Content marketing done right will entice prospects to visit your site. It will also move them through a marketing funnel to drive sales and grow your business. Digital Marketing advocates “perfect” content. What is perfect content? According to Digital Marketing, perfect content provides the right information to your prospects. It does so at precisely the right point in the customer journey.
The first step to moving through the marketing funnel is awareness. You must make the prospect aware that there is a problem. Prospects must also know that YOU or your organization has a solution for it. The second stage is evaluation. At this stage, your customers assess the various choices available to them. The third and final stage is conversion. Your content aims to move customers to this stage, where they buy from you.
What is Content Marketing?
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Content marketing is different from other traditional marketing efforts. It includes ebooks, educational articles, entertainment, videos, and webinars. These media should answer specific questions people have. They should also provide consumers with something they can’t get somewhere else.
Content is the medium through which you distribute info to your website users. All your efforts to generate and optimize content should drive you towards one goal. That goal is improving your website usability. Gone are the days of tossing a few words on a page and calling it a site. You won’t have a prayer of ranking in the search engines by cramming a set of words on a page in an illogical manner.
Your business is more likely to get noticed by the right audience if you become a respected resource. You will receive the loyalty of potential customers if you can weigh in on issues that matter to them. Content writing will allow your brand to develop an active subscriber base. It will reinforce its customer relationships, and even increase its profits.
According to Kissmetrics, content marketing took off, and it continues to flourish. Why? Because it’s what the people want.
We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.
Craig Davis, former Chief Creative Officer of J. Walter Thompson
If you want to learn more about content marketing make sure to check out our other article about why YOU NEED content marketing for your business.
Here are some facts to consider:
- Content marketing is 62 percent cheaper than paid search. However, it produces three times the amount of leads for each dollar you spend.
- Over 615 million devices use an adblocker of some kind. Content is a useful technique to get around blockers.
- Most consumers prefer videos to articles. However, seventy percent prefer to learn about a product from an article rather than an ad.
- Businesses that use content writing have better conversion rates. They convert 6 times better than those who don’t.
- Small and medium businesses that blog produce more lead growth. Their lead growth is 126 percent more than their non-blogging counterparts.
Why Content Marketing is Important
A content marketing strategy is a must. A content marketing strategy will ensure that you focus on reaching your goal. You can devote your energy, time, and money to helping your business grow. A strategy will also help you deliver your content. You will be able to reach bloggers, professionals, and journalists. You can also reach a wider audience.
Why do you need a wider audience? Because traffic is all-important to your website or blog. It takes LOTS of work and time to get a significant amount of traffic to your site on a regular basis. You have to be careful, however. Traffic, and followers, isn’t always a sign of success. To be successful, you need ENGAGED followers. It’s useless having followers if they aren’t engaging with your content.
Today’s prospects have a strong desire for good info but more powerful opposition to the “hard sell.” People don’t like when you sell to them, but they want good content that helps them make right decisions. Roper Center recently surveyed business decision makers. It found that 80 percent prefer to get information about a potential purchase from articles instead of advertising.
Content also matters to the search engines. Google rewards good quality content and punishes poor quality. Update your content often by publishing fresh articles. In this way, you will maintain a strong showing on search engine research pages (SERPs). It will also keep people coming back to your site. However, be careful. Your website should not be spammy, and there should be no evidence of keyword stuffing. If you engage in these practices, Google will rank your page lower in the search engine results.
Google now has “featured snippets.” This is the special search result you can see before the normal results on Page 1. Most SERPs show ten search results per page, but the featured snippets jump the line to rank in “Position 0.” It usually is the answer to a question, and the algorithm pulls the answer from the page. It contains the URL, the title of the page, and the extracted response from the page content. Most marketers covet Position 0.
Your search engine ranking is the most critical factor in the success of your online store. Search engine traffic is predictable and reliable, unlike referral and social media traffic. However, you should be aware that optimizing your content for the search engines is a lengthy process. You won’t see results overnight.
It helps to become an authority in your niche. If your information is useful, your customers will promote your site on your behalf.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing helps you attract, engage, and delight prospects and customers. You do this by delivering quality content that offers value to everyone who visits your site. Content marketing helps your company drive more conversions over time. It also enables you to build trust with your customers. Valuable content allows you to establish credibility. With good content you can become an authority in your niche.
Disadvantages of Content Marketing
Of course, content marketing has a few downsides. It can be a long process, and the benefits aren’t immediate. Content marketing can also be time-consuming. It’s sometimes hard to get ideas for new topics. It can be hard to determine the impact of your content on brand awareness, reputation, and loyalty. Finally, it can be hard to find good writers at a reasonable price.
