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Why Recruiting Firms Should Hire a Digital Marketing Agency that Specializes in the Recruiting Industry

If you had to decide between hiring a digital marketing agency that knows the recruiting industry, or a digital marketing agency that does not specialize but happens to be local, who would you choose?

Let me ask you this: does your recruiting firm specialize? By market? By niche? Probably. If you’ve led a recruiting firm for much time at all, you know that your chances for winning a search are much improved if you specialize in your client’s specific need. Why?

You know the types of candidates they need. Also, you know the trends in their market or industry niche. You are a thought leader in their space — an expert. You have more insight into what their company needs and can deliver better candidates than someone who is a generic recruiter (I’m betting).

I once had someone tell me years ago that “a recruiter is a recruiter is a recruiter” – implying that a recruiter who has developed a good skill set can recruit for any position. While this may be true technically, it’s not the most important consideration when it comes to being selected by the company searching for talent. In that company’s mind, if they’re hiring a CFO and they have the option to choose between a generalist recruiter or a finance & accounting executive search recruiter in their market with 20 years of experience, whom do you think they’re going to select? Right. The expert.

Webinar On-demand: Watch this webinar to learn how you can implement content marketing into your strategy ➢

Why Is It Important to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency Who Knows the Recruiting Industry?

I’ve talked to hundreds of recruiting firm leaders across the country, and I’m losing track of how many tell me they hired a digital marketing agency in the past that didn’t know the difference between candidates vs. clients. The marketing agency they hired drove website traffic and even leads, but there was a disconnect between why a recruiting agency might want to attract clients, not candidates (or vice versa if you are in a candidate-driven market like IT Consulting). They thought it was all the same. Traffic. And we both know that could not be further from the truth. Those are very different audiences.

At Parqa, we were created within a $17M executive search and consulting firm. Our whole team has experience managing marketing campaigns for recruiting companies. I’ve personally had the opportunity to manage marketing in-house at recruiting firms for the past 7 of my 10 years, specializing in marketing/branding/PR/communications. Our CEO Tony Sorensen is a 20-year recruiting industry leader who has successfully grown two recruiting companies from the ground up, $20M and $17M (and growing). From creating respected recruiting firms from ground zero to rebranding already existing recruiting firms and starting over, we’ve seen it all. Also, we’re a little nerdy about it.

Why? Well, we’ve struggled through the challenges of setting up a PPC campaign on Google, only to have candidate leads fill out our contact forms rather than client leads. That was years ago. We’ve now determined best practices to ensure the highest level of accuracy with attracting qualified leads. As a little history, Tony was dabbling with SEO and PPC back in 2007, which is ancient for digital marketing, and even more unheard of for a recruiting firm.

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge ➢

Industry-Specific Best Practices Matter

The recruiting industry as a whole is not at the forefront of marketing innovation, but most recruiting firms realize that it’s a changing world, and if you’re not building your credibility online, you’re missing opportunities. Moreover, if you happen to be the top 5% of the market that’s doing more than merely the marketing basics, you’re a diamond in the rough—and I’d love the opportunity to see your online presence and meet whoever is owning that because that’s no small feat!

Whether you’re right at the beginning of growing your brand through content marketing, or you’re in conversations about marketing automation, having a team in your back pocket that knows the recruiting industry as well as you do, will propel you into the next phase of your company. In fact, it will streamline the process and keep you on the cutting edge of the recruiting industry.

How does that help you? Credibility. Without it, you may not get a callback. Without it, you may not be found at all. With it, you open up the door of possibilities of attracting more relevant clients (or candidates based on your business goals). Now that is worth your time to explore!

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5 Tips to Inspire Your Team and Yourself, to Blog

As a business owner of a recruiting firm, digital marketing might still be a new concept for you. Ten years ago, your marketing efforts consisted of posting ads in your local Yellow Pages and scraping the early versions of online job boards for leads to cold call. Wow.. how the landscape changed. If your firm has been slow to adapt, you might be struggling to grow your business.

There are tons of digital marketing strategies that recruiters can deploy to grow their business. One of the cheapest and easiest tactics is to install a culture of blogging with your team.

Webinar On-demand: Watch this webinar to learn how you can implement content marketing into your strategy ➢

Picture this scenario: you’re talking with a fellow owner and they tell you they partnered with a digital marketing agency. The agency is helping them with blogging, social media engagement, building a new website, and optimizing their content for SEO. Intrigued, you head back to the office and decide it’s time to dip your toes into the digital world and write a blog about something you are passionate about in your industry. Energized by the process, you get the great idea that everyone in your firm should participate in the blogging process as a way to build your firm’s brand.

What a great idea! But how are you going to get everyone on board and engaged in the blogging effort?

Here are 5 tips to inspire your team (and secretly maybe even yourself) to blog.

1. Start with the Why

Tell your employees WHY you are asking them to take on this new task. What is the purpose? Taking three hours away from the phones and client meetings to write doesn’t automatically sound appealing to recruiters working on commission. Here a couple of examples WHY it is important for your employees to blog.

