How Online Apparel Brands Succeed with Digital Marketing

Of all the consumer goods available online, the apparel category—including clothes, shoes, and accessories—has seen some of the biggest gains.

Revenue for online apparel in the U.S. reached $80.96 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow to over $123 billion by 2022.

Online sales are expected to account for 40% of the apparel and footwear market by the 2030s.

In the past few years, major fashion houses like Louis Vuitton and Gucci have begun shifting marketing dollars from print ads to digital channels in response to the steadily growing popularity of online apparel shopping.

Apparel brands that focus on their ecommerce presence have opportunities for dramatic growth as shoppers move online. But the competition is stiff. Big brick-and-mortar retailers like Macy’s and Kohl’s have been investing significant resources in building their online stores, and Amazon is cutting into the apparel sales of traditional apparel retailers with its low prices and fast shipping.

Niche apparel brands can’t compete with Amazon and other major retailers on price and shipping, so they must carve out a unique selling proposition—and clearly communicate that proposition to their target audience—to succeed online.

How are small- and mid-sized apparel businesses standing out from the competition and connecting with online shoppers? We spoke with three business owners (and Leverage’s own Director of Strategy, Dan Valle), to find out what digital marketing strategies have worked best for them.

Foolies: Developing a Buyer Persona to Grow a Brand

Niche apparel brands can’t succeed in a crowded online space unless they have a clear understanding of who their ideal customers are. This was something that Alex “Nemo” Hanse, owner of the T-shirt company Foolies Limited Clothing, learned as he built his brand. “When I started seven years ago, I thought that my brand was for EVERYONE,” Hanse says. “Incorrect!”

Hanse realized that he needed to focus on a narrower audience, so he began building a profile of his ideal customer, including details like where she works, what her goals in life are, and how his brand would bring value to her. One thing he realized as he developed his buyer persona was that he should be focusing on marketing to women of color. He stresses that this doesn’t mean other women can’t buy his T-shirts. “It just means I know who I need to talk to [in order to] get my message across and help my brand grow.”

Developing customer profiles, or buyer personas, can help brands like Foolies make decisions about where to engage with their audience, what content formats to try, and what messaging to use. While a buyer persona may begin as a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer, apparel brands should use customer surveys, interviews, and sales data to shape their personas as their company grows.

T.C. Elli’s: Creating Content That Stands Out in the Fashion Industry

Content marketing allows ecommerce apparel companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors, attract more organic website visitors to their site, and convince shoppers to buy from them. However, new ecommerce brands may discover that the data-driven and long-form content that’s dominating other industries isn’t as effective for them.

Tahnee Elliot, CEO and founder of the Texas-based fashion boutique T.C. Elli’s, is quick to make this distinction. “Fashion retailers are competing with top fashion bloggers, magazines, and other influencers in a space that can only be described as crowded,” she says. “Content for fashion brands must provide benefits for the customer, be visually and aesthetically pleasing, and meet the ‘first, better, or different’ principle.” T.C. Elli’s mix of content includes a visually-compelling blog and Instagram posts that highlight ways to wear the brand’s pieces. Elliot says that by regularly producing high-quality content, “we managed to increase traffic both online and in-store, boost organic rankings, and build brand awareness.”

One Tribe Apparel: Finding the Right Collaborators

Influencer marketing—a partnership between brands and consumers with a large or engaged online following—has become a key strategy for many ecommerce apparel businesses. As a visual platform with 500 million daily active users, Instagram is an obvious place for fashion brands to find relevant influencers. But some apparel brands have found success by looking beyond Instagram.

Ryan O’Connor’s company One Tribe Apparel, which sells handmade clothes and accessories from Thailand, has gotten the best results from collaborating with bloggers in the brand’s niche. “I chose bloggers specifically because we can have many points of exposure with them,” O’Connor explains. “Not only do we usually get a product review with a link for SEO value, but we get photos of them in our clothes that are usually shared on their social channels as well.” O’Connor adds that many bloggers also run product giveaways, which allows One Tribe Apparel to grow their audience by requesting that social media users follow their brand accounts to enter the contest.

For O’Connor and his team, working with bloggers has a bigger ripple effect than working with social media influencers alone. “If we work with just an Instagram influencer, we usually get one to three posts from them, whereas with a blogger we get the SEO benefit, social media benefit, and referral traffic from their site.”

