The Surround Sound Series: How We Developed New Content Marketing Program & Improved SERP Visibility Past SEO (Part 2 of 3)

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This post is a portion of Made @ HubSpot, an internal thought leadership series by which we extract lessons through experiments conducted by our very own HubSpotters.

The way people shop has radically transformed.

Back in the day, going shopping meant visiting a few shops — maybe some with brand names you knew you enjoyed. Now, customers have a prosperity of options available online day to day. They can compare features and prices, read recent evaluations, or even get suggestions through influencers and magazines. They could go back and forth in between their best options, until they will find what suits them best.

In this new context, if you want your products or services to become considered when customers weigh their options, you have to be visible where they search to get options. You have to be everywhere that will matters — in recommended lists, comparison articles, review websites, etc . — so that your brand stays top of mind. This is what we call creating a surround sound content strategy for your brand.

In this article, Ill take you through how HubSpot uses surround sound to and improve its products’ visibility and awareness.

Very best surround sound strategy?

At HubSpot, “surround sound” is the name Alex Birkett gave to some program that aims for making HubSpot products visible each time someone searches for a product-related keyword (e. g. “best help desk software” or “best live chat software”).

The goal is for potential users to see HubSpot talked about in all or most of the webpages that rank in Google best results for those keywords. This is the “surround sound” effect!

How to Start a Surround Sound Content System

If you’re looking to start a audio program for your business, these types of next steps will show you exactly how to go about it.

It’s vital that you note that this guide is based on HubSpot’s last 18 months of experimenting with this program. While we learned a lot on this journey, this really is still a work in improvement with many opportunities to explore.

Based on your industry, your program might need to be adjusted. So we hope these steps offer you preliminary guidance and help provide you with kick-start your own surround sound content program.

1 . Define your own product-exploration keywords.

As Alex Birkett mentioned in the previous post of this series, the goal with a surround sound content system should be to “be everywhere a client is searching when they seek out products like yours”.

That means that you first need to put together a list of keywords that potential customers typically use to discover their particular options for a given purchase. All of us call these product-exploration key phrases (or surround sound keywords).

Product-exploration keywords are search inquiries potential customers use to discover, for any given purchase:

  • What options can be found to them across the market (e. g. “language learning apps”)
  • The most recommended solutions (e. g. “best language learning apps”)
  • Alternatives to something these are already using but may want to change (e. g. “best Duolingo alternatives”)

Start building your listing by following these three patterns. Certain keyword research equipment like Ahrefs, SEMRush or even MozPro can suggest associated terms with high lookup volume. That way, you can create your list much faster and get extra information, like search quantity or difficulty, to help you prioritize terms.

If you’re using Ahrefs, look for Keyword ideas simply by search volume to expand your list:

surround sound strategy hubspot content marketing ahrefs product-exploration keywords

Product-exploration keywords are typically the highest intention and highest converting, but you can also expand your choice to “product-led content. ” This is content that is focused around your product, but typically teaches something product agnostic.

For example , a product search keyword for ProProfs might be “best NPS survey software, ” but they can also consider something like “how to create an NPS survey” as a product-led content keyword.

2 . Determine your current performance for product-exploration keywords.

Once you have your list of product-exploration keywords, it’s time for you to see how many of the top twenty search results your product or service currently ranks for.

You can do this manually by checking each of the top 20 pages for your brand mentions:

surround sound strategy hubspot content marketing top 20 brand mentions

In the end, you need to find yourself with a list of key phrases, mentions, and visibility scores like this one:

Keyword Monthly search volume mentions within top 20 visibility rating
CRM suppliers 170 7 35%
sales management equipment 110 11


enterprise CRM 210 5


We calculate the Visibility Rating as a % of brings up in the top 20. So , if HubSpot is talked about in 7 out of twenty pages that rank intended for “CRM providers”, then the presence score for that keyword is usually:

Visibility Score percent = (7 ➗ 20) x 100 = 35%

At HubSpot, we are monitoring around 600 product-exploration keywords. So , checking designed for mentions manually meant examining around 10, 000 URLs (if we consider that will some pages appear for further than one keyword).

That is where Alex stepped in and built a “SERP tracker” — a tool that will calculated the percentage of search results for any given query that mentions a brand, item, or service.

The SERP tracker was a game-changer designed for HubSpot’s surround sound content program as it made monthly reporting and tracking changes a matter of hours, instead of days.

Notice: If you’re looking for more information regarding Surround Sound reporting, stick around and follow this series as that is exactly what the next post is all about. In the meantime, you can geek on this generic R screenplay for the SERP tracker that Alex wrote about on his blog.

three or more. Understand your brand’s present visibility on the SERPs.

To understand your brand’s visibility when people are looking for products or services like yours, you need to measure your visibility at 1) a key word level, 2) a topic degree, and 3) a product level. This will allow you to understand your general performance and track this against competitors.

At HubSpot, we track around six hundred surround sound-specific product-exploration key phrases grouped by feature, product, and Hub:

This allows us to either monitor our progress at a granular level or just look at the overall Hub performance.

Here’s a good example of a dashboard for HubSpot Marketing I created using a mixture of spreadsheets, the SERP tracker that Alex built, plus Google Data Studio.

surround sound strategy hubspot visibility top 20 serps content marketing

Once you have your visibility computed, you’ve got your baseline that you can start improving.

Expect your own visibility score to change over time. This is because new articles is constantly published that rates for those keywords you’re supervising. Depending on whether the content describes your brand or not will affect your visibility score as well. There will also be fluctuations that are not related to the drop or an increase in visibility, but they are just a consequence of adding more keywords to your rating calculation.

