What is Content Marketing and Why it Matters
Content is at the heart of any serious marketing program. Great content is the basis for many forms of marketing both online and off.
It forms the basis of a newsletter, brochure, press release, blog, an email campaign, social media as well as being great for search engine optimisation and last but no means least client engagement.
Today Every Business is a Publisher
For major purchases, customers will read 20-40 pieces of your content before they buy from you. That's when you need to call them, not at the start.
Today the only reason a customer will do business with you is after you've already given them relevant content, whether that be information, products, video or something else.
If you haven't got content, and a process in place for producing it regularly, then your marketing will struggle. You need to have remarkable and memorable content.
Content that sets you apart from your competitors and establishes you as a trusted resource and authority for your potential customers.
But Does it Work and How Do You Do it?
Content marketing is a new term for an old tactic.
Only the technology has changed.
What hasn't changed is that you need a strategy for producing results.
You need to understand what your customers want and then produce quality content to meet that demand.
This is no new digital silver bullet; making content marketing work takes strategy, planning, time, commitment and resources.
For you to get maximum results there are a few things you must do:
1: Create Interesting Content.
To stand any chance of success, you must deliver content that exceeds your prospective customers' expectations. Your information must be more valuable (even if just in perception) than that of your competitors.
To create interesting content observe the following rules:
- Don't Make it Promotional
- Make Sure it's Relevant
- Answer a Customer's Real Question
- Ensure it's Well Written - Engaging
- Achieves a Business Result
- Provide Proof
2: Vary the Distribution Mediums
These days there are thousands of ways potential customers get their information. To succeed you need to understand each medium and vary the content accordingly.
Your content must be presented in different ways such as articles, blog posts, eBooks, emails, FAQs, infographics, podcasts, reference guides, video demos, webinars, white papers, and workbooks, to name a few.
3: Make it Easy to Find
Because if you don't, your competitors will. These days potential customers have zero tolerance for information that's hard to find. They expect all their questions answered instantly. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to do business with you.
Today 80% of all purchasers actively research a product before buying it. You want prospects to quickly and easily find you when they are doing their research.
Below are some of the methods to make that happen.
- SEO (search engine optimisation)
- PPC (pay per click)
- Social advertising
- Content syndication
- Easy-to-navigate website
4: Promote Your Content to the Right Audience
It’s critical that you make your content relevant to each and every recipient.
Just blasting out messages to everyone and anyone won't cut it.
If these promotional messages are not relevant, your potential reader may never explore your services further.
To promote content relevant to recipients, you need to know something about them; only then can you target effectively.
Once you know something about your targets’ preferences and interests, demographics, and location then it becomes easier to ensure you are delivering the right content.
70% of marketers lack a consistent, integrated content marketing strategy- Altimeter Group, 2014
Here's a few things to get you thinking
The key to any successful marketing these days is producing great content and making sure people get to read it.
Great content is useful information, great products and great services.
Good content achieves several very desirable things in terms of online marketing.
- Search engine love great content and new content
- People online are always looking for useful and credible information.
- It gives them a reason to keep coming back to your site
- Useful information gets shared
- Valuable content gets linked to
- Valuable content gets shared.
All of the above are essential in building a long-term digital presence.
Content creation is, by its nature, time and resource intensive.
The following describes the key strategies and tactics you can and should use to build its online presence.
They don’t all have to be done all at once, but what is important is that a regular and disciplined schedule for content creation is implemented.
The main purpose of creating this content is to make your site become a trusted source information and advice n your area of business.
This is a medium to long-term strategy, but good content works like compound interest – results may be low at first, but eventually they snowball and become self-perpetuating.
The following are practical and simple key techniques for maximising the effectiveness any other content that you produce.
Use interesting headings that get attention and address a problem.
EG: “Make your very first words have the maximum impact!”
Try to include a keyword in the heading.
Use sub-headings, which also contain keywords as well as create interest.
Use keywords in your content.
A note on keywords.
Keywords are the words your customers use the most when talking about a particular topic or searching for it. These words may not necessarily be what companies use to describe their services.
So listen to the language used by your customers, and use that as a basis for your keywords.
Limit yourself to one idea per content piece..
It doesn’t have to be comprehensive, leave something’s out so that readers will have something comment on or add.
Use short paragraphs.
Always use a great photo in your content. (Buy them if you must from any of the stock photo libraries.)
Add sharing buttons options to all of your content.
Interlink your content. IE Place links within the body copy to other content you produce.