Leverage Marketing: Identifying the Best Strategies for the Brand’s Stage

At Leverage Marketing, we recognize that there’s no silver bullet strategy that will work for every apparel brand. Whenever we take on an apparel client, we look at where they are in their brand lifecycle and identify the tactics with the most potential for the stage they’re in. Dan Valle, Director of Strategy at Leverage, points to two specific cases where tailoring our tactics to an apparel brand’s stage led to significant growth.

“One of our clients was an already-established brand with a good amount of brand awareness and a substantial set of current and past customers,” Valle says. “With their target audiences, most audience members had heard of the brand and had a positive affinity for it. We saw an opportunity to expand into new audiences while continuing to build lifetime value for current and past customers.” Leverage began pursuing newly targeted, non-branded search terms to reach new audiences and grow the brand’s customer base. At the same time, we prioritized email marketing to cross-sell and alert past and current customers about new products, leading to an increase in repeat purchasers.

Leverage also worked with an apparel brand that was in the introduction stage of their brand lifecycle and had a modest budget. “We committed to improving this client’s brand awareness through influencer marketing and content marketing,” Valle explains. Leverage also began building out search engine-optimized onsite content to work towards the longer-term goal of helping the client rank for keywords with a high volume of monthly searches.

Valle recommends that every apparel brand looking to grow takes stock of their current audience and stage in the brand lifecycle. “With this knowledge, you can make better decisions about the tactics that have the most potential now and in the near future,” he says.

Using Digital Marketing to Make an Impact in Online Apparel

As an apparel company, you don’t need the marketing budget of a Macy’s or a Nordstrom’s to succeed online. What you do need is the ability to identify your audience, tailor your content to them, and provide value that they can’t find elsewhere. Taking a customer-first approach will help you win over online shoppers and keep them coming back to your ecommerce store.

Not sure where to start? Leverage Marketing can help you target your ideal customers, develop campaigns to stand out from competitors, and measure your results. Contact us to learn about our full suite of digital marketing services for ecommerce apparel brands.

SEO and Branding: The Team Your Business Really Needs

If you’re someone who wants the best for their site, you are probably always on the lookout for the right digital marketing mix to drive results. There are a lot of options you can invest in – with SEO, PPC, content marketing, social media, and more all vying for space in your business plan, where should you put your money?

No two businesses are the same, so no advice is truly “one size fits all”, but there are big two marketing focuses that work in sync to form the base of your digital marketing strategy: SEO and branding.

SEO and branding can’t work very effectively without each other; without good branding, your SEO strategy won’t really stick and grow over the long term, and without SEO, your awesome branding efforts won’t be found on the web.

While many business owners often struggle to see the real value in brand building and SEO efforts, the two are much more related and foundational than you think.

Name Recognition

Name tag representing email personalizationWhen you search on Google for something, what drives you to click on any particular blue link? Do you always just click on the first result you see?

You probably don’t choose that link every single time. Sometimes, you’re looking for something specific and that first link gets you what you need, but what about if it’s not an area you’re familiar with, or something you’re just beginning to shop around for? You’re either going to click the link that looks:

  1. Familiar, or
  2. Most relevant to what you need.

Organic (non-advertising/paid) link click-through rate isn’t nearly as concentrated on the top ranking link as you think it is; while research suggests that the top link does generally drive a ~20% click-through rate, links #2-5 range from 9-13% click-throughs, which isn’t a whole lot lower. This is why SEO and branding can be so linked – a familiar brand name gives you a better chance of driving clicks even if you aren’t #1.

This is also why having strong brand awareness is so vital to your SEO strategy. As we’ve mentioned before, having an excellent click-through rate on search results pages is a factor in helping your links gain better ranking positions. And having a brand name that is somewhat familiar or at least present and legitimate is a good way to invite people to click onto your site, in that you’re promising a good experience and that your site isn’t, say, some random link that will download malware onto the visitor’s computer.


Another reason you want your branding and SEO to be strong? Featured snippets. Search engines are becoming increasingly full of rich features such as knowledge boxes, Q&A panels, and even direct answer boxes. Grabbing that valuable search page real estate is one of the fastest ways to establish your brand as an “authority” on your topic – and using SEO to optimize for snippets can help you do that.

