If you’ve ever hosted a dinner party, you know that it’s comprised of great recipes along with a little bit of art, timing and technique.

Dinner Table

Combining the ingredients to create the perfect dish is a feat of alchemy, if you will, infusing a dish with just the right mixture of spices to bring out its flavor, both subtle and sublime.

Of course, the other critical factor in orchestrating a memorable dinner is timing. Every dish needs to be coordinated so that it’s ready to serve in cadence with the event.

This is not unlike your content marketing plan – combining the right elements to serve the right solution at the right time (à la Google’s “zero moment of truth”).

In short, brands are in charge of creating a digital banquet that will delight their target audience.

To do that, you need the chef – the digital marketer, to orchestrate the main dish, the content, served up with “SEO sauce,” a combination of art and technique.

Let’s explore these ideas more.

The Chef: The Digital Marketing Strategist

The chef – usually the CMO or at a director level within a brand’s organization – is the decision maker, charged with coordinating content marketing and organic search strategies. Her overriding priority is how strategy impacts the business’s bottom line.

Just as the chef at a dinner party makes the decision as to how prepare the entrée, specifying to his helpers what ingredients and sauces to use and in what proportions, it is the CMO who gets buy-in for the company’s resources, and directs the strategy on down the line.

So, the CMO needs to know how any proposed strategy will impact the company’s goals, just as a chef must know how changing an ingredient in a dish impacts the flavor.

It’s the decision-maker that Jim addresses in his Search Engine Land article, where he urges brands to integrate their digital marketing by having “the technically-minded SEOs and creatively-minded content creators work in tandem to weave data and SEO recommendations into compelling content.”

This is a key ingredient to marketing online today. By orchestrating the efforts of your content and SEO teams, you will make a quantum leap forward towards the alchemy that defines a cost-effective and powerful integrated marketing strategy.

The Main Dish: Content

Consider content the “meat of the matter” and the star of the party when thinking of your content marketing strategy. It is the content on your Web pages that is crawled and indexed by the search engines, and it is content that is consumed by readers.

And ultimately, it is your content that is tasked with converting those readers who interact with it into customers and subscribers.

As BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu wrote for Marketing Land readers earlier this year, content marketing is big, with one statistic showing that brands invested some $44 billion in content last year. And while brands indicate that they want to invest even more in content in 2014, they understandably want to see a return on their investment.

Of the digital marketers responding to BrightEdge’s 2014 Search Marketer Survey, 78 percent said that it’s either “more important” or “much more important” that they connect content efforts to ROI in 2014:

Just like planning a dinner party, investment in quality ingredients for the main dish will understandably produce a delicious outcome for all. The same goes for your digital content strategy.

The Art & Technique: SEO “Sauce”

All too often, there is a disconnect between SEO and content marketing within organizations, resulting in a brands not being able to track the ROI in a meaningful way. This disconnect is akin to serving your desert before your main dish, or the entrée without the accompanying sauce.

Organic search is the “timing” aspect that enhances your content to get it in front of the right people at the right time.

Optimizing content for visibility in organic search is nothing new, and in fact data from the BrightEdge 2014 survey indicates that 48 percent of content creators optimize copy as part of their process. But you may not be aware of the ROI.

BrightEdge studied the impact of optimizing pages for search before they were published, and found the potential to drive 10 percent more traffic, 25 percent more revenue and 50 percent less time to results for targeted pages.

And, as Jim said in his Marketing Land article, SEO is the best channel to understand consumer demand for content.

Data gleaned from SEO analytics can inform content strategy by identifying such critical factors as:

  • The information (content) your target market is seeking out and engaging with at different phases of the buy cycle.
  • The Web pages that are the most profitable in terms of conversions performance, indicating a high content ROI.
  • The social media channels where your most lucrative market segment is likely to find and engage with your brand.

Of course, to accomplish all this, analytic tools (like those in BrightEdge’s S3 platform!) plus the SEO technique you use are all ingredients in a winning content marketing strategy.

At the end of your dinner party, guests should leave feeling satisfied, and like they had a memorable experience. The same goes for your brand’s website and the feeling its visitors should have after they have come, engaged and left.

Always leave them wanting more. And you can do this with a content marketing strategy that combines all the key elements that deliver the right solution at the right time.