  • Build their personal brand in the digital marketplace: Blogs can be seen by potential clients and candidates on the company website, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If people don’t know who your recruiters are, how are they going to call them?
  • Build their reputation as an industry expert: You know that your employees are rock stars in their fields, now you need to spread the word. If your team blogs about pain points in their respective recruiting verticals, people in that vertical will gain valuable insight into the industry and recognize the expertise of both the employee who wrote the blog and your firm’s brand in general.
  • Increase brand visibility: We all know marketing is not free and that we can never get in front of enough people in the recruiting industry. Through blogging, your employees have the opportunity to market themselves for no cost to them or the company.

2. Tie Blogging to Tangible Business Results

In our search and consulting sister company, Versique, we track both activity metrics and financial results of individual team members to help them grow their business. If you’re new to digital marketing, work with some of your peers or check out our website to get stats around the effectiveness of building an online presence.

  • One of our expert recruiters has closed 25% of their business the last 4 years from building their online presence. That is well over $300,000 in search fees.
  • One of our thought leaders recently posted a blog on LinkedIn. In the first 24 hours, they had 52 likes and the post had been viewed 3,668 times. How many networking events would you have to attend to get in front of 3,668 people?

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge ➢

3. Create a Content Calendar

No one wants to be in the middle of a huge search and have the owner of their company fly into their office and demand a blog be written by the end of the week because they forgot to tell you a week ago. Don’t be that type of leader. Create a content calendar so your team can be properly prepared.

Creating a calendar for your team that is 4-6 weeks out allows your employees to ask questions, raise concerns, and do some research on a topic. It will also allow the employee time to balance the ebbs & flows of the recruiting business or pick a slow time to set aside a block of a few hours to sit down and write. On top of helping the employee, a content calendar will also create group accountability and collaboration for the company as a whole.

4. Involve Your Team in Topic Generation

I know for me picking the topic is sometimes the hardest part of the blogging process, but that doesn’t mean you should just hand out a list of topics to your employees because the topics are important to you. It is integral that your employees are an active participant in generating topics. A few reasons why it’s so important to include:

  • They are building their expertise in their vertical – they should know what the pain points are for their current clients.
  • If your team members are going to get excited about writing, they should pick a topic they are passionate about and own it.
  • It will help them to think critically about how they can add more value and expertise to their clients.
  • You will get a more diverse range of topics with everyone contributing.

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge ➢

5. Lead by Example

Planning a strategy is great, but execution is the key to success. As the owner and leader of your firm, it is easy to set the strategy for your employees and move on to the next visionary idea that will change your business. When you establish the blogging strategy and calendar, make sure you lead by example by making yourself a regular contributor.

Additionally, maintain an active role in assisting your employees with their blogging efforts. Sit down with your employees and discuss topics or help them troubleshoot any hurdles they are having.

But it all starts with you. If you’re not meeting your deadlines, it’s hard to expect that your team will.

Next Steps:

Blogging is an EXCELLENT way to get you and your team started in building up the brand of your firm, and the individual brands of your employees. When ramping up your in-house blogging consider the above simple tips to keep you on track to execute.

Want to learn more about giving your B2B marketing a boost?

Learn how Parqa can transform the way you approach digital marketing.Content Marketing Webinar

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How To Inject Some Much-Needed Fun into Your B2B Blog

B2B blogs have a terrible tendency to be dry, boring, and informal. Why are most B2B blogs so yawn-inducing?

Some of the blame lays at the feet of B2B business owners, who often become overly concerned about scaring customers away by showcasing personality. Then there’s the content-for-the-sake-of-content mentality that prevails in the industry, where many companies have been falsely told that if they publish blogs consistently, regardless of how aimless or poorly written the content is, they will increase their traffic.

This misguided mindset leads to a whole glut of boring content being published merely to feed the unending appetite of search engines, instead of to achieve the primary goal of content marketing—to educate and inform your existing and potential customers.

The blame game isn’t important but slapping some fun and excitement into your B2B content is. You want your blog content to be insightful and informative, but you also want to keep your readers from falling asleep on their keyboards while they read your stuff.

Watch On-demand: Check out this webinar to learn how you can implement content marketing into your strategy ➢

Here’s some tips for injecting some fun into your B2B blog.

Have a Voice

First and foremost, give your content a voice. What is voice in terms of writing? It’s the distinct personality, style, or point of view that a writing possesses. A strong authorial voice will leap off the screen and capture the attention of your reader.

I commonly hear people say that you can’t make boring topics fun, but it’s simply not true. By applying a unique voice to your writing, you can inject some life and character into any subject, regardless of how interesting or uninteresting you feel it may be.

For example, we can all agree that there is nothing inherently interesting about a person drinking a glass of water, right? To demonstrate the power of voice, here is two messages that have the same literal meaning, but vary greatly due to voice:

Boring Voice: Jill was thirsty, so she drank some water.

Fun Voice: Jill guzzled water straight from the faucet in a desperate attempt to quench her thirst.

