10 Content Marketing Best Practices You Need To Implement Now

By Tim Brown

Here are the 10 best content marketing practices you need to incorporate into your digital strategy right now.

Content marketing has gone from a trendy buzzword to a marketing plan staple, and for good reason: it generates leads, drives engagement, moves prospects down the funnel and more. 

Employing content marketing tactics is akin to hiring a new, super smart employee that works day and night to get your products or services the attention they need and deserve.

As you market that stellar content you've created, keep these best practices in mind. 

1. “Keep It Simple, Stupid”

This is a famous saying in the marketing industry, and one that never loses its validity. Keeping your sentences short, verbiage uncomplicated and messaging straightforward will hold more influence over the consumer.

For example, immediately display product benefits. The consumer is already considering purchasing, they just need a persuasive push to make a purchase.

2. Be a Thief

“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” - Pablo Picasso

What Pablo means here is that no one should ever copy another person’s work, brush stroke for brush stroke, word for word. They should steal ideas, concepts and strategies to push the boundaries of their craft.

With E-commerce content writing, the same idea applies. In the Internet era, it’s very easy to piece together an article, grabbing ideas from here and there.

What’s more difficult (and will be a challenge for the future of the E-commerce industry) is writing unique content. Too many content marketers are focused on quantity of production.

Everyone needs to start focusing on quality of production. For the consumer’s sake, for humanity’s sake, for goodness sakes, don’t recycle unhelpful content. You’re not helping anyone. Especially yourself.

Related Article: Analyze This: The Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Analytics

3. Write for People, And Search Engines

With E-commerce copywriting, you need to have the intelligence to consider all parties reading content on your website.

Writing for you consumer should be your number one priority, but remember that search engines are often what’s going to drive that said consumer to the page in the first place. Keywords and header tags will play a huge role in achieving the attention of Google.

Don’t forget about SEO. Use some of the following tools to get your SEO strategy in line with your content:

Raven SEO
Google Analytics
Google Webmaster Tools

4. Knowing SEO Best Practices

With all content marketing, there are SEO best practices to keep in mind as you conduct your strategy.

  • Page Title

    • Page titles are the lead element of a WordPress page, and immediately inform the search engine crawler of what the page is about. They should…
      • Be no more than 65 characters
      • Not include duplicate content
      • Contain a relevant keyword
      • Be URL friendly
  • Meta Description

    • Meta descriptions are the snippets that show up in the search engine listing. They are a short description of the page and should…
      • Entice the searcher to click on the link
      • Fewer than 160 characters
      • Be unique
      • Avoid keyword stuffing (write for humans, not robots)
  • Content

    • View your pages on the front end to ensure that your content is…
      • Relevant, interesting, and readable
      • Grammar-oriented
      • More than 300 words
      • Not focused on a keyword that overlaps on another page
  • ALT Tags

    • ALT tags were invented so the blind could operate the Internet with a screen reader. They describe an image so when you hover over your mouse, the text describes the image. This offers great opportunity to insert more keywords into your content, but don’t abuse it. Your ALT tags should…
      • Be on every single image
      • Be descriptive
      • Be relevant
      • Be long-tail rather than short-tail
  • Check Internal Links

    • Internal links are your best friend when trying to gain search engine relevance. The more links pointing to and from your web pages shows that you’re an influencer and Google will reward you. Each page should…
      • Include at least three links
      • Point to other influential pages on your site and externally
      • Have relevant anchor text (keyword inclusion a bonus) for links

Related Article: Create Better Content With These Content Marketing Rules to Live By

5. Page Titles & Meta Descriptions

Title elements define the title of a web page. Title tags are often used on SERPs to display preview snippets for a given page.

An optimized page title is between 50-70 characters in length and contains one or more relevant keywords as well as the brand name. Example:

Title of Post or Page (with Keyword) | Keyword 2 (optional) | Brand Name

Page titles should be applied consistently across the website. Avoid a high number of duplicate page titles on web pages throughout all sections of your website.

