If you know inbound content marketing, then you likely understand why WordPress is one of the most influential and inexpensive tools in your inbound content marketing arsenal. While website designers create large-scale sites on WordPress, it was developed initially as a blogging platform, making it the ideal way to host a website with blog-heavy content.
For this and many other reasons, WordPress is ideal for boosting your inbound content marketing.
What is WordPress and Why Use It?
WordPress is a content management system administered by a brand called Automattic. You can play around with WordPress for free over at WordPress.com. It contains a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor with drag and drop elements, but also permits you to hand-code using programming languages like HTML and CSS.
WordPress has been around for more than a decade, and it’s widely used around the world. In addition to the free WordPress.com site, you can host your own WordPress site on your own server (or a host’s). WordPress operates with elements called themes and plugins.
Themes control and dictate the look of your website. There are many free and premium themes available. Think of it like the outfit you pick for your content. Generally, you can customize the graphics, colors, and fonts of every theme.
Plugins let you further customize WordPress for your needs. Need an online shopping cart that integrates with PayPal? No problem. Want to back up your site automatically? Plugins can do that, too. There’s even a special search engine optimization (SEO) plugin ideal for marketers called Yoast SEO, which we’ll cover later.
WordPress also supports multi-user access. You can authorize other users to be administrators, editors, moderators, contributors, and commenters on the site. WordPress will keep track of their individual permissions and data.
WordPress for Content Management
From a content management perspective, WordPress is phenomenal. You can use plugins to manage your entire editorial process from within WordPress, going through an entire submission and publication cycle.
- Pitch and Create: If they have permissions, authors can create their own posts, starting in a pitch format. Once they’re done writing their pitch, it comes to you. You request changes, reject, or approve. If approved, it goes back to the author, and they are permitted to create it.
- Assign: You can also create topics for your writers to complete and assign the posts to them. Make sure to include a due date.
- Draft: Your writers can then create a draft of their post and submit it to you.
- Review and Edit: You’ll get a chance to review and edit the post before publishing. If necessary, you can send it back to the author with comments so they can revise and resubmit.
- Optimize: You’ll have a checkbox for optimizing the text. Optimize using Yoast SEO and best practices (see below).
- Publish: Publish your post by hitting the publish button. Your author will get an email notification, as you will each time a piece is submitted to your editorial queue.
- Pay: Click the checkbox when you’ve paid your author.
- Promote: Use integrated tools to promote your post.
Integrations with Social Media Posting Tools
Social media posting tools like CoSchedule provide WordPress integration. In other words, from your WordPress dashboard, you can use CoSchedule to promote a blog post automatically after it publishes. You could also assign tasks through CoSchedule, which is especially helpful if you have a social media marketer writing, scheduling, or reviewing those posts.
These tools also feature a way to turn posting off. That way, if a national emergency occurs, you can prevent your channels from auto-posting anything inappropriate or irrelevant.
Yoast SEO and the Magic of Inbound Marketing
Yoast SEO is a helpful plugin for WordPress inbound marketers, bloggers, and other writers. This tool helps you refine your search engine optimization, allowing Google’s users to find you when they search for relevant keywords and phrases.
Put in your keyword or keyphrase, and Yoast will make content improvement suggestions. It’ll also analyze the post’s readability and may make some more formatting and editorial suggestions for you. The whole idea is to help your post rank on Google.
If your blog is tied to your brand, this is the real magic of inbound marketing. You create a post, Google indexes it, and people come to you when they’re looking for content. Instead of having to really push your services on someone who might not need it, you’re able to capture the attention of someone who is already looking up a solution to their problem (hopefully, a problem your product or service solves).
Type of Content
Because you’re hoping to capture people who want to learn more about your niche, or solutions to their problems, you’re going to want to blog educational content. Friendly and informative content wins the day. Your prospects don’t want to be talked down to, and they might not even want to make a purchasing decision today.
What they do want is support, information, and accuracy. If you can provide that, you’re building trust. The first step in the business relationship isn’t necessarily to sell something to them―but maybe you should ask them to sign up to your email list or follow you on social media for the more helpful content.
Keep in mind also that words are vital, but blogs aren’t the only type of content out there. You can embed original or royalty-free images in your blog posts. You can also embed most YouTube videos in your posts, even if it features another expert talking about something related. Lastly, you can embed audio, in case you’ve built a blog post around the topic of your most recent podcast.
Selecting Keywords For Your Post
We have mentioned keywords being crucial to inbound marketing, and they are―but how do you select them? You should consider a combination of the below methods:
- You know your subject matter best: You’re the most uniquely qualified to know the language you live in―that is, the words people use to talk about your niche. You should also consider what kinds of questions people ask that lead to your product or service as a solution.
