Are you losing lots of potential business because you don't know how Search Engine Marketing works? The vast majority of web pages never get any type of traffic. To put it more bluntly:

Nobody really cares about your marketing. Sorry to tell you that, but it’s true.

The problem is that far too many people think that spinning out more and more blog posts is the secret ingredient to getting visitors, wasting time, energy, and resources to clutter an already overcrowded web.

And yet, crickets.

For the purpose of this content maketing guide let’s say you’ve got a pizza restaurant ...

Tufnel’s Pizzeria.

It’s a modest, family-run establishment with a few well-known signature pizzas and a loyal following.

Your website is tidy enough.

It says and does what most modest, family-run pizzerias say and do, and it ranks nicely because you’re the only slice in town.

But then another pizza joint pops up across town.

A big chain franchise with a big budget and even bigger marketing department behind it.

How do you compete? How do you keep on top of Google? How do you ensure that you maintain a decent slice of the pizza searching traffic?

In short: How do you turn your content marketing skills up to 11?

With the help of two real-world content marketing case-study recipes, here’s how.

But before we tuck in ...

Whether you sell pizza, pianos or procurement, let’s be very clear that the only 2 ways to drive organic traffic to your website are:

  1. Backlinks: From premium quality, Google-respected sites in your niche.
  2. And influencer/linkerati endorsements: Social praise from the arch bloggers, critics, publications and enthusiasts in your niche.

These are the only two things that will turn your content marketing up to 11.

Everything that follows from here on in will back this up and show you how to do it.

But hey, enough of my yakking ...

How Elise Bauer Cooked up 27.2K Social Media Engagements

Elise Bauer’s food blog, Simply Recipes, was launched in 2003 and is one of the web’s most popular food blogs with millions of site visitors hungry for her ideas swinging over to it every month.

Of course, the content is the star here.

And I’m always going to assume here and elsewhere that you — or someone who works for you – will be able to knock up tasty, engaging content.

But let’s look below the surface to see how Elise — and you — can turn base ingredients into a winning content publishing and promotion feast.

Elise Bauer’s classic homemade pizza recipe generates 16.1K in organic referral traffic.

This is equivalent to over $17.4K in advertising spend.

It also ranks for 1.9K keywords.

How did Elise Bauer boost her credibility as a foodie influencer and drive such an amount of traffic to her site, Simply Recipes?

Do you think it was because Elise wrote great content for her target audience (people who cook at home who want to make the process of feeding their families less daunting and more enjoyable)?

After all, this is the standard model of blogging ...

That is, if you put out enough great content, keep up that social media punting, and eventually the big players will have to take you seriously.

But it doesn’t work.

Okay, it does, if you want to spend a very, very long time working at it and don’t lose your mind along the way.

But there is another way.

A way that Elise knew well.

Instead of pinning her marketing and ranking hopes on customer kindness and word of mouth, she marketed her site and the content to those big shot individuals and organisations that have the appetite and more importantly the backlining and social sharability power to raise her site to the top of the charts much, much faster.

Let’s look at another classic example of this approach in action.

How Jamie Oliver Gets to Have his Cake and Eat it Too

If you compare the website layout, content and marketing strategy of Jamie Oliver to his local rivals, one thing clearly stands out:

He focuses on providing great content.

Here’s the homepage (and standard approach) of Solita:

Here’s the homepage of The Alberts:

And here’s Salvis’s homepage:

They look okay.

They showcase the food or ambience of their establishments.

And as you’d expect,they tick the boxes for any restaurant site by including information on what they do, where they are, who is behind them, and of course how to book a table.

But now take a look at Jamie Oliver’s homepage:

Sure, you can get all the information you’d expect, but front and centre he is all about ‘selling’ all his experience and learning and with it — this is really important — himself as a cut-above expert in his own right.

His site is about learning and his own celebrity first, the other stuff second.

He covers practical, brand neutral food topics covered like:

  1. The keys to a healthier breakfast — 19.8 k shares.
  2. Impressive Christmas vegan recipes — 14.1k shares.
  3. How to grow tomatoes at home — 6.2k shares.
  4. How to make a beef Wellington (step by step) — 5.2 k shares.

Jamie Oliver gives you great content (as well as the promise of a great meal out).

But by you, I don’t mean you the potential customer; I mean you the backlink granting critic or social sharing food blogger, or you at Google looking for a star food site to send customers flocking to.

