Building the Foundation of Content Marketing with Fernando Angulo
Like anything else, if the foundation of content marketing is not strong, it will not sustain the numerous changes and the 360-degree evolution that this field of marketing has already been seeing for two decades.
Fernando Angulo, Senior Market Research Manager at Semrush, discusses the basics of content marketing and offers insight into its foundation in conversation with Anirudh Singla, CEO, of Pepper Content.
1. What got you into content and how has it been?
My background is in economics and I have a Masters in marketing—classic marketing, not digital—from St. Petersburg, Russia. My journey with content started around 20 years ago when I started my first blog. Of course, in those days, technology was pretty primitive. The blog was about me being a foreigner in another country and I was amazed at how people interacted with my content then. People embracing somebody's opinion was really powerful. And that is what I’ve carried with me ever since, even into this role at Semrush.
2. How has content marketing changed from what it was 10 years ago?
Today, content is basically everything that is surrounding us because we are consuming it in everything we see or touch - the cellphone, radio, tv, social media, and the internet. Everything that the user wants is available in just a couple of clicks.
Today, content marketers need to be where the user is. And we have the luxury of several platforms. Earlier it was just Google, but today you even have Netflix, Amazon or even TikTok. There is no single way to grab your users’ attention either. We need to teach them, find out their interests, and build our online visibility based on that.
3. What's your thought process when it comes to building a content strategy?
Content’s key role has been to attract attention and retain users. Three steps are crucial in the content creation process - the first is to optimize existing content. After a certain point, there is no need to create more content; make the existing content more understandable and accessible. The second step is to carry out a topic analysis. Create new content that is trendy, useful at the moment, and massive enough to engage your audiences.
And the last part is competitive analysis. Assessing what your competitors are doing, how to track them and their content, and what the audience response is, is crucial to your overall strategy.
4. What advice would you give someone who's looking to understand more about this field?
Create content that is useful and inspiring. In this post-pandemic world, there is so much content out there that it is difficult to stand out. By all means, follow Google’s guidelines, but focus on one golden rule - spend 20% of your time creating content and the remaining 80% promoting it.
5. How must marketers distinguish between content to create and content to promote?
There are different ways to approach this depending on the industry. Each industry’s audience will have a unique interest, channel, and medium. A doctor or health worker will consume more professional, health-related content, but a tourist will look at more videos and images. So if you’re looking to promote your content - look at how your audience will perceive it and where they will view that content.
Always consider their opinion of your content. Understand this through metrics to know more about - the percentage of users that are consuming your content, how many stay on your website, how they interact with your content, and how many are willing to come back for more or looking for similar content on other platforms. And finally, market research is a great tool to understand what to do next.
6. What is your opinion on building in-house teams versus outsourcing and eventually scaling?
I think the first step is to have talented writers who understand deadlines in your internal team. And, they need to be able to tell you how much time they’d need to create a piece of content. You may have a deadline in mind, but if it doesn’t work for them, it won’t work for you. Talent is a crucial part of any team - especially when the team grows.
When it comes to managing an external group of copywriters, you need to ensure that they’re aligned with your content needs. Review them, and give them an idea of your brand and internal guidelines. Your external team is also the one that follows content trends and helps you understand how it can be helpful for your users. So, eventually, both teams, need to be well-aligned with your business needs.
Don’t create content for the sake of it. Content needs to be created with a purpose, and the teams that work on it - internal or external - need to know how to create engaging content keeping the brand guidelines and voice in mind.
7. What is your opinion on the content quantity versus quality dilemma?
That's a great question. Most startups and business owners want quick results, but that's not the way that content works these days. I believe content is about the long-term goal. If you want quick results, you can create a vast amount of content, but that’s going to be like throwing rocks into the ocean. You can have a little effect, but there is no overall impact.
So, if you're thinking long-term, quantity is always the right choice. This is where evergreen content comes in. When you have evergreen content, you may be hesitant to change it since it may have driven around 20% of your incoming traffic. But you must remember that you have to tweak the content according to the search engine algorithm changes.
Have a strategy in place and remember that even your evergreen content can be better. So in this case, quality is always the best choice.
8. What is your advice to today’s content marketers - what should they not do?
A content marketer’s profile is varied - they need to have SEO skills, data skills, PR skills, They must have practical knowledge of advertising, and product knowledge. They need to have the ability to understand how to promote content, and how to analyze it.
But the one thing they should not do is stop doing their job once they are done publishing content. It is crucial for content marketers to maintain momentum by tracking content, analyzing results, and gathering metrics. They need to be able to assess the results and make decisions regarding what content needs to be tweaked and what doesn’t.
Tweaks are a crucial part of content creation because things are constantly changing. When introducing changes or refreshing content, search engines recognize it and help it rank better.
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