Even if your content isn’t taking a whole lot of rich feature spaces, creating informative, search engine optimized, and customer-focused content on highly relevant topics can help establish your brand as a top authority in your industry and build brand awareness through SEO. Both humans and search engines will look at your thorough library of informational resources and say, “Hey, they look like they know what they’re doing over there…”

Link Building

When your brand is trusted, your site will be, too. That’s why developing a recognized and trusted brand presence is so key to link building, which is one of the cornerstone tactics within SEO.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of link building, think of it as a way of earning endorsements for your site. If another site links back to you, search engines tend to see that as a confirmation of your site’s usefulness, safety, and relevancy of your site. Once your site has collected a few relevant and trustworthy links from other sites, search engines will be more likely to serve it up to visitors in search results because it has been “endorsed” by other sites.

From a branding perspective, building great links is a LOT more difficult without a strong brand image. Think about it like this – if you’re looking for a source to cite in your blog post, would you rather link to, or some generic website you just stumbled upon? Assuming the info you’re citing is the same from both sites, you’re probably going to decide that the Forbes article is a better citation for your blog post.  If your readers are wondering where you got your information, they’re going to trust you, the blog writer, a lot more if you’re citing widely known and trusted brands such as Forbes, rather than something they’ve never heard of.

Searches for Brands = Easy Wins

Maybe this is a given, but it’s worth pointing out: people who know exactly what they’re looking for are more likely to find it. In other words, if someone types your brand name into Google, they are probably looking specifically for your site, your brand, and your offerings. They know what they want already. By intertwining your SEO and branding strategies, you can grow your brand recognition, and, over time, begin driving valuable brand searches that turn into faster conversions than those among visitors who are just shopping around.

This is a difficult concept to prove because platforms like Google Analytics do not supply keyword-level info that can be directly connected to conversions, but the pure authority of branded searches is hard to ignore. If your brand is strong enough, people may not even bother searching for general keywords, and will just search your brand name instead. For example, look at the search volumes around three of the most common car windshield repair keywords on the books.

auto glass search volumewindshield repair search volume

Now, look at the search volume around the brand name of one of the biggest national players in this industry.

Safelite brand search volume

Obviously, not every person searching for any of those keywords is looking to buy auto glass. But a lot of them are. That’s 246,000 people who (probably) know who Safelite is, what they do, and how to find them. That’s why they’re more targeted, conversion-friendly searches than the more general, volatile to change, and less often searched terms such as “auto glass”.

Searching “auto glass repair” is proof positive of the company’s SEO efforts as well – Safelite has secured 3 out of the 10 organic (non-paid) search results on the first page in our area. SEO for brand awareness AND organic search domination? Now that’s authority!

How to Tell When Branding and SEO are Making an Impact

Sure, SEO and branding are a superhero team that can help your business take off. But how do you know if your SEO and brand building efforts are really working and driving meaningful actions such as leads and sales?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to decipher the exact impact of SEO and brand marketing. As with traditional marketing, measuring every buyer’s true journey from start to finish can be difficult when tracing every interaction is nearly impossible. How many places, digital and physical, did a customer see and interact with your brand before converting? Even the customer may not know.

However, we can see how often people are looking for things that are unique to your brand. (How many times your site has appeared when someone has searched for your brand name, for instance.)

Google search console performance report

To do this, you’ll need to have your site connected to Google Search Console. This service allows you to monitor several technical aspects of your site, but most importantly in this case, it helps you see what searches your site is appearing for.

Once your site ownership is verified in Google Search Console, navigate to the Performance report.

Once you’re there, you can see roughly how many Clicks and Impressions your site gets from the organic search result pages. “Clicks” refers to someone clicking on one of your site’s pages via an organic search result, and “Impressions” refers to the number of times a link from your site appeared for a query made by a searcher – AKA, how many times your brand name and website was seen.

To see approximately how often your brand name has been searched for, you can perform a search.

Google Search Console brand performance

Make a new Query filter that contains your brand name, or part of your brand name. You can also add additional filters to capture common brand misspellings or represent common searches that only include part of your brand name (i.e., if your brand is “Freedom Investments”, set a filter that only includes “Freedom”.)