Both sentences describe what is otherwise a boring event of someone drinking some water. The first one gives us a matter-as-fact account that leaves the reader with no questions or interest in learning more.

But in the second example the reader is left with several questions—why is she so thirsty? Why didn’t she use a glass? Why is she drinking yucky faucet water in a post-Brita world?

Deploy First Person

Another common contributor to boring content is third-person POV. Using third person is very standard in business writing, as it separates the person writing the content from the opinions being expressed in the writing. But while third person is safer, it creates distance between the writer and the reader, which often results in dull writing.

Don’t be scared to deploy first-person POV in your B2B content, especially in blogging. First person is more intimate, authentic, and confident than third person. By result, blogs written in the first person will sound more conversational and address the reader more directly.

If for no other reason, write in the first person because your audience is being inundated with third person. If they read five top-of-funnel blogs about a topic, and four of them are written in third person and one is in first, the first-person blog is going to have the inside edge on standing out.

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge ➢

Take Some Chances

B2C brands simply have a more energetic and lively reputation than B2B, which makes it seem like B2C marketing is more fun-filled than B2B. Some of that is a consequence of the end product inherently being more interesting for B2C brands, after all when Don Draper and the copywriters of Sterling Cooper were devising scotch-soaked campaigns on the hit show Mad Men, they were doing so for massive B2C brands like Life Cereal, Kodak, and Chevrolet, not for finance & accounting firms or IT software suppliers.

But B2B brands don’t have to let B2C brands have all the fun. Instead, take note of their courage to try new things and apply that lesson to your content strategy.

Buck the status quo every once and while and take some chances with your content. While a B2B audience is typically a bit more conservative than a B2C one, that doesn’t mean you can’t throw in a pop culture reference every so often or toss some gifs into the equation. By taking some chances in how you write your blogs, you’re going to make the experience more fun to write, and possibly, you’ll identify that it will make your audience more engaged. But you won’t know until you try.

Writing the same boring B2B blogs over and over is no fun for you to write and certainly isn’t fun for your audience to read. Take note of some of the tips I put forth in this blog the next time to sit down to punch up a blog and see if you don’t stumble into a more intriguing blog.

Want to learn more about giving your B2B marketing a boost? Learn how Parqa can transform the way you approach digital marketing.

What would you do if you knew your website was working for you?

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Why Develop a Recruiting Agency Website with SEO?

I recently had a recruiting firm owner ask me why he needed SEO for his website, since his previous website development firm told him they made his website SEO friendly already. After a little digging, it was easy for me to see what happened to him is what happens to MOST people who hire a development agency and don’t ask specific questions about SEO.

The website was set up well for SEO, as in it had a plugin installed for SEO, but there had not been any SEO tactics applied to the website at all. This is not really the fault of the development firm, as their sweet spot is development (not SEO), nor did they sell it any other way. They know “SEO friendly” doesn’t mean “SEO optimized” …but the business owner didn’t.

Most people don’t.

SEO For Your Website: 101 {That Everyone Wishes They Knew}

When we create a website, we include a full SEO process to ensure your website informs the search engines what you DO and ultimately what you want to rank for. Our SEO Discovery Process includes keyword research, a content map, a technical website audit, and a competitor audit.

Each of these research processes provide valuable insights into what people are searching for, what the search volume is for those particular keywords, what others are doing in your industry that is working well (or not so well), and ultimately what you need to do to your website and online presence to make sure you are represented online in searches.

Watch On-demand: Check out this webinar to learn how you can implement content marketing into your strategy ➢

SEO gets technical pretty quickly, and at the end of the day, a recruiting firm owner’s top priority isn’t diving into the details of digital marketing and search engine optimization. Rather, it’s making sure you’re out there networking, getting new business, filling roles, and managing your team’s success in making placements. And if you’re working ON your business rather than IN your business, you may be thinking more and more about how to get your marketing to work for you.

Why is it important to make sure your website is optimized for SEO?

Story Time: How A Hiring Manager Initial Meeting is Similar to a Google Search

Well, imagine walking into a potential client’s office. You’ve secured a meeting with the hiring manager who has an open role, and you’re going to tell them about your company, your experience, and why you are the best person to fill their role. Let’s say the role is for a CFO. Let’s say you claim to be able to fill any role in any industry, nationwide. That’s your pitch.

Your meeting ends. Let’s say the next person to meet with that hiring manager is a recruiting firm owner right down the street from the company who specializes in placing Accounting & Finance professionals in senior level and C-level roles. That’s all they do. And they do it well. Who do you think is going to get the search?

Now let’s bring it back to your website. If a hiring manager or candidate needs your service (but they don’t know you, and don’t have a good resource, or haven’t had luck with their current partnership), they are going to ask Google.

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge ➢

What do you think they are going to type in? Let’s use the same hiring manager as an example. Do you think she is going to type in “Recruiter”? Not likely. She is probably going to type in something like “Finance Recruiter <My City>” or even “CFO Executive Search <My City>”. Now this could be REALLY good for you, or REALLY bad for you.

