TL;DR: Making it easy for your audience to find the great content that lives on your website (in blogs, pillar pages, and premium content) is the simple way to attract new customers. Doing so with intentional data analysis (when you have the data effortlessly on hand) makes it a scaling inbound marketing strategy.
Inbound content marketing goal: to help current and potential customers diagnose their challenges and consider their options for solutions with specific and helpful content so they have a stellar experience with your brand at all times in their buyer's journey.
A key part of achieving this goal is creating content that attracts your target audience to your brand.
When you’re passionate about your product or service, content ideas come naturally. But just having an idea doesn’t mean that the customers will just start flocking.
To attract new customers in this model you will need excellent content that is packaged correctly to attract the attention of strangers and engage them in a meaningful way so you can continue the relationship. That’s it. That’s the equation. (Don't worry, we'll break that down into more manageable chunks.)
But disorganization and lack of information can get in the way of providing an intentional, connected content experience that scales.
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That's why the tools you use to strategize, manage, and track your content is important too.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of HubSpot, particularly its Marketing Hub.
When one content management system guides your ads, email, landing pages, social, website, campaigns, files, and lead capture, the picture starts to focus more.
But it’s not just that we use HubSpot Marketing Hub, but how we use it that helps us (and can help you!) attract new customers.
Write Irresistible Blogs With An Inbound Marketing Approach
What better way to provide helpful content than with blogs? There isn't a better way to attract your audience than with blogs because...
Your audience is using a search engine to search for the answer to their problems. Blogs are the best possible answer to that search query because of the many opportunities to catch a stranger's eye on the search engine results page (SERP): a powerful headline, a succinct & relevant meta description, and perhaps a featured snippet that directly answers their question on the search engine results page!
Once a stranger is intrigued enough to click on the blog from the SERP, your options for tailoring the page to your ideal customer profile are almost endless: short copy, long copy, copy with videos, copy with graphics or images etc.
With a blog, you are not beholden to an external platform's rules and regulations (such as social media) because your website is your real estate - your home turf.
1. Write New Blogs with an SEO Foundation
The most fundamental blogging method is generating new blog posts. Before you start posting up a storm, there are a few steps you need to take before creating original blog content.
- Understand your buyer persona and the awareness stage.
- Analyze your competition.
- Put your own twist on the content.
- Make sure your content is easy-to-read.
- Keep them on your website by leading them to another piece of content.
A HubSpot tool we love to help us prioritize which topics to cover for the upcoming quarter is the SEO - Topics tool.
This handy dashboard allows you to see what keywords and topics search engines are connecting with your website. You can then see the sessions generated by those keywords, bounce rate, monthly search volume, and what pieces of content relate back to that keyword.
Use this tool to:
- Audit your company’s product/service with search engine perception.
- Do they line up?
- Choose where to focus upcoming campaigns.
- Double down on a successful topic or try something new!
- Improve your tagging system.
- Are topics correctly grouped together?
2. Optimize Existing Blog Posts with the Right Analytics
Not every blog post will be an all-star right away, unfortunately. Repurposing blog posts is a good method for giving some of those great pieces of content a makeover, so they actually receive views.
But repurposing content isn’t as simple as copying, pasting, and updating the date.
Here are a few tricks for optimizing older blog posts correctly, so they actually convert.
See Where People Leave, So You Can Keep Them
Two key metrics for analyzing a blog are bounce rate and time per page view.
- Bounce rate is the percentage of people who look at your website and leave.
- Time per page view is the amount of time people spent on your page divided by the total number of views.
Using these two metrics and a heat map tool, such as Lucky Orange, can help you understand where on the page people are leaving, so you can fix the problem in the optimization.
To decrease the bounce rate, consider where you put pop-ups and CTAs to lead viewers to the next piece of content on your page. Using the heat map tool, consider putting in a pop-up form in the average area where people lose interest.
To increase time per page view, consider reducing the cognitive load of the viewer by:
- Making an immediate emotional connection with the viewer and their problems and goals
- Simplifying the topic as much as possible
- Adding in videos or audio to provide alternative ways to digest the information
Make a Topic Cluster
Topic clusters are exactly what they seem like: a subgroup of topics centered around an overarching topic.
These are great for repurposing content because some content deserves individual blog posts and can get more attention that way. When analyzing your older blog posts, consider ways you can optimize and branch out from those posts with subtopics.
For more help on making topic clusters, check out our guide for making strategic blog post ideas with topic clusters! It’s almost like we took a bigger topic and broke it down into smaller chunks, huh?
Look For SEO Optimizations
If a blog didn’t generate much traffic, there is an opportunity somewhere to optimize it for search engines. Ranging from keywords and links used to meta descriptions, make sure you do a thorough investigation into SEO weak points that can be given a boost.
