If you haven’t jumped on the content marketing train yet, you might want to hurry down to the station. Creating and distributing shareable content to your existing and potential audience is one of the most effective—in strategy as well as cost—ways to grow brand awareness, traffic and most importantly, sales.
How Content Marketing Works
Content marketing is using content—blog posts, articles, and videos, just to name a few—to bring people to your website, where you build a relationship with them, and can then give them your sales pitch. The more valuable that content is to your target market, the more successful your content marketing campaign will be. Good content marketing encompasses three things:
- Relevance: You could post a cute kitten video from YouTube and get thousands of views, likes and shares, but should you? If you’re a kitty litter brand, absolutely. If you sell women’s shoes, probably not. Thinking about what will be popular with your audience is important, but if it doesn’t complement your brand, it isn’t likely to translate into sales or subscriptions.
- Quality: Pumping out tons of content just because you think you should have it is a waste of valuable resources. Be strategic about what you’re creating. It’s better to put out one article a week that provides value to your audience than daily blog posts that don’t. Search for your brand, competitors and keywords related to your industry on social media and online forums. What problems are users trying to solve? What questions do they have? What do they share online? Create content to address those issues.
- Consistency: Determine how often you’re going to create new content when devising your content marketing strategy, and stick to it. Not only will your fans and followers know when to keep an eye out for something new, but Google will reward you with better rankings on search terms.
If content marketing seems like a lot of work, well, it can be. But it doesn’t have to be. You can mix in curated content with original pieces. Embed a relevant video with a couple of lines of commentary and boom! You have a blog post. Other options for curated content could be links to news related to your industry, infographics based on others’ research, or spotlighting posts from influential bloggers within your space.
What Content Marketing Can Do For You
1. Builds a Relationship of Trust: The most important function of content marketing is to bring people to your website so that you can build a relationship of trust and authority with your existing and potential customers. Consumers are much more likely to buy things from people they know already and feel confident with.
2. Increase Awareness: Not everyone knows who you are or why you’re so great, so educate them! Content marketing is a great way to introduce yourself as a voice of authority in your industry. You may be the #6 company that sells garden tools, but if you can be #1 in providing helpful how-tos for beginner gardeners, you can close that gap and move up in the ranks. Adding prominent share buttons to all of your content is a great way to let your audience sing your praises—and increase your brand awareness at the same time—across social media networks.
3. Build SEO: Search engine algorithms go through frequent updates, and it can be hard to keep up with the changing rules. We’ll give you just one to remember: create great content, and you’ll get search traffic. Great content is fresh, useful and keyword-driven. Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to see what users are searching for within your business topic and create content related to popular queries. See if your competitors show up in search results, and then create better, more in-depth content on the same topics so your content will show up first.
4. Deeper Audience Understanding: When you develop content and do it often, you’ll quickly get a sense for the topics and issues that are the most top-of-mind for your visitors. How? By looking at your analytics. Analytics can be incredibly useful for helping to guide all of your marketing going forward. Learn what’s working, what’s not and what seems to be the most engaging content for your audience. Then use that as a base and expand upon it.
5. Increase Conversions: That’s what all of this content marketing was for, right? Once you get people to your website through content marketing, the possibilities are endless! Think about your business goals, and make sure they’re reflected on every page someone might land on. If sales are your #1 priority, make sure you have a strong call to action on every article or blog post. If you want subscribers, implement a lightbox requesting email addresses. Make those content pages work for you, and make it easy for first-time visitors to learn what you can do for them (besides providing great content, of course).