Nowadays, there’s no shortage of content marketing advice in the industry from the importance of data-driven strategies and predictive analytics to truly measuring content marketing ROI. Yet, content marketing presents a different face in different business environments. Today’s market calls for ongoing innovation and for those digital marketers that can champion the necessary changes, there can be desired results.
With that said, we introduce you to Igor Go from Serpstat. Igor has observed and championed his share of content marketing obstacles and innovations and was very eager to bring his story to your attention. In this interview, Igor talks how Serpstat develops a content marketing strategy while being in a very competitive milieu and gives his tips on how to grow from a copywriter into a content creator.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got started with content marketing
I’ve always been interested in computers but my short attention span didn’t help much with learning programming languages. So I found another way to get involved. I never planned to be a content marketer, but my previous jobs and my interests were all closely related to production of digital, so in retrospective it seems inevitable.
Which metrics do we need to look at to measure content marketing performance?
It’s hard to selects KPIs that really help to measure for the marketing effectiveness of content, but It’s doable if you divide content by type and set a goal for each type of content. Of course, you can’t measure everything: for instance, you will never know how many people are considering to try a product after reading your blog post. Yet, there are a lot of indicators that might be helpful in finding out which topics are resonating with your audience such as social shares, visits, time on page. Unfortunately, there’s no universal way to measure the performance of content marketing, so it requires a lot of testing.
Which type of content brings the highest number of users that convert into customers?
For us, in Serpstat, it’s ‘how to' articles and use cases that show how you can do things with our tool, especially if it’s a complex process that can be simplified with the help of Serpstat. Such content shows true value of Serpstat: people who read this type of content see what they are capable of when using our tool and often jump straight to making a decision to become our regular customers. We have several unique features that a lot of people are looking for, and showcasing these features works great.
Could you name the obstacles Serpstat faced when trying to execute a global content strategy? What were the solutions to those challenges?
We’re still facing a lot of obstacles. Our biggest problem is that we’re targeting countries without being physically present there. Networking is hard when you can’t be properly introduced to someone who can help with promotion or someone who can become a client. This is one of the many problems we’re facing, but it’s the one that we’re unable to fix yet.
How does Serpstat face competition from such celebrated brands as Moz and SEMrush?
Competing with brands like MOZ and SEMrush is hard, but it’s great to have them as competitors, because we can learn a lot from them. Our only objective here is to make a better product, and we’re working hard on it. Striving for being better is our main goal and for us it’s easier than any other type of competition. When you have to face companies like MOZ and SEMrush, marketing alone won’t help here.
We know that starting from August, 1 your company has become a full-fledged SEO-platform. How did your marketing team manage to carry out this transition?
We created a lot of hype among our clients and then realized that maybe we wouldn’t be able to accomplish everything in time, — this part was a bit scary. But our developers made it all happen and we had a successful launch. Now, our content marketing team has a lot to write about, and I don’t even know where to begin. Before the 1st of August I had a job, now I actually have four.
What is your take on the effectiveness of press releases and sponsored content?
Sponsored content is a great way to promote a product, but it’s not something I’d make a part of a content plan. I think that sponsored content is closer to PPC advertising than it is to content marketing. In terms of effectiveness, sponsored content and press releases show great results. Of course, the outcomes may vary, but if your content is good, then results will be satisfying.
What are your most trusted sources of information around content marketing to stay updated and inspired?
I’m a big fan of Inbound.org and MOZ blog, both of them constantly provide great and useful content. On top of that, I’m a regular on a few SEO-forums and Subreddits, which are also great sources of inspiration.
Which tools for content marketing do you personally swear by?
Canva always comes to mind first. It’s a free online image editor. I like it because it’s one of the few tools that can turn a copywriter into a content creator. There are people who call themselves content marketers, but they are only able to produce one type of content, — text. It’s not bad, but it’s much better, when people can create a cover for their post without bothering a designer.
Another great tool is Tilda. It’s a publishing platform that we use on our blog. Everything looks pretty on Tilda (probably, it should be their slogan). And it also helps content marketers do more than just write.
Serpstat’s search suggestions tool is also the one that I constantly use. Sure, I’m not in the best position to recommend it (my judgement is clouded), but even if I didn’t work at Serpstat, I’d still use it. It’s free and it just gives you a list of content ideas on any subject. Moreover, these ideas are, in fact, search suggestions, which means you’re addressing an audience that is looking for such content.
Could you share a quick tip for how companies can gain quick wins in their content efforts?
Some people say there’s no such thing as a quick win, but I think there is. Choosing the right social media platform to share your content and following the trends are great ways to make your content visible instantly. It also should result in accomplishing your goals: if your content failed to convert, it simply wasn’t good enough or delivered a wrong message. To give a quick example, we have an article about Reddit on our blog that is still extremely popular, but it has never brought any conversions, since it has nothing to do with our product. We could have edited it in order to sneak in something promotional, but I decided to keep it as it is, as a reminder.
Any predictions about what the state of content marketing will be in 2017? Will virtual reality change the role of content and replace text?
Text won’t be replaced, not in our field for sure. At this point, VR is, indeed, just a gimmick. I have VR gear and I’ve only used it like 3 times in a month. I don’t think that VR is going to change anything by the year 2017; but it could be the case later on.
We’re already halfway through 2016 and everything is almost exactly the same as in 2015. I’m saying ‘almost', as I personally don’t see any difference.
Content marketing always improves and changes by itself. The more competitive it becomes, the more quality content we can expect.
Igor is a Digital Marketing Consultant and a Head of Content-Marketing Department at Serpstat — an all in one SEO platform that consists of 5 modules: Rank Tracking, Backlink Analysis, Keyword Research, Competitor Analysis and Site Audit. His experience in digital marketing comes from a career in e-commerce where his responsibilities involved working on international relationships and networking. In 2015 Igor joined Serpstat where he quickly gained sufficient knowledge in fields like SEO, PPC, Digital Marketing and so on, learning from the leading local experts.
Igor has worked on various types of content while at Serpstat — from writing articles and blog posts to creating white papers, infographics, hosting webinars and creating an educational program (Serpstat Academy) that helps people learn about keywords and their use in competitive analysis