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Big businesses make big plans. They also create elaborate marketing schemes to put those plans into action.

It’s easy for SMB (small and medium business) owners and their teams to feel that a full-fledged marketing plan is out of their reach. While they may lack the resources to go toe to toe with larger competitors in the market, though, that makes the strategic planning and guidance of small business marketing efforts that much more valuable.

Let’s go over what it means to create marketing plans for small businesses, why having a small business marketing strategy is so important for success, and how your business can create its own master marketing plan.

What are Marketing Plans for Small Businesses?

A marketing plan, at its most fundamental level, is a series of steps that you can take to promote your brand and its products and services to consumers. In other words, a marketing plan isn’t your actual marketing activity. It’s the strategy or guidelines that you create to set those initiatives in motion. 

In the context of marketing plans for small businesses, this could include anything from creating a website to crafting an email drip campaign, drafting a social media marketing campaign, building credibility through digital PR, and more. A small business marketing plan takes the limited resources of a small business and considers how that entity can effectively reach its target audience with its marketing.

Why are Marketing Plans for Small Businesses Important?

Grasping the goal of a marketing plan is the easy part. For a small business team with finite time and resources, justifying the investment in a marketing plan is where things can bog down.  

It’s tempting to redirect your team’s efforts toward activities with more immediate or tangible results, such as sales or product development. When you take the time to invest in a genuine growth-oriented marketing plan, though, you can provide a long-term blueprint for growth that you simply can’t recreate through other areas of business activity.

The goal of a marketing plan is to create basic parameters, such as a schedule and marketing budget, that help you optimize your promotional resources. Developing the plan itself may require some extra investment, but the benefits are well worth it.  

By planning ahead of time, you give yourself the opportunity to consider all of your marketing options. It also allows you to either establish or revisit key factors, such as your target audience, primary selling points, and your competition. From there, you can decide which marketing activities are the most cost-effective and beneficial for your brand, as well as the order in which you need to execute them.  

For example, a marketing plan might reveal that paying for ongoing PPC (pay-per-click) ads is exorbitant and expensive over the long term. It also may reveal that the money saved from slashing your PPC ads in half allows you to invest in a content marketing strategy. From there, you can plot out the steps required to generate, optimize, and promote that content (see the next section) as an effective way to put your marketing in motion. 

Small business marketing plans also allow you to gauge the ROI of your marketing investments over time. This gives you the ability to make adjustments and maximize results as you go along. It also frees you up to be more creative in your long-term approach to marketing by building on past successes that you otherwise might not have known about.

What Should You Include in Marketing Plans for Small Businesses?

If you’re sold on the concept of developing a marketing plan for your small business but aren’t quite sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. In the following section, we’ll break

down a step-by-step analysis of how you can turn your marketing ambitions into a solid plan of action that can guide you.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

It’s easy to skip this step, but trust us, you don’t want to do that. Most small business owners think they know their marketing goals — and in a certain sense, that’s true. As an involved executive of a smaller enterprise, you probably have your finger on the pulse of your organization more than most leaders. 

But that proximity to daily operations and activities can also make it easy to cloud out the big-picture stuff at times. Before you establish your marketing plan, take a minute to step back. 

What are you trying to accomplish with your marketing in the next year? What about the next five years? Do you want to generate revenue? Build brand awareness? Increase online visibility? Spark long-term growth? 

Each goal is related to your marketing, but the differences are important. Get each specific marketing goal in place before you flesh out your plan.

Step 2: Identify Your Audience

Your target audience should be the central focal point of your entire operation. When you develop products, you should consider whom they serve. When you bring them to market, you want to consider how to communicate to a select group of consumers that they’re available to solve their problems.

Make sure you have a buyer persona in place that reflects precisely whom you’re trying to market to and what their pain points are. If you’ve already considered what your customer base looks like, use this step to review that data and ensure that it’s informed by up-to-date market research.

Step 3: Consider Resources and Competition

As a final step to set the stage for your planning, review what resources you have available. As a small business, do you have a marketing team, or does that responsibility overlap with other employees (or yourself)? How much time do you have to invest in marketing? What is your marketing budget? What assets do you already have, such as a CRM or social media marketing tools?

Also, consider conducting a fresh round of competitive analysis. You likely did this when you were pulling together your business plan. Go back and observe how your competitors are marketing themselves to your target audience. Note the pros and cons of their efforts.

Step 4: Identify the Marketing Tactics You Can Use

Now comes the marketing magic. Once you’ve considered your goals, target audience, resources, and competition, it’s time to bring it all together. 

Consider the marketing tactics you have available and which ones best meet your current marketing needs. Then, weave these marketing ideas into a plan that considers resources and timelines. A few common marketing tactics that work well for small businesses include:

Remember, you’re a small business with limited marketing resources. Consider which tactic is particularly relevant to your brand at the moment, and invest in those areas first.

Step 5: Establish Success Metrics and Feedback Loops

Finally, consider how you’ll track your marketing over time. Use tools like Google Analytics 4 to keep tabs on important marketing metrics, such as ranking for brand keywords, measuring organic traffic, and tracking conversions.

Also, request feedback from customers and team members and then use that information to hone your marketing activities moving forward. If you’re unsure how to adapt your plan (or create one in the first place), consider working with a growth marketing agency that can bring a cost-effective degree of experience and knowledge to bear on your brand’s marketing initiatives.

