One of the most frequent questions that our clients ask us is “What can I do to help generate traffic to my website?” We've found that clients get the most value by creating relevant content that answers the questions and provides information about their business. The key is to understand what potential customers are searching for. This strategy is referred to as Content Marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is defined as:
“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and ultimately to drive profitable customer action.” ~ Content Marketing Institute
This strategy deviates from the traditional selling strategy of selling your products or services with an “elevator pitch” to a more customer-centric approach. The goal of Content Marketing is to provide your current and prospective customers with relevant content that they would find useful in helping solve a problem.
It's important to understand that Content Marketing is not a “quick fix” that will generate immediate results. Thiis type of a strategy is a long-term investment that looks to establish your business as a trusted expert in in your industry.
Positive Effects of Content Creation
Creating Curated Content can have many positive effects on your business as well as your brand’s reputation. One of the first conversations we have with our clients revolves around the topic on how potential customers search for information. Many businesses focus on WHO they are not WHAT they are. When a customer is looking for information it's safe to assume they're not searching for your company right off the bat. Generally they're searching for information to help solve a problem or a need and hopefully in that process they'll find a service or product your company offers. It's important to know your customer well in order to align your goals around creating content that answers their questions.
By creating content that provides the answers to customers questions your business is able to realize many positive effects:
- Content Attracts New Traffic: Providing relevant content improves the chance of customers finding you in diifferent search engines. Once they find your website in the search results you have an opportunity to suggest additional engaging information that may be relevant to them.
- Content Builds Brand Awareness and Reputation: Creating Content increases the opportunity for people to find your comany and learn about what makes your brand unique. If you're consistently generating quality content people will find it useful and relevant. Thus increasing the value of your brand and reputation in their eyes.
- Content Generates Conversation: If you have an engaging blog it opens a door for users with the opportunity to start conversations on your site whic allows you to communicate with them directly.
- Content Converts Readers to Leads: Providing engaging and insightful content will build a prospective customer's curiosity about your company. If they think you can help them they'll more than likely feel compelled to seek out your services. This is what experts note as the Conversion Path; which is how we guide prospective customers to a place where they'll engage and contact you to get more information so they can potentially become a paying customer.
Content Marketing Complements Other User Experience Strategies
While Content Marketing is a valuable tool on its own it also provides value by assisting other User Experience Strategies like:
- Improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by increasing your domain authority through generating more web real estate.
- Generation of backlinks that refer to your original content (Establishing you as an expert).
- Provides material that can be used in Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaigns.
- Allows you the opportunity to gain email subscribers that find your content useful.
Repurposing Content Expands Reach
When engaging content is created that information can now be repurposed for use in other online marketing. If you write a blog post that has a wealth of knowledge you can adapt that information for use across your other digital outlets. This not only extends the value of the content but also extends the life and potential reach it has. Here are a few ways that content can be repurposed:
- Highlighting excerpts that can be shared on Social Media that link to the full article on your website.
- Creating info graphics that point out key points in the content that can be shared on Social Media.
- Provide a downloadable PDF version of the article for reference.
- Use the content for a monthly email campaign.
- Offer other sites the ability to syndicate your content and link back to your website.
- Combine similar content to create free e-Books or Whitepapers that site visitors can download as a valuable resource.
Content is Digital Real Estate
With every piece of content that you create you're generating a new URL or a new address in your digital real estate portfolio. Think of it this way each piece of content is a new house in your digital community. As you add "houses" your community grows and is easier to find on the digital map AKA the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).
There are different types of content that you can create. Each piece of content has the capability to provide value to your entire Content Portfolio if done carefully. The two most common types of content are known as "Evergreen" and "In the Moment."
- Evergreen: This type of content is called Evergreen because it never decays and continues to always be relevant. This content can be repurposed over time and continues to provide value to your business.
- In the Moment: This content is relevant at the time that it's created. It could be about current events trends or current best practices. Some of this content can consistently be revisited and updated to stay relevant. In our real estate analogy this would be the properties that are remodeled to make them attractive. When they're updated they can again be promoted to continue to give your business value.
Content is a Compounding Investment
Similar to the concept of compounding interest as you create content new valuable content will help build out a robust portfolio and ehance the quality of your digital real estate. If you create one piece of content a week for a year you will have added 52 addresses to your site. Continuing the next year grows your portfolio to 104 addresses and so on. As you grow your presence people see your brand more frequently and will continue to grow your reputation giving more value to your content and business.
Types of Content Will Evolve but Will Always Be Necessary
The way that Content is generated distributed and consumed will always evolve with technology. However the basic concepts of creating valuable content will always remain. As technology advances the way that you create and present your content will change. Currently there is a move to create video. Social Media platforms like Facebook give video preference in their algorithm rankings. This again provides opportunity to repurpose previously created content into a new piece of content.
Content is Consumed Differently Across Platforms
Understanding how content is consumed on the different platforms is vital to getting the most value for your business. Users are looking for content to be presented in certain way dependent on where they find it.
- Blog: A blog allows you to present detailed information that can combine written and visual elements. The blog serves as the home for you content that you can link back to on other platforms.
- Facebook: Facebook allows you to present the blog content in a variety of ways. Recent trends have noted that Facebook users are currently giving preference to video; however if you present the content in a way that grabs attention text with pictures are still effective strategies to utilize.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great platform to establish your reputation as an expert in your field. LinkedIn give you’re an option of posting your content directly to your profile on a dedicated blog or linking to you blog through a post. This is an important platform where you'll mostly be dealing with Business-to-Business (B2B) interactions.
- Google+: Very similar to LinkedIn and Facebook. Posting here will also help in your Google SERP primarily because it's a platform created and utilized by Google.
- Instagram: Repurposing blog content into an info graphic and offering additional information to guide users to your site.
- Twitter: Finding interesting quotes from your content and then linking to your full content. Share links to your blog or provide helpful tips you would normally tell your customers. Posting visual content is a great way to capture a user's attention.
- Pinterest: Depending on your industry this is a great platform to post valuable content through pictures with a brief description and link back to the full blog content. This is particularly useful for e-Commerce clients who want to promote a lifestyle associated with their most popular products.
- Email: This is a good place to either do a brief recap of the content or take an excerpt from it and then link back to the full blog content. Sending eNewsletters or creating an email campaign to update your customers and leads about new developments or sales is also a great way to engage and obtain their business.
How to Get Started Generating Content
The best place to start your content generation is listing out common questions that your customers ask you. You can combine similar questions to develop one blog post or make an instructional video to aid customers. Another great place for inspiration is your competitors. What type of content are they creating? Read their blog posts and find a way to make the information better.
Content Marketing is a long-term strategy and getting started can seem like an overwhelming task but the sooner you get started the sooner you will start seeing the benefits. Set an editorial calendar for your content generation. Give yourself a deadline to complete new content and set a consistent day of the week to publish blog post. Before you know it you will have a collection of engaging content that will help build your reputation as an expert in your industry.
Find out how a Content Creation can benefit your business's Content Marketing Strategy by contacting our User Experience Experts today.