If you don’t specialize in that area, it’s not likely your website has content around those keywords, so it’s not likely you are going to rank for that search at all. No chance of being found. (PS, we all know the importance of focusing on a niche industry and/or market is a whole different conversation.)

But let’s say you DO focus on that niche, and you ARE in that city…you should come up in that search! Right? Maybe…if your website has been optimized for content relevant to your niche. If you have no pages on your website that talk about those keywords (e.g., practice area pages, blog articles, job posts, other content), Google may not even know that’s what you do. The key here is that it doesn’t necessarily matter how credible you are, and it doesn’t even matter if you close 95% of the searches you go after—you are going to have a difficult time having those conversations to close those searches if people cannot FIND you online in the first place.

Related Post: Redesigning Your Website? Why You Need to Work with an SEO Firm ➢

There is Hope to Get Found Online…And We’ve Discovered It!

Don’t worry, there is hope! And it’s not that difficult to attain. Start with a conversation with our team. We’ll review your website to see if you’re set up well for SEO (and thus, see if you are in a position to have Google know what you do, and ultimately get found by people looking for your services). And if you’re not…then join the club. No, really. Most recruiting agency websites…in fact MOST websites in general, are not set up with the technical SEO and the content needed to get found properly online. And it’s easy to fix.

We’ve worked with many companies across the country and have helped improve their website traffic for inbound clients (or candidates), based on their business needs. It’s as critical (more in fact if you think about the potential reach), as training your recruiters on doing their job well. Make your website work for you, not against you.

What would you do if you knew your website was working for you?

Content Marketing Webinar

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The 3 Steps to Blogging for Business

1. Creating Quality Content

The Why of Content?

The goal is to create content that provides informed answers to the questions of your industry. Blogging when done with a purpose, attracts business to you. The elusive, ready-to-chat, qualified leads. When users are searching for content online, they are selecting specific keywords or asking a specific question they would like answered. To do this well, you will need your blogs to be both reflective of your industry experience and understanding of your end customer’s questions.

You are an expert of your field—whether it feels that way every day or not. As the expert, what you identify as industry pain points is a great starting point for creating content that will resonate. But sometimes that expertise can blind you from identifying easy content that does not feel as relevant to your own questions. Remember, you are the expert. Whether you are new to your field of work or a veteran, it is crucial to remember that your reader/customer is not always informed to the same extent you are.

Related Post: How to Create Content That Sticks ➢

Using Google AdWords for Blog Topic Ideas

While your own experience in the industry is a great place to start, there are tools available to help you generate ideas for blog topics. Google AdWords is a tool we recommend for identifying your top performing pages. It also lets you review competitors most successful blogs as well. No, do not just repeat what’s working. Use this as a guide, something that shows you what topics are currently performing well – and vice versa – which topics aren’t resonating with your customer.

Make It Easy for Google to Find Your Blog

Blogging is a phenomenal way to drive traffic. However, the traffic potential of blogging hinges on your focus and understanding of on-page SEO [Search Engine Optimization]. As your customer uses Google to answer their question, Google’s algorithm is determined to find the most highly-relevant content for a specific search. In a competitive market, chances are you aren’t the only company out there with some answers. If you work with Google and prioritize on-page SEO, that is the “secret sauce” that puts you in a good position to rank high and capture organic traffic.

Watch On-demand: Check out this webinar to learn how you can implement content marketing into your strategy ➢

2. Promoting Your Content

Where to Promote?

So great, your blog is answering difficult questions and is optimized for your selected keywords, AND you rank competitively on Google. Still not getting the traffic you like? Where to next?

Social platforms and e-marketing are opportunities to amplify your best content. By getting your brand in front of more people, you’ll increase your leads. Let’s review how LinkedIn and E-Blasts will assist you in driving web traffic that leads to conversions and sales.

Note: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can all be utilized as both Paid and Unpaid Advertising platforms.

Unpaid LinkedIn Promotions

This is simply creating a brand online. Whether it’s your own personal page or a company page, there is no charge for posting and sharing with your network. If you are still in the process of growing your own personal brand, look into joining LinkedIn groups as an option to get your activity and content in front of more eyes.

LinkedIn Paid Promotions

If you are looking for a more tailored audience, utilize LinkedIn Ad manager. Narrow your target audience down to the specific demographic that you identify as an ideal customer. There may be trial and error at first and that’s part of the process. LinkedIn provides countless filters that you can alter until you find your target market. This may vary for different content types.

E-Blasting Blogs

We will use that hard-earned list of contacts from trade shows, client happy hours, your local association, etc. You worked on building relationships and paid a premium for these contacts. Set a cadence for a newsletter, compiling all that work you put into your blog into a format that communicates that value to your end-customer.

Blogs answer the questions your prospects are asking. Use this to build rapport and a relationship with your prospect list. Don’t just send another salesy piece of collateral, boasting about your brand, or jamming all your products and services in one email. Blogs allow you to send tangible value to your prospects, answering questions about problems they need answered today.

