The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing
One of the biggest buzzwords in the digital marketing world today is content marketing. It feels like you hear the word thrown around everywhere you go these days. The challenge most businesses face is not that they have not heard about content marketing, instead it is about understanding why they need and how it can benefit their business.
This article will therefore focus on answering those two questions.
First, why do you need it? If you do not understand the benefit of content marketing, you will not improve your skills in this area. Even worse, you might start a content marketing campaign that is either poorly planned or executed.
After a few months, you will get discouraged and then say how content marketing is just another buzzword that marketers created to steal your money. Content marketing is often misunderstood.
Second, we will walk you through the process of creating a dynamic content marketing campaign that drives targeted prospects to your business.
Why Do I Need Content Marketing?
Let’s examine why you need content marketing in the first place. Keep in mind that this section is all about the numbers. As with any other business decision, you should only move forward once you are educated enough on the subject to make a smart choice.
Let us start with the fact that social media users share 27,000,000 pieces of content each day. (AOL & Nielsen 2012)
Even more important is that each month 329 million people read blogs. (Blogging.org 2012) This means that blogging is a marketing strategy ripe for great content.
So, why do they blog? The answer is simple: leads. Companies with an active blog report 97% more leads. (Content+ 2013)
That makes sense, since 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles over ads. Content+ 2013
Even more startling is how quickly older forms of marketing are falling out of favour with consumers. Ads and messages bombard consumers every day.
That is why:
- 86% of people skip TV commercials.
- 44% of direct mail is never opened.
- 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted into. (Mashable 2011)
- Couple that with the fact that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing (Demand Metric 2013), and you have a marketing strategy that costs less and produces better results.
However, with such a rosy picture painted, a question now arises. What is the catch? Well, it’s simple. You need to create quality content on a regular basis for months, if not years, before it becomes popular enough to start driving leads to your business.
The good news is that when you do it correctly, you optimise your chances for success. That is why in the second part of this blog post we delve into how to create blog posts that are not only read, but also bring in business.
How Do I Do This Content Marketing Thing?
I like to break down content marketing into three steps: Strategy, Development, and Promotion. Here is how you make these three steps work for your business.
Be different. Take, for example, the US based real estate (or estate agents to us) website Movato. They turn the normally mundane property stories into something interesting for all involved. The articles cover everything from the value of the Vice President’s home to the fictional listing for the Thunder Cats Lair for Sale.
This blog gets a lot of traffic thanks to their creative content. If they can make estate agent listings interesting, what is stopping you from making your industry interesting?
Have a better story. Ross Simmonds stated “Your Product Doesn’t Have to Be Cool but Your Story Does.” This is something many small business owners have trouble differentiating. They believe, because their product might be boring that they have no story.
Focus on customer experience. Your site should be for your customers. Always approach the website from their point of view. Is the menu confusing? Would you click on this many links to contact someone? How do I share a blog post?
Even the content itself should be part of the customer’s experience. Is the content relevant to your product? How does this fit in with your company’s goals? What do visitors get from the content you provide? Is it unique and valuable?
Spend time thinking about ways to improve the content, so you can provide a better experience for visitors on your site. Asking current clients why they work with you and developing surveys are great ways to improve this experience.
Spend time developing great content.
Great content takes time to create. Do not think for a moment that you will suddenly wake up in the morning and spew out a beautiful blog post. That does not happen often. Instead, you need to spend time create solid content that engages your reader.
Optimise your content for search engines.
Use tools like Ubersuggest.org to find out the best keywords on Google search. This nifty site helps you sift through all the Google search suggestions that pop up when you do a search. Organised effectively, you can now find the best article titles for search engines.
Then use tools like SEMRush.com and the RDS Bar to find out more about your competitors search engine prowess. . This way you can find out who are your biggest challengers and if you have a chance to compete with them.
Write better titles for your posts.
The initial tittle for this article was Content Marketing. Kind of boring, right? Exactly why we changed it to The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing.
Ultimate just sounds so awesome and… ultimate.
Be descriptive and creative with the blog post language, while staying truthful and filling the content with facts. One of the best things to do is to write the blog post first and then add the title. With the article almost finished, you can write a better title.
Social Sharing We started off the why section talking about how 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day. There is a reason for that. Good content gets shared from friend to friend. People like to show off the cool information they just learned.
In fact, when you create content that is valuable and interesting, sharing is a natural part of the experience for many readers.
Think about it for a minute. You read a blog post or see a funny meme online. The content triggers some memory of you and a close loved one. You share it with them on Facebook or Pinterest. Then your entire social network can see the cool information you found.
This is how social sharing works. Great content gets shared, because we have an innate desire to share things we find interesting with others.
A large part of this has to do with content development. However, having a social media presence will help increase your social shares as well. Your fans, followers, and connections can directly share the information from your social media profiles.
Understanding where your target market hangs out will help you create content that is dynamic and interesting to read.
Testing and Analysis are crucial. The truth is that most of your initial efforts at content marketing will fail. They will fail, because you do not have all the data you need to successfully market to your target audience.
This takes time to develop and analyse. That is why testing is so important for promoting your blog. Test titles, share buttons, different forms of media, and anything else you think can improve your traffic and conversions.
Calls to action
One last point about content marketing – have a clear call to action in your content. If you promote your business, but do not provide an easy and accessible way for visitors to become clients then you will find making it in online business challenging.
Content marketing is about driving traffic to your website, blog, or other company property. However, people need directions to do this. This means telling them to “click here” in Tweets, providing a clear phone number or buy now button on your website.
Direct people along the path you want them to take. They are not mind readers. If you want them to go to your blog, tell them that.