And what I like to call Preeminence Marketing, works wonders:

If you want to understand this as a kind of recipe, think of it this way:

  1. The more content you cook up, the more influencers you influence into sharing your content and the more linkerati (bloggers) will want to link to it.
  2. The more backlinks and shares you get, the more traffic comes your way.
  3. The more traffic comes your way, the more Google wants to send traffic your way.

And you don’t need the kind of numbers Jamie can boast for online domination either.

Even though he can boast:

  1. Facebook shares: 35,610
  2. Referring domains: 48,126
  3. Est monthly search volume: 2,661,270

Now contrast the one post Solita published out:

With no backlinks, 2 social shares, and very little traffic, you can quickly see that there is a lot of opportunity for you to make ground.

Quite simply, to become the next Jamie Oliver, you don’t need the cheeky grin and baggy jeans, you don’t even have to be as good a chef as he is: you just need to grasp his skill as a marketer.

A skill built around creating and giving away valuable, typically practical, usually evergreen content that customers will enjoy reading but more importantly food sites and critics will enjoy linking to and sharing.

Get it? I hope so.

With the realisation dawning on you that superstars — in any niche — aren’t born, they are forged by the light of other superstars.

But until you get all diva on us, you need to get cooking up the kind of content that influencers want to chow down on.

And that’s what I’m going to teach you right now.

Tufnel’s Pizza, (Our Pizza goes to 11).

To take your pizzeria to 11, you need to get the steps right.

  1. Uncover keywords that people use to find you.
  2. Find bloggers and writers who are sharing content about your industry.

If possible you are looking to offer media rich, long-form (longer than 2,000 words if possible), practical content that influencers would be happy to stand by and promote.

In other words,

At Tufnel’s Pizzaria, if you publish ‘The Definitive Guide to Reheating Pizza’, a 5,000 word guide with step-by-step instructions and lots of good images and video to help anyone safely reheat their pie (hopefully your own), this guide is not just useful for people (influencers and Linkerati) to share and link to.

And once you have your promotion page ready, it’s time for the big promotional push.

But let’s pause a second. If you want to find out a little more about Step 3, 4 & 5 read my Preeminence Marketing Experiment, but for now, let’s focus in on Step 1.

And to do that, let’s reframe the challenges faced by our fictional pizzeria.

Let’s say that you haven’t really done much on social media. And secondly, that you’re the new pizza place on the block, coming into an existing market dominated by established franchises.

Your two (related) challenges are now:

  1. Make sure anyone peckish out there on social media finds you on social.
  2. Usurping larger and more established nationwide businesses dominating Google’s first page results.

You already know that these 2 challenges must be overcome fast.

If you have a half-filled restaurant or if during the holiday season your takeaway orders are down by 25%, or worse yet it’s even been lost to competitive initiatives it’s all going to affect your bottom line.

It gets worse:

Also, you know — or should by now — that website backlinks and social engagement are the key ingredients to helping your business compete: if no one is talking about you or linking to you, Google won’t bite.

So where do you start?

Uncover keywords that people use to find you.

The first place to start is to look at what Google is showing for a simple search for pizza in your area, as this is probably the default search term used by any of your customers.

Here’s an example of a local search for “pizza greenwich”.

If you’re doing this for yourself, just swap ‘pizza’ for your goods or service and ‘greenwich’ for your location.

I know, it’s not rocket science (not yet!) but you’d be surprised how few businesses are aware of who ranks where for the most basic search terms used by their customers.

The next step is to look at some popular customer search queries.

To do that, head over to Soolve — Soolve is a free tool that pulls auto-complete suggestions from a handful of different sources - and enter a seed-keyword like: “pizza”.

You’re looking specifically for keywords that someone would use to find helpful content about your site’s niche (in our case pizza).

As soon as you start typing, you’ll see some instant suggestions from companies like Google, Amazon, Wikipedia and YouTube.

Just hit the space bar after you've entered your first word.

The great thing about Soolve is that you’ll be presented with a list of options from a variety of sources.

A few popular topics could be:

  1. pizza dough
  2. pizza recipe
  3. pizza dough recipe
  4. pizza sauce

Finding out what people really want to know

We’re all guilty of going with our gut when it comes to intuiting our target audience but it is possible to uncover topics you can use that are related to what other people are also searching for.

