The term ‘Content Marketing’ might be something that you see popping up in various places on a regular basis, but what do you really know about it? Do you overlook it because it sounds too tedious, too far out of your comfort zone or maybe something that you just don’t need to do?
Well, If you want to market yourself online effectively (and if you have a business, it’s a pretty crucial step these days), then it’s time to get busy. Content Marketing is your friend and you need to become besties with it to increase your reach, build your audience and drive your sales.
What is content marketing?
So, where do you start? Well, let’s take a lot at just what Content Marketing actually is. According to the Content marketing Institute in America, it’s:
“…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.”
That pretty much sums it up in a straight-laced kind of way. In simpler terms, what it means for you, is:
- To know exactly what your product or service does or offers
- To know who your target audience is (i.e the specific people you want to reach out to)
- To create, post and share your useful content (we’ll look at different types of content later)
Which, in turn, will:
- Attract more visitors to your website
- Create more conversions (that means more customer enquiries by telephone or email)
- Increase your sales
The key to good content marketing is posting content that’s incredibly relevant and useful to your audience. With focus on any relevant SEO keywords and searched terms, your content will appear in people’s search results, and drive more traffic to your website.
The higher up Google’s search results you can appear shows both existing and potential customers that you know what you’re talking about and are an expert in what you do. Combined, all these things give customers confidence in you. They promote trust and loyalty, so they feel ready to use your services or buy your product, rather than a competitor’s.
With your expert content, you’re not only giving authority, you’re also gaining authority – from the people who are reading, liking and sharing it and looking to you for expertise and answers to their problems.
What types of content marketing should you use?
Anything you post online is a form of content marketing, so everything has to be of relevance in some way. And ‘content’ can take many forms, so you’ll need to find which ones work for you as well as your audience.
You could stick to some of the more tried and tested types, or go off track and try something different. It will take some time to drill down to what works best, whether it’s for you, or more importantly, your customers, but here’s a list of the most common forms of content marketing.
1. Blog posts
Probably at the top of any ‘to do’ list of content marketing, blogs should be the first thing to post on your site. It allows you to write, in as many words as you want, about any relevant topic to promote yourself and your business.
Regular blogging of useful and original content that includes SEO keywords can build up a reserve of knowledge on your site for your customers. This reinforces your expertise and your brand and makes you more visible on any Google searches. And with 60% of business marketers saying that regular blogging is one of their main content marketing priorities , you can see how much importance blogs receive.
The flip side to blogs for your own site, is a guest blog for someone else’s site. If you’re invited (or offer) to write a guest blog, this gives you a fantastic opportunity to get your content in front of a whole new audience and widen your online reach.
No one likes to read blogs or any other online content that looks like one, solid block of copy. Your readers will very soon lose interest if it looks like too much effort to get to the end. Images are a great way to break things up and make content more interesting for your readers.
Hubspot claim that content that includes relevant images or visuals can get 94% more views than content that doesn’t. Put that together with content that includes your SEO keywords and you’re onto a winning strategy.
You should optimise your images as well so they include your keyword(s), alt text and a description so they add to your SEO arsenal. Images are a useful addition to your web content in more ways than one – they can help explain an idea, get your point across or serve as a natural ‘end point’ to a section of your content.
An increasingly used gadget in the content marketing toolbox, infographics are a powerful partner. So why are infographics so successful in content marketing? Search Engine Journal suggest that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and 40% of people respond better to a visual than they do to plain text.
Using infographics can also be a good way to cut down on your written content if you need to. As they’re virtually self-contained, you may need less dialogue other than a brief explanation. This also makes them perfect for sharing across social media such as Twitter and Pinterest.
If you’ve got stats or data that are genuinely helpful to your cause, then infographics will get technical or detailed information across in one bite-sized, easily understood graphic.
2016’s king of content is stealing the show. No longer a piece of content marketing that businesses are just looking to explore, video marketing is a big deal and it’s here to stay. Recognised as a slice of content marketing that can increase conversions by 80% on your landing page, it’s definitely an area that could yield a high return.
Stats show that a massive 64% of users are more likely to make a purchase after viewing a video online and a whopping 92% of people who watch online videos share them across social media. So, if building your audience on very solid ground is your aim, online video is the game.
There are no rules as to what your video could or should include, but timing is key. For the best results, your video length should be somewhere between 30 and 120 seconds. This makes it easy to watch in its entirety and easily shareable on social media. Again, any content should be of value to your audience, so they’re ideal for a business overview, how-to guides, testimonials or just an introduction.
The cornerstone of any hardworking website
So, with four methods of content marketing listed here, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s lots more to explore and discover in the world of content marketing such as case studies, email newsletters, testimonials, and even ebooks. And if you’ve been creating content for a while now and have existing resources take a look at our last blog – 39 more ways to get more mileage out of your existing content
By creating quality and genuinely useful content for your audience, whichever methods you choose, it’s the best way to get that all important traffic to your website. An increase in your visits won’t happen immediately, but by using these tactics, you’ll gain traction over a period of months and your rankings will improve considerably.
We’ve only really scratched the surface on good SEO and content marketing here. Used individually, they’re the cornerstones of any hardworking website. Used together, they’ll increase your traffic and build your audience faster. Find out more on how and why they work together so effectively in our next post.
What areas of content marketing do you think will work best for you? If you’ve already used some of them, which ones gave you the stats you were looking for? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.