Why content marketing?
You’ve probably seen the term everywhere in the last couple of years, but do you know what content marketing is?
The Content Marketing Institute defines it thus:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
There are several ultra-important words in this sentence – my picks would be: relevant, consistent, attract, audience, profitable. See where I’ve highlighted them below…
What is Content Marketing Anyway?
Most small businesses with an online presence have at least a vague idea of the concept of content marketing. In practice, it’s the process of publishing e-books, videos, articles, images and any other type of content online to market a business or product.
There are a couple of problems, though. Much of the content marketing advice you’ll read online comes from digital marketing agencies and it’s overwhelming for a small business that doesn’t have a marketing team. How on earth are you supposed to pump out all those videos and e-books when you’ve products to sell and customers to keep happy? In a fit of enthusiasm, you create a PDF and then post about it a little on social media. This doesn’t work, which means you don’t get the results you expected and – understandably – you now feel despondent about the whole idea of content marketing.
But content marketing is important and well worth getting to grips with. Let’s look at some of the reasons why:
You need great content for SEO
These days, search engine optimization has to start with quality content. True, you still need some keywords and backlinks to your site to do well in Google searches, but the days when just keywords and backlinks worked are long gone. Google is pretty smart these days – it understands questions and longer phrases, so a long string of keywords at the bottom of your web page won’t help, and could actually get you penalised. Google also looks at other factors such as your social media activity – and the relevance of your content. By that I mean how good you are at answering questions that people are asking – and searching for the answers – in Google.
Content brings you traffic
You need content to encourage visitors to your website, for example a Facebook page post or an Instagram image. Then you need content to let them get to know, like and trust you. Posting regular blogs and videos will be a valuable contribution. If they like what you publish, they’ll come back for more. It’s an ongoing process; you need to be publishing content such as social media updates on a daily basis, or several times a day – and blogging regularly (I’d suggest at least once a month, but find your own comfort level). Ideally,you should be creating other types of content such as videos, slideshares, infographics regularly too. Don’t forget that one piece of content (e.g. a blog post) can be repurposed into other forms such as video, slideshare, downloadable checklist etc. Get the maximum value from your content and it won’t seem like such hard work.
Content brings you leads
Once you’ve captured attention with your content you’ll need more to generate leads. You can do this by exchanging a useful checklist or guide (yes, this is content too!) for your visitors’ email addresses. Think about the questions that your clients ask you most frequently, and create a guide, checklist or cheat sheet that answers these questions – all you need is a Word document, made into a pdf and uploaded to your website. Set up your email software to deliver this as a download when someone enters their email address, and bingo – job done and a new subscriber on your list.
Content builds trust
There are millions of websites out there, why should anyone buy from yours? You need to make a connection with your visitors, to show you understand them and can be trusted to deliver exactly what they need. Guess how you do that? Yes, with content – relevant content that answers their questions and addresses their concerns, making you the go-to person in your niche. When that happens, watch your business become profitable!
Content grows your brand
If your content has a consistent message that’s congruent with the rest of your business then your content will tell the world about what you do, how and why. People will be attracted to you because your message triggers an emotional response, making them feel “I need this”. Quite simply, content marketing grows your brand.
Content helps you sell
There is an art to writing product descriptions and articles that sell. It’s all about emotion! But to make your sales content work at its best you’ll need to deliver it to your audience when they are 100% ready to buy. How do you know when that is? If you’ve been nurturing and tracking their progress using content marketing, then you’ll have all the information you need.
As you can see, there’s a bit more to content marketing than posting on social media and updating your website a couple of times per year. If done well it can bring you traffic, leads and sales. Are you ready to get started? We’ll soon be in a new year – make 2017 the year you get to grips with content marketing!
Questions? Post them below!
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