Google Search Console Brand Query

Now, you can see how many impressions and clicks that searches for your brand name have generated over time. Play around with the date function to see results as far as 16 months into the past.

As an example, look at one of Leverage Marketing’s clients who needed both SEO and brand building to help create a searchable presence and a stronger brand presence. Upon becoming a Leverage client near the end of 2016, Google Search Console showed us an average of about 50 branded query impressions per day. We can translate this to mean that their brand name was getting searched and seen about 50 times a day.

After a website redesign, dedicated onsite and technical SEO work, and a concentrated effort to create the brand image and voice that this client was missing, we’ve seen branded query impressions per day climb to over double what they were before pursuing SEO and branding. The impact of our campaign has helped their brand gain twice as many searches as it did before. That’s the power of branding!

brand impression growth through SEO

Ready to set a solid SEO and branding foundation for your site but not sure where to start? Get in touch with the Leverage team – we’re experts at curating your brand image and SEO strategy to drive results on your site.

Can Google Read Text in Images?

We believe that, yes, Google is currently at least trying to read the text in images.

Despite assertions that say Google can’t read text in images based on social media feedback from Google employees, it’s too easy for those employees to hide what’s going on behind the scenes using clever language on social media.

As the leader in internet search, Google’s goals should include the ability to parse what’s hidden in the text of images. Indeed, they have already begun efforts to interpret the content of images with or without text. For example, Google Translate technology reads real-world text and instantly produces a translated result using images produced by mobile devices.

Such technology could trickle easily into reading text included in images in various languages and fonts (and it could be already happening). We can’t say definitively, but we can draw conclusions by building a picture of what we know Google can do.

Google Guesses What’s in Images Using Several Methods

Performing simple Google Images searches with and without text produces marvelous results. By plugging in a variety of images from your website, you can start to form hypotheses based on Google Images output.


The search giant seems to be adept at pulling important information from the text surrounding an image. We uploaded an image from our B2B Video Marketing for Service-Based Businesses blog post. The colored block was intended to represent the dimensionality and variety of video types for marketing.

Google gave us the result below:

google image search result for b2b video marketing abstract box

The engine correctly guessed that the block represented video – but how did it gather that information from a colored block? We suspect that Google read the text around the image and pulled the keyword video from the text.

Simple Shapes

We also plugged another image of the same blog custom-made for our post. The 3D gold stars were aligned so that the tips of the horizontal edges touched, and the shapes were pressed against a flat background so that they glowed and cast shadows slightly.

google image search result for b2b video marketing gold stars

Google still managed to understand the basic shape. While it’s possible to attribute Google’s understanding to the information provided in the image name, google-five-star-rating-3d.png, we believe that Google took a harder look at the shapes and colors it could recognize. It was able to produce visually similar images that included near matches of color, number, and shape:

google image search result for visually similar gold stars


We looked deeper into the provided similar images. Some results did not include star in the image name, and most of them did not include such defining keywords as gold or 3D. The image recognition technology to which Google currently has access appears to be able to collect more information than context and metadata to deliver results to searchers.


Metadata in Google Images is still extremely viable, however. In the world of SEO, image metadata helps Google come to the right conclusions about what’s contained in images. It’s still good practice to include alt text in all images and to properly name your images with concise clues about their content.

For an experiment in how image metadata affects SEO, we tried uploading our Influencer Marketing Facts and Statistics infographic to Google Images.

google image search result for influencer marketing facts and statistics infographic

The image name and its alt text both include phrases such as influencer marketing facts and statistics. The text in the infographic, however, only mentions stats. Though Google is smart enough to understand that stats and statistics are related, it isn’t likely that the image search pulled influencer marketing facts from the title text of the infographic that reads Essential INFLUENCER MARKETING Stats.

Instead, it probably relied mostly on metadata to provide its result. However, its reliance on metadata for a Google Images result still doesn’t tell us how Google determines the value of content in a post that includes an infographic for standard search results.

Reading Infographics: Leverage Marketing Internal Study

To find out more about how Google ranks images with text, we put our own infographics to the test. We monitored the ranking changes of two infographics over several months to determine the efficacy of putting information into a different visual medium.

 influencer marketing facts and statistics infographic social media for ecommerce facts and statistics infographic
The influencer marketing infographic ranks 3rd for its target keywords as of the publishing of this blog.The social media infographic ranks 23rd for its target keywords as of the publishing of this blog.