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge ➢

3. Quantifying Success with Analytics

Google Assistant

Utilize Google as a tool to assist in tracking, and more importantly, identifying your successes and challenges with blogging. Google Analytics is FREE – check out the demo account here. It is a phenomenal tool to help you identify what works, and what might need some more work.

Below is a quick guide to some of the most important website metrics that you can analyze with Google Analytics.

Website Metrics

Page Traffic [or] Blog Traffic: How many people landed on that webpage?

Bounce Rate: Are users getting to your pages then leaving immediately?

Keywords: Does Google Analytics rank your keywords as relevant search terms?

Social Metrics

Impressions: How many people saw your personal or company post on your blog?

CTR [Click-Through-Rate]: Out of all those people that saw it, how many clicked your link?

Engagement: Are people interacting with your social posts? Liking, commenting, sharing on their own accounts? That might seem basic, yet crucial in gaining exposure.

Related Post: Google Analytics 101 ➢

Next Steps

Still trying to make sense of it all? Check out our webinar, where Parqa’s CEO Tony Sorensen outlines “the why” to blogging, content marketing, and how Parqa incorporates an inbound strategy to differentiate their clients.

Schedule a call with a content strategist on the Parqa Digital Marketing team. We’re here to chat, brainstorm startegy and answer any questions you might have on your first steps towards a 2018 Inbound Strategy.

Content Marketing Webinar

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Gated Content vs. Ungated Content: When to Use Each

When building out a plan to grow your business through digital marketing, you’re going to need to include a way to capture leads once visitors land on your website. For better or worse, the internet is powered by a certain kind of digital currency. No, I’m not talking about Bitcoin, I’m talking about email.

Whenever you fill out a form on a website and give out your email address, you’re exchanging your email address for information. Your email address is the digital currency that allows you to transact with a website for educational content–this is how marketers generate leads online from website visitors. The content behind these forms are what marketers call gated content.

Watch On-demand: Check out this webinar to learn how you can implement content marketing into your strategy ➢

What is Gated Content?

Gated content is educational content that is so valuable to website visitors that they’re willing to give up their email address in order to get it.

Sounds like a good deal, right? If you give up your email address, you get a copy of an eBook for free. You get the eBook, and marketers gain the ability to contact you as well as learn more about you—your business, your goals, and your challenges. What could be the downside?

Search Engines and Gated Content

Unfortunately, gated content doesn’t help to drive search engine traffic as Google can’t crawl content that you’ve placed behind a form. Think Lord of the Rings, “You Shall Not Pass.” You’ve spent hours creating a great piece of content that your audience will love just to find out that it won’t help with SEO. So clearly we’ll have to make a tradeoff, right?

you shall not pass

While gated content is the lifeblood of inbound marketing, it does have its downside—Google can’t crawl content that is hidden behind your web form–I know, gasp! This is why they call it gated content. From Google’s perspective, this makes sense, if searchers aren’t able to find the content they’re looking for on Google, then it makes for a bad-user experience for searchers.

It reminds of my days doing research in college, I’d search for industry reports while doing market research, but would quickly find that the search results led me to pages that provided only a brief preview of the information I was looking for. To gain access to the full report, I’d need to pay for it.

Like most college students, I didn’t have $900 to shell out for secondary research data, so I found myself frustrated with the results and went back to the drawing board. Thankfully, there were tons of search results so after a few pages of clicking, I found the information I was looking for.

Related Post: How to Create Content That Sticks ➢

When Does It Make Sense to Use Gated Content?

While organic traffic to your website is great for your page views, it doesn’t help you understand who your visitors are or if they come back to engage in any of your other content.

Because of the vast amounts of information available on the internet, clients and candidates are more informed than ever before—typically viewing more than 5 pieces of content before making a buying decision. For better or worse, creating content that visitors want to engage in is the only way to generate and nurture leads from your website.

By creating gated content that your audience is interested in like salary guides, or how-tos, they’ll gain valuable information and insights from the content and you’ll be able to reach out to them in the future with updated information and new content—a win-win for both sides. But therein lies the problem, Google can’t crawl gated content, so we still need to provide content that is crawlable by Google to drive new traffic and help searchers find your website.

When to Use Ungated Content

Since search engines aren’t able to crawl your gated content, it can be a bit of a balancing act between when and when not to use gated content—the answer lies in your goals. If you need to drive more organic traffic to your website, then it doesn’t make sense to gate the content. This is why you don’t typically see company blogs, websites, or social media posts hidden behind a form—you want Google to bring you traffic, if Google can’t find you, you won’t benefit from search traffic.

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge ➢

Can Gated Content Drive Organic Results?

If you notice your website is driving a lot of organic traffic, but you’re not getting enough leads from the content that you are creating, it is time to implement some longer-form pieces of content that will help your audience move further along in the buyer’s journey.

There is an exception to this rule, but it’s a bit trickier to pull off. In a recent study conducted by HubSpot, they found that gating html pages that are crawlable by Google actually increased organic traffic and conversion rates. Remember that gated content is important for generating leads, but typically does not benefit your organic traffic.

To learn more about how content marketing and when to use gated content to grow your business, check out our recent webinar recording.