Building Master Marketing Plans for Small Businesses

As a small business, you may have limited time, money, and tools to work with. However, that doesn’t mean investing in a marketing plan isn’t worth it.

On the contrary, creating an effective marketing strategy helps you ensure that every ounce of resources you pour into promoting your business has a purpose. This gives you the best chance of sparking genuine, measurable growth, which can enable you to build larger marketing budgets, plans, and strategies in the future.


The goal of a startup team is to grow a company from nothing into a dominant force in its industry. While entrepreneurs are clearly invested in growth, that doesn’t mean they understand how to incorporate the concept into their digital marketing.

Too often, a startup owner is only willing to invest in haphazard marketing activities. They neglect to create a solid startup marketing strategy early in their business’s life.

The thing is, the startup phase is the ideal time to invest in long-term marketing. That’s right. It’s actually the best time to initiate a solid growth marketing strategy. Here’s why.

What Is Growth Marketing for Startups?

Growth marketing sounds simple — and at its core, it is. Growth marketers help brands grow. The nuance comes from the way that they do so.

For example, a growth marketer is not the same as a growth hacker. The latter utilizes a low-cost marketing tactic to acquire a new customer quickly. This leads to dramatic but unsustainable growth.

In contrast, a growth marketer uses similar low-cost marketing tactics. However, they weave them together to create synergistic, sustainable growth over the long term. These growth strategy tactics tend to revolve around three key pillars:

So, how does all of this apply to startups? Consider this.

Growth marketing doesn’t require a massive budget or a 10-year marketing plan. It is an approach to marketing that can shrink or expand based on a company’s resources. This makes it an accessible and effective way to promote a new business — when done well, of course.

Why Is Growth Marketing for Startups Important?

Growth marketing isn’t just accessible. It is an ideal way for small businesses to begin building marketing momentum. Here are some of the specific elements that make growth marketing so ideal for startup marketing.

Growth Marketing Is Flexible

Unlike traditional marketing, growth marketing is also flexible. For instance, if you already have a solid resource library on your website, you may not need to invest in more content creation. Instead, you can round things out by focusing on digital PR or working with an SEO expert to clean up and optimize your existing content for a search engine.

Growth Marketing Is a Long-Term Investment With “Snowball” Potential

Growth marketing in the startup phase gives you the longest possible runway to generate, adapt to, and optimize results. This is a big deal. 

Remember, growth marketing isn’t growth hacking. Growth marketers seek sustainable, long-term growth through consistent, targeted marketing activities. Given enough time, this can create a snowball effect. This is helpful for any established company. For a startup, though, it can provide the early impetus to send their growth into the stratosphere.

What Are Tips for Doing Growth Marketing for Startups Well?

Growth marketing has exciting potential. But you need to engage in growth marketing in the right way if you want your marketing efforts to pay off. That said, here are a few tips to help you kickstart your startup’s growth marketing the right way.

1. Define Your Growth Goals

Always start with goals. As a startup, it can be difficult to reduce your promotional focus to a single set of objectives. Review your business plan and consider the initial goals you should aim for, especially where your marketing budget and revenue are concerned.

These can be both short and long-term objectives. The key is to have a specific focus from the get-go. Growth marketing takes time, and you don’t want to invest in the wrong areas.

2. Know Your Audience

Your target audience should be at the heart of every growth marketing decision that you make. From messaging to tactics to channels, filter everything through your ideal consumer’s eyes.

The advantage of engaging in growth marketing in the startup stage is that you likely have a decent amount of market research available from initially setting up your business. Use this data to build buyer personas, tailor your content marketing to your ideal customer, and ensure that everything is focused on your target market.

3. Choose Your Growth Marketing Themes

It should be pretty clear by now that growth marketing techniques work best when they're focused. This includes your messaging. You don’t want to market every benefit and perk your company offers, or you’ll spread your resources too thin. Narrow your promotional messaging down to two or three primary themes that set your brand apart.

These are the things you want to build your reputation around more than anything else. They answer customer needs and set you apart from the competition. As you start building a growth marketing strategy with limited resources, focus on one of these themes. You can diversify your resources to bring the other themes into the picture as you grow.

4. Use the Right Growth Marketing Tactics and Tools

There are many different ways to engage in growth marketing. Guest posting, social media, referral marketing, and influencers are great for digital PR. Keyword research and linking while creating blog content are excellent for SEO. White papers, how-to videos, and email marketing are powerful forms of content strategy.

Your job is to consider which of these tools is accessible to you right now and can provide the most effect within your industry and for your startup, in particular. Whether you’re using email for nurturing authority, working with an influencer for credibility, or boosting visibility and brand awareness with better technical SEO, make sure to consider each tool you have available. This is where working with a growth marketing agency can help you develop the strategy for your startup that brings all of your options and resources together in the most effective way.

5. Focus on Quick Wins and Future Goals

Growth hacking obsesses over short-term gains, but that doesn’t mean quick wins are a bad thing. It’s overemphasizing them through various growth hacking tactics that derails marketing momentum over time.

If you want to benefit from growth marketing, you still want to look for quick wins (such as working with an influencer for fast exposure). The trick comes with balancing that with long-term investment, such as search engine optimization, which can take months to generate results. Keep both in mind as you go along.

Using Growth Marketing to Get Startup Momentum

Growth marketing for startups is a steady, synergistic approach to marketing. It utilizes all of the marketing tools and tactics available, adapting them to your company’s needs and resources.