HubSpot CMS metrics can also give you an insight into what your blog has been ranking for.
Under the Optimization tab, you can actually see what your blog has (and hasn’t) been ranking for under the “Search Queries” section.
You can use this information to restructure content, rewrite H2s and H3s, and reframe your introduction paragraphs.
Add Design Elements to Improve the User Experience
The visual experience of your blog can make or break the content’s performance.
As you are writing, consider visual elements such as charts, videos, icons, photos, maps, and quizzes to enhance the reader’s understanding of the topic and provide the information in a different sensory way.
Make sure to add alt-text, so the images and graphics can rank as well as your words. Alt-text also provides accessibility for your site, so those using a screen reader can understand the additional context your images provide to the page.
Good design impacts your SEO, so make sure you use:
- Correctly sized images
- Legible font sizes
- Compressed images
Not only will the visual elements increase the time on page, but they are another way to delight your audience and show off the creative skills of your team.
Attract Customers with Premium Content and Pillar Pages
Premium content is high-level content that can be exchanged for valuable information. Sometimes this content is free, and other times this content is gated behind subscriptions.
Each company is different and figuring out which form of premium content works best for you is important.
Remember, you must GIVE value to get value (i.e. information for your CRM).
One way to highlight content and be recognized as a trustworthy expert on a subject is to create a pillar page. Pillar pages contain extensive and rich content about particular topics.
For example, if you are a company specializing in cheese-making, creating a pillar page on all the fundamentals of making cheese could help you become a knowledgeable and reliable brand in the world of cheese-making.
Premium content pages can include worksheets, webinars, e-books and videos. It’s crucial that your landing page for your premium content offering thoroughly outlines the value of exchanging contact information for the tools you’re keeping behind the locked door.
Make It Easy for the Right Customer to Find You Through SEO
A thorough SEO strategy is a key component of inbound content marketing.
After all, stellar content will never be seen if no one can find it.
We’re already covered some on-page SEO such as titles, headings, and alt-text, but that is just the starting point.
A common misconception is that SEO is just the responsibility of the marketer or the developer. No! Both roles work together to achieve the best results possible.
You should focus on tailoring content to people you want as customers (think of your ICPs and buyer personas).
By prioritizing the right crowd, you increase your chances of gaining brand advocates, which can then lead to more leads from referrals and word-of-mouth advertisements.
Once you know who you are trying to reach, you can better interpret and strategize the objective, technical side of SEO such as mobile experience, crawling and indexing, and accessibility.
Here are a few tips for creating and utilizing an SEO strategy that’s backed by data.
1. Local SEO
If you have a physical location, the support of the local community is crucial. Enter: local SEO.
Local SEO is the process of increasing search engine results for your business in your surrounding community.
Most likely you’re already doing some of the work to build great local SEO without even realizing it like:
- Ensuring your name, address, and contact information are updated on Google and other online directories.
- Responding to reviews and inquiries on Google, Yelp, etc.
- Creating content based on local interests and events.
- Participating in community events.
There’s much more to local SEO. Find more about it here.
2. Search Engine Rankings
Search engine ranking methodology could be its own Ph.D. program given how much it’s been dissected and examined over the years.
Here are two quick wins for ranking your website that you can start today.
Meet Search Intent
There’s a common adage within the inbound content marketing community: content is king.
The most important part of content marketing is making sure your content meets search intent, which is simply what people are searching for.
If your blog post title promises to provide information on a subject, keeping that promise is vital to building a reliable and trustworthy brand.
Sure, click-baiting may net you some initial traffic, but once people catch on to what you’re doing, the gig is up.
Consider answering the basic question of your title (and the search inquiry) at the beginning of your post and then diving into the deeper nuances and context throughout the rest of the blog.
When you provide a succinct answer in your content, you increase the likelihood of that phrase or sentence becoming a snippet on Google, which is a highlighted position at the top of a search engine results page (SERP).
Meeting search intent also comes from writing a great meta description. HubSpot’s SEO tool tells us how to start:
When you plug a question into a search engine, think about what you are looking for exactly and how you format that question.
Chances are you’re not alone in what you are looking for and how you phrase it.
Supplementing that content with keywords specifically used by people when searching for information is a great way to meet search intent and rank on search engines.
Start Attracting New Customers with Inbound Marketing Today
Attracting new customers is a simple equation: great content + easy to find.
But that simple equation often gets complicated by a lack of resources and inconsistent (or nonexistent data).
That friction is why we have honed in our focus on marketing operations, so creativity isn't overwhelmed by lack of time and people, and reach isn't stifled by lack of metrics and analysis.