How to use content marketing to grow your business
Content marketing is a term that is being used in marketing departments up and down the country. As with quite a lot of marketing jargon, knowing what it is, why and how you should be doing it and what it will achieve can be a bit of a mystery. We have put together a quick crash course to help you understand that this is one ‘buzz word’ you should listen out for.
What is content marketing?
In its simplest form, content marketing is about you sharing your expertise with current and prospective clients, as well as anyone that would benefit from your knowledge. This is done through creating content that can be used across multiple platforms such as your website, email marketing and social media.
What are the benefits of content marketing?
There are many benefits to sharing content and the two areas which it will have the biggest impact on are;
- Google. There were significant changes implemented by Google last year, which has altered the way their algorithms rate your website. Gone are the days of keywords and directories, the most important factor that Google assigns points for is relevant and regularly updated content. Keeping your website up-to-date with the latest information, either by writing articles, creating videos or just updating your pages will show Google your business is active and will help push you up the rankings.
- Creating content that demonstrates knowledge in your field also helps to position your company as industry leaders. This isn’t about giving away company secrets but offering advice and information that will be of interest to your clients and shows your understanding of the market. If you can demonstrate your knowledge through sharing expertise that will benefit visitors to your site, you are also proving your capabilities and visitors will position you as experts.
What should you create?
This is probably the most daunting part of content marketing – being faced with the task of creating the crucial content. This is why it is so important to plan ahead. The amount of forward planning does depend on your business and industry, as some are more fast-paced than others. Try to plan at least a month ahead, listing the issues you want to address and how you will go about it. This doesn’t stop you being responsive if there is change in your market but will stop the last minute panic associated with not having anything ready in any particular month.
The content you create should be specific to your business and the most important thing is not to sell yourself or your team short. You are an expert in your field, you know your products or services inside out and you should have the confidence in your knowledge to share it with others. Things that may seem obvious to you might not be well known outside of your industry and you could help your clients and web visitors improve their business.
The key to good content is to be relevant, original and opinionated. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, research what is out there already and present your angle on a subject.
The basic content areas you should be covering are:
- Industry knowledge – write about latest trends in your sector, be the first to talk about them, provide insight to help readers
- Your Work – present your projects as case studies; help readers understand potential industry solutions
- Company News – show the human side of your company by sharing some of your stories
- Advice – provide free advice, hints and tips to encourage users to return to your site – build loyalty
There are plenty of ways to share all of this content as well; you don’t always have to write!
- Articles, blog posts and news – these are the bread and butter of content marketing. Google can read what you have written and will be able to see that it is relevant information that people enjoy reading. The more relevant the content and the more people who read and share it, the higher the weighting applied by Google’s algorithms.
- Videos – another format that is looked upon extremely favourably by Google (if you want to read more about the importance of video online, read our video article.) Using video to present your knowledge on a particular topic is great. Creating bite size videos makes it much easier to explain some of the more complicated aspects of your business.
- Infographics – distilling lots of interesting information into an easily understood, visual representation is often much clearer than writing an article. If you have lots of facts and figures, an infographic is a great way to portray this. Infographics are one of the most shared types of content because they impart so much information, effortlessly, to the reader.
- Photos – there is no denying that people love pictures, using photos and pictures as content is always popular and is really quick and easy. As they say, a picture tells 1000 words, so keep your captions short and let the image do the talking.
How will it fit in with your other marketing?
If you embrace content it can form the backbone of your marketing, although as with all strategies, it should be tailored to your business. Content marketing is ideally suited to an online environment due to the dynamic nature of digital media but can be taken offline and still have a strong impact.
If your website is your key tool to reach your target market or sell your products via ecommerce, then you need to populate your site with new information regularly.
For businesses that rely on more traditional marketing tools (such as advertising, telemarketing, personal interaction or direct mail) the content you produce should be used to reinforce your position; potential customers will nearly always visit your website before making a purchasing decision. The content can also act as a resource for your sales team.
How can you promote your content?
- Your website – all of your content should be on your website, it should be your information hub. Regular blog updates, new products and promotions can encourage customers to keep checking back to see what’s new
- Social media – if you are using social media to promote a new article, make sure they have to visit your site to read the whole story
- Emarketing – any emarketing should be written to tempt recipients to click through to read entire stories and latest news on your site
- Third party sites – writing an article as a guest blogger or submitting an article to industry magazine sites can put you in front of a new audience. Make sure you have links back to your site
- Printed items – your articles can be pulled together to form guides or reports that can then be printed and used as a resource by your sales team. If you attend exhibitions, these can be used as giveaways that will help cement your position as industry leaders, far more than sweets will!
- Press – submitting articles to local and industry publications is another great way to put your company in front of new audiences. Being published will add credibility to what you are saying.
Should you start content marketing?
Yes – there is no reason not to. If you are struggling for inspiration or don’t have the time and resource internally, just give us a call and we can help you by doing all of the planning and implementation of your content marketing, a one-off infographic or anything in between.
In conclusion; the key things to remember are;
- Be relevant, original and opinionated
- Promote your content widely and bring people back to your site
- Implement – go and do it!
P.S. By reading this you have proved that content marketing works, and that’s all I’ll say before we get stuck in a self -aware paradox of creating content about creating content.
By Alice on February 23rd, 2015
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