This makes it an ideal option for a startup. Use it to build a thoughtful growth marketing strategy for your burgeoning brand. This can provide some early momentum that can only continue to grow as your young company finds its sea legs.

Everyone and their mother is aware of the marketing concepts of “SEO” and “organic traffic.” These are terms that refer to optimizing the flow of certain kinds of traffic that come to websites from search engines.

But what does search engine optimization actually mean? What is it that makes the organic traffic that comes from SEO different from other sources of traffic on the internet? Let’s break down the concept of organic traffic and look at some of its benefits, along with how you can improve your SEO strategy to boost organic traffic to your site.

What Is Organic Traffic?

Let’s start with a basic (but critical) definition. What is organic search traffic?

The leading SEO optimization platform Semrush defines organic traffic as “the number of website visitors that come from unpaid search engine results (as opposed to paid results).”

The definition makes two important distinctions:

You can increase your organic traffic by using SEO optimization techniques. This boosts your SERP rankings and ensures that your website URLs show up more often in front of a potential customer with search intent that aligns with your brand’s solutions.

4 Benefits of Organic Traffic

It’s one thing to understand what organic traffic is. But how can it actually help your brand? Here are four of the biggest benefits that come from a healthy flow of organic traffic.

1. Organic Traffic Is Affordable

The easiest differentiating factor here is the cost. Organic traffic is, technically speaking, free. This is especially true compared to paid search, which requires payment for each ad placement or click. When you stop paying for those clicks, you lose that site traffic, those potential conversions and that revenue. With organic, it’s the gift that keeps on giving if you can stay in those top spots.

Keep in mind that you can still spend a tidy sum on organic SEO and content creation. However, in most cases, the costs associated with organic search are well worth the investment. Once you have the onsite authority established and are ranking well, you just need to do the upkeep to stay ranking well.

2. Organic Traffic Is Consistent

Organic search can take months to build momentum. A keyword could see movement after just a couple of months if you already have onsite authority built up. However, to rank for a more competitive search term can take a year or more depending on what work needs to be done to rank well. Do some keyword research to help you choose a relevant keyword that aligns with your goals.

While it may lack the instant gratification of a paid ad, once you rank for a keyword, you can count on a steady flow of search traffic. This leads to a consistent flow of increased customers that doesn’t require ongoing PPC investment to maintain (as is the case with paid search).

3. Organic Traffic Can Create High-Quality Leads

Organic traffic comes from content that is not just tailored to search engines. It also answers very real human search queries. That means it offers value to readers.

The result of this targeted approach is that you attract readers who genuinely benefit from the value that your content offers. In addition, organic content is often niche and specific, focusing on topics toward the bottom of the marketing funnel. This leads to higher quality leads and more conversions.

4. Organic Traffic Signals Authority + Industry Ownership

When your SEO content strategy targets the user experience, it sends the message that you know what you’re talking about. The fact that the content shows up organically (rather than being clearly placed through a paid promotion) reflects well on your brand, naturally increasing your authority.

Visibility is a critical part of growth marketing. When you organically pop up in conversation simply based on the quality of your relevant content, it signals to others that you are a strong contender in your industry.

Tips to Increase Organic Traffic on Your Website

Organic traffic is important. It can benefit your brand in multiple ways. But how can your business tap into those benefits? Here are a few ways to help you get that organic traffic flowing (or if you’ve already started, turning a trickle of visitors into a flood).

As you consider ways to attract consumers to your brand online, remember to keep organic traffic in the mix. It requires upfront investment and patience. Consider partnering with a growth marketing agency that specializes in increasing organic traffic. With the help of an expert, the benefits that this unique form of marketing offers are too good to ignore if you want to take your company to the next level.

Marketers love conversions. These are the moments when a consumer takes a desired action, whether that’s clicking on an ad, requesting a demo, or making a purchase.

Your website conversion rate is a critical metric for success. A good conversion rate can help you boost search engine optimization, learn about the customer journey, increase revenue, and more.

However, simply seeing your conversion stats isn’t enough. You need to have the skills, strategies, and tools to increase conversions, too. Here are a few tips to help you increase your website conversion rate on your website.

1. Define Your Website Goals

Before you invest a penny in any of the other suggestions on this list, start by considering what you’re trying to accomplish with your website conversions in the first place. Defining goals is important in any area of business.

A clear conversion goal is where everything starts. They give you an endpoint to aim for as you make conversion-related decisions.

If you already have goals, make sure they’re up to date. If you don’t have goals yet, invest in creating clear, well-defined benchmarks to aim for on your website. This could be anything from email sign-ups to requesting a service.

As you update or create goals, consider your company’s mission and vision. Conduct competitor analysis. Evaluate current customer wants and needs. As you gather information, use this to inform your goals.

2. Improve Both the Quality and Quantity of Your Traffic

One way to improve your conversions is through more traffic. If you’re converting 5% of site visitors and you double your traffic from 1,000 website visitors to 2,000 website visitors, your conversion rate may not increase, but the number of conversions will double all the same.

This will naturally increase your website conversion rate. As you create landing pages, blog content, and sales descriptions for your site, get a rock-solid SEO strategy in place to optimize everything for maximum traffic.

Having a visitor on your website is one thing. Attracting a potential customer is another. That’s why, along with improving your overall quantity of traffic, you also want to consider conversion rate optimization or CRO.