We included text versions of the information included in the infographic with the influencer marketing post, but not with the social media post. The social media infographic was also designed with more advanced graphical styling. It included graphs and charts as well.

We determined that the most likely factors to attribute to the difference in ranking for target keywords of each infographic was based largely on:

  • The simplicity of infographic design
  • The inability of Google to pull meaningful data from charts and graphs made for users
  • The inability of Google’s potential text parsing technology to read text disrupted by multiple colors or graphics
  • The overall contrast of background and text colors

However, both infographics are still young in the world of SEO. They continue to climb in ranking, but their overall difference in ranking is significant enough to theorize.

How Can I Maximize the Chance of My Image Ranking Well?

The best strategy for ensuring that Google knows well what kind of information your image contains and how valuable it can be is to ensure that you include the following with your image upon publishing:

  • Metadata – Googlebot is consistent about reading the metadata included with images, especially alt text, but it’s important to remember to keep it brief and packed with information.
  • Quality content – Include some, but not a copy, of the information contained in your graphic in the body of the page surrounding your graphic. It may not always be possible, but if you have the chance to put some info from the image in text format, take that chance.
  • Clear contrast between text and background – In case our suspicions are correct, you’ll likely greatly increase your chances of having your image text read if Googlebot has an easy time scanning it. Dark grey text on a white background is ideal for users and bots, but as a rule, at least use a healthy contrast between text and background in images.

Metadata has been a boon to marketers who use images for a while, but surrounding those images with quality content and making sure that the contrast is significant are still experimental. Avoid duplicating textual information in images in on-page text; instead, try to expand on what the image says with additional useful information.

Google Is Likely Trying to Read Text in Images

The search giant has been experimenting with convolutional neural networks for years. They are artificial neural networks that use data input to mimic the learning and output process of a thinking creature.

The same neural networks have the potential to learn how to read text in images in a similar way to what we do. Convolutional neural networks contribute to natural language processing and image and video recognition, both of which are behaviors that govern the way humans think and react.


googlebot digital graphic representation


The goal of search is to understand searcher intent and, in response, use the power of computation to deliver instantaneous results. It’s a matter of course that reading text in images will, at least someday, be part of that process. And though there are skeptics who have concluded that Google isn’t actively reading text in images, we beg to differ.

SEO is hard, but Leverage Marketing has it on lock. If you don’t want to deal with the rigors of SEO, talk to our digital marketing team today about offloading the burden.

Intro to Local SEO

If you’ve spent any time in the world of search engine optimization (SEO), you know it’s always changing. For geographically bound businesses, building out local SEO is an excellent strategy for capturing additional market share. Local searchers, both on desktop and mobile, often know exactly what they’re looking for, and your business needs to be ready for them. By using local SEO strategies and services to your advantage, you can be at the top of Google results at the right time and place for your customers. Learn how to rank highly in local SEO results and beat out your competitors.

What is Local SEO?

Local search engine optimization is all about effectively marketing your business online to customers in a close radius. Using local SEO strategies like building out reviews, using business directories, and creating localized content can help companies to rank highly on search engine results pages, where web users will discover them. 46% of Google searches are local, 50% of local mobile searches are looking for a specific business, and 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase, according to BrightLocal. Mobile search and online shopping are increasing each year rapidly, so developing a strategy to convert mobile buyers is essential for success.

There are many advantages to local SEO, as it has a much higher return on investment (ROI) than other advertising methods. Local search relies on proximity and convenience. Customers native to your area and those visiting rely on search engines to find businesses and reviews, and if they can’t find your information, they won’t purchase from you. A solid overall SEO strategy will help you in local search results, but there are additional steps you can take to boost your rankings and attract more business in your area.

How Can I Boost My Local SEO Rankings?

