Content Marketing – Sink or Swim
The world of marketing has changed dramatically in the last decade. Print advertising is much less prevalent, replaced more and more by broader-reaching and more budget-friendly online advertising. The yellow pages are no longer a staple in homes or in advertising budgets. And with this shift has come a great deal of uncertainty in the business world. How do you target customers and build on an existing base without relying on the advertising platforms that were in place for a hundred years before?
Content marketing represents a significant part of the answer to this puzzle. Companies can build and publish websites for very little money, and can control what is posted and when. With SEO planning, they can also use this to help attract customers based on the searches they run. Still, because almost everyone has a website, the key to differentiating lies in both the quality and the quantity of that content. To succeed in content marketing, you need to regularly publish effective copy on your site.
Know Your Stuff
First and foremost, the writing must be good. To engage a reader, that reader has to want to read what you post on your site. And to convert that reader into a customer, you have to demonstrate expertise in your subject matter.
On first glance, this may seem simple. You would not be in business if you didn’t know what you are doing. There is an art, though, to translating your knowledge into something a reader will understand and enjoy. Your web copy needs to be clear, even as it conveys an expertise on which that person can rely as being on a higher level than his or her own. You need to write something fresh and educational, but either avoid or explain the jargon and arcane terminology that can make the information difficult to access.
How to Use Content Marketing
Content marketing allows you to connect to those customers in a way that is meaningful to you and to them. The entry point here is SEO, as it allows search engines to connect the public to your online presence. You need content that judiciously applies keywords and other SEO cues to help you rank with search engines.
But part of that ranking, as well, is development of useful content. Keywords that don’t connect to your business, or an overabundance of keywords that render your content less readable, can do more harm than good, both in terms of your search rankings and in terms of your customers’ impressions of you. Moreover, using high-impact keywords and building content around them that doesn’t directly reflect your business acumen can turn off your potential customers before you can benefit from the web traffic you generate.
Because search algorithms reward new, engaging, and relevant copy, your content marketing campaign should involve regular updates to your site. At least once a week, you should provide site visitors with something new to read. You should also use social media to distribute the content, allowing those following your company to link to the new content as you create it. All of this will increase readership as you increase the available content you have.
Use Comments to Build Content
When you engage readers of your site, you don’t even have to create all of the content yourself. Site algorithms register comments posted after a post as new content. Because of this, creating a space for comments at the end of each post allows your site visitors to help you increase your rankings. In addition, it gives you a ready source of input from your customers, which allows for greater self-examination and constant improvement.
This does require monitoring and discretion. One way to control this is to build in a delay between when comments are submitted and when they post. You can include a disclaimer on each page that comments will be reviewed and are subject to editing and moderation before being posted. But allowing site visitors to post comments helps them engage more actively with your company, and build up your ranking at the same time!
Gaining and Keeping Customers
As with any other kind of advertising, the goal of content marketing is twofold: to gain new customers and retain existing customers. Content marketing can help you achieve both of these. Every new piece of content, whether a blog post or a longer article on your site, gives you an opportunity to gain new site visitors. SEO site rankings will improve, and more traffic will arrive at your site.
Every industry has options that expand each year, with more and more companies vying for the same set of customers, fighting for market share more than building the pool of potential customers. Because of this, your content marketing campaign needs to stay focused, regular, and strong. Build your content library with copy that will matter to your customers, and keep building it. 1st in SEO can help you keep this campaign running and improving, keeping your site rankings and your business climbing over time.