A focus on CRO, or conversion rate optimization, will help you encourage more users to complete your desired action, meaning more conversions and more revenue for you. Sometimes it's as small as changing the color of a button or moving your value propositions higher on the page.

Again, SEO is critical here. Consider what keywords you’re ranking for in relation to your target audience. At the same time, write for the reader first and search engines second. This will ensure that you’re attracting high-quality traffic.

3. Be Strategic With Your Content

Content “in bulk” is never a good digital marketing strategy — especially in a world where Google’s E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) guidelines are looking for real answers to search queries.

The increasing sophistication of AI-powered search engines means you can’t pump out 101-level content and call it a day. If you want your content to convert, you need to create it thoughtfully.

As you come up with content schedules and brainstorm ideas, consider what topics and themes you want to identify your brand that best align with the customer experience. What areas of industry authority do you want to corner? What copy best practices can you put in place to ensure you stay consistent?

As you clarify your brand focus, consider what customer questions and needs you can answer. How can a blog post offer genuine, on-theme topical value to website visitors through your content? When you build your content strategy with that in mind, you’re more likely to meet potential customer intent, improve user experience, boost your Google rankings, and increase your websites conversion rate in the process.

4. Gauge What Is Working — and Then Improve What Isn’t

As you look for ways to increase traffic, improve the quality of your site visitors, and clean up your content, you need to gauge if those efforts are working. This is where tracking your conversion metrics comes into play. Even if they are yielding results, are those results good enough? Can you optimize things further?

If you want to improve your CRO, you need to test what is and isn’t working on your site. This starts by assessing your CTAs. Where are you asking a visitor to take action?

As you analyze each CTA, look for those that are underperforming. When a CTA isn’t resonating with consumers, create value propositions to encourage them to take action.

For instance, if no one is signing up for a newsletter, provide a free whitepaper or a useful template as an incentive to sign up. Adding social proof from satisfied customers near a CTA is another great option.

5. Nurture More Conversion Opportunities

Once you’ve considered your traffic, analyzed your existing content, and optimized your CTAs, it’s time to look for new ways to increase conversions. You may think you already have all of your bases covered, but there are always new ways you nurture conversion opportunities.

For example, you might add gated content that encourages a conversion to access something of value. In the above example, providing whitepaper access via an email sign-up allows you to nurture a steady flow of leads in an email drip campaign.

Exit intent pop-ups (which appear when someone leaves a page) can also help prompt action. Building social media communities that can direct additional traffic to your site. A live chat function can provide instant support that encourages conversions.

Again, the opportunities are endless. When you've completed your conversion optimization, consider how you can expand on that foundation in new ways.

Investing in Increased Conversions

Conversions are a critical part of business success. They are proof that consumers are buying into your brand and are willing to take action to support your company and utilize its solutions.

If your conversions are lagging — or even worse, you don’t know what they are in the first place — use the steps above to clean things up. Set a conversion goal, improve traffic quantity and quality, create a solid content strategy, gauge what’s working, and make improvements. And don’t be afraid to ask for some help. A growth marketing agency can give you the inside scoop and always be on the lookout for new conversion opportunities along the way.

Even the best content marketing strategy will sputter if you don’t have a way to execute them at a high level. You want each piece of new content to fit into your strategy. At the same time, you want it to resonate with your target audience and help you reach specific goals.

As you consider high-level things like content marketing objectives and the types of content marketing you’ll use to achieve them, you want to take the time to develop templates that turn theory into action.

Let’s break down what a content strategy template is, why it’s so important, and how you can create one.

What Is a Content Strategy Template?

There are many different elements of a successful content strategy. You want to have an overarching content strategy framework in place. This helps you see everything, from your marketing goals and objectives to the content marketing resources you have available. Your content strategy itself functions as the roadmap, guiding you as you go along.

And a content strategy template? That factors into the equation with the actual execution of your content creation.

As the name implies, a content marketing strategy template should be something that is repeatable. It should serve as a formula for each individual piece of content that you create to keep things consistent and on target as you go along.

What Are the Elements of a Good Content Strategy Template?

A template may sound simple on the surface. But remember, we’re talking about a content strategy template. Not just a content template.

The latter could be a simple outline structure or a step-by-step process to create an infographic or “how-to” video.

When you introduce strategy into the picture, your content templates become more sophisticated. Along with creating basic structural outlines (things like content length, paragraph size, or tone), you also want to incorporate big-picture elements.

How does your strategy factor into each piece of content that you create? What keywords are important to include? What CTAs matter in your current marketing campaign?

These are all important elements that should be intimately embedded into each content strategy template that you create.

Why Is a Content Strategy Template Useful?

Taken together, both the strategic and practical elements of a content strategy template can help you create a repeatable, high-quality content plan. These have multiple benefits. For instance, a good content strategy template can:

Content templates help streamline your content creation process and bear fruit both internally as well as with customer-facing interactions.

An Example of a Content Strategy Template

One example of all of this in action is creating a content pillar template for your website. This would likely focus on a primary long-form piece of content that is a few thousand words long and centers on the primary keyword or industry-specific topic you’re addressing.

From there, you can build out medium-length sub-pillar pieces that cover tangential topics. Each of these can come with their own supporting blog post.

As you flesh out briefs and content creation instructions for each piece, you can keep the larger pillar strategy in mind. You can choose keywords, use internal links, and generally point everything you create toward a single topic that addresses a pain point or need of your audience. Pillar strategy breakdown helping growth marketers understand what a content strategy template is and how to create one

Collectively, this creates a content strategy template that you can repeat with each pillar that you create.