Content Creation Cycle
There are two facets to creating content over the web. One is that your content has to be easy to understand. The second is that you must write SEO friendly content. Both facets complement each other. To show up at the top of the Google results, you must pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO).
The following three-step cycle will help you create useful, applicable content. It will create brand awareness and get leads for you:
- Identify topics. Do some research to help you select content types and subjects. These topics should attract customers and provide value.
- Create content.Look at other websites for ideas, and start with only one platform at a time. Match your complexity and tone to the platform, your audience, and your brand.
- Promote your content.Help customers to find your content by posting links in your emails. You can also post links on your website, and in your social media accounts. Recruit friends and family to comment on your content. Ask them to share it through their social media accounts. Track your campaigns and measure their effectiveness using Google Analytics. You can also use social media management tools like Hootsuite for this purpose.
Did you know that search engines and social media platforms favor users that post more often? It helps to increase your traffic and your search engine rankings. You should also consider writing articles to post on other websites or blogs. Guest posting gives you valuable backlinks. Quality backlinks can boost your Google search traffic and improve your SEO.
Having problems coming up with content ideas? You can ask your followers for ideas, or pose the question in your Facebook group. Browse the blog search engines like BlogCatelog or Technorati to get niche specific ideas. Infographics are also an excellent source of new blog content ideas. You can use forums, or check out Quora. Another great idea is to read the content of other blogs in your niche.
Social Media Content Marketing
Social media is useful for engaging customers. It is like regular content marketing both in method and desired outcome. However, there are some elements of both strategies that are distinct. For example, social media posts are usually much shorter than blog posts. Your content and social media posts should help you do the following:
- Challenge the status quo on your subject
- Help your audience to understand your subject matter
- Inform your audience about new developments and best practices
- Entertain your audience with content specific to them
- Influence your audience to buy your product.
Many companies are now going the way of social media influencers. Influencer marketing is like advanced product placement. Social Media Examiner gives the example of Pura Vida Bracelets. College buddies Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman founded Pura Vida while on a trip to Costa Rica in 2010. It has since grown into a multimillion-dollar e-commerce empire. In the example below, Pura Vida gets yoga_girl, to endorse their product. Yoga_girl is an influencer with a large following on Twitter.
Influencer marketing has become a significant concern for all brands. It is especially important with the increasing use of algorithms. These algorithms put added weight on engagement. Engagement is what influencers create best. You need to know that influencer effectiveness is relative to each platform. You also need to choose influencers who align with your business. Let them come up with ideas on how to market your content.
Here’s a breakdown of how you can use the different platforms:
- Instagram: a great tool to engage with visual audiences. It is especially useful for the millennial demographic.
- Facebook:excellent for social research. About 76 percent of people online use Facebook.
- Snapchat:the audience for Snapchat is very young, with most users under the age of 24.
- Twitter:Around 80 percent of Twitter usage is mobile. This feature makes it an excellent platform for local companies who want to engage with consumers on the move.
Finding and Managing Content Writers
Most bloggers and website owners will need to partner with a content writer at some point. If you hire the top talent, the writing will be excellent, but you will have to spend big bucks. Content mills, agencies, and non-native freelancers produce cheap content. However, the quality is often questionable. How do you balance affordability with quality writers?
First, you should know what to look for in a content writer. Good content writers produce work that is free of grammatical errors. They write in a conversational tone and create “scannable” content. Their content answers questions and solves problems, and they’re great at research. They know how to send traffic to your site using SEO strategies.
Where can you find such writers? You can start with the freelance sites like Upwork (www.upwork.com). You can also check out Freelancer (www.freelancer.com), and Guru (www.guru.com). Another good source of freelancers is from other blogs in your niche. These writers are already familiar with your niche and know what to write about. You can contact them through the links in their author bios and offer them work.
College students are another quality source of good freelancers. Students are always short on cash. Many would welcome the opportunity to do some writing to earn extra money. Most students have excellent writing skills. They spend much of their time writing school papers anyway. If you’re looking for cheap content written by a qualified person, it doesn’t get much better than this.
You can look for students on LinkedIn. You can also contact the relevant faculty members. Ask them to recommend some students to work with you as writers.
Now that you know how content marketing works, it’s time to create some posts for your site. Remember you can always hire someone to do your writing for you.
You’ve also seen how to use influencer marketing for social media engagement. Follow the tips in this article, and develop a plan. You will then be well on your way to more traffic, more leads, and more sales.