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Recapping My Content Marketing World 2019 Session: A Masterclass on Creating and Publishing Authority-Building SEO Blogs

Ain’t no party like a content marketing party ’cause a content marketing party don’t stop. 💥

Well, that’s not entirely true.

Content Marketing World 2019 has ended, but the fun is just getting started, because now we get to implement everything we’ve learned!

The convention center in Cleveland was up to its eyeballs with nearly 4,000 savvy content marketers in attendance, and over 120 sessions and workshops presented by industry-leading marketers and experts.

This year I had the honor of speaking for the first time, with Jason Schemmel as my co-presenter. For months, I brainstormed the concept of a masterclass, which I’d never seen done by speakers before—but teaching online masterclasses have been a hit with my audience for years. My topic was all about how to create and publish authority-building SEO blogs, a subject I’ve spent eight years practicing myself.

Jason’s gift is layman-talk when it comes to the nitty-gritty of content. His great personality and comedic wit perfectly complemented my tactical, practical strategy.

Our session, A Masterclass on Creating and Publishing Authority-Building SEO Blogs (you can see the slides here), went incredibly well. Attendees packed the room for our 45-minute talk. CMI staff had to turn people away due to a fire code hazard! (I guess you could say our session was lit. 🔥) I’m hoping that when I apply to speak at CMW 2020, they’ll give us a bigger room!

These were the major points we covered during our session:

  • What drives site growth
  • Real success stories of growth
  • How to build content that contributes to site growth
  • Examples of “sexy” vs. “not-so-sexy but high ROI” content
  • Tools, priorities, KPIs, and buy-ins

So, let’s review!

A Masterclass on Creating & Publishing Authority-Building SEO Blogs: What Drives Site Growth

Our CMWorld session. Lit! 🔥

I’m so thrilled our room was packed out! We had a great group for our session.

To begin, we started by asking, “What does “growth-focused” content mean?” 🧐

Think of it this way: What are some ways to measure the effectiveness of your content?

  • Clear sources of website growth
  • Tangible increase in on-site traffic numbers
  • Increase in conversations from on-site visitors (inbound prospects)
  • Increase in sales from visitor conversations (conversions!)

So, this tells us that growth-focused content is content that brings real, tangible website growth.

Then we asked, “Where does most site traffic come from?”

Did you know that 60% of all traffic on the internet starts with a Google search?

And if you add all the traffic from other search engines, like Bing, Yahoo, and YouTube, you see that 70.6% of all traffic on the entire internet originates from a search engine.

What do these numbers translate to, though?

It’s simple: You need to get found on Google.

But how?

You can get found on Google by creating consistently great, authority-building SEO content for your brand.

4 Big Reasons to Create Content that Gets Found on Google

1. Trustworthy content performs better than ads. From 2016 to 2018, the Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) went from 11.8x to .6x ROA. This shows us that ads are not a sure way to reach your target audience.

2. 77% of B2B buyers read blogs during their buying journey. During the research stage, buyers typically read 3-5 blog posts. (Demand Gen Report)

3. SEO leads are hot! Marketing Sherpa has found that the average conversion rates on organic traffic-to-leads across industries is 16%.

4. The #1 organic position in Google nets 33% of all search traffic. This statistic is huge, but shouldn’t come as a surprise. This just means that the higher your site can rank in SERPs, the more traffic you win! With over 3 billion Google searches per day, your website’s traffic opportunities are endless.

Real Success Stories of Site Growth

At this point in the session, we shared real-life success stories of growth as a result of creating growth-focused, authority-building, SEO content.

First, we told the story of Amanda Todorovich, with Cleveland Clinic.

Todorovich has led Cleveland Clinic’s “Health Essentials” site to over 7 million inbound visitors each month.

And how?

There are 40 medical experts contributing regularly to the Cleveland Clinic site. “Health Essentials” publishes 3-5 articles per day, and they distribute that content to Cleveland Clinic’s Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn followers. This strategy puts their content in front of over 4 million and 250 thousand viewers, 3-5 times a day!

That is a lot of trust-worthy, authority-building content, right there!

But…

What if you don’t have 40 experts on staff, and you don’t have time to publish 5 articles a day? 😬

Our next case study proved that you can achieve growth by focusing on quality too, not just quantity.

There are other ways to go about building a successful content marketing strategy. Velocity is only one way!

Take Michael Pozdnev, for example, from iwannabeablogger.com.

To date, he’s only published 5 blog posts on his site. Count ‘em: FIVE.

But from these five blog posts, his site gets 12-15 thousand page views every month!

70% of iwannabeablogger.com’s traffic is organic traffic from Google. Every post earns thousands of social shares and hundreds of comments.

His strategy is to create in-depth guides – with an SEO focus – that solve problems.

Pozdnev also makes it a point to engage with his online community and to have real conversations with his audience. He says fostering friendships is a big reason for his site’s popularity.

The third case study was my story.

The story of Express Writers proves that you do not have to have a massive budget to produce real content results.

I started with nothing but $75 in my pocket and built a successful content agency fueled by content marketing.

Content marketing has brought in 99% of Express Writers’ prospects, to date.

How do we do it?

We’ve put in years of consistent long-form SEO content publishing, with a focus on quality over quantity. We’ve never run PPC ads. Ever. And our organic search traffic is close to 90% of our overall traffic, which amounts to 90-100 thousand organic visitors each month!

Most organic visitors find our site from one of the 18,400 keyword rankings our content holds on Google.

