You’re almost as sick of hearing that “content is king” as us. Still, the years’ old digital marketing buzzphrase is one of the most enduringly true in the industry. According to Google’s search quality senior strategist Andrey Lipattsev, content is the most critical ranking factor – and has been for years. Suppose you want to succeed in the digital sphere. In that case, your website must host high-quality content relevant to your target audience.
But content is by no means the only ranking factor out there. Backlinks are very much “still in the game”. We’re not talking about the spammy backlinks your old SEO agency might have built you back in 2011. Oh no! We’re talking about high-quality backlinks from various relevant and authoritative domains.
These are different from the kind of backlinks you can buy. These are backlinks that need to be earned. And how can you make backlinks which boost your digital presence? With great content, of course!
This is precisely why content and backlinks go hand in hand. Excellent content has power on its own, but it can also be used to generate even more value by attracting top-quality links. As former Google web spam head Matt Cutts once said, “link building is sweat and creativity”. The majority of the creativity portion of that equation boils down to building great content.
Many brands allocate considerable budgets to highly sophisticated content strategies, and spending on content marketing is growing. By 2027, content marketing is expected to increase by £500 billion, with 70% of B2B marketers planning to create more content in 2023 than in 2022.
With so much money invested in content, how can businesses with smaller budgets compete?
The beauty of content marketing is that there are plenty of ways to generate good results on a shoestring. You may need more resources to analyse 20 different buyer personas and fresh design content for every stage of their unique buying journey each week, honing your approach by carefully monitoring and measuring results. However, you can still develop quality in-house content, positively impacting your digital presence.
Harnessing content marketing can benefit businesses of all sizes, especially when it gives them an edge over their competition. For example, out of five beauty salons in Streatham, the salon that invests the most in content marketing and link building will likely have the most robust web presence.
So, how can you create quality content which will earn links while operating on a shoestring budget? We’ve got some helpful tips and ideas anyone can put into practice…
Create something great
It may sound simple, but trying to make something good will make a difference when generating high-quality, linkable content. Content marketing is often a case of filling blogs up with rehashed articles and unoriginal pieces. This doesn’t attract readers, and it won’t earn links.
Instead, put your thinking hat on and put energy into coming up with something new, interesting, original or valuable. In short, something good. If you’re stuck for ideas, we have a few that could work for your brand…
Do your own research.
New research is an excellent piece of brand-new, interesting and shareable content. This is a perfect option for B2B businesses looking for something fresh to publish in their sector. Research can be inexpensive to undertake, too.
Tools like Google Forms and Survey Monkey will help you gather data (you may want to incentivise participation with a prize draw) while writing a report and creating graphs of your findings can be handled in-house, undertaken using tools like Canva or outsourced affordably to a freelancer.
To hit on the ideal research to conduct, think about the questions you hear most frequently from customers or clients, focus on something rapidly changing in your niche, or explore something new in your line of business.
Create a useful resource
If you’re not feeling excited or entertained – be useful! Helpful content is a fantastic link-earner, providing the value users want to pass on and share. Whether you’re creating a resource collating your favourite hemp milk recipes all over the web (an excellent approach for B2Cs) or building a collection of valuable resources for self-employed individuals (from tax tips to procrastination busters), this type of content is easy to assemble and great for sharing – especially with a niche target market.
Creating a helpful resource like the examples listed above also gives you a fantastic opportunity to reach out to influencers in your sphere and to earn links from the best quality sources amongst them. For instance, you could contact the authors behind those hemp milk recipes to thank them for their contribution.
Flattery will get you the most places, meaning that influencers in your sector are more likely to reciprocate if you have already extolled the virtues of what they offer. The link may come from a social account, or it may come from a fantastic authoritative site – either way, it’s a win!
There are some more direct ways to get influencers connected to your content. You can create a roundup of the biggest names on a specialist subject related to your brand, or you can contact an array of influencers in your niche asking for tips, advice, or insight you can share in an extensive bumper list. Whichever route you choose, this type of content could enjoy some impressive exposure.
Get it out there
Of course, just like that silent tree in the deserted forest, if you create great content but nobody ever stumbles across it, doesn’t it really make any difference? The short answer is “not really”. Although quality content will help your rankings to some degree just by being on-site, it’s more or less a wasted resource if it’s not generating traffic and links.
So how can you get your freshly made, on-a-shoestring content out there? Connecting with influencers, as explained earlier, is a good start. You’ll also want to publish your content via all your social media channels and an enticing image and tagline to help increase clicks. Taking note of these SME social media “don’ts” will help make this approach more compelling. Email marketing and press releases are good ways to get your content noticed. Ensuring your website looks and performs beautifully will help readers stick around and explore further.