However, there’s little more important than having an actionable content marketing strategy. When developed correctly, it helps propel your site to rapid growth.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
A purposeful content marketing strategy gives your site’s content a vivid life and identifies your target audience.
There’s no traffic without content marketing.
Therefore, it’s the core of blogging with a profitable mindset.
After all, there’s also no profit and no conversion without traffic.
The Most Important Elements
Let’s take a look at the most critical elements in building your content marketing muscles.
Building Domain Authority (DA)
The primary goal of any content marketing strategy is to build your site’s domain authority.
All websites, regardless of topic, start with a domain authority of zero.
Sites with domain authorities of 99 – which is as good as it gets – include the New York Times, the Economist, and the BBC. Reaching a 99 isn’t a reasonable goal regardless of your niche or competition within the niche.
It’s incredibly rarified air.
Reaching a 70 or even an 80DA, however, can be possible with time and hard work.
Moz – the site that developed the domain authority metric – considers anything over 60 excellent.
It’s important not to obsess with getting links from high DA sites out of the gate.
Instead, build up slowly—more on this in a little while.
Choosing a Domain Name
One of the essential steps in building domain authority is choosing the right domain name. You want to make sure the domain is descriptive of the content you’ll be creating.
If you can include your core topic – or core keyword – in the domain even better!
We write about how to start a blog – and then how to scale that blog – so our site name and domain name make sense.
Think long and hard on this one, y’all!
Make sure you’re satisfied with the decision.
It’s something you’re going to be stuck with for the long-haul.
Creating Highly-Optimized and Linkable Content
Next is developing content that is optimized and “linkable.”
It’s vital to follow all SEO Best Practices (which we previously mentioned in our content strategy cornerstone article).
These include starting article titles with the primary keyword you’re targeting. Also, using qualifiers like best, guide, or the current year.
Finally, using H2, H3, and H4 tags, adding alt text to all images, and more.
Building Backlinks and Internal Linking Structure
Once your content is “linkable,” the next important step is to earn backlinks.
We’ll dive into this in much greater detail later.
For now, know there’s nothing more important in the world of content strategy when it comes to increasing authority.
While backlinks are a pillar, it’s also essential to ensure your internal linking structure follows a predictable formula. Always link to other articles on your site from each article you write.
This formula is particularly valuable if you have foundational or “cornerstone articles” for which you’re trying to earn attention.
When in doubt, link to another article that’s contextually-relevant or shares something in common with your focus topic. Also, regularly crawl your site – using tools like Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, or SEMRush to make sure all internal links are in working order.
It’s damaging for a blog’s DA to have any broken links or links that drive traffic to undesired destinations. This damage is worst if a reader visits an article with a 404 Not Found Error.
Just imagine how much it aggravates you when you visit someone else’s site, and this happens!
A cohesive internal and external linking structure is a critical way to build a professional site. Acquiring backlinks is your key to growth.
Along these lines, one clear path to starting to build domain authority – and backlinks- is to pursue guest blogging opportunities aggressively.
Securing Guest Blogging Opportunities
Securing the opportunity to guest post on high DA sites within your niche is a great way to build your authority.
As you start to publish on high DA blogs, you will organically start to build backlinks to your site. These backlinks not only build authority but also naturally begin to develop your traffic base.
There are several ways to approach guest posting outreach to build backlinks.
Traditional methods include cold-emailing content managers for inclusion in their blogs. Or doing the same through a cold LinkedIn message or tweet.
These methods typically fall flat if you haven’t established a relationship with the contact before outreach.
Consider all of the cold sales requests or other requests you get in your current job! How many of those have you ever responded to? Where do they typically end up? Yep, the trash bin (literally or figuratively).
Also, it’s ill-advised to use Google searches like [my topic] “guest posts” or [my topic] “guest article” as everyone under the sun does the same thing.
As you might imagine, if everyone is searching on Google in the same way, they’re all getting the same results.
These site owners get a constant influx of guest post pitches. Yours is likely to get lost in the mix with all the others.
Therefore, it’s vital to try a few under-the-radar methods to identify opportunities that not everyone is chasing.
Smart Ways to Identify Guest Posting Opportunities
Ahrefs Content Explorer
Using the Ahrefs Content Explorer is a great way to identify some under-the-radar guest posting opportunities. Ahrefs has a database of billions of indexed websites to search. They offer a seven day, $7 trial of their entire suite of products before you have to pay $99/month for their base package.
During that 7-day trial, you could do a year’s worth of guest posting research easily with some dedicated time. Build up a massive spreadsheet of contacts, cancel the trial, and come back to use them later when you have the funds.
The moral of the story is not to become too fixated on high DA sites.
Whether or not you use Ahrefs to do this research.
There are plenty of sites out there with a lower DA that publish quality content and are growing. Why not help them grow by providing some new material as you grow yourself?
This value swap could turn into a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership both sides can leverage.
Pursue Sites With a Mid-Range Domain Authority
Facts are it’s going to take a while to get to a 60DA.