Most importantly, your own efforts to build partnerships will effect your visibility. The more profitable you are at getting bloggers or review websites to say your brand (in brand new or existing content), the more likely your visibility will increase.

The visibility increase can result in more referral traffic, direct signups, and generated leads, yet more importantly (and far more difficult to tie to the bottom line), it can impact your brand name awareness.

More people will know about and recognize your own products or services simply because they stumble upon all of them every time they search for “recommendations of best X. ”

4. Identify opportunities to transform your SERP visibility.

Spotting opportunities can be challenging when you’re monitoring mentions for more compared to 10 keywords.

At HubSpot, we monitor over five hundred keywords for our surround sound system, so we built a method that takes into account both the visibility for each specific key phrase as well as the average monthly number of searches for that keyword.

Opportunity = (100% – Visibility Score) x Avg Monthly Searches

Say for the keyword “CRM software” (54, 000 average month-to-month searches), our visibility in the Google top 10 search results is definitely 80%. This means that HubSpot is mentioned in 8 away from 10 pages that rank in the Google top 10 for this keyword.

surround sound strategy hubspot content marketing crm software

Opportunity for “CRM software” = (100% – 80%) x fifty four, 000 = 10, eight hundred

To establish an purchase of priority, calculate the opportunity level for each keyword, and sort your list through highest to lowest opportunity value.

5. Define a definite goal for your visibility rating.

Once you have your priorities in check, it’s time to dig a bit deeper and look at all the Web addresses that don’t already point out your brand. The question in order to ask yourself now is: Which ones of the would potentially mention the brand if I reach out to all of them?

Some websites, like big media publications, will never respond or update their content material. So you’re better off simply by removing these in the first place.

You will be left with a list of potential targets (URLs plus websites). To establish your audio goals, calculate your presence scores for the same list of keywords — but this time, consider the potential targets.

And right now there you have it: your baseline and your visibility objective.

Now what you need to do is certainly figure out how you can persuade your own target companies to mention your own brand.

Types of Surround Sound Relationship Agreements

Depending on your market and what companies rank for the surround sound keywords, you’ll end up being targeting many types of companies to potentially partner with.

Some of the most common ones we see rank for our target keywords at HubSpot are:

  • Review internet sites such as G2, Capterra, and Digital. possuindo
  • Other SaaS businesses and competitors such as Mailchimp and Zoho
  • Other marketing weblogs such as Neil Patel and Content Marketing and advertising Institute
  • Big web publishers such as Forbes, Inc., and ReadWrite

Each one of these businesses has its own goals and objectives. The “secret” to succeeding with your surround sound content strategy is understanding these goals and how you will help and provide value to these businesses and publications. In turn, you can extract value as well.

To put it differently, don’t expect other web publishers to list you just because you reach out. You need to look at this as a partnership that you build for your long-run.

So here are some ways you can help your potential partners:

  • Promote their products or content.
  • Provide digital PR on their behalf.
  • Consist of affiliate marketing links to their services or products.

After you have a battle plan showing how you’ll approach each companion so that each benefits from the collaboration, you’re ready to execute on your surround sound content plan.

6. Start outreach meant for long-term partnerships.

This is the component that can make or break your audio content program.

A good outreach plan involves a relevant, individualized, timely (think about the hard social and economic occasions we’re transitioning), and well-targeted email sequence that’s persuasive enough to get your prospects to reply positively.

Remember this is not intended to be a one-off collaboration, yet a long term, mutually-beneficial partnership. Your own outreach goal should be to spark a conversation with your potential partner. To work together, you need to learn more about their targets and the best way to meet both parties’ needs.

Take note: If you’re new to outreach, take a look at this post on how to write the ideal cold outreach email, this particular extensive guide on email outreach and this list of tools you can try out. Email outreach is an art and a technology, and getting this part correct is crucial.

After you have kick-started a genuine partnership, be sure you keep track of all of the communication so Sales and Marketing can easily see it if needed. The easiest method to do that is to use your CRM software.

At HubSpot, we are lucky enough to have our own CRM to manage everything — from email sequences to project tracking and partner communications to reporting on our outreach progress.

On top of using the Google Data Studio dashboard to our visibility progress, we use the HubSpot CRM to maintain of each individual partnership as well as the mentions that contributed to our growth.

surround sound strategy hubspot content marketing partnerships hubspot crm

Summary: The way to Successfully Execute a Surround Sound Content Marketing Program

The way people store has changed, so marketing needs to evolve and adapt, too. That’s why the audio strategy is a tactic you should consider for 2021 and beyond. It’s a simple concept, but the execution can pose several challenges.

That’s why we put together this step-by-step explained hopefully help you structure your upcoming program. Here’s a summary of what it’s all about:

  • Start with a list of keywords that are relevant to your products and services.
  • Measure your presence and opportunity for each key phrase.
  • Prioritize potential partnerships depending on opportunities.
  • Figure out how to get in touch with every partner and draft a note.
  • Schedule a kick-off conference and get to know your partner’s priorities and goals.
  • Keep track of your partnerships (CRM).
  • Measure your program results.
  • Connect regularly with partners plus stakeholders.

Curious to learn more about the SERP tracker, and what results all of us saw at HubSpot with Surround Sound? Follow this series as we have more in depth posts arriving the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, do not miss part one: the behind-the-scenes introduction to the audio content strategy.

This article walked through the performance of the surround sound strategy. Stay tuned for Part 3 that will dive into our outcomes as well as the technical details on the way you built internal tools to help us accomplish these achievements.

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