4. Brainstorm headlines
  5. Create outline
  6. Write draft
  7. Edit draft
  8. Finalize draft
  9. Format and upload 
  10. Publish

Again, your process doesn’t need to follow this format exactly. However, by creating a step-by-step checklist for content creation, you can break up tasks into smaller bits to easily stay on track — and on deadline.

7. Let drafts breathe

This step may not seem crucial, but trust us, it is. While it can be tempting to type up a draft, give it a quick once-over, and immediately publish, it’s often not the wisest move. 

Not letting your drafts “breathe” — aka taking a break between writing and publishing — is how errors and incomplete content get published.

Even if you just get out of your desk chair and do a lap around the office, or wait until the next morning to reread your draft, reviewing your content with fresh eyes can make a world of difference. The last thing you want is to publish or send the content to your boss and get a “???” message in response.

Pro tip: No matter how technical your industry or topic is, it’s a good rule of thumb to always write how you speak. By writing in a way that’s conversational, your content comes off more human, authentic, and trustworthy. Plus, with voice search continuing to grow in popularity, content that uses simple, concise language is that much more likely to rise through the search ranks.

8. Have someone else edit (if possible)

Speaking of having a fresh set of eyes (which sounds kind of gross, now that I think about it), those eyes are ideal for another key part of creating quality content: proofreading and editing. Editing is an important step to take to turn a piece of content from good into great.

This editor could be your boss or a colleague, and it doesn’t have to be the same person each time. If you’re on a small team or are a team of one, you can be your own editor. Just make sure you don’t edit your piece directly after finishing the draft.

It’s also a good idea to print out the piece and read it that way — the change of format often helps you spot errors you may not have seen on the screen. 

No matter who edits, make sure they know what to look for. A good editor can see both the forest and the trees. This means that they’re looking for an overall solid piece of content that’s thorough, educational, and covers the topic properly. They also should be on the lookout for grammar and spelling errors, missing words, and an inconsistent tone.

9. Think beyond blog posts

Blog articles can be a huge asset to your website for all the reasons above. But don’t think that blog content is all you need to create. Quality content also comes in the form of social media, guides, case studies, checklists, e-books, white papers, webinars, podcasts — the list goes on.

Once you’ve built a strong content foundation, you can experiment with new formats and see how your audience responds. You can also create complementary content that covers one topic in a variety of ways, with each piece linking to one another.

Pro tip: Don’t rush the headline-writing process. A good headline can be the difference between someone clicking on your link or continuing to scroll. After you’ve written a piece, try to spend at least 10 minutes brainstorming as many headline options as you can before making a final decision.

10. Don’t forget to promote

Like a tree falling in the forest, if a blog article is published and no one knows about it, does it make a sound?

To ensure your content gets the widest reach possible, you’ve got to do what you can to promote it. While you don’t want your social media to be a one-way conversation where you’re constantly shouting about your own company, you should be sharing your content regularly with your audience and followers. 

If you send out a client or prospect newsletter, this is also a great opportunity to include your own content. If you’ve published a new e-book or research findings, you can go so far as to add a banner to your website homepage directing people to the post.

HawkSEM blog: 11 Steps to Create Quality Content

Content marketing is an SEO tool that takes time to cultivate. (Image via Unsplash)

11. Monitor performance

A content strategy is never set in stone. After a few months of publishing, it’s a good time to do a performance check-in. Look into your content traffic and performance metrics, see which pieces are doing well, and see if your rankings have improved.

If you’re not seeing much change, don’t panic. Content marketing is an SEO tool that takes time to cultivate. As long as you’re producing work that’s informative, interesting, digestible, and accurate, you’re on the right track. 

Your content plan should include reminders for optimizing older content as well — ensuring all links are still active, the information is up-to-date, and any new developments are included. When you start to see patterns emerge that show what’s working and what’s not, you can optimize accordingly. 

The takeaway

Content marketing is a great avenue for showing your audience that your business knows how to leverage experts and wants to help them learn more. 

By following these 11 steps, you can build up a top-notch resource library that positions your company as a leader among your competition.

We’ve helped tons of companies big and small take their content marketing to the next level. Want to know more? Let’s chat.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her nearly 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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