It’s exponentially harder to move from a 50 to 60 than from a 20 to 30.
It’s increasingly more difficult with every ten points you move.
A quick way to get some early wins is to start with baby steps. We all crawl before we walk when it comes to content marketing strategy.
Identify some solid-looking 30-50 DA sites to pitch for guest blogging opportunities, and build from there.
Factors to Consider When Evaluating Low DA Websites
A few factors to consider when evaluating these sites:
- Do they post consistently? When is the last time they published a new article?
- What is the quality of the content they publish?
- Does it look like they often publish guest posts?
- Do they have a consistent social media presence? If so, do they share guest articles they publish on these mediums (especially Facebook & Twitter)?
- How many backlinks to they have to their site? (Use the Ahrefs or Moz Google Chrome extensions to find this out.)
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, the site is worth pitching for a guest post. Even if you can answer three of the five, it’s probably worth it as you start.
As time goes on and you have earned some links, you can be more particular with your content marketing strategy.
But, you know the old saying, “beggars can’t be choosers.”
So work with what you can, and build as you go.
Do Some Reverse Engineering
Another great way to identify potential sites to guest post is to check out where prolific guest bloggers are writing.
Using Twitter to do this is easy.
For example, search “content marketing” + “guest post.”
See what you get back for results.
Check the DA of the page.
See how often they post content.
The quality of the content, etc., and with checked boxes, we might even reach out to see if we can secure a guest post ourselves!
It’s that easy on Twitter.
You can search any keyword imaginable + “guest post” and pull back a ton of potential opportunities.
Another method to identify guest posting opportunities is to reverse engineer links based on where your competitors are posting.
First, make a list of whom you consider your five primary competitors.
These are the sites you should emulate and want to work to replicate, through content marketing strategy.
Once you have these sites listed, use a tool like the ones we mentioned previously – Ahrefs or Moz, namely – to see how they are obtaining links from guest posts. Check out a few places where they have posted.
Some of these sites may not actively advertise that they accept guest posts, but they’re sharing them! Why not approach these sites with your unique pitch to see if you can land a guest post opportunity?
Outsourcing Content Creation
We’ve all heard the old saying “content is king.” Well, it exists for a reason.
Content is, in fact, king. More specifically, the right content is king.
The right content, and the proper process to get that content created, can make your blog an unstoppable growth machine.
While there are some folks out there who believe content curation – or more often, constant content creation – is the way to make content work in your favor, that’s a little off base.
Sure, having full control over the content you create is appealing, but also time-consuming.
Why not take a different approach and outsource content creation to free up time for more calculated, business-minded efforts?
There are a few ways to go here: content marketplaces, hiring freelancers one-off, or acquiring free guest content.
Hiring writers through content marketplaces like Scripted, Upwork, Guru, or Textbroker is one option. These sites have the best reputation in the space. The differences between them – including cost, turn-around time, and editorial process – can vary somewhat, but in general, the content their writers produce is consistent and reliable.
These sites allow you to put together a custom proposal for articles and let potential writers pitch to that proposal, or you can select writers based on their previous work you believe would be right for the job.
Depending on the amount of time you have available to write each week, the monetary investment you’d make in these contracted writers could be well worth it.
Time is money, after all!
Hiring Freelance Writers One-Off
Another option is to hire freelance writers one-off based on the assignment you’re looking for them to cover. There are a few ways to identify freelancers that would be a good fit for your blog.
I would start with perusing social media and checking out sites like Twitter and LinkedIn.
Search something like “freelance writer [your topic]” and see what you get.
You can reach out straight to the writer via the messaging part of those platforms to pitch your article. If you find their website, instead, you can use the Hunter Google Chrome extension to pull back an email address if it’s not easy to find.
There are plenty of freelancers that would love to help you build your blog, especially if a one-off article can turn into a long-term partnership that offers consistent, predictable work.
Offer Guest Posting Opportunities on Your Blog
A final option is to offer guest posts on your blog, as well.
Just because you’re going to be pushing hard to acquire guest posting opportunities on other sites in your niche doesn’t mean you can’t offer the same in return to other writers.
It’s an easy way to get some free content written to publish on your site and push toward ranking for other keywords valuable to your blog’s SEO infrastructure.
Social Media Automation
Posting manually to all of the various social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok, etc. – can be an exhausting slog that requires several hours a week that could be better used.
While social media is an integral part of any content marketing strategy, it can be done intelligently, with minimal time consumption.
The easiest way to do this?
Social media automation is a great way to ensure you’re getting some impact from your social accounts without spending more than a couple of hours of focused work on building your accounts.
Each of these platforms allows you to schedule messages in bulk- several weeks ahead if you’d prefer.
Using this type of social media automation is a great way to get your content – and the content you publish as guest postings – scheduled out to your social channels, and interact with your fans and readers to build community.
I promise it’ll save you countless hours versus trying to do all of it manually.
Content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be imposing and intimidating. Just follow our suggestions step by step and use your instinct to find opportunities to let your writing shine, both on your site and on other blogs, which can help you increase authority!