Content marketing is one of the most effective strategies to drive traffic to your website. If you’re looking for a way to generate new customers, educate them about your product or service, and build brand awareness, content marketing is the tool for you.
If you don’t know how to get started, you’re in good company. It can be difficult for small business owners to find the time and resources to launch an effective content marketing strategy. The key is understanding what it is and how to use it successfully, so that you can put it to work for your unique business goals.
What is Content Marketing?
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.
Content marketing utilizes types of content that you might already be producing, like blogs, white papers, eBooks, case studies, or videos. The goals for these mediums are the same: create content to attract your target customers, help them find your website, and teach them something new. By being a trusted source of information, your brand and sales will grow.
The best content marketing doesn’t come across as sales pitch; when done right, it provides highly targeted and tailored information that is relevant and valuable to your audience, asking nothing in return.
Content marketing strategy begins with a focus on providing value to your audience, for example a travel agency that lists the best vacations destinations in the Caribbean, or a technology retailer that reviews its top ten new gadgets. Both are used to educate a potential customer with content they find interesting, and to pique their interest in the company’s product or offer.
When companies are getting started with a new content marketing strategy, we recommend these simple guidelines to help it become a success.
Write what you know
Integrity, expertise, and leadership are attractive. Visitors looking for advice, insights, or information about a specific product will appreciate a genuine perspective, and authenticity. Your interest, insights, and passion as subject matter experts are valuable.
Become a thought leader within your industry. Research competitors, and be able to speak comfortably about them. The more you know, the more likely you’ll be regarded as a trusted source.
Ditch the sales pitch
Remember that the purpose of content marketing is to educate and to help visitors solve a problem (hopefully with your product). Paid advertisements hold less validity today, as consumers resist being told what to buy. They’re seeking unbiased information, and gathering research around specific questions.
Helping them to solve a problem without asking for anything in return is the beginning of relationship building. Establishing yourself as a trusted resource will go a long way when it comes time to make a purchase. Customers that already know you and have confidence in your product and your organization are more likely to buy from you. Be honest and persuasive to establish confidence in you, your product and their decision.
Keep keywords in mind
The science behind content marketing is exciting. Your content marketing strategy should include a list of keywords under which your business wants to be found in online searches. Keywords directly affect the success of your content and who sees it. Your content should contain keywords that your ideal customer would type into a Google search.
For example, if someone is looking up “VR headsets”, Google will show them content that includes the keywords “VR” and “headset”. In the split second between the user hitting “search” and the results appearing, the powerful search engine crawls the internet for those specific words. It then ranks the results based on relevance. The first results are the sites Google has deemed most relevant to the query. Optimizing your content to match your ideal customer’s search terms is called search engine optimization (SEO), and can make a huge difference in how your content performs.
Be careful to not use keywords haphazardly, because search engines penalize websites that utilize keyword stuffing in attempt to get clicks. A good tip is to use the desired keyword or phrase in the blog title, in the opening paragraph, and a few times in the body of the content.
Of course, the most popular keywords have stiff competition for search ranking, due to the multitude of businesses trying to be that first result. Get creative and imagine what your ideal customer might type into search. Matching several consecutive words (referred to as long-tail keywords) pushes your content to the top. Instead of “VR headsets”, you might try “best VR headsets for gaming”.
Manage your expectations
Content marketing success doesn’t come overnight – or even in the first month. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself and stay hydrated. According to Forbes, tangible results from content marketing can take four to six months. The more traffic the content receives, and the more times other sites or social media profiles link to that content, the better you’ll rank.
Congratulations! Now you know enough about content marketing to get started. If you want to know more about content marketing or need a hand, reach out! We love talking about content marketing.