Succeed in local SEO marketing by engaging with your customers and becoming verified locally. Taking these steps will help your business on its way toward the top of the page for local SEO results:

  • Garner Additional Reviews — High-quality reviews with pictures and text on your Google My Business page and other platforms like Yelp and Facebook build up your profile. You can ask customers to write reviews but can’t offer them any compensation.
  • Reply to Those Reviews — Answering reviews, both positive and negative, can help boost your position. You’re actively engaging with customers, which shows you care about your business to Google and potential customers.
  • Use Google + Local — Link your Google My Business page to a Google + Local page and use the social media platform to post new content and engage with customers
  • Utilize Social Media — Depending on your business, use different social media platforms to connect with your customers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Post photos of your business, upload new content and reply to questions and reviews.
  • Link to Qualified Data Sources — Many potential customers trust third-party websites like Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau to verify the authenticity and trustworthiness of a business. If these types of organizations link to your site, it can help you show up on Google’s radar.
  • Consistency for Structured Citations- It’s vital that your business’s Complete Name, Address, and Phone Number (known as NAP) are correct and consistent across all uses online. A “structured citation” is your business’s listing on an online local business directory. If your company has multiple incorrect phone numbers, different names, and wrong addresses, it will lower your ability to show up in results.

Take these steps, and you’ll be on your way to ranking highly for local search results. Your business type and competition may require additional steps to push your website to the top of the rankings and into Google’s local three-pack (the three local sites near the searcher’s GPS location).

How Can I Differentiate My Website from Competitors?

By following many of the previous steps, you probably already have an advantage over competitors in your local market. Many businesses haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing and are therefore decreasing its usability. Using additional local SEO tactics can help you claim one of the top spots:

  • Encourage More Reviews — Getting high-quality reviews will help you beat out the competition. Aim for detailed, five-star reviews.
  • Use Specific Google My Business Categories — Google allows you to specify categories for your business website and to be precise and intentional can help you flourish. Don’t overload Google with categories, but do target all areas of your business.
  • Research Your Competitors — Employ simple market research. If a competitor is beating you, see what they’re doing and do it better. If you’re an ice cream shop and your competitor is offering a loyalty program, create a more seamless program with better rewards.
  • List a Physical Address — Whether you have an actual store for customers to visit, a real address that’s not a P.O. Box or virtual is necessary. Google values individual addresses in the city of search.

If you need additional advice on how to beat out rival businesses, talk to Leverage Marketing about our local SEO services. Our SEO team will implement a strategy based on your goals, growing your organic traffic and helping you get discovered in local search results. Contact us today to see how the Leverage Way can make a difference for your business.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Content Marketing Strategy [UPDATED]

Note: This post was originally published on September 6, 2017. We updated it on March 13, 2018 to include a downloadable content marketing strategy checklist.

As a business owner, you’ve heard that content marketing is less expensive and generates more leads than traditional advertising. Sounds like something you should get in on, right? After hearing about the benefits of content marketing, your first impulse might be to start a blog that you or your team members update when time allows. Unfortunately, you’re not the only business who has had that content marketing idea, and it’s no longer enough.

Every 60 seconds, there are 1,445 new WordPress blog posts published. In that minute, there are also 500 hours of video uploaded to Youtube, 3.3 million Facebook posts published, and 65,972 Instagram photos uploaded. That’s a lot of content to compete with, and adding your blog post to the mix is kind of like throwing a rock into a deep lake. Your target audience isn’t going to find it, and you’re not going to see any meaningful returns.

content published every minute on stopwatchSo how do you plan a content strategy that will have a real impact? Blogging can certainly be a part of it, but you have to go further—the best content marketing strategies involve:

  • researching the target audience
  • using a mix of content formats
  • optimizing for search engines and readers
  • and aggressively promoting on multiple channels.

Let’s take a closer look at each of those steps. If you don’t have time to read the full post now, or if you’d like to get these steps (and more) in a handy list format, you can click below to download our Content Strategy Checklist.

content marketing strategy checklist download button

Get Familiar with Your Audience

If you’re taking a scattershot approach to content marketing—planning and producing content that you think will appeal to the widest possible audience—you’re wasting your time. To drive potential customers to your site, you need to know who your target audience is, where they spend time online, and how they prefer to consume content. Here are a few ways to find that information:


  • Survey your current customers. Find out what websites they enjoy browsing, what social media platforms they use, how often they read blogs or listen to podcasts, what questions they have for your business, etc.
  • Audit your current website content. Which pages have gotten the most traffic? Where have readers spent the most time? What path do shoppers take before making a purchase? Diving into Google Analytics can give you some great insights into what content is and isn’t working.
  • Pay attention to social media. Look at the types of content your followers comment on and share on social media. Facebook Insights and Twitter’s Audience Insights Dashboard (available with a Twitter Ads account) will both help clue you into the interests, preferences, and purchase behavior of your audience.

