You have probably heard of content marketing. You might even think that it’s something that you are doing on your website. There is a good chance that at least in that last regard you are wrong. You see, unlike what the vast majority of people may think, content marketing is not just a matter of putting up content on your website and then putting it on a few social media feeds.
That will not get you famous. That will not get you anywhere. And that is not just some idle statement, either. There are, according to one measurement, somewhere around 152 million blogs out there. That is a lot of competition! If you want to get heard above all that noise, you have got to make certain that you are doing things right.
Here are some of the most important tips that I have discovered in my many years of content marketing that will make all the difference.
It is neither just ‘content’ or ‘marketing’
Always remember that content marketing is a balancing act between the two arms. A lot of people don’t. They get caught up on one of the two words. For example, they will spend hours and hours on getting their content to be perfect and then do not end up marketing it. If you do that, then your content is going to remain unread. Alternatively, they will market the hell out of what they have got while what they have got is not really interesting to people. In that case, people might click through to your website but end up entirely uninterested in what they find there.
You need to do both. You need to make sure that your content is high enough quality that people will actually enjoy it and feel inclined to share it. Once you have reached that quality, then you need to make certain that you push your content and push it hard. That means you have got to be looking for new places to put it up and new ways to make sure that people read it. Only if you devote enough time to both of these strategies will your content stand a good chance of taking your place.
Remember to market to the right people
It sounds like something pretty straightforward. It apparently is not, as I am always amazed by how many content marketers have a disconnect between what they are writing about and what they are trying to sell. You will find the business owner who wants to sell their widgets to the average joe but aims their content at other business owners and how they should sell their product. Not only does this not interest the average Joe, it, in fact, discourages them. ‘Why would I want to buy from this guy? All he talks about is how to get more money from me!’
It is a very common phenomenon. Lawyers who write for lawyers rather than clients. Writers who tell other writers how to get the upper hand when negotiating with clients. How to be supposed to attract the right people to your site? And if you are not attracting the right people then how do you ever expect to sell your product?
So stop writing for the audience you want to impress and instead, write to the people who you actually want to sell to.
SEO your content
To be clear, organic search engine traffic is not as effective as it used to be. That is because Google’s algorithms are ever more pushing advertisers content to the top while pushing organic results further down. That trend will probably continue. At the same time, you should not just ignore search engines. They can be an incredibly valuable source of traffic – particularly because if you set it up correctly then what you have got is exactly what those people are looking for.
Now, you can go out there, grab a beginner guide, and from there read every article ever written about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and try to remember it all. That will work. It is time-consuming, though. Instead, why not simply use something like Yoast? It is free and it will effectively and easily allow you to make sure that your blog posts are geared towards the keywords that you want to rank for (check out essential some other plugins here). Of course, you will have to select the right keywords, but there are tools for that as well.
Know your stuff
When you build a new website, you do not just have people’s lack of knowledge about your product and your blog to fight against, you also have their natural inertia to struggle against. What do I mean with that? I mean that the majority of people will – all things being equal – continue to do exactly what they were doing before.
Heck, even if the new thing is better than what they have got and they know this, they still might not make the switch. Why? Because they will forget, be lazy, or simply prefer what they have got by way of the mere exposure effect.
In order to combat that, you have to have a blog that is not just a cut above the rest, but several. That means that you really need to know your stuff. It does not end there. You have got to offer people something new – be it new insights, new perspectives or just a new way of writing that is outstanding compared to what they are used to.
Now, to be clear, that is not easy. But it is essential, as otherwise, everybody will simply continue on with the services that they are used to.
It is about rapport
People often pay attention to the number of visitors they get, the percentages that bounce and how many page-views they get per visitor.
What they forget about in the process though is what’s behind those numbers. They forget that the people coming into their website are actually real people with their own lives, wants and desire. As a result, they forget that those numbers that their analytics can not show them – how well they liked the site and if it will stick in their minds or not.
That is a real oversight, as it is not really about how many visitors your page gets on a given day, but about how many visitors keep coming back and talk up your content to others. These people are the ones that will make or break your site.
In order to focus on them correctly, you need to build up a rapport with them. That means giving them the opportunity to interact with your website (for example, by commenting) and then actually getting involved with those that give real comments. This is where you start building rapport with people, which is one of the first and most vital steps to create a long-term relationship.
Once you have got a big enough group of loyal followers that feel personally connected to your website and your content, you can be sure that more visitors will follow.
Content marketing is a long game
And finally, remember that content marketing is not something that will take off immediately. Instead, it takes the time to build a reputation. It takes times to climb up in the Google ranking. And it takes times for other influential people to discover you.
That means two things:
- You have got to be in it for the long haul. Just keep hammering away at giving people the content they want and building up your reputation.
- Initially, it can not be your only form of marketing. You have to have more strategies out there pulling people in (be it to your blog or elsewhere). This will not just tide you over while you are building up your content marketing but will build up your content marketing that bit faster if done correctly.
Remember, the great thing about content marketing is the content stays up. It will be out there for you to point to, for you to recycle or for your visitors to find for months and years to come. That matters, because the more content you have, the more ways you’ve got to pull people in and the further your web will spread.
You will build links and get ever more enmeshed on the internet. And it is there that you will really start to get the benefit of your content marketing strategy. For that natural inertia that I pointed out above will then start working in your favor.