Content Marketing Webinar

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6 Signs You Need a Content Marketing Strategy

You’re a smart, experienced individual who understands the value of marketing; you’ve put in the time to blog, post on social, send emails, and help your team become thought leaders, yet your digital marketing efforts aren’t moving the dial. So why aren’t you getting the results you had been promised by digital marketing? The reality is that without a solid strategy in place, digital marketing becomes mere trial and error. You can’t reap the benefits of digital marketing by aimlessly churning out content without a solid strategy. To benefit from content and get results, you have to do it right; otherwise it can work against you and give your competitors the edge.

Related Post: 4 Ways to Make Your Content Strategy More Authentic ➢

Here are six signs you need to create a content strategy before you do any digital marketing. If you’re doing any of the following, it’s time to strategize.

1. Posting Random Content/Making It Up As You Go

Working as a digital marketer for the past few years has taught me that if you are coming into the office and creating your topic on the fly, you’ve already lost. It’s easy to fall into that trap—we’ve all done it—but carving out some time at the beginning of your content journey will save you countless hours and dollars down the line. You wouldn’t jump into a car and head out on a road trip without looking at a map would you? You’ll run out of gas before you get there, or worse, you’ll get so lost, you’ll give up on trying to find your destination. To avoid scrambling to find new ideas each month, you need a content calendar and schedule of ideas planned out in advance. Which brings me to the second sign you’re in need of a content strategy…

2. Posting Inconsistently

There are many symptoms of purposeless content, but the biggest tell is not publishing consistently. Business owners are very busy and when it comes to posting content, let’s face it, it seems like a great idea in the moment, but then that conference comes up, or a new sales lead often takes priority. Publishing content consistently takes more than just sticking to a strict regimen of pushing out content; it takes a well-thought-out plan and resources put in place to stick to that plan.

3. Your Content Efforts Aren’t Generating Leads

This one is pretty simple. If you’re making a lot of noise with your content, but you aren’t generating any solid leads or sales from that content, then it’s time to take a look at the kind of traffic you are driving. Remember, 97% of visitors to your website aren’t ready to buy, so it’s not enough to just get them to notice your content, you need to have a strategy behind that content to make sure that it’s as effective as it can be.

4. You’re Not Offering Rich Content

Blogging and posting to social media sites is a great way to generate traffic, but once a visitor comes to your site, how do you turn them into a lead without providing some sort of content like an eBook, webinar, checklist, etc. By providing rich content that your visitors find valuable, you are helping build trust with your visitors, positioning yourself as a consultative leader, and helping them through the buyer’s journey. In an age where “everything is online” and buyers are more informed than ever, it’s critical that you include rich content offers in your content strategy.

5. Your Content Isn’t Resonating With Your Audience

This type of marketing doesn’t motivate your reader to do anything. Content has emerged as one of the most effective ways to build your business’s brand and voice. But if you want your content to be effective, you need to understand what your potential customers are feeling and how they want to feel. Essentially, you have to appeal to the emotion of your prospects, not just the logic of what you do. If you’re in a rut and not seeing results from your content, it’s time to get back to the human element of what you do and make an emotional connection.

6. Your Marketing and Sales Goals Aren’t Aligned, or Worse, You Don’t Have Marketing Goals

Businesses with highly aligned sales and marketing teams achieve an average of 32% year-over-year revenue growth. There’s no doubt that content can boost your brand awareness and improve public sentiment towards your company and its product or service offerings. But if you’re not tying content efforts back to sales and revenue, it can be difficult to motivate your team members to invest the proper amount of effort into content. Without a content strategy to align your marketing and sales efforts, it will be difficult to understand the ROI of your content. To know if you’re getting a return on your content investment, you need to figure out how much you’re affecting the business’ bottom line.

Related Post: How to Create Content that Sticks ➢


Above all, my point is that there’s truly no shortcut to building out your marketing funnel, growing your traffic, and generating leads from your website. Simply pushing out content without a plan is not enough and, unfortunately, can actually work against you if customers walk away with a bad taste in their mouth after reading it. With thousands of businesses out there vying for recognition and attention online, building awareness and customer loyalty through meaningful engagement is key to getting noticed. Quality content creation lies at the heart of these efforts. At Parqa, our inbound marketing approach aligns your business and marketing goals so that you can convert more prospects into customers and grow your business online.

man thinking hard on laptop

How To Create Bad Content

We’ve all seen it and fallen victim to it: an enticing headline on Google or social media catches our eye so we click the link, assuming we’ll soon land on a page that delivers relevant and useful content. Instead, we’re left underwhelmed by the lack of content or the quality of it. (And let’s face it: sometimes it’s both.) We get frustrated and either bounce back to the search results or simply move on to something else. It happens every day because bad content is everywhere—but your company doesn’t have to be a part of the problem.

Below are some common ways businesses inadvertently end up creating bad content. Consider these the bad content principles to avoid at all costs!


