If you’ve heard the term ‘content marketing’, and you’re not sure what it is or why you should think seriously about doing it for your business, let me explain.
Or, as a better way to make the point, let me give you an example.
You’re searching the web for something. You click on a page, and what greets you is a little column of text, surrounded by flashing adverts and banners. Just when you think you’ve found the right place to start reading… a pop-up box appears in front on it asking you to share your opinions (“it’ll only take a minute” it assures you…)
Annoying, isn’t it.
Because what you actually want to do is read the content on the page.
Hold that thought, because behind it lies an important marketing truth.
Like most people, you’ve probably become largely immune to banner adverts on websites (which is why the click-through rate on most banner adverts is truly, shockingly, low).
So if a company wants to get its message across to you, what can it do? It can use the actual content of the page – the words; the bit you actually want to read.
Content marketing is just that – giving the web visitor informative, engaging content which answers their questions. That way, visitors spend time on your site; they see your marketing message; they recognise you as knowledgeable; they pick up on what you’re all about as a business; and they like you because you’ve probably helped to answer their question. In marketing terms, this is all good.
So how do you ‘do’ content marketing – and do it well?
- Think about your audience. It’s where it all starts, every time, regardless of your marketing communication method. Understand who you want to talk to (who visits your site and why?), what drives them, and their level of knowledge for example, so you know where to pitch your content. You may be talking to multiple audiences, in which case be clear about that from the start, and make it obvious who each piece of content is for.
- Come up with some topics to talk about. To get started:
– Think about the kind of questions people are asking about your product or service. Ask the customer service, technical and sales teams what questions they are regularly asked.
– Check in Google Analytics to see what search terms or phrases have brought people to your website, and what visitors have looked at on your website as a result.
– You can also think about the topics on your website for which you currently rank badly in search engine results. Some new, well-created content about the subject should help improve that.
– There may be industry ‘hot topics’ you want to express an opinion about – particularly in response to something which has been in the news in recent weeks which is piquing people’s interest.
– There may be aspects of your service which are less well known which you’d like to let people know about.
- Put all your ideas down in a list, and decide which are the most important. Not the ones you like the most… but the ones which are really going to do the most for your business in terms of meeting your objectives.
- Make a plan – a content schedule. A small business doesn’t need to write a blog piece every day, or even every week (unless you find you enjoy doing so). One or two new articles a month is fine. So put your topics in an order of priority and plan what you’re going to write about and when over the next 3 months.
- It doesn’t have to be a blog – although that’s usually a good place to start. Videos, slide decks and e-books are other examples of content marketing. So is content curation, where you draw together relevant information from other sources to become a go-to expert on a particular topic.
- It doesn’t all have to be written by one person. You can ask others in the company to write. More than one ‘voice’ is quite nice on a blog site, as it gives you the opportunity to introduce other members of your team.
- Get the content live on the web. Many website content management systems will have a blog module which can be activated or easily added; and in my opinion it’s preferable to keep all the content on your own website. If that’s not easily achievable, you can set up a separate blog site using Blogger or WordPress, and link to and from your website.
- Share your content. You can encourage people to read your content by linking to it from an e-newsletter, or social media. And of course don’t forget to ensure it’s optimised so it can be picked up in search results.
So is content marketing really difficult? No.
Can you do it yourself? Yes – if you know how to write copy for websites, and can upload the content yourself.
Do you have the time to do it, and do it well, and keep it up? For many smaller businesses without an in-house marketer, the answer is probably not – but that’s OK, because that’s where SharpEdge Marketing can help.
We won’t just tell you how to do great content marketing – we’ll actually help you do it. We’ll sit with you and understand your business. We’ll research what matters to your customers and prospects. We’ll put a content schedule together, which gives you new content regularly and keeps up the momentum. We’ll write the pieces for you, so you only have to check them. We’ll even upload the content to your website or blog site for you.
If that sounds good, give us a call.