Why The Skyscraper Technique Is More Important Now Than Ever
By Louise LinehanFeb 19
Published October 21st 2019
Content marketing is getting more and more competitive every year. How to still get noticed? How to create an effective content strategy capable of driving leads and growing your brand?
Creating truly informative and useful content is still the answer.The difference is that you need to really become strategic about your informative content creation.
You need to have goals and you need to get organized.
One efficient way to achieve both is to build your content strategy around one ever-growing content asset, i.e. the knowledge base.
There are several important benefits of building a comprehensive knowledge base:
On top of all, building one ultimate resource is the powerful motivation for you and your team to keep working on your site content. And motivation is everything.
Question research is the most effective way to understand your niche and your audience. It helps you understand what sort of struggles your target customers are facing and how to best serve them.Fundamentally, there are two types of questions you want to address in your knowledge base:
Product-focused questions are all those issues that your product or your service helps solve. These help in attracting leads to your site, especially those who are at the research phase of their buying journey. They have questions and they may be happy to discover your product as an answer.Keyword research tools will help you find lots of questions around your target query or queries. These include:
Featured Snippet+ Tool (Disclaimer: The tool is being developed by the company I work for) uses Google’s “People Also Ask” boxes to find questions that show up for a variety of queries your (or your competitor’s) site currently ranks for:
The best thing about Buzzsumo is that it uses semantic analysis to research questions around related topics, not just your target query verbatim:
Text Optimizer is a semantic analysis and content optimization tool that has a handy “Content Ideas Section”. Simply enter your target query and Text Optimizer will generate a list of popular questions to cover:
[You can export the whole resport to send to your content team]
Answer The Public generates questions from Google Suggest results. You don’t need to register an account to use it. Simply type your target query in the search box and browse the results.
The tool will visualize the questions into a neat mindmap based on the question word. You can also download all the results into a CSV file:
Twitter supports a question operator allowing you to find what people are publicly asking on Twitter: Simply type [keyword ?] in Twitter search box. Do keep the space between your target keyword and the question mark.
Now, use the same operator inside Cyfe to have these search results collected and archived for you to act upon:
[Cyfe dashboards can be exported and shared which makes it a great collaboration tool your whole team can use and delegate tasks]
Brand-focused questions are those people ask about your (or your competitor’s) brand. Monitoring and answering these questions is useful on many fronts, including:
To research brand-focused queries, you can use the same tools. You do need to treat them with more care because you want your customers to find all the answers from you instead of turning to third parties. This way you’ll be able to control the sentiment and avoid losing leads.
Navigational questions can be further categorized into:
Running the tools is cool but how to make sense of all the data? Getting organized is key to any successful strategy.
Furthermore, there are multiple actions you may want to perform with many of those questions, including:
In a nutshell, here are a few ideas on what you may want to do with various questions you come across during your research:
|Example of content||Specific SEO considerations||Other teams to get involved|
|Basic (what-is) questions||Glossary||Clickable table of contents||Customer support and sales team (including for training): You want those teams to use jargon your customers use|
|Basic (what-is) questions||FAQ||Implement FAQPage Schema||Customer support and sales team (including for training): You want those teams to use jargon your customers use|
|How-to questions||FAQ + videos||Use /HowTo Schema (Including Yoast as well as Schema generators)||Include your CRO expert because these could be transactional|
|ROPO Questions||Blog content + video tutorials||Optimize for as many related branded terms as possible||Include your product management team for them to collect answers (feedback) and implement required product updates / improvements)|
|High-intent questions||Product Q&A||Implement FAQPage Schema||Include your CRO expert and A/B testing expert for optimum on-page conversion optimization|
|Navigational Questions||Product-specific knowledge base + video tutorials||Implement FAQPage Schema or use a Q&A-optimized solution.||Include your design+usability teams for them to solve navigational issues.|
|Competitive research questions||Create specific landing pages + videos to explain your product benefits||Optimize for as many related branded terms as possible||Include your product management team for them to collect answers (feedback) and implement required product updates / improvements). Include your sales team for them to know how to best explain your product benefits to clients|
|Reputational questions||Create specific landing pages + videos||Optimize for how users may be searching for reputation research terms eg:Can I trust...""||Include your reputation management + social media teams to address these questions properly when they have to|
Starting a Google Spreadsheet to organize questions into basic groups as well as take note of further action is a good idea here. Here are a few good templates for you to use.
