Ask Me Anything! Content Strategy, production, promotion and SEO

Regular Contributor

Hi there! My name is Izzy Witts and I’m an Inbound Consultant at BabelQuest. We’re a Platinum HubSpot Partner specialising in lead generation, inbound marketing, sales enablement and CRM. We help businesses grow by aligning sales and marketing and streamlining the whole process end-to-end. I have a particular focus on content production and promotion, SEO and social media marketing and have been with BabelQuest for just over a year, and before that I was the content marketing manager for a small software company in the UK.

As the new Content Strategy tool is now live in HubSpot, I am here to help you get started with topic clusters and navigate the new world of SEO. We’ll leave the tech questions to the HubSpot experts, but you can ask me anything about content strategy, production and promotion and what you can do to help you improve your search engine rankings. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll go away and find it for you.

I’ll be available from today through to Friday 15th December, and will be checking in frequently to answer your questions.

 

Stuck for ideas? Here are a few example questions:

- How do you get ideas for content?
- What is the best way to perform keyword research?
- How can I get seen on Google?
- How long does it take before I start seeing results?
- How do I get started with content promotion?

 

I look forward to hearing from you all!

 

Let’s get started!

 

Izzy

20 Replies
Community Manager

Thanks for opening this AMA up, Izzy! 

 

@EvolveKev @carleighgreen @JohnNiggl @ZachSchladetzky @InieP @TheGilldog @crystalp @slasky @KeyWestScott @theScott I thought you would all be interesting in keeping an eye on and participating in this conversation. 

 


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Regular Contributor

Thanks @jsowyrda!

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Advisor

Hey @Babel_Izzy what would you say are the main challenges and/or opportunities for marketers looking to take on these new content and SEO practices? 

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Regular Contributor

Hey @aoifemoon, I'd say the biggest challenge is probably knowing where to start! There are so many differing opinions on SEO and what you should be doing to improve your rankings. I would start with really digging into your personas, making sure they're correct, and then start researching what potential questions these people are searching for. 

 

You could either research this yourself, or ask your customers and prospects. An easy way to find questions, is to look through email communications. It's likely that there are a few that keep coming up regularly and you can start building out a plan of articles you can produce that will answer those questions.

 

Another challenge for SEO is that it takes time, a lot of time! You need to be prepared to really put the effort in to see results. There aren't any shortcuts i'm afraid but there are a few simple things that you can do to give your rankings a boost!

 

  • Use a good SEO tool like SEMRush or Moz, this will allow you to perform site audits so that you can easily see which areas need improvement
  • Ensure that your pages are optimised, this means making sure that your urls, meta descriptions and H1 tags all contain a relevant keyword, or topic area. 
  • Consistently produce quality content, and update it frequently.

 

In terms of opportunities, SEO changes all the time, search engines want different things, and they're constantly looking to improve based on how people are using them and what they're searching for. That being said, if you can find your niche, build out your plan and produce great content, it'll stand you in good stead to get that spot on the first page. 

 

If you already have a lot of content, using HubSpot's strategy tool will really help you to start linking it all together logically. If you're able to get everything linked together and create a really substantial topic cluster, this is a huge flag to Google that you know what you're talking about!

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New Member

Hi @Babel_Izzy

 

I am starting up a new company and am hoping to get on the right path to ranking on Google. I know it will take time to get seen on Google, etc. Any tips for getting started with creating content/where I should focus my efforts to make the biggest impact? 

 

Thanks! 

Regular Contributor

Hi @bindiann, Great question!

 

Start by compiling a list of your frequently asked questions, or, all the questions that you can think of around your product or service.

 

A big one is how much does it cost? People often shy away from putting costs upfront, but it's usually the number one thing that people want to know when they start researching what you do/sell!

 

Once you have your list of questions, start thinking about broad topic areas that they fall under. These will then form your topic clusters. I'd recommend starting with one topic and building that out completely before moving on to the next one. You'll need to make sure that your articles link together so that it's easy for people to find the information they need. You'll also want to create your main pillar page for each topic. This should also have links to relevant offers and be a main point of conversion on your site. 

 

Aim to write at least one new post a week, and make sure that each article is at least 800 words. We advise our clients to actually write between 1000-1500 as a minimum as these long form articles perform really well in both engagement and creating conversion opportunities.

 

I hope that helps you to get started, but please do let me know if you have any further questions!

Community Manager

Hey @Babel_Izzy thanks for starting off what I'm sure will be some great discussions!

 

I'll kick of with a question of my own.

 

What methods or tools do you and your teams use to brainstorm content ideas? 


