For most businesses, organic search traffic is one of the most important sources for sales leads. However, competition is fierce for high-value search terms and it can seem like an almost impossible task to complete with competitors already well-established within your market. Fear not as with a well-structured content strategy there is usually lots of room to target niche search terms that pull potential customers towards your content that can produce almost immediate results.
For the purposes of this article, we focus primarily on how to draw targeted organic traffic to company website blog posts and use this method as a vehicle to build up your online authority and therefore increase sales through this and other adjacent online marketing channels.
Niche Content Marketing Strategy
The trick to creating your own content strategy, designed to take on even the best performing competitors, is to build a set of processes designed to steadily build up your overall online presence over a period of time. This doesn't mean that you won't see results fairly quickly for your more niche search terms, but it does mean that at the start your return on investment is likely to be less but over time that will improve.
The overall goal is to be found on page one of Google's search results for high-value keywords relating to your product. This, in most cases, takes quite a long time to do and if you set out trying solely to rank for high-value terms, you are likely to end up in a situation where the performance of your campaigns are not returning the results you need.
One way of looking at this is by considering how the concepts of Blue Ocean Strategy can be applied to content creation. If you want to compete in a sea full of competitive sharks, you are highly likely to get bitten. However, if you can find a way to navigate the content marketing blue ocean by making progress with long-tail or niche content then over time you will start to build up a more authoritative online presence that will allow you to then compete for the higher-value search term positions. A post by Smart Insights discusses Blue Ocean strategy in much greater detail and how a number of brands have fallen by the wayside while those who have looked for adjacent markets have thrived. There are some real parallels that work with content marketing here.
Establish Your Target Keywords
Even for the most specialized of products, there are likely to be hundreds of search terms that potential customers will be using to research products before purchasing. For example, for a company selling "intranet software" you might think that there are only a few realistic search terms that potential customers might use, such as "intranet solution," "intranet platform," and "cloud intranet." To give you some idea just for this product alone we are currently actively nurturing around 200 keywords and have over 600 current organic search terms that all point back to well-targeted niche website content. This list is always growing and this particular site is seeing a consistent increase in organic traffic month on month of at least 15%.
You will need to build your own list of keywords for your strategy to work. Using Google's Keyword Planner Tool is usually the first place to start to understand which search terms are going to generate potentially the best converting traffic, these in most cases attract the highest Adwords cost as well. Although, don't automatically assume that the highest number of searches and costs per month will convert to the maximum number of sales. Careful targeting of keywords relating to customer need, questions at different stages within the buying cycle matched to each of your different customer personas is how to think about adding different search terms to your overall list.
Once you have your keywords list in place, it's a good idea to use an online tool such as AHREFs that will allow you to track your keywords and the ranking progress that they make. You could do this manually, but it will take hours. One of the many benefits of using a tool like this is that it frees up the time to allow you to focus on actually getting your content out there and rapidly being able to report on progress to prove the return on investment. Tools like this often provide metrics on keyword difficulty and regional search volumes that, in conjunction with the data provided from Google's Keyword Planner tool, provide you with the information needed to decide how difficult it will be to rank for specific search terms and therefore prioritize your content.
Niche Online Content Marketing Tips
In summary, while not exhaustive, here is a list of our top tips around the subject of niche online content marketing designed to help you to build your own strategy.
- Target highly relevant search keywords with lower traffic
- Consistently write niche content, publish this on your blog at least twice a week or more for larger brands
- Consistently write guest articles that contain links that point back to your domain-- those with the most quality domains pointing to them win the race
- Nurture a large number of niche keywords
- Only target terms that you know make sense to your customer personas
- Write content that directly matches questions that might be asked by each of your customer personas
- Write content for high-value keywords every few posts
- Rotate broad content and well-targeted content to make your content play more interesting and authoritative
- Ask sales staff for content ideas on what resonates with each niche, how do they sell through examples?
- Make sure that your on-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is perfect
- Consistently build back links to you content using exact, partial and brand anchor text
- Backlinks within your content need to have the right mix of exact, partial and latent semantics anchor text for SEO (remember that site links within your site are very powerful)
- Use a reporting and tracking to understand keyword difficulty and track page ranks continuously
Rinse and Repeat
On a final note, one incredibly important concept that will help sustain your campaign is that you should consistently evaluate what is the lowest hanging fruit as this will change over time. If you keep doing all of the above, you will start to see your targeted traffic volumes rise and your sales increase. To start with it will take a couple of months of sustained effort but then you will start to see things move.