Poor Readability

Poor readability is a hallmark of bad content. Numerous misspellings, a difficult-to-read font, and poor sentence structure all confuse and frustrate your reader, making them more likely to abandon your website at first glance. Avoid the following: light text on a light background, small font size, and run-on sentences that go on and on and…you get the picture. These content mistakes bore and annoy your reader before they even have a chance to understand what you offer.

What you should do instead…

Pick an easy-to-read font and make sure your content is well-written and clearly organized.


Confusing Infographics

If the user wasn’t already annoyed by the lack of readability, confusing infographics will certainly seal the deal. When people use confusing infographics that are poorly designed, too cluttered, or don’t support your content, your reader will become so confused they might just abandon the internet altogether.

What you should do instead…

Make infographics eye-catching but easy to understand. They’re supposed to be a tool that supports your message—don’t let it be a detractor.


Not Useful or Relevant

One of the fastest ways to agitate your reader is to have a headline that doesn’t actually apply to your content. People spend so much time crafting a catchy headline and less time writing content that supports it. But as we said above, how often have you been frustrated by those same click-bait articles? No one wants to be fooled or tricked into clicking on something they thought would be useful; you’re there to help inform or educate your reader, not just get them to come to your website.

What you should do instead…

Keep your content useful and valuable to your reader and create a clever but truthful headline that pertains to the content itself.

Related Post: 4 Ways to Make Your Content Strategy Authentic


Stuff Keywords

I’m sure you have heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by now, right? Well, SEO involves adding specific keywords to your content so that Google can find your page easier. But some businesses take this one step too far and perform something called “keyword stuffing” where they add that same phrase over and over again—even where it doesn’t make sense—in an effort to come up as number one in search results. The problem with this is that Google has gotten smarter and can now easily detect when keyword stuffing is taking place. Plus, your reader certainly doesn’t want to read something that’s illogical just because it has the phrase they’re looking for in it.

What you should do instead…

Yes, use keyword phrases. But use them where they make sense. Don’t try to keyword stuff or go over the top because Google—and your readers—will see right through it.


Have a Slow Website

While Google says that site speed is a ranking factor in 2018, bad content creators somehow don’t believe them. When you visit a website that takes forever to load, what do you do? You abandon it. You go back to your search bar and look for something else. Our attention spans have gotten shorter and shorter these days, and that’s why it’s crucial that your website isn’t lagging.

What you should do instead…

Evaluate your website speed on several different browsers, and on both desktop and mobile. If your page load times are slow, contact your developer to see what can be done to improve site speed.


Quick + Dirty Content Production

You’ve likely seen websites that churn out a massive amount of quick, poorly written content because they think that more is better. Honestly, while quantity is important, it should never be more important than quality. You want to create things that others will find valuable; content that’s clickable and linkable and offers a benefit to your reader.

What you should do instead…

Assign content creation to a group of people in your company who actually enjoy writing. They’ll take more time with it and can even help you come up with a content strategy so you have a scheduled way of producing important, well-written content.

Related Post: How to Make Content that Sticks


Bottom Line

Go back through your site’s content. Does it contain any of the characteristics of bad content mentioned above? If so, you’re likely losing out on potential clients as they become deterred by your bad content. Your website should offer value to your potential clients, not confuse or underwhelm them. If you want to re-examine your content strategy to better represent your brand and grow your business, contact the Parqa Digital Marketing team here.


two men looking over notes

Let’s Get Real: 4 Ways To Make Your Content Strategy More Authentic

The word “content” gets thrown around so much these days that it’s become slightly convoluted. Yes, businesses do need to produce content and distribute it to increase visibility and grow their brand, but throwing words against the wall won’t do you any good. At the end of the day, content creation is about telling a story. And with so many different brand stories saturating the market, the ones that will stand out are the ones that are authentic. Consumers can smell flimsy, inauthentic content from a mile away; if you stuff your blogs with keywords or come across like a used car salesman, you don’t stand a chance of surviving in today’s era of shortened attention spans and an increased desire for transparency. What your company should aim for when it comes to content creation is, at the end of the day, what we all crave: authenticity. It’s time to get real.

Related Post: 6 Signs You Need a Content Marketing Strategy


  1. Stop being overly promotional

Show of hands: who likes listening to commercials? Didn’t think so. Our attention spans are shrinking by the day, and people can quickly identify if an “article” is really just a longform advertisement. People search for answers to their problems on the internet. They want to be informed, educated, and to walk away with a new insight or fresh perspective. In the words of Scarlett O’Hara, frankly, my dear, they don’t give a damn about how great you are. You have to show them you’re great by providing something to them, no-strings attached. What can your content do for your reader? Don’t sell in your blogs: inform. Educate. Tell them a story. This is how you earn their trust—and yes, potentially their purchasing trust, later on.


  1. Get vulnerable

Companies—and the people behind them—love to talk about their successes, but rarely do they address their shortcomings. But our vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and failures are often our greatest opportunities for growth. When you’re writing content like personal essays or articles in the first person, don’t be afraid to talk about mistakes and missteps you’ve made. Articles about things you “wish you’d known,” areas in which you’ve grown, or obstacles you’ve had to overcome are incredibly helpful to other people—and they’re highly shareable. In today’s age of lifestyle bloggers and influencers, brands have to compete with those “oversharing” personalities, the most successful of which are usually people that keep it real, incorporate some levity into their content, and open up about their vulnerabilities in a humble way.