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Regular Contributor

Hey @roisinkirby,

 

We usually use a combination of a few things. I'm a big fan of using Google to do my research. Once I've identified a few topic areas that I want to go after, I'll start looking at potential questions someone might ask. Google's autocomplete feature is really useful here. I just type in my keywords, and it gives me a list of related search terms.

 

I'll also make use of the 'People also ask' and related searches features. For the last 6 or so months, I've also been using a really helpful chrome extension called 'Keywords everywhere' that shows the number of searches, difficulty rating and CPC on individual search terms. 

 

Quora is another really useful tool, and I'd definitely recommend using this not only to find potential questions, but also to answer them directly on the platform. You can easily link to your own content and this will really help to build your authority.

 

We also use SEMrush, but our gold dust is in the conversations our sales guys are having with prospects. We asked them to start recording their conversations so that we can pick out key questions/topics that need addressing and we also have everything recorded in the CRM so it's easy to find.

 

The other great thing about doing this is that once we've produced that piece of content, we can share it with sales, so that should that question come up again, they can simply link straight to the article. 

 

For planning we use a good old fashioned spreadsheet. We have different tabs for our research around each topic area, as well as our content matrix which lists all of our existing content and what we need to do to improve it, and the content we've not created yet. And how each of these pieces of content tie together to form our topic clusters. Once this is complete, we'll start building out our content calendar for the year so that everyone's clear on what's being published when, and what needs to be done to ensure that happens.

 

If anyone would be interested in using a version of this spreadsheet for their own business, please just let me know!

 

There's also some more info in these posts:

New Contributor

I am interested for the spreadsheet, if possible kinldy share to my mail ID (msarkar@processmap.com). 

 

Thanks in Advance. 

Manoj 

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New Contributor

Hi Izzy, 

Greetings!!

 

1 have 2 questions: 

1st: 

I work for comapny ProcessMAP (http://www.processmap.com/) and we are having big issue to get ranked 1st page (also top slot) on google SERP page (organic). For e.g., Keywords Incident Management Software (USA target) we are at 2nd page (2oth rank). Our ladning page is (http://www.processmap.com/solutions/health-safety/incident-management/). Irrespective of al our effort we are in 2nd or 3rd page. How to efficiantly work to get 1st page rank.

2nd: 

Also we are planning to revamp our website, hence our present landing page (for ) will changed from: http://www.processmap.com/solutions/health-safety/incident-management/

to http://www.processmap.com/solutions/incident-management/. So how can we get our ranking again to the 1st page once we change the URL. 

 

 

Also, Is there a way to communcate face to face with you so that i can explain all SEO and content cluster related issue in one short. 

 

Will wait for your response 

Thanks 

Manoj 

 

 

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Regular Contributor

Hi Manoj,

 

Thanks for your questions!

 

1. Improving your rankings can take some time and it's often determined on how often Google is crawling your site - how long have you been working on these changes? - If you are regularly posting new or updating existing content you should see improvements fairly quickly, but if your crawl frequency is weekly or even monthly, it'll take a little longer to start seeing a change.

 

You can make some small changes by ensuring that your content is fully optimised, so you have the right keyword phrase in the url, the page header, the meta description and somewhere in the body of text. You should also spend time building out your topic clusters and ensure that they're correctly linked together.

 

Consider creating a pillar page for each of your products/services. Here you can write out all of the information someone might need if they were looking to buy from you, as well as creating conversion opportunities in the form of a content download, demo etc. 

 

You'll also want to be regularly promoting your content across your social channels to increase views. Video content performs really well on social media, and search engines love it. They'll often prioritise video content over a traditional blog or webpage.

 

2. Normally I wouldn't recommend changing a url unless absolutely necessary as this can impact your rankings. That being said, if things aren't working as they are, it may be worth reviewing these and seeing where you can make improvements. If you do change your urls, you should expect to see a dip in your organic traffic for a little while until Google has recrawled your content and ranked you accordingly.

 

I'll pick up your other questions shortly. Smiley Happy

 

 

New Member

This is fantastic thanks Izzy!

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New Member

Suppose your company does not have enough content and also you cannot be able to contact free demos only offer free consultations which sometimes the leads are so not willing to do until you have educated them. The research i have done that s applicable to my buyer's persona is quuite a lot but from one of our competitors. How can i educate the client at the same time ensure i do not lose the the lead to my competitor as we work around adding more content our website.

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Regular Contributor

Hi @Ag_M,

 

Would you be able to link me to your website and let me know who your competitors are and I can take a look for you?

 

It's likely that the content you create will be very similar to what your competitors have already put out, and that's fine. This gives you a great opportunity to fully optimise your content and ensure that you are covering off what your competitors aren't.