Here we come down to the fundamental part of this strategy. You may already have writers that handle content creation for your site. If you don’t (or if you are interested in exploring more options which is never a bad idea), here are a few ideas for you:
There are two solid benefits of working with niche influencers on creating a better knowledge base:
There are multiple possible forms of content collaboration you can apply here. You may reach out to influencers for expert quotes, hire them as expert writers, interview them, etc. The best approach is to experiment with as many tactics as you can here as you never know what is going to work best.
To find influencers to work with, use Buzzsumo to find interviews and guest posts on any topic. You can filter results to see only most recent content on any topic. The idea is, if that expert recently accepted an invitation to contribute on this topic, chances are he/she will be interested in working with you too:
Another possible tool to use here is a new app called BizSwipe that connects businesses that are looking to build relationships and find partners and collaborators. Use BizSwipe to discover businesses based on a variety of criteria and reach out:
[Building connections through content co-creation is the easiest – and a free – way to discover unexpected business opportunities and mutual benefits]
Another newer but very promising platform connecting brands to expert authors is Narrato.io that uses artificial intelligence to match writers to those who need content. The site offers free plagiarism check and unlimited revisions – both of these work great for productive content outsourcing.
Content marketing is more diverse these days than just a few short years ago, and there are few good reasons for that:
To give you a few ideas on what types of content can be applied to creating your on-site knowledge graph, here are a few options:
Webinar marketing offers great opportunities including effective lead generation and community building. Recorded webinars can also create additional bonus material for your knowledge brand.
You can also use webinars as part of your collaborative content creation strategy: Engage those niche influencers by inviting them to host your webinar and share incoming leads.
ClickMeeting allows you to easily host webinars with no technical knowledge required. It offers lots of neat features including customized invitations, custom branding, Youtube and Facebook streaming and more. There’s also an on-demand webinar feature allowing you to record webinars to re-use inside your knowledge base:
Flowcharts make great instructional content that is also easy to share across multiple available channels (for example, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) It’s one of those content formats that can help you drive traffic, not just engage it.
I love creating step-by-step mini-videos showing instructions because they can be easily re-purposed on multiple channels as well as make it easier to explain how to do anything. On top of all, that’s the easiest asset to create.
With tools like this Slideshow Maker, it takes minutes to create quick, yet useful and well-branded videos. All it takes is picking a template and editing it any time you need a new instruction.
There’s one thing I came to understand about content marketing strategy: Unless it’s scheduled, it’s never happening.
I get really religious about putting my content assets into a schedule. I actually create my schedule months ahead. It’s the only way to get so much done.
The easiest way to create a content marketing editorial calendar is ContentCal, a omni-channel marketing app that includes “Campaigns” feature.
The beauty of ContentCal’s campaign brief is that you can get as detailed (or as brief) as you want to be. You can also invite managers to contribute to your campaign briefs to make it more detailed.
Your team will be notified of the approaching campaigns by seeing a campaign ribbon across the calendar. Clicking the ribbon takes you to the campaign brief. This way your whole team is informed of what’s coming and how to prepare:
Becoming “the destination” is a good long-term goal behind creating and maintaining a knowledge base. However business decision makers are obviously after more tangible results.
Therefore it is important to come up with various ways to get those visits convert into actual customers.
You are likely to already have some in-content conversion optimization strategy in place. Your blog probably has some sort of optin forms integrating helping its readers to stay tuned for updates and special offers from you.
To save time, I won’t go into basics here. But here are couple of fresh ideas for you to try:
Those people who discovered your brand through landing on one of your knowledge graph pages may be unwilling to buy from you. But if for some reason they choose to come back, you need to be ready to give them exactly what they want.
That’s where setting up ongoing retargeting campaigns makes so much sense. If your site visitor came to your site to research how to get started hiking, there’s little to no point in advertising swimming gear to them. But of you remind them of your hiking products, the engagement may get through the roof.
Finteza is the analytics platform that will help you set up retargeting ads on your site based on a multitude of criteria, including visiting specific pages on your site or enrolling for your upcoming webinar.
You do need to have Finteza running on your site for some time before it accumulates enough data on your site past visitors.
Traditional optin forms are getting old. Web users are getting increasing weary of yet another freebie they will get in exchange for their email address.
Email marketing is still a strong channel but it needs more creativity and innovation than a few years ago.
Alter is a smart content recommendation engine that can get your collect more leads from your knowledge base. It is based on artificial intelligence which means it is monitoring your site visitors on a continuous basis to learn how to best engage them:
Alter integrates with major email marketing platforms helping you to grow your list. Additionally, you can tweak its settings to show a customized CTA to those site visitors who came to your site through on of your knowledge base article.
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