How Do You Create a Content Strategy Template

There are many different elements of content strategy. On-site blog content, email marketing, social media, and countless other communication channels can play critical roles in each marketing campaign.

So, how do you develop content strategy templates that jive with each of your content marketing strategies? Here are a few steps to help you get started.

Once you’ve considered your resources, team members, processes, and, of course, your goals, it’s time to pull it all together. Create a template for engaging, effective content that includes all of these factors. From there, you can duplicate your template any time you create a fresh content strategy.

Optimizing Content Strategy With Templates

Great content marketing strategies come from combining vision with consistency, and a template is the best “boots on the ground” way to do that. A good template helps you turn thoughts and goals into actionable content creation. At the same time, it keeps every piece of content focused on your digital marketing objectives.

As you develop each content marketing strategy, don’t assume it will magically come to fruition. If you need an expert's help, consider working with a content team. Creating content strategy templates will provide the repeatable structure necessary for success.

A content-based objective is a KPI that relates to the content you use to promote your business. These benchmarks play a critical role in the creation, execution, and analysis of your larger content marketing strategy.

Let’s run through what growth marketing goals are and why they’re important. From there, we’ll consider what these goals look like in the context of content and how you can integrate KPIs for content marketing into your larger content marketing strategy.

Why Should You Set Goals for Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Before considering content marketing objectives in greater detail, let’s consider the importance of content marketing and the benefits that having goals provides for your content strategy. The biggest benefit is that goals give you a clear picture of where your content marketing is headed.

Content marketing is a vast and complex part of the digital marketing world. From social media to a blog post, emails to ads, each content type stands on its own. Having goals ensures that all of these work toward the same results.

Once you have content marketing goals in place, you can also measure your success and failure easier. This ensures that your valuable content isn’t a black hole of expenses that isn’t performing.

We’ll discuss the specific ways to set measurable goals in a bit. Remember, though, having these metrics in place helps you gauge effectiveness and improve as you pursue your content marketing efforts.

What Are the Objectives of Content Marketing?

There are many different objectives that you can strive for with your content marketing. The main objective of content marketing is to provide value for your target audience.

This should always be a factor, no matter what kind of quality content you create. Content production should strive to educate, inform, and resonate with potential and existing customers and their needs. But value isn’t the only objective.

Content marketing can also align with the three main pillars of a good growth marketing strategy. Here’s how.

Improving Authority

Improving authority is another marketing objective of content strategy. Apart from providing value for readers, it is the number one biggest benefit of content marketing, and should be a primary goal at all times.

Brand loyalty is a major part of sustained success. When you use your content to demonstrate your firm grasp of industry knowledge and expertise, it cultivates trust and establishes your brand as an authority in your industry.

Building Credibility

Another business goal that content marketing can help you achieve is boosting your online credibility. There are a lot of companies online, and likely, you have countless competitors right within your own industry or niche.

Content marketing allows you to show your superiority as a solution for the consumers that you’re targeting. You can use off-site content, like guest posts and other digital PR tactics, to create natural credibility in the eyes of consumers. You also gain some third-party credibility at the same time.

Enhancing Visibility

Brand awareness is another powerful objective that you can target with your high-quality content. As you create relevant content, in particular, you can use an SEO strategy to optimize your site.

This boosts your visibility in search engines. As you associate yourself with various keywords, link to high DA websites, internally link between other pages on your site, and so on, a search engine will begin to prioritize you in SERPs, leading to greater visibility.

The pillars of growth strategy describing the objective of content marketing

What Are SMART Goals in Content?

Authority, credibility, visibility, and, above all, providing value for your end users are all major objectives of content marketing. But these are all 10,000-foot view concepts.

It’s all well and good to understand the big-picture benchmarks behind your content marketing strategies. But what do these content marketing goals and KPIs look like in action? What do content marketing objectives look like in real life?

This is where applying the SMART goals concept can make a big difference. Here are a few SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals you can set to guide you as you create content:

When you apply the SMART concept to your content goals, it gives them a greater purpose and potency within your larger content marketing plan.

Using Objectives to Guide Your Content Marketing

Content marketing is a powerful way to build a business. But it should never happen haphazardly. Consider partnering with a content marketing agency if you need an expert’s advice. They can help you create a sustainable strategy to achieve content marketing success.

Objectives give your content a greater purpose for your brand. From building authority and credibility to improving visibility and, above all, providing value, make sure you infuse your content with clear objectives that can keep you on track as you create a successful content marketing strategy over time.

Growth marketing is an overarching approach to promoting a business that focuses on three key areas: authority, credibility, and visibility. To accomplish all three of these things at the same time, a growth marketer incorporates multiple tools and tactics, such as social media, email, and content marketing.

Two growth marketing tactics that are particularly important are digital PR and SEO. Used in tandem, these two powerful approaches are particularly effective at accomplishing marketing goals. 

If you don’t already have a digital PR campaign and search engine optimization in motion, you’ve come to the right place. Even if you do incorporate them into your marketing strategy, if you aren’t weaving them together into the same growth marketing framework, you need to be doing so.  

Here’s why.

What Are Digital PR and SEO in Growth Marketing?