- Analyze competitors: Using keyword research tools like SpyFu, Moz, and SEMrush, you can check out your competitors and see what keywords they rank for. This type of software takes a look at their website, then spits out a report for you.
- Keyword research: Using the aforementioned tools, you can do keyword research. Find out what you rank for and what you should rank for. You can type in keywords, and what you want to find are high-value, low-competition keywords. That means (at least in Google ad terms) that these keywords would cost a lot to buy an ad for, but there isn’t much competition to rank with them. If you’re creating content yourself, you won’t have to pay for ads.
- Ask people: Ask your friends, family, coworkers, and community what they would look up to find information that might lead to your product or service. They’ll have useful ideas, and everyone likes to be asked and included.
- Use AnswerThePublic: AnswerThePublic is a free tool that discloses what type of questions users around the world ask for any particular topic. You could put in your niche topic, let’s say you sell “wizard costumes,” and get results indicating what people look up regarding wizard costumes. With this information, you can create blog posts answering their pressing questions, or create a wizard costumes FAQ on your website, posing these questions and your answers to them. The idea is that users will search for these questions and get your content.
Remember: keywords aren’t necessarily single words. They can be phrases. These are generally called long-tail keywords.
Most of the content you create on WordPress should be evergreen. That is, it’s constantly relevant. You may need to update evergreen content over the years occasionally, but generally, evergreen content can stand the test of time. If you have a best selling Christmas tree skirt listed in your e-commerce store, for example, you might want to create some evergreen content around that. An example might be “how to select the right Christmas tree skirt.” In the post, you’d include a link to your own product, hoping people will buy it.
Even if they don’t, they’ll remember that you provided friendly and informative advice, which is something objectively hard to find in Walmart or even on Amazon.
Every now and then, timely content can support your evergreen comment. For example, 2019 “Christmas Tree Skirt Trends” might not be a bad piece of content to publish on your blog (also linking to your product, of course).
Formatting a Post Properly in WordPress
When you format a post in WordPress, it communicates a heavy amount of information to Google. Google’s primary goal is to give its searchers exactly what they want. Anything you can do towards that goal is going to potentially raise your rank, while deceptive practices (which may have worked in the past) are going to get you ranked lower or banned from ranking altogether.
Formatting is a crucial technical aspect of that ranking and value. Here’s what you need to know:
- Use Headings: Your H1, H2, H3, and so on formatting options are there for a reason. They tell Google information about what’s in your content. Avoid using H1 entirely, as it will confuse Google. Instead, simply place your title in the indicated title area. Use H2, as we’ve done in this post, to break up the text into smaller sections. Keep your paragraphs a few sentences long each (which makes it easier to read on mobile devices).
- Use Images and Video: Break up your text with video and images. You should have something appear every 250 words or so. Always use royalty-free images to avoid copyright violations.
- Employ Bullet Points: As we’ve done here, list appropriate items and points with bullets so you can communicate clearly.
- Use Tables for Data: Are you presenting metrics in your post? If so, consider putting them in a table.
- Use Standard Fonts: Use readable fonts, such as the ones you theme suggests as default. Google and its readers favor sans serif fonts because they are easier to read.
- Take Advantage of Other WordPress features: Spellcheck, embedded tweets, quotes, and more are also helpful when it comes to search engine ranking.
Discover the Beauty of Rel=Canonical
Have you ever wanted to publish the same piece of content on your blog, but also on another source, such as on LinkedIn’s article tool? Google punishes duplicate content, detecting it as plagiarism, and it also wants to provide searchers with a variety of results. What if you’re not plagiarizing, but hoping to post your own content in multiple places?
You can still publish it as syndicated content, and there’s a way to let Google know all about it. Through the use of a plugin or by switching to the code tab, you can use the “rel=canonical” tag to indicate the presence of syndicated content.
Image Alt Tags
When you upload images, WordPress gives you the option to label them. Always describe the photo accurately, and think of keywords people might use to look for images on Google. “Kitten playing with red yarn” is a clear and concise example of an ideal image alt tag.
Internal and External Linking
One way to strengthen your SEO presence involves internal linking. You should have strong hypertext links to other pieces of content on your site. Make sure the words you’re linking accurately describe the thing you’re linking to.
Similarly, having links to external, authoritative sources can prove quite helpful when you’re hoping to rank well on Google. Consider .gov and .edu sources in particular. Use reputable news sources (not fake news) and, again, always describe the content accurately.
With these insights on WordPress, you’re ready to start researching your keywords and dominating the online conversation about your topics. Always remember to serve the reader first―that’s what Google likes best.