The methodology to rank higher now rests majorly on content, relevant and quality content. Having performed on-page and off-page SEO and after completing all the technical SEO, the next step is to generate quality content, regularly.
Until recently link building was the go-to strategy to attract customers. Not anymore. It’s losing its effect by the day and it’s time to familiarize yourself with different approaches to drive your sales.
In this article, we shall discuss one of the most cost-effective strategies of all: Content marketing.
Benefits of content marketing are numerous for business domains such as: brands, products and services. B2B as well as B2C.
- Publishing new content regularly attracts search engines to crawl your content more frequently.
- Content marketing makes you a thought leader in your domain.
- Content marketing enables direct communication with end user and all stake holders.
- Presents an opportunity to air views from your perspective.
- Enables you to highlight USP’s.
- Makes it possible to keep target audience constantly engaged with events, product launches, and promotions directly.
- Importantly, content marketing builder a followers list of loyal consumers.
Content Marketing Challenges
Content marketing can be a complex exercise that requires several knowledge resources such as:
- Subject expertise at an authority level
- Professional level writing skills to keep readers engaged
- Search engine marketing skills
- Content marketing management to identify subjects of interest, search volumes and keyword identification
Content marketing practice involves a team with diverse skills and this is a sought after discipline in today’s search driven business world.
Content Marketing Strategies
Unlike conventional marketing, content marketing is a strategic approach, which is focused on creating and sharing valuable content to attract customers. Instead of advertising your products directly, you will be providing relevant content to your potential customers to help them understand how you can provide value to them. The keyword here is “value”.
Relevant and accurate industry data is imperative in all content marketing exercises. Data unveils target audience volumes, search traffic and business potential for a certain subject. Some 70% of business executives claim data-driven content marketing is the primary element of their marketing efforts.
Content marketing is a long-term plan, which stresses on building a solid relationship with your customers by providing them relevant content on a regular basis. It shows that you really care about your customers. Put simply, in a world that is full of noise, the one who has the bigger microphone wins. Content marketing, although not too loud like traditional marketing, is subtle and makes people listen.
There are, however, many kinds of content marketing. But let’s focus on a few that are tried and tested and work well, no matter your business domain.
eBooks and Whitepapers
eBooks are an incredible way to provide long-form content to your customers. You can chalk out everything about your business in a detailed manner. Again, the keyword is “value”. It’s important to understand that your eBook shouldn’t be a 10-page advertisement. It should provide useful and relevant information about your business, the services you provide, and how customers can benefit from them. It is not about selling, it is not about advertising; it’s about building a rapport with your target audience and building trust. eBooks are also a great way to collect information about your customers: request them to provide some basic information about themselves like name and email address in exchange for a free eBook.
There isn’t much difference between an eBook and a whitepaper, except for the audience each format targets. While an eBook is a lengthy, extended guidebook on a particular topic, a whitepaper is a kind of academic report. A whitepaper is information-rich and targets audience who are experts in the subject.
Infographics, as the name suggests, is a visual representation of information about a particular subject. Infographics are great to educate your audience through pictures and images. This type of visual content marketing helps your customers visualize information like statistics, graphs, and figures in a sophisticated way. You can say a lot with so little and this is especially useful for those who prefer not to spend much time poring over lengthy content. You should, however, have a clear understanding as to what topics are best suited for this particular format.
Using Social Media to promote your business is not a secret anymore. Well, it never was. It just took some time for people to understand its true potential, is all. Social Media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help business enterprises reach new people, build and nurture relationships with customers, and moreover, improve their brand’s visibility. The content you post on Social Media plays a vital role in how your business engages both new and existing customers.
Social Media channels help you discover new leads and alert customers to new products and sales. All true. But you should use the channels effectively. Meaning, you should know that different platforms cater to different kinds of people. If your stories and posts are all visual, Instagram works best. If it’s just a few words you want to say and post some links to videos and images, Twitter is your go-to channel. Read Social Media Marketing to know more about optimizing Social Media to its fullest extent.
Blog Marketing & Content Outreach
Blogging is one of the most important and popular kinds of content marketing there is, especially for small businesses. Blogs, apart from company webpages, are best to promote your content, to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and drive traffic to your site organically through search engines. Websites that incorporate blogs have a better chance of making it to the first page of search engines, mainly Google. Also, websites with blogs linked to them have 97% more inbound links. This again helps with SEO. Needless to say, blogging is also a great way to build rapport with your customers. The more value you provide through rich, impeccable content, the more your customers trust you.
As for videos, it’s vital to use them to remain relevant and competent in your world of business. There’s nothing that grabs people’s attention than a well-structured video. It’s important to note that one-third of all online activity these days is spent watching videos, especially on YouTube. So, no matter what business you are running, showcase your content through videos. They are more appealing than written content. They also compel your customers to spend more time on your website: the more time your customer spends time on your website the better. If you truly optimize the power of video content marketing, consider what kinds of content and subjects might appeal to your audience the most. Make them interesting, make them informative, and make them short and attention-grabbing to reap maximum benefits.
Case studies are nothing but customer testimonials that show how your business has provided value to them. These are terrific. When other potential customers read, watch or listen (testimonials can be through videos as well) to other customers’ opinions about your products and services, it will make them trust you more. Although you can advertise yourselves well on different platforms, what matters most, in the end, is real-life examples. Having said that, consider carefully as to which customers you ask to provide testimonials. Choose customers who have greatly benefited from your products and services.
Once you have their testimonials, house them on your official website, your blog, Social Media channels, eBooks, and any other platform you deem fit. Use these testimonials when talking with new leads.
Understand: yelling louder just because it’s noisy out there won’t win you any customers. Tell your stories smartly using the above-mentioned examples and you will be heard – even if you just whisper.