Digital PR is a targeted approach to promoting products and services that seeks to remove short-term hype. Instead, it focuses on creating meaningful brand mentions on third-party sites and industry publications. Growth marketers craft these mentions to add genuine value for readers with the added effect of putting a brand in the spotlight in relevant conversations where their target audience is paying attention.

SEO strategy is a quieter, though effective, form of digital marketing. Rather than create credibility with consumers, search engine optimization seeks to create greater brand visibility with search engines. Marketers accomplish this through tactics such as link building, keyword research, and technical SEO with the goal of showing up in search results.

Both digital PR and SEO are integral parts of a larger growth marketing strategy. They contribute to a customer-focused, data-driven approach to brand-building. 

At first glance, these two elements appear to be mutually exclusive. SEO focuses on search engines, while digital public relations emphasizes the human connection. But when you peel back the curtain, the two actually reinforce one another and create synergistic results that one cannot accomplish without the other.

How Do Digital PR and SEO Work Together?

In traditional marketing, digital PR and SEO operate in a vacuum and apart from one another. However, savvy growth marketers are aware of the overlapping nature of the two marketing concepts. They use them to complement one another, boost results, increase your brand visibility in search results, and ensure a positive marketing ROI.  

Here are a few ways that can happen:

Digital PR Generates Back Links

One of the most straightforward ways digital PR and SEO overlap is through links. The goal of digital PR isn’t to create backlinks. Instead, PR tactics seek to create buzz and put a brand in relevant spotlights and in front of your target audience. 

Nevertheless, often, the process of digital PR leads to a brand receiving a backlink to an important website. When a brand mention happens on a site like Forbes or Inc., this can create a link with a high-DA (domain authority). This builds your site’s overall authority and backlink health, which are critical parts of the SEO process.

Digital PR Generates High-Quality Brand Mentions

When a high-quality publication mentions your brand, this sends a good message to consumers. These PR tactics nurture trust and brand awareness among your target audience. 

Being mentioned in online publications also sends the signal to humans and search engines alike that you are a leader in your industry. While this isn’t the same as a direct link, high-quality mentions can lead to more people searching for your brand through increased media coverage. This can create an easier path to better rankings, as Google is wary of prioritizing unknown sites that no one is talking about or looking for on a regular basis.

SEO Propagates Further Third-Party Mentions

When your SEO ranking is high, it can also have an impact on your digital PR efforts. When you show up high on SERPs, that means online publications are more likely to find your brand when researching and use your company in their content. 

Journalists might pull content from a press release. Content managers could link to your brand as an example. Social media managers might use a quote in a post.

This drives organic traffic to your site, which is the primary goal of your SEO efforts. But it can also enhance your digital PR strategy. Even if the sites organically mention you don’t have the highest domain authority, collectively, they signal to a search engine that you are worth talking about and can help increase your search engine rankings. 

Creating Growth Marketing Synergy: Using Digital PR and SEO Together

A rising tide lifts all ships. As you monitor Google Analytics for SEO and flesh out the next phase in your PR content strategy, remember to consider how the two can work together. Consider working with a growth marketing agency who specializes in digital PR and SEO. They can help you stay up to date with current trends to ensure your strategies are aligned. 

It may not be obvious at first glance, but SEO and digital PR quietly complement each other behind the scenes. Especially if you weave them together as part of a larger growth marketing strategy.

Remember, this is a two-edged sword. If one is lacking, it can impact the other. If you invest in doing both well, you can see your marketing results lift as a result of their shared synergy.

As you may know, the E-E-A-T acronym stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

Google coined the phrase, originally as E-A-T, before updating it by adding the additional “E” for experience at the end of 2022. These search quality rater guidelines act as a filter that the search engine uses to help decide what content is the best to provide in answer to a search query.

E-E-A-T may feel like a barrier that is getting in the way of your content marketing process. However, it can also be a great tool when creating your website's content. Rather than struggle against the current, use Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines to help your marketing collateral stand out in a sea of sub-part alternative content.

Here are a few tips to help you get started.

1. (Continue to) Focus on the Reader, Not the Search Engine

E-E-A-T pushes content creators to make informative, quality content that focuses on user experience. That means the content can’t be overtly tailored to keywords and link-building strategies if it sacrifices readability and authority.

Do those classic search engine optimization staples still matter? Yes — at least for now. And you don’t want to throw in the towel when it comes to keywords and linking strategies.

That said, it has also always been an SEO truth that you should focus on the reader over the search engine. This was the case even when keywords and links were a critical ranking factor on SERPs. Google is simply increasing the emphasis on that human-centric user focus for each search result.

The search engine giant has made it clear that its goal is to provide genuine, unique, and insightful content to its users. This makes creating content for those users a top priority. Make sure it is a central part of your content marketing strategy.

2. Understand the Difference Between Experience and Expertise

Experience and expertise are two distinct terms. They are similar but different — and Google wouldn’t have gone to all the trouble of creating a grammatically odd acronym if they were talking about the same thing. This makes it important to consider both “E’s” as you comb over your site, consider page quality, write emails, post on social media, and so on.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines experience as “(the process of getting) knowledge or skill from doing, seeing, or feeling things.” It defines expertise as “a high level of knowledge or skill.”

Consider how these two elements independently impact the creation of high-quality content. For instance, if a freshly graduated engineer is present at a software development conference, they have experience of that specific event.

However, they don’t have expertise due to the lack of deeper knowledge or skills that come from protracted hands-on experience in their field. Experience and expertise are important — and Google wants both. Make sure to take them into account as you build your content strategies.

