Inbound marketing is all about setting you up to engage with the right people online. The way we do that is through search engines. But the rule for an effective content marketing strategy is to write for the online user first. Optimize second.
Search engines like Google are important. We want them to recognize our content so we can get ranked higher, which should translate to more quality traffic on our website where you can convert them into qualified leads.
But it does no one any good if a user lands on your website who wasn’t asking for your services. Google didn’t do it’s job and you still aren’t getting business.
Google is getting smarter. It’s starting to think more like a person. It rewards websites that write for people.
Don’t ignore optimization. Research keywords, ensure each blog has a meta description, make sure your page title is a good summary of what's on the page and include keywords, etc. Keep these things in mind, but ultimately, write for the person.
Who are the people I’m writing for?
Ok, you get it. Write for people, but which people?
Your buyer persona is your ideal customer(s).
Identify your buyer persona. Who do you want to do business with? Or who do you already do business with? Who is likely to buy your product or services? Let’s speak to them.
Speak to them on your website, on social media, in presentations, etc.
How do I write for my buyer persona?
Find out what they like, how they speak, what makes them laugh and what makes them cry.
Become their friend. Writing for your buyer persona is like writing a letter to your friend. You have inside jokes and similar interests.
Write about your product or service, special promotions, daily business news, funny thoughts, inspirational quotes. Do all of these things keeping in mind your best friend — your buyer persona, your ideal customer, your buyer.
Ultimately, you’re here to serve them. The best way to do that is to get to know them.
Tip: Focus on one topic per blog post. Answer a question your buyer persona might have.
How do I optimize my content for search engines?
Finally, optimize for search engines. Do this last.
- Titles: Write intriguing headlines and titles. Larger and bold text tells Google this text is important and what you’re writing about. Make sure it’s telling Google the right thing about your website page, social media post, or blog post.
Tip: Keep your blog post titles under 55 characters. Page titles should be no more than 70 characters.
- Keywords: Go back over you writing and insert likely keywords that a person (most likely your buyer persona) would search.
Tip: Use words like "search engine optimization" or "SEO" and phrases such as "what is optimization" or "how do I optimize my content." Pick one of these long-tailed keyword per blog based on the topic.
- Format: Use subheadings, numbers, and bolding. This not only tells Google “this text is important,” but it separates the writing for a better user experience.
Tip: Did the bold subheadings in this blog help you? A reader can read the entire blog or skim the bold subheads to see what they want to read. It’s convenient and it helps the person and search engines. Win, win!
- Images: People are visual. Images help readers process information. Add alt text to your images to tell search engines what the image is of.
Tip: Search engines can't "crawl" images, so without alt text, they don't know what the image is. By adding alt text, you tell search engines that there is a related image.
- Meta description: Add a meta description to your blogs and website pages. This is the paragraph of text you see under search results, and it tells search engines and users what the page is about.
Tip: Keep your meta description to 72 characters. Be brief and to the point.
Once you've determined your buyer persona, you've completed step 1 of 10 on this inbound marketing checklist: