Content Marketing Tips

To make your website and digital marketing work for you, you must commit to publishing content. ‘Content marketing’ must be an integral component of your overall marketing strategy and is critical to online success.

However, creating good content takes time, and not everyone likes writing or is good at it. I find a surprising number of people struggle with writing blogs and articles, due to lack of time or a (perceived) lack of writing skills. So, here are some content marketing tips and suggestions.

Firstly, what is ‘content marketing’? It means creating content that would be of genuine value to your customers – stories, news items, email newsletter articles, social media posts and videos – to answer their questions through blogs, email, social media and video channels.

“All Marketers Tell Stories.” (Seth Godin)

Content marketing promotes your business subtly and teaches at the same time. It is two-way and delivers trust. Today, this is essential for generating online enquiries and sales.

“The art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyers more intelligent or perhaps entertaining them to build an emotional connection.” (Joe Pulizzi, Founder of The Content Marketing Institute)

The content you create should not be salesy, about your products or how good your service is. Your content should be about achieving two key objectives with your target customers:

  • Educating them, and
  • Building trust.

Buyers have changed the way they make purchasing decisions. We want to make good, educated buying decisions using the information we can easily glean from the internet. We’d prefer not to speak to sales people or be sold to.

The content that you publish should address these issues:

  • What are your customers’ real pain points? What questions do your potential customers need answered in order to make a good buying decision? Answer them up front by educating them through your content.
  • What are the common frustrations and challenges that people have when trying to buy in your industry? Identify and deal with these issues in your content.

Get inside your customers’ heads, and build trust with them by being more helpful than anyone else. This is the sort of content you should publish.

Every business should now see itself as a publishing business, and you need to start thinking like one. However, you must produce quality content. It’s all about quality, not volume. Your content must live up to your business’s image and market positioning.

Engaging, educational content can take the form of blogs, social media posts, email newsletters, whitepapers, presentations, e-books, seminars, webinars, videos and podcasts.

But there’s nothing wrong with focusing on the areas which you’re most comfortable with. I’d suggest these should include blogs and linked social media posts, and perhaps email newsletters. You can’t do everything.

If You Hate Writing

If you hate writing or you’re just a bit rusty, how do you blog? Just get stuck in and try it. Sit down and start writing notes and ideas on the subject using your word processor. Turn these first efforts into sentences and paragraphs and start to get them into a logical order.

If you’re struggling with the words, just speak them out loud, then write them down. Don’t think “I can’t do this. I’m not good at writing.” We can all write. Right?

Writing a ‘content plan’ gets you to take a strategic, planned approach and commit to regular posts. Be organized and self-disciplined.

Don’t do it all yourself. Find colleagues who you can share the load with, or delegate to. Which of your colleagues like writing or are already active in social media?

Alternatively, bring in a PR consultant or copywriter.

Or just speak to me! I could run look after all aspects of your content marketing for just 1 to 2 days per month. I’m based near Edinburgh and service clients throughout the UK. Read more about my uniquely, blended approach to Content Marketing & PR.

Make Your Blog Your Content Hub

If you do nothing else, focus on getting your blog to work for you.

Your blog should be at the hub of your content marketing strategy because it sits conveniently on your website, is easy to integrate with your social media channels and email newsletters, and makes sharing easy.

Don’t Overlook Email Marketing

Email newsletters with high quality content from your blogs could be a powerful component of your content marketing strategy. As well as valuable, interesting content and well designed templates, one of the keys to successful email marketing is having good quality, opted-in lists.

Permission-based email marketing done well can be very effective and delivers huge returns. Research suggests that £1 can generate £44.

Content Marketing is Essential for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

We all need to improve our search engine rankings for keywords we want to be found for. Search engines love blog articles and other content because it’s new.

You have to invest in content marketing to drive your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts. Publish high quality articles and make it easy for readers to share them in social media. Ensure that you include one link back [aka a ‘backlink’!] to your website.

These articles and ‘media assets’ need to be properly search engine optimised when you post them, with, amongst other considerations, page titles, meta descriptions, headings (header tags), alt tags and target keywords.

Your Content Creation Strategy

When you create content, always think about the objectives: what are you trying to achieve? Who are you trying to target? Too many people who are trying to do content marketing do not have a content marketing strategy and plan.

Some businesses struggle to find themes to blog about, but I find that all companies are full of stories. You can get inspiration for blogs from the questions that prospects and customers ask, trends and new developments in your industry, your suppliers, clients and colleagues. Work out the questions you want to ask and set up telephone or face-to-face interviews, or email them a handful of questions.

When writing your blog, don’t tell your audience what you do; focus on how you do it. Use quotes from the customer or supplier you’ve interviewed. Get them to tell the story in their words. But, don’t forget to include an appropriate call to action at the end. And, always include at least one great photo or infographic with your blog.

What is your company’s story, your history? Your brand should have an interesting story. It’s much easier for small businesses to tell their story than it is for big businesses which are often sanitized and boring.

Ask your strategic partners to adapt your blogs and post them in their own blog and invite them to write guest blogs.

Videos and case studies based on client interviews could form a powerful strand of your digital content strategy.

Post articles in LinkedIn Pulse and publish slides from presentations on SlideShare (owned by LinkedIn).

Other great sources of new ideas and content can easily be found in bookmarking websites like Delicious, StumbleUpon or Digg where you can see what other people are bookmarking on the subject, or Alltop where blogs are sorted into many different topics. Or just Google your key search keywords.

Re-Purpose and Re-Publish Your Articles; Re-use Your ‘Media Assets’

Ensure that you republish your content in various formats across different channels. Re-use these ‘media assets’ through social media and in your email newsletters. You can transcribe audio and video content.

I particularly like publishing blogs in email newsletters or turning a really good blog into a press release, which can be used for a digital PR and traditional PR campaign.

Once you create your blog, e-book, white paper, podcast, video, educational seminar or webinar, you can share these tested items of content with your strategic partners. Let them add their branding to your content and offer it to their clients.

Go All the Way – Create a Content Community

A one-off piece of valuable content may not be enough to get a prospect to give you their email address. The latest thing is creating your own ‘content community’.

Your target audience may have to be sufficiently attracted to join your community to gain access to your valuable library and stream of new content before they consider buying your products and services.

Today’s successful digital marketing requires lots of content, education, sharing and trust building. It takes time and hard work.

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