Content Marketing/SEO Success: Two Places to Gather Business Intelligence

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Microsoft Office for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ready! Fire! Aim!

The order of those commands may seem patently silly, but frankly, they capture exactly what many small business owners do when they work with content marketing campaigns and search engine optimization (SEO).

First we need to quickly explain that content marketing and SEO are, in many ways, “kissing cousins.” Good content marketing campaigns – especially those that involve posting articles to your website blog – will help improve your website’s position within search engine results pages (SERPs).

But what’s required to make a “good” content marketing campaign? Good content? No. “Great” content, and creating great content starts well before you ever put one word down in whatever word processing software you use. Unfortunately, most small business owners I talk to believe that if they have a “good idea” for a blog, they just need to get to their computer, pour it out and post it.

That’s “Ready! Fire!” There is no “aim” in that sequence.

So the question becomes: How do you “aim” your content so that it is effective for content marketing and improving your website SEO? Answering this question moves us into an area of business intelligence. If you don’t approach content creation by first doing your homework and gathering accurate business intelligence, you’re simply rolling the dice on whether or not your content will do anything to improve your SERP or sales.

There are two basic areas where you need to gather business intelligence when you’re about to create a content marketing/SEO piece, such as a blog article:

*  What attracts your prospects, and
*  What works for your competitors.

You should have website history that tells you which content best attracts prospects and customers to your site. What pieces of content have logged the most views? Dig a little deeper when you answer this question. You might find that you have some content that isn’t at the very top of your list of popular articles yet, but it consistently brings in readers or viewers.

When this happens, it means that the content is pulling in people without being supported by a crash social media promotional campaign. In other words, people are finding it organically. You may have discovered a “diamond in the rough.” If you create more content like this, promote it, and cross link it to the original content that you discovered, you may find that you’ve released the (organic website) Kraken!

The principle here is simple: Find what works and do more of it! But this means that you need to spend a good amount of time looking through your website history before you ever start writing an article. If you invest this time, you should be able to come up with a list of promising article topics.

For my second point above: What works for your closest competitors should also work for you. Your competitors may have found some keywords or topics that interest your prospects that you haven’t yet developed on your website.


There are paid versions of these, but you can gather some good business intelligence on your competitors with their more limited free tools. Use them to discover the most popular articles in the sites as well as the most popular organic search terms that lead people to your competitors’ websites. Take that information and create your own content that is even better than what your competitors have posted.

If you don’t approach growing your small business with a plan that is built around a list of proven techniques, “dumb luck” becomes your only ally. In fact, in my ready-aim-fire sequence, you should be spending more time aiming than firing; when your aim is “dead on” you don’t have to fire as many shots!

This is why resources like Microsoft’s Small Business Academy are so valuable to the small business owner. The top experts in virtually all phases of small business management freely offer their advice at the Small Business Academy.

You learn how to aim accurately.

And I’m excited right now because Christi Olson, Microsoft’s search evangelist, is going to be covering search engine marketing in an upcoming Small Business Academy webcast. What Christi has to say should dovetail very well with the points I’ve been making here. Be sure to Register here.

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