So you’ve got the basics of SEO down, you know all about keywords, PPC, organic search, and you may even be proficient in google AdWords. But you still aren’t getting the results you want to see with traffic on your site. While all of these aspects are important parts of SEO and online marketing, for best results it all needs to come together in what we call effective content marketing. Content marketing, sometimes referred to as inbound marketing is essentially the act of creating strong content on your site, then sharing it effectively to gain traffic to your site.
Not to be confused with digital marketing or social media marketing, it goes beyond one aspect of online presence. Content marketing helps build your online presence, personality, and brand online. All of this needs to be defined in an effective content marketing strategy, one aspect of a content marketing plan
The Details of Content Marketing
You may be thinking at this point that this is just a rehash of an online marketing or SEO plan. It’s not. Without a strong content strategy you may as well be posting your company in the yellow pages, because about the same amount of people will see it. There are entire content agencies dedicated to content advertising and creation. Combining all marketing, PR, and content together should be done to create a stronger presence and more organized strategy yes, but they are not one in the same. An article defining content marketing published on Forbes states content marketing is making your information valuable, something that people want to seek out. Think of the websites that look like they were a high school tech project, with no links, no menus, no images, etc. Those are bad examples of content marketing. Just creating a site is not enough in today’s competitive world to create an online presence. In order to make your information, and thereby your company valuable, you must have a strong content marketing platform.
This brings us to the ultimate topic then, what is content marketing. We know the philosophy behind it now, but what does it consist of? There are more types than possible to count, which is great when working on content curation, but can be difficult to get the ball rolling. Think of it as a way to network online, what you do to network yourself in person, is what you can do to network your company online. Things like guest posts on other’s blogs, having people-preferably experts or someone related to your brand-post on your website, plug-ins, links, podcasts, are all good examples of content marketing. You are essentially looking for anything that gives your audience something to seek. Creating a podcast, or a video, or even a social media post are all effective content marketing.
Marketing social aspects of your brand is key in creating a relationship with your audience. Depending on your brand personality there are ways to do this. Let’s say for example you are trying to reach an audience of 15 year old outdoor enthusiasts. The best way to reach them is not going to be through reviews of outdoor activities nearby, it’s going to be through videos on Instagram and Facebook, memes or pictures of someone doing something entertaining in relation to the-outdoors. The key in these situations is to make sure it is also relevant to your company and brand. A strong example of content marketing can be found here, from American Express. I know, American Express of all places? They have created a connection with their customer through this open forum. This has allowed them to reach their customer in a way that makes the customer come to them. This is what content marketing is all about.
Once the lightbulb has gone off about what is content marketing, let’s discuss the how of content marketing. As previously mentioned it is again all about strategy. You can’t just start creating videos, memes, and posting on everyone’s sights, that looks desperate and disorganized. As with all strategy, the approach must answer what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Are you wanting to gain user traffic, educate those on your site about who you are, or something else entirely? The created content must geared in one general direction. The strategy can include multiple types of content marketing, in fact it should, but it must all have the same theme. This Marketing strategy should above all speak to your audience.
Content marketing is all about being creative with what you have. It allows you to really think outside the box and help develop a strong brand personality. Some ways to effectively accomplish this are with competitive analysis-where are you able to place yourself in the market that will net you the most gain. Social media research-what is already being published in your market and how can you capitalize. And as always with SEO and online marketing, keyword research and search engine search. It is imperative not to forget those are always at the forefront of effective online marketing.
It is also important to remember you know your company. Create a team to brainstorm and develop ideas of how they would want to be told about your company. Finding experts in the field and utilizing them as assets is key, and sometimes that is you. And finally, measuring engagement. All of this will be for naught if you have no way to track and determine customer engagement. Placing sharing buttons on content, curating and developing links to your site, comments in forums, are all ways to measure engagement.
Where does this leave you? By now you should understand what content marketing is, and have at least a fuzzy idea of how to generate it on your site. Once you spent time developing a strategy you will be able to implement this onto your site(s). If this is to be done effectively it must be done aggressively, the company is announcing who they are, make it count. This is going to be an ever changing, dynamic part of your business. It is important to remember this is not a one-time implementation. Strategic review of what is working and what is not is important. Create a culture that is always looking for new ideas and parts of your business that your consumer would find important. Remember, always think like your consumer! If you can effectively execute this aspect of business it will open many doors for your company.