Unsure how to do that? Try working with an SME…

3. Work With SMEs to Deepen Your Content Quality

The addition of the new “E” for experience is Google’s message to the content creation world that they want personal experience to factor into the mix. Whenever a content creator sits down to develop something, they must consider how they can weave first-hand experience into the content they’re creating.

This isn’t always possible from a first-person perspective. However, you can supplement the creation process by going to a qualified third party, something referred to as a subject matter expert or “SME.”

Look for qualified individuals who can offer direct examples and personal experiences to add depth and color to your content. If you’re creating YMYL (your money, your life) content, an SME can be invaluable. It allows you to infuse their insightful opinions and input into your content as a way that reinforces its credibility.

Keep in mind an individual can be directly and indirectly experienced to fill the role of an SME. For example, if you’re writing an article about robotics in surgery, you could ask a surgeon a few questions …or you could ask a software engineer. Both can provide qualified, nuanced insights that can bring your content to life and provide genuine value for your readers.

4. Pick Your Swim Lane and Stay in It

Websites that focus on more than one topic rarely succeeded in the past. With E-E-A-T principles, they’re even less likely to thrive.

This means it’s important to resist the urge to spread your content eggs out into different topical baskets. That isn’t a viable safety net in an E-E-A-T world. It can water down your content’s potency and prevent a content creator from digging deeper into each subject you cover.

Instead, pinpoint the subjects that truly define your brand. Build content clusters around themes that you want your brand to be known for, and then stick pretty close to those topics.

This gives you a better chance of owning those areas. It helps you build topical authority where it counts and signals to Google what you are an expert on within the E-E-A-T framework.

Working With E-E-A-T (Not Against It) to Create Good Content

E-E-A-T is more than a buzzword. It is a central part of Google’s quality rater guidelines. The search engine expects each search quality rater to adhere to those recommendations when rating content.

This makes E-E-A-T a necessary item to work into the content creation process. The good news is that by investing in following E-E-A-T guidelines, you can only make your content better for your audience.

So consider the recommendations above and compare them to your current process. Maybe hire a SEO agency that can help develop your main content strategy. Where can you up the ante? What areas of experience and expertise can you draw from within or around your brand? Use the answers to take your content to the next level.

Most people are aware of keywords. These are select words and phrases that signal to Google and other search engines what topics and information you’ve focused on in each piece of content. You can typically spot important keywords in an article title, intro paragraph, or scattered throughout a block of text.

But how do you choose which keywords to target in the first place? Picking terms that can convert high levels of searchers into website visitors is an essential part of a successful SEO strategy.  

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for converting keywords to boost your Google Analytics reports and send your organic search into the stratosphere.

1. Start With a Current Evaluation of Your Brand

Before you begin looking for organic keywords on Google Search Console or wrestling with search volume versus click-through rates, consider your company. What are the words that your brand should be ranking for in Google Search at the moment?

This isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of activity. There may be certain keywords that remain relevant throughout the life of your business. But over time, the emphasis of your company may shift — and many of the search terms you want to rank for will adjust along with those pivots and adjustments.

What services do you provide right now? What terms are people searching for around your services? 

Consider these terms and look for those that have higher traffic. You can use a tool like Google Search Console, or there are many third-party options, as well, like Semrush, Moz, and Ahrefs that provide this data, too. The ideal terms are those that have a high search volume and are hyper-relevant to what you do.

2. Consider Intent Along the Entire Sales Funnel

There are millions of search terms to consider when creating an SEO campaign. The goal of a marketer is to narrow these down to a select set of terms that are worth pursuing. 

This is where considering search intent can help. Start by asking yourself what the intention is behind a consumer searching for each keyword or term that you’re considering. Now, ask if the answer aligns with the part of the sales funnel that you’re targeting.

For example, if you’re a SaaS company trying to rank for top-of-funnel content (i.e., initial contact and brand awareness), you want to aim for broader informational terms, like “what is SaaS” and “SaaS examples.” 

However, if you’re hyper-focused on creating a conversion, aim for commercial intent keywords. These target the bottom of the funnel, where informed potential buyers are considering taking action, and could be something like “SaaS to reduce spend” or “SaaS with editable code.” 

Ideally, you should aim for a mixture of terms across the entire funnel. That way, you’re ranking in all areas.

3. Don’t Be Afraid of Long-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords will always have higher organic search volume, which can make them the most appealing at first glance. However, long-tail keywords are also a powerful way to find keywords that will convert.

Long-tail keywords are sequences of keywords that are longer. This naturally makes them more specific and less common. For instance, ranking for “customer service” is a normal keyword phrase, while “customer service for auto shops” is a long-tail version. It is more niche and will have a lower search volume.

Longer-tail keywords are less flashy — but that doesn’t mean you should avoid them. On the contrary, a less searched organic keyword will likely be easier to rank for (and are more result in a conversion for you). Things like PPC Google Ads will be less expensive per click, too. 

In addition, people searching for long-tail keywords will likely have a better idea of what they’re looking for. That makes them a better target for middle and lower-funnel keywords that will convert.

4. Test as You Go Along

Conducting successful keyword research and finding relevant keywords for your brand’s marketing strategy is always a great feeling. But you don’t know if it really is a good find until you’ve tested it out.

