So you’ve hired a creative agency to build you an impactful website. The copy is of high quality, the product photography is amazing, the design is responsive for mobile, you even thought to add some social media links - after all, everyone’s doing it now! Finally, you can sit back and watch the sales roll in… can’t you?
Sadly, a great website just isn’t enough anymore. With the web more competitive than ever, you will need to do more to generate confidence in your potential customers or clients. One effective way of building trust and adding value to your brand is through content marketing.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is about creating useful content on your website that is targeted to the people who are looking for your products and services. By creating great content and promoting it effectively, you can generate more interest in your business. There are three main objectives to consider for effective content marketing:
1) Generate trust in your brand and be seen as a market/thought leader
2) Reach out to your ‘ideal clients’ by developing specific content related to their interests
3) Attract the attention of relevant industry influencers who will share your content with others and link to it from their websites, thereby increasing the visibility of your brand and improving your search engine optimisation
When people use the web, they’re often looking for answers to very specific questions; content marketing is all about creating content and information to answer those questions, attracting new website visitors and introducing them to your brand. If a website visitor sees a brand providing genuinely helpful information then it delivers a great first impression and makes them more likely to bookmark your website, email it to a colleague, share it on social networks and, ultimately, consider you as a provider when they eventually need your products or services.
A regular schedule of blog posts could be the key to getting your site noticed. Google likes to see that you post regularly and we would usually recommend a minimum of one new blog post a month; more if you are able.
Blog posts should be 300-800 words in length, include a strong image where possible (the more images the better, to make the blog post more interesting and visual), and should be tailored towards one particular topic or theme.
The chosen keywords or phrases for that post should be naturally mentioned in the content of the blog post a few times, and should be featured in the blog title, web address (URL) and meta description (the short preview that you see in Google search results before you decide whether to click through to a website).
The style of a blog article should be friendly but professional; keep your sentences short and snappy and put plenty of space between paragraphs to make it easy to read. The post should read naturally and almost be worded exactly how it would be if you were to give the same advice over the phone.
Be careful not to use industry terms that people might not understand or any jargon. Content for blog articles could include:
• Company news: including any nominations or awards received by your company, any new training your staff have undertaken, success stories, new team members, staff profiles, fundraising and corporate social responsibility projects.
• Industry news: any key developments in your industry including major projects or breakthrough products.
• Informative pieces: customers will tend to type their question into Google like this: ‘social media for businesses’ or ‘how can I market my new products online?’ so if you produce an informative piece or tutorial, it’s good to go for a title like this and use the same phrase throughout the content, in the meta description and in the web address.
•Events: you can write a blog post about any shows, networking events or conferences that you attend and write a review about them, e.g. perhaps there was an interesting talk by a key note speaker?
Promoting your content
Once you have a good quality blog post that is either interesting or informative on your website, then the next step is to consider how you will promote the content. The end goal with content marketing is to grab the attention of people who run other websites in your sector, such as industry magazines or blogs, who could link to your content. This is important as your Google ranking is strongly associated with how many quality sites link to your website. Encouraging these influencers in your industry to link to your content is possible by building relationships with them via social media or simply by getting in touch via email to see if your article would be of interest to them and useful to their readers.
We recommend sharing each new blog post and case study via your social media channels, such as Twitter, Google+, Facebook or Linkedin. It’s best to post a nice short description with a link to the blog post and an accompanying image. Posts with images are shown to receive much higher engagement on social media platforms, especially Twitter, so select one that gives an overall impression of the focus of the article.
Other types of content In addition to blogs, you should also consider other types of useful content, such as:
• Guides, that people can use or share
• Helpful videos
• Infographics, which make data more visual and engaging
Ensuring a return on your investment (ROI)
Implementing an effective content marketing plan is a really positive step, but without considering how you are going to measure the impact of your campaign, you could be wasting time producing content that isn’t reaching or engaging your intended audience.
Systems such as Google Analytics can be a great way to monitor activity on your website and will help you to track peaks and troughs in web traffic. You can then match these up with your planned content marketing activities to see what is really working for you.
Capturing prospective clients
Ideally, you should try to capture website visitors’ basic information, such as their name, company or role and email address. This will allow you to keep in touch with prospective clients, sending them additional useful content via email or social media which is relevant to their interests.
It may be that at the time of reading your content, the consumer does not have any need for your services, but really useful content will help you to stay ‘on the radar’, making you a contender, should your services or products be required in the future.
Pass it on!
Encourage your followers on each channel to share your posts if they found them interesting using phrases such as ‘Please share if you found this useful’ or ‘Please RT’ on Twitter. Happy blogging!