You’ve seen it on social media. It’s been happening on brands’ websites through their blogs, case studies, and videos. You’ve seen it in email newsletters and glossy magazines in your letterbox.
Content marketing is not new, and it’s not complicated. Content marketing is the practice of telling stories and giving useful information to your prospects and customers. It’s a great way to overcome the increasing cynicism and apathy towards advertising and tell your story directly to your target audience with no filters (apart from those Insta filters that make everything look better).
Content marketing can help your business by:
- Creating a connection with your target audience that can make them more likely to choose you when it’s time to purchase what you’re selling.
- Positioning your business as a trusted advisor in the minds of your target audience.
- Driving more traffic to your website, which helps with SEO and conversions.
- Overcoming the natural reluctance to engage with advertising content.
- Giving your prospects a taste of what you offer, whether through free advice or a sense of becoming part of your community, so that they are more likely to work with you in the future.
- Reinforcing to existing customers that they made the right choice in working with you.
- Developing new opportunities for customers and prospects to interact with you.
- Clarifying your complex offering so potential customers know how you can help them.
And, while the concept is simple, the execution often is not.
Here are five of things you can do to make content marketing more successful for your business:
1. Deliver content people want to engage with
Content is useless unless someone reads it, watches it, or hears it and then acts on it. The key word here is ‘act’.
You wouldn’t necessarily expect someone to rush out and buy your product because they read a story about how it helped their competitor. You could expect them to act in other ways. For example, they could implement some of your suggestions in their own business initially, talk to a colleague about what they read, decide to come back and read more of your content in future, and remember your business’s name for future reference.
What you don’t want is for someone to start reading your content and click away before they’ve even finished. Or to read your content then never give your business another thought. Your content needs to be compelling and engaging enough to stick in their mind and position your brand as one they’d like to know more about.
2. Pay attention to SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) used to be all about stuffing as many search keywords as possible into your web page so Google and other search engines would rank it near the top of their search results. Search engine analytics are more sophisticated these days; they’ll punish you for keyword stuffing and reward you for authentic content that seems to resonate with readers.
This means that, as well as including your search terms in your content (of course), you need to make sure your content is easy to read, relevant, and engaging. The more people who link to your website in their own content, the higher you’ll rank in Google results. This will drive more traffic to your website (where your content lives) which, in turn, improves your search rankings further.
This means that, while the days of keyword stuffing are dead, you still need to think carefully about SEO.
3. Remember that storytelling is how we relate as humans
Since time began, humans have told each other stories to find common ground and build relationships. Today, we’re no different from those ancient humans who had to learn to collaborate to survive. We tell each other stories in the hope that the listener or reader will want to work with us or engage with our brand.
When you’re creating content, it’s important to remember that primordial instinct for bonding over stories. By creating a genuine connection through your narrative you can succeed in using content marketing to build your business. Don’t waste your readers’ time with blatant sales pitches or useless content. Instead, demonstrate that you’re willing to part with something valuable, which is free advice or information, in exchange for something they value, which is their time. When you do this effectively, you’ll build an audience of likeminded people who remember your brand when they need what you provide.
A word of warning: if you betray your audience with ‘clickbait’ or an obvious sales pitch, you’ll find it very difficult to win them back.
4. Test your content
While people say they’re time-poor, they’re also interacting with content in new ways and finding time to spend on sites and sources that interest them. To become one of these trusted sources, you need to offer content that engages your audience. And the only way to know whether your content is doing that is to test it.
Try A/B testing, using codewords for discount redemptions, or monitoring traffic to your site. If something’s not working, pull it down, tweak it, and try again. If one of your posts generated a huge number of clicks, analyse it so you can, as much as possible, replicate the same features in subsequent posts.
5. Use the right vehicle
Your audience will determine your preferred vehicle. With so many content channels available to marketers today it’s important to understand which one works best for your audience.
To find out more about how we can help you develop a content marketing campaign that will position your business for growth, contact us today.