 

As you're starting from scratch, it'll take a little while for the results to come through and this is where promotion is key. Make sure that you're getting as many eyes on your new content as you can by promoting across all your social channels, reaching out to your industry's influencers and putting some money behind paid promotion. 

 

Have you set out your content strategy or is this still in progress?

 

Izzy

 

Occasional Contributor

Hi Izzy

 

Right now I am in the building process of our new pillar pages. Since everything is quite new, I am interested in your opinion about two questions:

 

  • I inserted a content offer into the pillar page. The content offer is normally gated on our website and one of the most effective offers we have. Since it’s the purpose of a pillar page, to give the visitors easy access to content, I am not sure what is better. To include the content offer gated or non-gated? Can I only offer it free on the pillar page and otherwise gate it?
  • The pillar page should be our “Executive Summary” of our business basics and should lead to relevant content. Therefor we entered hyperlinks to our blogs, landing pages and some external sources. For external links I chose to open the page in a new tab. But is this also recommended for internal links? Or should they best be opened in the same window? What is your experience here?

 

Thanks for your insights!


Romina

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Regular Contributor

Hi @rominabuchle,

 

Thanks for your questions! I've added my comments below. Smiley Happy

 

  • I inserted a content offer into the pillar page. The content offer is normally gated on our website and one of the most effective offers we have. Since it’s the purpose of a pillar page, to give the visitors easy access to content, I am not sure what is better. To include the content offer gated or non-gated? Can I only offer it free on the pillar page and otherwise gate it?

Personally I would test this out and see which option is most effective for your business. As the content offer is performing well on its own, you could use this as the main conversion point on your pillar page. Alternatively, if your content offer is a meaty e-book or guide, why not offer up the entire thing ungated as the key content for your pillar page and then include an option to download the pdf version to read later. HubSpot have a great example here - https://www.hubspot.com/facebook-marketing they actually have several different downloads for each section of the pillar page.

 

From a user perspective, we want to make the information easy to find and easy to digest so having it ungated and accessible would be my go-to.

 

  • The pillar page should be our “Executive Summary” of our business basics and should lead to relevant content. Therefor we entered hyperlinks to our blogs, landing pages and some external sources. For external links I chose to open the page in a new tab. But is this also recommended for internal links? Or should they best be opened in the same window? What is your experience here?

My preference is to always open a link from a blog post in a new tab, that way it's easy to go back to the original page and continue reading rather than having to hit the back button and losing your place on the page. For website pages, I'd only do this with external links and use my discretion for internal links. 

 

For pillar pages, internal/external links should open in a new tab, but you'll also want to ensure that you're using anchor links to break the pages up into sections from a list of contents at the top. This makes it easy for the user to quickly jump to the section they're most interested in.

 

What are other people's thoughts on this? @roisinkirby

Occasional Contributor

Hi Izzy,

 

Thanks for answering these questions so far--lot of great ideas generated here!

 

Video was a common discussion topic at Inbound2017.

 

What role do you see video playing in pillar pages, and more generally, as a content medium in 2018?

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Regular Contributor

Hi John,

 

Thanks for your question.

 

For me, the biggest thing I took away from INBOUND 2017 was that video is becoming more and more important, and that we should be looking to create a much more human experience through our marketing and sales processes.

 

In terms of pillar pages, as they're designed to be a fully comprehensive guide to your topic, I would absolutely include video. Search engines also tend to prioritise video content so this should give your rankings a little boost.

 

Consider creating a video for each section that complements the text and imagery you have on the page. This way you're creating a much more engaging experience for your visitor, and you're building trust and authority at the same time!

 

I think video will be huge in 2018, and not just generic marketing videos, but personalised video that can be used throughout the sales process and ongoing client management. For B2C, we're looking at product influencers and brand evangelists who offer up reviews and experiences that can easily be shared and amplified through social media.

 

For B2B, it's all about personalisation. Why send an email, when you can record a quick video to send instead! People buy from people, so let's all try to be more human in our interactions. 

 

 

Inbound Professor

Hi All,

 

Great discussion. Some really useful tips in this thread. 

 

Wanted to let everyone know that HubSpot Academy recently relaunched the Content Marketing Certification with a class on Creating Topic Clusters and Pillar Pages. This class gives step-by-step instructions on how to develop a topic cluster and pillar page as well as how to grow it. 

 

Click here to gain access to this class: https://certification.hubspot.com/content-marketing-certification-course.

 

Keep up the great work!

Justin

Occasional Contributor

@Babel_Izzy, thanks for the post!  

 

Is SEO strategy usually something that agency partners include in their GDD services for their clients? I'd like to know if this is something my company should include in our GDD strategy for future clients.

 

Thanks!

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