Content marketing is an increasingly important part of a company’s inbound marketing strategy, with companies now spending an average 30-40% of their total marketing budget on it. And for financial services it is even more important, as it can help to build trust between your customer and your brand/ product.
With such a large spend it’s important to ensure that your content is working as hard as it can. The likelihood is, the aim of your content is to improve positive brand awareness amongst existing and potential customers. To do this successfully you need to ensure your content satisfies two very different audiences:
- The end reader e.g. your prospective customers
- Google and it’s ever changing algorithms
There’s no point in creating insightful content if nobody can find it, however if you write purely for Google, you risk of providing a bad user experience by creating content that does not flow or read well.
To help you write content that works for both, we’ve put together 8 key tips that will turn ‘ok content’ into ‘great content’.
How to write great content for the end reader
1. Don’t use your content to explicitly sell your product or service
90% of the top-performing B2B content marketers put audience’s informational needs. This means that, whilst the content you are producing should relate to your industry to give you the authority to write about it, it shouldn’t explicitly promote your brand or service.
Primarily it should help your reader by answering a problem or need that they have. If relevant to the content you can incorporate your product into the story, however don’t be afraid to write a blog post with no direct links to your product or service if it doesn’t make sense.
In fact, one of the most popular pieces of content we have created for Benenden Health is Alcohol free socials. Whilst the topic has nothing to do with selling business health insurance, and doesn’t link to any of their specific products, it is about the wider topic of employee health and wellbeing.
When you put the audience needs first like this, and create your content based on theirneeds, you’re creating a bond with your customer. And it’s this bond that leads to greater trust of your brand and/ or service.
2. Check your audience wants to read about it
It’s no good creating great content if only 2 people will be searching for it. Before you start writing make sure you do some research on whether your audience will be looking for it.
Carry out keyword and google trend analysis to see what people are searching for. If you have existing content, carry out a content audit to understand what topics and themes your audience has previously engaged with. Also have a look at competitor and trade media sites to see what they are writing about and to stay on top of industry trends. Also use tools such as Hubspot’s idea generator for further inspiration.
3. Add value to the reader
Make sure the information you are providing is genuinely useful to your audience.
It’s all well and good recommending that your readers should purchase and install multi-million pound technology systems and processes, especially if you’re the ones to provide this, however chances are this would be a major business decision which they are unlikely to make do until they’ve built trust in you.
Instead think smaller. Provide hints and tips that can be used and implemented in your readers day to day jobs. This will increase engagement, help you to be seen as an expert in the area and increase positive awareness, and trust, in your brand.
4. Don’t simply duplicate content
Although it’s good to see what others are writing about to get inspiration, it’s important not to simply duplicate exactly what they are saying. You’re not going to build engagement with potential customers if they have read it already, plus google will penalise you in their rankings.
This doesn’t mean you have to think of completely unique themes. This would be near impossible to do and, if you did find something that nobody else had written about, chances are no one would be searching for it.
What this means is that you should always put your own viewpoint or slant on it. This could be using a guest blogger or even carrying out your own proprietary research in order to identify and share new insights.
How to write great content for Google
1. Don’t under- estimate the power of your headline
In online content the headline has even greater importance as it forms the H1 tag on the web page, the key piece of code google uses to analyse and rank the site.
A good online headline/ H1 tag should:
- Feature the keywords your audience will be using in their searches
- Describe the topic of your post
- Be around 20-70 characters (too long and you’ll be diluting the power of the tag)
Again, consider using Google Trend analysis, keyword analysis and tools such as Hubspot’s idea generator for inspiration on good headlines.
2. Ensure effective SEO tagging
As well as H1 tags it’s important not to forget the rest of the tagging when it comes to uploading your content to your site.
Remember H2, and H3 tags within your main copy, as image alt tags. Also use plug-ins such as Yoast to complete your meta data (titles and descriptions) as all this helps google to find and rank you effectively.
3. Feature internal and external backlinks
Backlinks help google in a number of ways – they’re how it finds new pages to analyse and rank, how it ranks reputation and credibility of your site, drives external traffic to your site.
When writing content therefore it’s important to include links to other blogs/ articles on your website. This is where Topic Cluster content strategy is good, as it helps you to organise your content around clear pillars. Don’t forget though to link out to other articles on external websites as well. Not only does this help google, it also keeps users engaged with your site, and therefore your brand, for longer.
4. Use terminology your customer is using
For content to work your customer needs to be able to find it. You therefore need to use the same terminology that they will be using in their search terms, in your H1 and H2 headings. This is especially important if you refer to a product/ service differently to how your customer refers to it.
Whilst Google understands synonyms, both literal and contextual, with very competitive terms, these will always be ranked lower than those pages using the exact term.
An obvious example of this is life insurance vs life assurance. The average consumer would not know the difference between the two terms and would simply search for life insurance; therefore your content should match this even if other literature refers to it differently.
Find out more about creating topic clusters here as well as more tips for creating great content with our post: how to create a content strategy . Also, check out our content strategy and creation case study to discover how we created great content for Benenden Health.