EG “..as mentioned in...” or even refer to services that you offer.
Use author tags for all content and link them to author profiles.
Expand the author profiles.
Automatically link your all your digital media profiles.
For most of you, your blog will become the centre of your digital content strategy.
The blog is the perfect place to provide a range of content including articles, tips, How To’s, videos, whitepapers, case studies and eBooks.
One new article should be added at least once a week.
Ideally, posts should be added many times a week, and with many writers.
Daily is even better.
However, such a schedule may be too big an ask for many Perth businesses, so if you can only do one a week, or one a month, then make it long and quality article.
The blog articles should be a mixture of short and long pieces.
They can be part of an ongoing series, or one-off commentary.
If you develop a series or theme, after three or six months collate them all into an eBook.
Then promote that.
Make it available via Scribd and other sharing sites.
If you do create an eBook in PDF format, make sure you have links within the content back to your site.
You can also take content from any of your proposals you have prepared for clients. Look through the proposal for anything that is of interest and value to your wider audience and develop posts out of that.
In fact, mine all of your existing material to see what would be suitable for re-purposing on the website.
Another technique is to use any interesting content you find on other blogs, and comment about it on your own blog. Post a link to it on your blog.
Invite other people to guest post on your blog. (EG Your clients and suppliers.)
Offer to guest post on other people’s blogs.
Ask your clients if you can post on their blogs or website.
In any content you create, make sure it is useful to the people who you’re targeting.
For example, think about the problems they may be facing; their concerns and what keeps them up at night.
Then produce an article that shows them how that problem could be solved or was solved by one of your clients, or one of your services.
Make sure it provides some valuable piece of information.
Make it practical.
The golden rules are:
Solve don’t sell.
Show don’t tell.
Always address the concerns of your clients.
Plus, create content that people can be passionate about. That is, issues that they want to talk about, and will readily share with others.
Once a month email all clients, contacts, friends, producers etc with something useful
It could be a great story, video, longer article or whitepaper.
Also, include the latest from the blog or what you missed this month
Any upcoming events
An inspirational video of the month.
The main thing is to make it simple.
Focus on one key message and call to action.
The other stuff is secondary.
The objective of the email is to maintain regular contact with your list.
That is, keep your name in front of prospective repeat customers.
Use a great pic
Use a great headline
Complete your Linkedin profiles.
Get recommendations, this is really helpful.
Use relevant keywords in your profile descriptions
Connect with as many people as you can. Each connection actually improves you search engine performance.
Add bloglink and twitter to your profile.
Link to your website and blog from your profile.
Join Linkedin groups and enter discussions and post links to your own blog posts where appropriate.
Start your own Linkedin group.
Make it public.
Start discussions on highly relevant issues.
All of the above improves you search engine performance.
Complete your Linkedin company page.
Share and promote new blog posts through Linkedin groups.
Twitter is ideal for you to share interesting, useful and meaningful content with others on a frequent basis.
Anything that you come across while browsing the web and other blogs, can be tweeted; it shouldn’t be just your content.
What you are trying to do is position yourself as people who find interesting information and are on top of the conversation.
Try to do it four times a day.
You can use tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite to automate the process.
EG You might create all your tweets at the beginning of the week, and then schedule them to come out at predefined times.
Face book can be used as an extension of your blog and community. It is a less formal, more personable space to share stories.
Share about your latest posts.
Note: There are companies in Perth who will manage your social media for you if you don’t want to do it all yourself.
Make sure you have the following accounts
- Face book
These are all places where you can promote and share your content.
There are other social media sites, and everyone is useful in that they can be used to disseminate your content and provide links back to your blog.
When you are working with clients and prospective clients take the opportunity to ask them how they use the web
How they access the web? – pc, laptop, smartphone, iPad, Face book, Twitter
How they get their info?
What they are looking for?
As noted before, take note of the language and words they use, and use them in your content.
How to Start
Just mastering one of these areas takes a fair bit of work. Knowing all the tips, tricks and strategies to get the most out of each medium requires regular practice.
Trying to do all of these things all at once is neither advisable nor desirable.
Start with a Blog, and get used to blogging on a weekly basis and get started producing content.
Once that is underway, look at integrating your blog content with all of your marketing materials.
Next would be sending out a monthly email.
After that, then look at developing video.
The remaining tactics using Linkedin, Twitter, Face book et all are really to support and promote the content you produce.
They can all be optimized for maximum effectiveness, but you have to have the content first.