How to find your content marketing focus

One of the most most exciting things about SEO content marketing is that there are so many possibilities. Companies can start blogs, create white papers, produce an e-book, tweak their Titles, revise their content and tweet to their corporate heart’s delight.

Feel overwhelmed yet?

I realized that with all this talk about, “see how many ways your company can leverage content marketing,” there’s not a lot of talk about what to do when. I’ve seen too many companies with half-assed content marketing campaigns because they’re doing everything rather than the one really important thing. Instead of baby-stepping their way into a a robust content marketing campaign, they throw everything against the virtual web wall and sees what sticks.

Sound familiar? Take a deep breath and see if your site fits into the following categories. Here’s four typical scenarios for “what to do when”:

People are visiting your site, but they aren’t converting. This is a writing/usability issue (there may be some SEO elements in there as well, but they probably aren’t the primary cause.) What this is suggesting is that your target audience doesn’t “like” your pages. Maybe it’s because they can’t figure out how to take action. Or maybe it’s because the writing turns them off. Google’s Website Optimizer is a great way to A/B split test your pages and develop content that helps people convert like crazy.

And for goodness sake – if you’re writing to sell (or hiring someone to do it for you,) do it right. If you’re wondering why direct-response copywriting skills are crucial, this post explains it all. And if you’re a B2B company, here are some SEO copywriting tips just for you.

You company owns a catalog/retail site, and your product page rankings suddenly plummeted.

You may have been caught in Google’s May Day algorithmic dance (for more about May Day, watch Matt Cutts’ video, read Vanessa Fox’s great post and Dave Davis’s perspective from “the other side.”) One of the takeaways: Additional product content could provide a lifeline. If you’ve been relying on the “stock” manufacturer product description – and you haven’t enhanced your pages with reviews, additional value-added content and even video – now is the time. Brookstone is a great example of a company that’s doing it right – fantastic product descriptions, customer reviews and smartly optimized text. If you’ve craving more catalog marketer-focused information, check out the “10 stupid things catalog marketers do” and these “successful SEO copywriting tips

In the meantime, consider other options. Google is a demanding mistress, and she will always withhold her ranking affections from time to time. Instead of relying solely on Google, consider other traffic-driving options such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I just spoke with Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR today, and I’m reminded why he’s the YouTube master. If you haven’t read his book, “You Tube and Video Marketing: An Hour A Day,” check it out.

You need “fast” results.

Who doesn’t love instant gratification? At the same time, a content marketing plan is a long-term endeavor – and getting rankings is rarely achieved “instantly” (although, when it works, it sure seems like it!). Although I’ve said that there is no “quick fix” in SEO copywriting, it is true that there are some quick ways to “spruce up” your content. Keyphrase editing (where you’re adding keyphrases into existing content) and optimizing page Titles can have a (fairly) quick effect. Once you see a faster win, you can revisit your messaging, create Titles that garner a higher click-through rate, and rewrite your copy with a better conversion focus.

You’re not seeing the rankings you want – and you never, ever have.

This is one of those times when an expert’s outside opinion can make a huge difference. You may think you’re doing everything right from a SEO perspective. But, there’s (obviously) something that’s hurting you. And if you haven’t figured it by now – and please know that I mean this with the utmost respect – what makes you think that you’ll “figure it out eventually.”

Even if you do, how much money are you willing to lose in the meantime?

You can purchase SEO content marketing evaluations from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars – depending on how deep you want your consultant to dig. Heck, you could even consult with a content marketing strategist for a few hours and figure out your options.  Plus, the strategist could give you a “sneak peek” on other future content marketing opportunities. The key is – don’t just wait for things to magically fall into place. Get help. You’ll make more money – faster – if you do.