If we were to pay for a PPC campaign, those keyword placements would cost us $92 thousand per month!

Instead, we get to invest that money into providing more quality content for our readers and clients.

How to Build Content that Contributes to Site Growth

What does growth-focused, authority-building SEO content look like? How do you create content that draws traffic to your site?

First, brainstorm a profitable topic idea.

Then, strategize and set clear goals for your content. I came up with The 3-Bucket Topic Strategy to maximize the potential of each topic idea.

And finally, execute.

Creating your content is the most important step. To turn a profitable idea into profitable content, invest time, money, and resources into creating quality, authority-building content.

Need an idea of what this looks like?

We shared an example from Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger.

Let’s break this post down:

  • There’s an actionable headline that draws the reader in
  • The intro holds the reader’s attention with short, catchy paragraphs
  • The post is scannable, organized by headers and subtitles
  • The writing is clear and concise, and the style is true to what readers expect from Jon’s content

Bingo!

So now that you’ve created your quality, growth-focused content, where (and when) should you publish it?

Where and When to Publish Your Content

Focusing on building up your “content house” (your website) is one of the most important things you can do for organic publishing success.

Other channels should come secondary in priority.

Build up your content house on Google by targeting the right keywords for your audience and by consistently publishing high-quality content, and your prospects will end up on your site. Simple!

Traffic, leads, sales, and industry authority are earned through consistently publishing powerful, organic SEO content on your site.

And be patient.

It takes 18 months of consistency to see real content success. Joe Pulizzi says, “if you aren’t delivering consistently to your audience, you are not content marketing.”

Commit to a schedule you can consistently uphold with high content standards, and if you need to, delegate content creation to a team or provider that you can trust to deliver growth-focused and authority-building content.

Examples of “Sexy” vs. “Not-so-Sexy But High ROI” Content

Now, listen.

Flashy – or “sexy” – content is not always equal to profitable content. As I’ve said, consistency and quality are key. There isn’t an easy hack, and there’s rarely ever a viral hit when it comes to a long-term, profitable SEO presence.

Take this comparison, for example. Which of these pieces do you think brought in a brand new lead, which converted to a sale within 1 week?

Was it the blog post with fewer than 40 shares, or was it the viral LinkedIn post, with over 80 thousand views, 280 comments, and 1,000 likes?

I’ll wait while you place your bets… ⏳

If you guessed that it was the blog post, you’re right!

My “not-so-sexy” blog post brought in a brand new lead that converted to more than $1,000 within 7 days!

Take it from freelance writer John Espirian:

“Depth and quality matter most. If you’re machine-gunning content out there just to be seen, that’s not enough. The world doesn’t need more crappy content. It needs better content. The ideal is quality and quantity, but that’s hard to achieve unless you empower everyone in your organization to be a content creator.”

Tools, Priorities, KPIs, and Buy-ins

Understand that quality, growth-focused content won’t be possible without putting some tried-and-true tools to use. You also want to make sure you’re focusing on what matters. Don’t waste your time looking at statistics or numbers that won’t have a real effect on your growth.

Tools for Site Growth

The tools we suggested during our session have proven themselves time and again:

  • KWFinder: for keyword and blog or content topic discovery
  • SEMrush: for keyword discovery, tracking site rankings, competitor discovery, backlink insights, SEO reports, and more
  • Ahrefs: a keyword and content explorer providing SEO keyword insights, backlink data, domain and URL ratings, and more
  • AMI Headline Analyzer: to discover the emotional impact of your headline on a scale of 1-100

Just remember that when you’re researching for a potential keyword topic, you want to look for keywords with low competition, high relevancy, and high search volume.

Which KPIs Affect Your Site’s Growth

There is a lot of data to measure out there, so make sure you’re measuring what matters! The KPIs that matter most for your site’s growth are:

High organic SEO ranking placements and growth in traffic over time.

Conversations! Live chats triggered, calls booked, and actual conversations with your prospects.

Sales and conversions from the conversations held with your ideal organic customer prospects.

The Marketing Lifecycle focuses on awareness, interest and intent, decision, and loyalty. When you map your KPIs to the Marketing Lifecycle, you will see results.

You can learn more about the Marketing Lifecycle and creating content mapped to your customers’ buying journeys by downloading my free eBook, The Marketing Lifecycle Explained.

Getting Support with Buy-ins

The final point that Jason and I drove home during our Content Marketing World session was that you will need internal support.

If you’re working on a team or report to a boss, there are some things you need to be ready for. You might have some explaining to do, so be prepared, and be able to back yourself up.

Share case studies and statistics of proven SEO content success. You can share this list of statistics when you’re presenting to your team or boss to back your case!

Track the right KPIs over the right amount of time, and look for conversations and traffic growth, and share those findings.

Share your knowledge with your team! You are the agent of change in your industry. Don’t be afraid to say, “this isn’t a good idea, and here’s why,” when it comes to SEO content creation.

Keep learning. Take courses, read books, and learn everything you can about SEO content creation so you can either lead a team or create authority-building content, yourself.

Next Steps: Build Growth-Focused Content

Jason and I closed out our talk by asking the audience a question, and now it’s your turn to answer: What will you start implementing right away to build growth-focused content?

Take your time, strategize, create, and deliver.

Remember, content will take time to build results, but once the results come in, you will see growth on your site, and in your sales and conversions, too!

Focus on your content house, answer questions that solve problems for your audience, and create content that matters to people.

Now, go get the content marketing party started! 🎉

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