A number of different formats are applied to the site’s page titles. Various page titles use a line bar ( I ), hyphen ( - ) or comma ( , ) as separators. Applying a consistent format will improve the uniformity of your search results and also improve site navigation.

Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of web page content. Meta descriptions are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page.

TMZ meta description example

An optimized meta description is an engaging description (between 150 and 160 characters) of the web page’s content that includes one or more relevant keywords.

6. Keyword Research: Find Headlines

The art of keyword stuffing has been lost with Google algorithm changes and whatnot. And while, yes you should write your content for humans, you shouldn’t let keyword research fall off the grid.

Using Keyword Planner, you can sort and/or filter keyword ideas by competition, search volume and more. Search the keywords you want to rank for within the program’s search box.

Sort or filter to find low to medium competitive keywords that have a high number of monthly searches. The keywords relating to your article are perfect for your header tags.

7. Understand Header Tags

If you know a little about E-commerce SEO, then you should understand what a basic header is. If not, I’ll give you a rundown.

Header tags, or <h1> tags are, simply put, emphasized text on the page. <h1> tags are HTML speak for “Title of the Page”.

To present relevant results to searchers, Google determines the subject of the page by crawling your text. They scan for these tags to understand the high-level subject matter. The easier these are for the search crawlers to understand, the more likely you are to rise in results.

Your H1 is the most important. It’s the title of your page. Include a solid keyword to alert search engines within that tag.

There are also H2, H3, H4, etc. tags that will be the subheaders of your pages. Use these in conjunction with the importance of page content. Again, using keywords within these tags will help you gain traction in search algorithms.

snap seo minnesota website header tags example

You can see above how Snap appropriately applied header tags to a recently posted blog. The purpose is to sort the topics/headers according to how relevant they are to the presented information.

Related Article: The Value of the Keyword: Why It Matters In Content Marketing

8. Brand Voice and Tone

We’ve spent a lot of time on the Snap blog talking about brand voice and tone. How important it is and how to curate your very own. Well, we’ll reiterate it.

Incorporate brand voice into your website, make sure it connects with your desired audience and never stray. Use subversions of your voice, your “tones”, among different marketing materials.

For example, company announcements on your website might be a cheerful tone; correspondence with clients might be a professional tone.

9. Active, Not Passive, Voice

Flashback to 10th grade grammar class. Here’s an example of active vs. passive voice:

  • Copywriters love Moz - Active
  • Moz is loved by copywriters - Passive

With an active voice, the subject is conducting the action within a sentence. With a passive voice, the subject receives the action. The passive style of writing is too wordy, it’s unclear, it’s harder to understand and it’s contradictory to concise copywriting.

But, really no one speaks like that. Write how you speak. Don’t be afraid to end sentences with prepositions. Most readers on the Internet aren’t professional linguists.

Another related point: Don’t use uncertain language. Here’s an example of certain vs. uncertain language.

  • Our E-commerce writers can find data with the help of a research tool like Moz.
  • Our E-commerce writers find data with the research tool Moz.

See? Can your E-commerce writers find data, or will they? The consumer is reassured when you affirm their confidence about buying your product. Even if they’re not directly thinking about the difference between can/will, they’re more likely to choose a company that exudes confidence, and that’s certainly a way to do so.

10. Perception is Reality

When it comes to marketing, the perception you communicate becomes reality to the reader. Things aren’t always like they seem, a great marketer will get the consumer to see things the way that they want  to see them.

Let’s say you have a client with six competitors. While that may not seem like a lot to you, someone who works with a number of businesses with countless competitors on a daily basis, the average person doesn’t have the experience to know the difference.

For example, if you’re writing a case study, use a number like this to your advantage. Instead of glossing over the other competitors because you find the stat weak, make it a point that you helped your client beat a half dozen competitors.

Compare the failing strategy of the competitor in question to your winning strategy and you’ve created a new perception that the reader understands as reality.

Related Article: How Content Marketing is Changing Marketing-Sales Alignment

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