What is content marketing?
Well, not too long ago, content marketing was a “bad word” because firms used content to trick Google into sending traffic to your site.
Over the years, Google got smarter — well at least the robot got smarter. In efforts to help searchers find what they’re looking for, Google penalized companies doing “keyword stuffing” and “link baiting” and other nefarious activities designed to fool users into thinking they had something valuable on their website. At the same time, Google started boosting websites posting unique, fresh, valuable content — the birth of content marketing.
Not only does fresh content boost your SERPs (where you show up in search), but consumers are getting smarter every year and they want to learn more about your brand before they buy. Hence, the internet is often their first choice when seeking information — your reputation, reviews, recommendations, features, and benefits. Content is your surest bet to not only catching a consumer’s eye, but getting her wallet, too.
As you can see in our handy infographic, courtesy of 1, most businesses use some form of content marketing to support their inbound marketing programs. Of these, a blog and social media are pretty much required if you want to get your business in front of perspective buyers.
Blogs are #1 for sending new traffic to your website. That isn’t really all that surprising when you realize blogs provide more extensive coverage of your content and they get shared ubiquitously across the internet — amplifying your message, your brand, and your reputation. Check out my recent post about why your brand needs a blog if you’re not already convinced you need one.
For most of my clients, a blog is an indispensable part of their social media marketing campaign.
Blogging isn’t easy
Despite what some say, starting and operating a blog isn’t easy — and you can’t do it in 30 minutes a day!
Blogging isn’t just words anymore either. It’s infographics – like this one — video, images, and white papers. So, blogging is more that sitting down at your computer and typing our 300+ words 3X (or more) a week.
Blogging also means integrating other social media, such as Facebook and YouTube, as well as other content, such as email marketing campaigns or webinars.
Blogging : Major challenges
1. Content – what to write about
Finding ideas for new content has to be the hardest job about blogging.
- What do you talk about?
- Where do you find out what’s hot?
- Where can you get images to use with your content?
- What do others say about your topic — research?
The key is to find a topic you know a lot about and are passionate about. That makes writing easier. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t write about yourself. Frankly, unless you’re a major celebrity, no one really cares. Write about something people DO care about. If you’re a furniture company, talk about decorating. If you’re a retailer, talk about fashion trends.
The second tip about writing content is to create a content marketing calendar. You can find a template for a content marketing calendar online or simply create an Excel spreadsheet with columns for activities related to creating/ curating content. My calendar contains dates, headlines, keywords, images I’ll use, and sources. For other types of content, such as videos, presentations, white papers, and infographics, I use separate sheets so I can collect the larger amount of material needed to create these resources. I also keep a database of images, powerpoints, video snippets, etc that I can pull from, when necessary.
Don’t be a slave to your calendar, however, If something topical comes up, bump your scheduled post for another day. Also, be careful when major events come along. For instance, brands suffered when the went on with business as usual in the middle of the Sandy Hook shootings last year. I tend to keep a TV tuned to news in the background and watch Twitter trends pretty carefully to keep this from happening.
Luckily, writing for me is easy. But, many find writing torturous and many just aren’t really good at it.
Content marketing is important. If you can’t do it, hire it done. Most of our clients use our community managers to create/ curate content for them. Even if your product is pretty technical, you can find folks who can research and write in your area. Do interviews with leaders in your vertical — then you don’t need to have the technical expertise.
With very complex products (and even those not so complex) creating video is a good idea. It doesn’t have to look (or cost) like a feature film to work.
Don’t just write! You need to track your posts to see what’s working.
What content drives the most traffic? The most conversions?
What content gets shared the most?
Which content drives engagement — comments, likes?
What content doesn’t work?
Learning what works (and what doesn’t) helps refine your content marketing strategy to drive success.
Whether you need a complete social media marketing strategy or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel or create your brand — online and off. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. Let us create your story. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.
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