The thing is, you won’t know that right away. Any honest SEO agency will tell you that it takes 3-6 months to begin seeing progress from an SEO investment, and that’s on the shorter end of things. 

That means you have to be willing to watch keywords that you’re trying to rank for over time to see if your efforts are paying off. As you begin to see results (typically around the 9-12 month mark), you can check to see if you are getting organic search traffic from your targeted SEO keywords. 

If you see traffic growing, kudos! If not, it may be time to tweak your strategy. Either way, don’t give up if you don’t see the results you’re hoping for after a month or two.

Finding Keywords That Convert

At the end of the day, you want to choose keywords that help you achieve not just your SEO but your overall marketing goals. Along with generating traffic (which helps with visibility), you want your keywords to help you build topical authority and visibility through your content showing up in select search results. 

This means you can’t choose keywords without a strategy in mind. Consider hiring an SEO agency who can assist you in choosing the right keywords. They use the tips above, along with other tools, to consider what keywords are important within your larger SEO and marketing initiatives. Then, work those into your content.

And above all, remember to maintain good standards within that content as you go along. That way, when you do rank for a keyword, and someone clicks through to your site, they are greeted with high-quality content that encourages them to proceed down your sales funnel to find your solution to their problem.

Search Generative Experience, or “SGE” for short, is a buzzword in the AI community. The tool comes from Google Search Labs, which began testing the AI-driven platform in the early summer of 2023 and will continue through December.

While the details of what the final version of SGE will look like are uncertain, there’s no doubt that it and other AI tools like it are the future of search. Savvy marketers are already looking for ways to understand the new technology and incorporate it into their growth marketing strategies. Here are a few tips to help you get started with that process.

Understand Your Place in the SGE Ecosystem

One of the first things worth realizing with SGE is that marketers, SEO experts, and anyone trying to use Google search for profit (outside of paid ads) are not on the inside track here.

On the contrary, Google has explicitly created its tool with users in mind. TechCrunch explains that the goal of SGE is to help “users better learn and make sense of the information they discover on the web.” Google itself says the tool is designed to help its search engine users “understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints and insights, and get things done more easily.

This isn’t meant to be an impossible situation. Instead, use it as a wake-up call. SGE isn’t another SEO gold mine waiting for casual marketers to take advantage of it. It is a sophisticated tool meant to help consumers.

That said, Google does want to use SGE to help users better connect with businesses. However, it wants to do so through an effective search experience — which is where suggestions on how to win at SGE come into play.

1. Focus on Quality Content

Yes, content is included in every list like this. But that’s for a good reason. The truth is, this remains one of the most critical ways to promote a brand online — even now.

It’s true that SGE summarizes AI results for each answer right on its own platform. And yes, this deters those who input a search query to click through on a link from a search result. This doesn’t eliminate the need for content, though. It merely changes what that content and its goals should be.

As marketers develop content strategies, they must factor generative AI into the equation. Traditional search tactics, like focusing on keywords and internal linking, may still be important, but the top priority from now on should be quality.

Every piece of your content marketing strategy should be helpful and uniquely answer consumer questions. You can accomplish this by:

2. Create Better Experiences

Quality content inherently creates a better user experience.  This encourages Google to use your content in its answers. And when the search engine attributes your content for an AI-generated search response, it builds authority and credibility in the eyes of consumers.

But a better experience doesn’t stop there. Think about how you can be utilizing other forms of content to enhance your site and how the users interact with it. Think about graphics, photos, videos, and other multimedia elements to create more colorful landing pages, and present information in new and more engaging ways.

3. Be Creative and Comprehensive in Your Approach to SGE

Working with SGE to meet search engine user needs is important. So is quality content. These are great starting points. But if you truly want to leverage Google’s new AI-powered search for business success, you need to think outside of the box, too.

In the past, creativity was a critical part of the development of traditional SEO techniques. It took a willingness to try new things in innovative ways.

Don’t be afraid to use SGE in a similarly exploratory manner. How can the program help rather than hinder your marketing? Can you use it to brainstorm promotional ideas? To keep up with industry innovation? To conduct customer research?

4. Think Omnichannel

Showing up for SGE is wonderful. Ranking well in the organic results is impressive. But unless you are looking at the bigger picture you likely won’t see the success you could be. It’s important to be comprehensive as you work SGE into a well-rounded growth marketing framework. For instance, this should be one part of an omnichannel marketing plan that includes onsite and off-site content, digital PR, paid ads, email, social media, and more.

By thinking holistically, you can get the most value out of SGE and ensure that it is a genuine asset for your marketing efforts. If you don’t, you may be ranking well for some keywords in SGE but that likely won’t translate to overall growth marketing success.

5. Be Customer-Centric

You should always keep your customers at the center of everything that you do, but in the world of SGE it’s more important than ever. As you create high-quality content with SGE in mind, study your target audience. What kind of questions do they have? How can you help answer them? What content will provide the most value to address their pain points?

The better you know what your audience wants and needs, the better you can provide it. The more useful you are for your audience, the more likely you’ll be rewarded in SGE.

Winning at Google's Search Generative Experience

Google Search Generative Experience may be new, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. On the contrary, dramatic changes in the business landscape — like the recent developments in artificial intelligence — provide opportunities as well as challenges.

If you’re willing to accept your place in the AI technology ecosystem, enhance your content, and work SGE into a comprehensive marketing strategy, you can get the most out of Google’s AI search tool as you look for ways to market your brand.

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