The trick is to research into some common questions: the ‘what,’ ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how.’

Another helpful tool is, Answer The Public, a keyword research and analysis tool bringing hundreds of Google and Bing autosuggest results.

Again, enter your keyword and you'll find lots of questions and popular prepositions.

The suggestions are powered by the aggregation of all the data from searchers just like you.

After entering one of our keywords (pizza sauce) I was quickly able to note:

  1. pizza sauce recipe
  2. pizza sauce for cauliflower pizza
  3. how make pizza sauce at home
  4. how make pizza sauce from scratch
  5. pizza sauce gluten free recipe
  6. pizza sauce without sugar

Find bloggers and writers who are sharing content about your industry.

What type of visitors will most likely scream and shout about your brand?

The answer of course is not your customers – they don’t have the power or very often the will to do this for you.

The answer is super loyal, avid fans.

Brand evangelists with the will and the blogging means to spread the word further and wider than you ever could (at least to begin with).

Now, most brands know who these people are.

If not, a simple search will uncover those people blogging or active on social media who regularly praise what you do, who share your blogs or promos and who have the platform to do this more systematically.

But don’t stop there.

You also need to identify the influencers in your niche who don’t know anything about you at all.

Bloggers and writers who are sharing content about your industry — but who are sadly unaware of you.

Your job with the latter is to get on their radar.

To introduce yourself and make friends with them.

Start looking here on Google.

The top results in Google are high-quality websites which influencers contribute to, (which is why they’re on the first page in the first place!), so it's time to start searching for them using our informational keywords.

Things like:

  1. pizza sauce recipe
  2. pizza sauce for cauliflower pizza
  3. how make pizza sauce at home
  4. how make pizza sauce from scratch
  5. pizza sauce gluten free recipe
  6. pizza sauce without sugar

Enter any of these generic keywords into Google and you'll see lots of helpful content and some possible ideas for your new material too.

Notice that instead of seeing a vast list of competitors you’re seeing lots of high-quality lifestyle sites or blogs written by people clearly demonstrating that they have a passion for articles about Restaurants, Good Food or All things Pizza!

Make a list of about 10—20 high-quality helpful articles about your topic.

After you’ve finished with one keyword, try another.

Now it’s time to look for the Linkerati, people that “link to” the high-quality sites or articles we’ve just discovered.

To discover the Linkerati, you’ll need to use a backlink service.

Unfortunately, there are no free options; all of these require a monthly subscription.

But:

For this demo I’ve recently discovered a quick alternative that lets you try out a few tests in an easy-to-view manner that will do the trick.

SEMrush is a powerful and versatile competitive intelligence suite for online marketing, from SEO and PPC to social media and video advertising research.

Enter any of the URLs we've previously collected in the above search bar. (Try both the full article URL and the domain.)

In our example we’re using http://allrecipes.co.uk, which has over 2000 backinks from unique domains.

In the navigation, click the Backlinks tab.

Then view all the sites that link out to that article or site.

You’re looking to expand your list of enthusiasts or bloggers that cover your niche, and as you’ve seen have a proven track record of linking to or engaging with influencers.

Note 20 or so of the best blogger type candidates that seem to be a good fit.

Now it's just a case of checking out any similar websites and reviewing who's linking to them too.

Finally, draw up an influencer list and cook up a strategy for making them aware of who you are, what you do – and more importantly how and why you can influence them into influencing their followers and readers into checking you out.

But always remember that an influencer is an individual who has the power to affect the purchase decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position or relationship with an audience.

They may like you.

They may love your backstory and love your pizza.

But if your content is weak, they won’t share it.

Still with me?

Before we wrap this post up here's something further to think about ..

If you only focus your marketing strategy on search, you’re only in with a chance when someone goes looking.

Thats means, if no one goes looking you don’t get seen.

And also think of it as an auction:

When everyone is ‘bidding on’ or ‘optimising for’ the same stuff, the price and competition continues to increase dramatically.

Social Media Marketing

So in the following post here's how to get new clients if nobody’s ever found of you ..

Yours for those blockbuster breakthroughs,

Stephen

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A “bad” marketing strategy will fail at all the above, rapidly burn through your marketing budget, and provide little return on investment.

A "good" marketing strategy will help you find new clients, help them see the world through a “better” lens, then quickly turn those prospects into new appointments.
Stephen Shaw. Founder of An Artful Science.
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