19 Feb Content Marketing That Works
In our technology-focused business climate, commerce has shifted away from the store front and transitioned directly to the internet. This means that by providing original content that offers educational value, you will increase your website rankings, attract visitors, and eventually convert visitors to paying customers. Content Marketing is here to stay.
Referred to as “content marketing,” this method of soft advertising has become increasingly important in business as the consumer and B2B (Business to Business) market has become increasingly web-focused.
What do you typically do when looking for a product or service? Most likely, you do a web search and pull up some initial research online to become an educated consumer. Then you sort through a large number of search results, which include articles on the topic of interest. Through this process of gathering information, you are naturally also viewing what services or products companies are offering.
This is content marketing doing its magical work.
CONTENT MARKETING DEFINED
Defined by the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Unlike more traditional advertising channels — billboards, radio and TV ads, direct mailers, and print — content marketing is the art of communicating with your existing and potential customers without directly selling to them.
Examples of content marketing include:
- Newsletters (digital and print)
- Social media conversations
- Educational Public Presentations
HOW DOES CONTENT MARKETING MAKE YOU MONEY?
Taking someone from site visitor to customer using content marketing is a subtle art. It leaves many people wondering “How do you sell without selling?”
Content marketing is based on two main principles: adding value and building relationships. It’s effective because the content is relevant and interesting — not a sales pitch. It helps your business build trust with your audience by offering valuable information at no cost; typically leaving them asking what else they can learn from you. You want the readers to think: “If I get this valuable information at no cost, what else would I get if I became a paying customer?” It creates a WOW factor.
When you consistently provide valuable information that helps the reader be more educated on a particular topic, a percentage of these followers will ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.
HOW DO YOU SUCCESSFULLY DEPLOY A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY?
Here’s the secret sauce: any successful content marketing strategy has three main components: Planning, Consistency, and Value. This is not an overnight-success type of strategy.
Your content marketing strategy will be more effective if it is documented and integrated into your overall marketing strategy.
Think through some of these questions to get started:
- What is your message?
- What problem are you solving for your customers?
- What questions do your customers repeatedly ask you?
- Who is your audience?
- How can you help them?
- Where do they hang out online?
- How will you track success?
- What are your competitors doing online?
Next, define your overall marketing goals and determine how your content marketing plans will fit in. Try to find ways to actively engage with your potential customer base through constant, relevant content — not through splashes of information. Think of what you are creating more in terms of journalism than as advertising.
- A jewelry store might write content about how to keep your jewelry clean, how tight is too tight for your rings, how to make sure your jewelry is passed on to the right family members after you’re gone, why you should buy from a local store instead of online, our 5 favorite gems and their origins, things to consider when buying your fiancé an engagement ring, etc.
- A pet shop might write content on ways to help your pet lose extra weight, how to find and interview a dog walker or pet sitter, why you should select certain proteins in your dog’s food, the best toys for high energy dogs, reasons to buy your pet health insurance, how to use 5 different training aids and why, etc.
- A winery might write content on proper wine storage tips, lists of the top 10 wines sold the previous year and their descriptions, the 7 best wine and food pairing and why they work together, a list of their favorite wines from a specific region or state, 5 best apps for keeping an inventory of your wines, etc.
The key to this strategy is consistency. You need to put out valuable content on a consistent schedule over a period of time in order to get a return on investment on the time spent. You need to keep up with the strategy that you have laid out during your planning phase. Here is a tip: Before you get started, make sure that you have the framework in place to keep it going. You don’t want to publish 4 new blogs a week for 2 weeks and then abandon your blog. Decide on a manageable interval, once per month or once per quarter is fine when you are first starting out with this strategy. Increase the frequency if you feel comfortable and want to ramp up.
Without content that offers value, you won’t be able to gain loyal followers who trust you. If you are unsure of what type of content that your customers are looking for, ask them. You can create a quick survey through either Google Forms or Survey Monkey to request information on what types of content your ideal customers are looking for, and then use the results to guide your content marketing plan.
MAKING SURE YOUR CONTENT IS SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZED
An important component to content marketing is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is the process of planting specific works, called ‘Key Words,’ into your content so that your content can be found more easily by people using those specific search terms online. In order to find the best keywords for your content, put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. What question do they have that your content is answering?
If you are using WordPress for your website they offer a ‘Keyword Research Tool,’ in order to help you find the keywords that are searched for most often. You may find that the key words that people search for are not the technical jargon terms that you may use in your business. Consumers may be using the more common terminology instead of the technical name in their searches (instead of ‘wedding ring dermatitis’ most people would just search for ‘ring rash’).
Sometimes, you will need to be creative in order to incorporate the best key words. There are plugins for WordPress Sites like the Yost SEO plugin, that will help you make sure your blog is properly optimized for search. That way, instead of being buried on the 6th or 7th page of search results, your content will rank higher and have a better chance of being found by your targets, which will ultimately lead to a larger marketing ‘funnel’ and more successful conversions.
CONTENT MARKETING IS THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF ADVERTISING
The days of flashy ads have not yet come to an end, but content marketing has definitely established its place at the zenith of marketing models. It has taken a lead in the modern information age and will not likely relinquish its position in the foreseeable future. Thus, smart companies must master content marketing today or they may not find themselves able to compete tomorrow.
As a business coach, I use a unique blend of coaching and consulting to help business owners achieve a higher level of performance for both themselves and their business. It’s a very direct approach that provides my clients with insights into what is coming next, laser-sharp focus and the opportunity to practice, make mistakes and learn in a safe and supportive environment.