  1. Remember who you’re talking to

Along the same vein as being overly promotional, I see a lot of people who create content without thinking of their audience. You may not be physically next to your audience, but you’re still talking to them. Consider the tone you take; don’t be condescending but don’t underestimate their intelligence, either. Truly take the time to picture your ideal reader or customer and think of how you can help them. What is their day-to-day life like? What kind of content can improve their life? What do they value? What are their biggest challenges? People want information that will solve problems, inform them, improve their lives, or open their minds. Tell your story in a way that will deliver the most benefit for them. An article about retirement funds aimed at baby boomers can and should be formatted and written differently than an article written about Snapchat trends aimed at Gen Z’ers.


  1. Don’t be afraid to be the first or only

Digital marketing is a competitive world. As such, many companies feel desperate to churn out a lot of content in a short amount of time, often at the expense of that content’s quality or purpose. To do this, they tend to copy specific formats that they see other people using successfully. This isn’t wrong—you want to learn from successful companies and how they’ve established themselves. But you also shouldn’t be afraid to branch out once in a while and try something new. Don’t be afraid to create content that nobody has thought of yet, and present it in a style that’s uniquely you. If you do what’s authentic for your company, do it well, and do it consistently, you will establish yourself as a content leader in your field.

modern office with toy robot on desk

Marketing Automation 101: The Basics of Building a Marketing Machine


“The core problem we’re going to have going forward is that you have two forces [that will] govern much of what [happens] in the future. The first is globalization, which we’re not going to repeal, and the second one is automation, which we’re not going to repeal.” – Eric Schmidt, Former Executive Chairman of Google, Inc

With the marketing world moving more and more towards automation, it’s natural to take a step back and wonder: what is automation, exactly? Automation has been around since the printing press, the loom, and even the wheel. Throughout history, humans have found ways to automate repetitive or laborious tasks to machines, and automation in the digital age is no exception. While automation can conjure up images of machines from the Matrix, it’s less dystopian and more beneficial than you might think.

Properly understood, automation allows humans to do more with less. Think about it this way: where would the automobile industry be without the creation of the assembly line? Where would we be without the machine-based search algorithm that google built? Automation is a part of your washing machine, your coffee maker, and countless details of your everyday life. Marketing automation can be thought of in the same way that every other form of automation can be: it allows you to do more with less. Think of marketing automation as a way to do the work of a large marketing department, but for the cost of a single marketer.

Marketing Automation Basics

With automation, you can scale your marketing team without hiring a bunch of new employees. In essence, you can create a marketing machine. Marketing automation consists of software and tools that allow you to efficiently market to your customers throughout the entirety of their buyer’s journey. You nurture prospects with engaging and relevant content and then turn those prospects into customers. It’s the reason that Amazon is ranked one the most reputable companies on the planet: they don’t just sell to their customers, they provide value-added service to them at every stage of the funnel. They have built a marketing machine that removes the friction between the customer and the company. Don’t get me wrong, this is not easy to dobut as you can see it’s worth the required investment.

5 Steps to get started with marketing automation:

  1. Generate relevant leads by creating great content and driving traffic to your website. Focus on making your content informative, not promotional. By providing educational information, you help solve your prospect’s pain points which allows them to move smoothly through the rest of your funnel.
  2. Build your marketing funnel using landing pages, email marketing, and content that is valuable to your prospective buyers, whether that’s a blog, an ebook, a whitepaper, etc.
  3. Create content that includes calls-to-action with other relevant content that will help your prospects to solve their problems. If you’re discussing obstacles in the recruiting world in an article, you should link to another piece of content at the end that helps solve those obstacles or presents new ideas.
  4. Send out relevant and timely messages to your prospects at the various stages of the funnel. Your prospects are always on the move, their information and needs change everyday–it is your job as a marketer to figure out what information will help them progress along their journey. Sending the right information at the right time is critical to building trust with your customers, and solving their problems, even after they’ve become a customer, is how you build a reputation as enviable as Amazon’s.
  5. Work with your sales team to integrate your marketing and sales efforts, by creating a delightful sales experience for your prospects and customers, your sales team will begin to understand your customers from their perspective. Rather than interrupting your leads with irrelevant messages and cold calls, marketing automation allows your marketing and sales department to work in harmony to understand and help your customers every step of the way.

The key to successful marketing automation is remaining customer-centric. Much like Amazon’s mission of being the most customer-centric company on the planet, marketing automation is all about your customer, not you. Where I see many fall short with marketing automation is that they only focus on their existing mailing lists and ignore the rest of the 99% of the market out there. Marketing automation is not just emailing your leads to death; it’s a holistic approach to creating great marketing that is non-intrusive, relevant to prospects, and delights the customer at every stage of the funnel. 

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