Experiment with Different Content Types

Writing blog posts might seem like the most straightforward way to get your business into content marketing, but if this is all you do, you’re limiting your audience. Not everyone enjoys consuming online content in the same way, so it’s important to experiment with different content types to see what’s most successful with your audience. Online content formats include but are not limited to:

  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Case Studies
  • Quizzes

alpaca fleece fictional company logoYou should also create content that appeals to people at different stages of the sales funnel. For example, a company that sells alpaca fleece blankets might produce the following content pieces:

  • Awareness Stage: A video showing the eco-friendly process by which alpaca fleece blankets are made
  • Interest Stage: An infographic showing some of the benefits of alpaca fleece
  • Evaluation Stage: A product comparison guide for sheep fleece vs. alpaca fleece blankets
  • Decision Stage: Testimonials from real customers who love having alpaca fleece blankets in their homes

Make Sure Search Engines Can Find Your Content

The best content marketing strategies incorporate search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is what helps your web pages rank well for relevant search terms so that more potential customers can find your site. SEO strategies are complex, and there’s no way to thoroughly cover them in a single blog post, but we do have a few tips to get you started:

  • Do keyword research. Keywords are the terms that internet users search for (and that will ideally lead them to your site when they find one of your pages in their search results). You can find keywords that are related to your business and content topics using tools like Google Keyword Planner and Moz Keyword Explorer. Use keywords naturally throughout your content (i.e. add them where they make sense, rather than adding awkward sentences and phrases just to work them in).
  • Write title tags and meta descriptions for all pages. Your title tags and meta descriptions are what web users see in the search results, so it’s important to write compelling copy that will make readers want to click through to your site. If you’ve built your site on WordPress, you can enter your title and meta description using a plugin like Yoast. If you’re not using WordPress, you can still plug meta information straight into your site’s HTML.
  • Optimize your visual content. If you’re producing videos, infographics, or other visual content, include a transcript or written summary on your site so that search engines can find the content.

Promote, Promote, Promote

content promotion on social media conceptContent promotion is an essential part of any content marketing strategy, but novice marketers all too often skip this step. Failing to promote your content is kind of like prepping for a dinner party and forgetting to invite your guests: you will have put in a lot of work and potentially produced something amazing, but no one will get to enjoy it because they don’t know it’s there. (That was the last analogy for this blog post, I promise.)

There are many different content promotion routes you can take, and it’s best to promote your content across multiple channels to increase its reach. For example, you could:

  • Share your content on your social media accounts and encourage readers to share on social media as well.
  • Bundle several recent content pieces into a bi-weekly or monthly newsletter that goes out to all your subscribers.
  • Write a press release announcing your new content (this approach is best when your content includes original research or a truly newsworthy update).
  • Reach out to influential industry bloggers to see if they will share your content or offer you a guest posting opportunity.
  • Invest in native advertising (e. paying a third-party publisher to include your piece on their site as ‘Sponsored Content’).

Putting Your Content Strategy Plan into Action

Implementing a content marketing plan for your business won’t yield results overnight. However, if you consistently produce and promote original content tailored to your target audience, the benefits can ultimately include increased traffic, greater brand recognition, and more conversions.

Great content marketing requires a lot of time and resources that you may not have in-house. That’s where Leverage Marketing can help. Contact us about our content marketing services: we’ll do all the heavy lifting so you can focus on running your business.

Are Featured Snippets Better than Other Rich Search Results?

If you’re looking from the perspective of SEO, featured snippets are better than other rich search results for one reason:

Featured snippets are among the last externally linking rich search results in Google SERPs.

externally linking cloud

There are still some Google search results that require a clickthrough to get all the information you want (for example, news articles have rich listings in Google, but you can’t get a full article without clicking through). However, Google has started to provide most information through its extraordinarily-sized database.

Many of today’s rich search results link internally back to other Google pages, and even more still provide an answer to a query almost immediately – which means that the user no longer needs to click through to your website to receive his or her answer.

But featured snippets strike a balance: they often answer a question, but leave the remaining content that explains the answer on the page to which the link provided leads. That way, users looking for a quick answer have no need to click through, but those who want a full explanation (and perhaps your product or service) must visit your website.

Why Are Featured Snippets Better (for Businesses & Websites)?

Google’s featured snippets are better for businesses and websites than other rich search results because they bring happy and informed customers to your site. Customers who have their initial questions answered but want to know more are often ideal customers, and the featured snippet does a lot of the filtering for you.

But when comparing featured snippets directly to rich search results, there are additional reasons:

Because Google Still Dominates Most Rich Search Results

Google collects lots of data (anonymously) on its users and their behaviors. But they also collect information, reviewed and tested against other information, and provide it to searchers through their rich search results. For example:

People Also Ask

Drop-down question-and-answer menus provide quick answers from website content to common queries that follow an initial query. Like featured snippets, they do link externally, but also feature an additional link to a further Google search and provide quick answers to questions.

Here, we searched for how to invest, and the provided information is plentiful.

how to invest google question and answer

No need to click through – I already know what to invest in and can find out how to get started right here.

Celebrity & Movie Profiles

Google a decently well-known celebrity and odds are good that Google has a host of information on him or her readily available on the right side of your search result. Here, we’ve Googled comedy actor Nasim Pedrad:

nasim pedrad celebrity profile in google

Her images lead to a Google Images search result, her provided profile information links to Google searches, and so do her well-known movies and TV shows links. Her social media links (below the frame of the picture provided) link outward, but everything else is an internal Google link.

Carousels (Movies, Sports, Music)

Google carousels are handy since they pack in a lot of easily accessible information, but they also predominantly feature internal Google links. This search for 80s pop brings up a dense carousel through which you can scroll:

80s pop songs google carousel result

And, you guessed it, every link is a Google search result. Vevo, a YouTube partner, gets top priority on the video search results at the top of the music pages.


Since Google now owns YouTube, they also own all the data that comes with it. That means that you can get all the info on beloved songs and artists just below a video pulled straight from YouTube or a YouTube partner.

youtube video result in google SERPs for jackson 5 song

But all links contained in the rich video result are internal links – nothing from anywhere but Google.

Other Information-Seeking Queries

The same goes for definitions and medical panels – each result is highly customized to prioritize already existing data from Google or to pull the most important information from Google’s web index.

Featured snippets are superior to these types of rich media for businesses and websites because they pull info straight from your website and quickly link directly to it. But those snippets are also better than the few outwardly linking search results that are still around.

Because There Are Only a Few Rich Results that Still Link out

The bit of information provided by featured snippets is superior to most of the existing outward-linking rich results. Shopping and news results link out to retailers and news outlets, respectively, but don’t provide the small bit of information that helps filter potential customers.


While certain shopping results still provide Google-dominated panels that look much like a celebrity or movie result, the shopping carousel is still the most common rich result.

google tv shopping search result

It continues to provide pricing information straight from manufacturer and retailer websites, and transactions still occur straight through those sites.


As they were most likely originally designed to do, news results on Google entice potential readers with headlines and featured images.

political news carousel google search result

Clicking on any part of the rich result takes you to the news outlet’s website, where you can experience the entire story.

But featured snippets still have more pulling power, especially since most people already have preferred news outlets through which they search for and consume news.

Because They Establish Serious Authority for Your Website

It’s not necessarily measurable through Google’s wealth of user data, but the featured snippet builds a certain level of trust with your audience. Google has done well to create trust in their users, and that trickles down to the search results that Google’s advanced algorithm deems worthy.

We returned to our how to invest search query for its featured snippet:

how to invest google featured snippet

Investopedia is already trusted by countless customers, and they rewarded those customers with quality content that now sits at the top of the SERP. Should you achieve a featured snippet, you’ll be in good company; extremely well-trusted websites such as and the United States Census Bureau claim featured snippets across Google SERPs.

You’ll earn extreme trust points from your customers if you continuously provide featured-snippet-worthy content to Google and put it in front of your customers’ eyes. There’s absolutely no harm in reaching for other rich search results, as well, but remember that the featured snippet is, in this SEO climate, your best externally-linking friend in Google SERPs.

Learn about structured data and how you can take advantage of it by using Google’s guidelines.

We’ve got blogs in featured snippets, and we’d love to put yours up there, too. Talk to us about getting some help with your SEO or content marketing today!