Marketing means promoting and selling goods or services, but beneath that definition, as sort of a required initial step is actually being seen. Just as a retail store without adequate signage might have plenty of drive-by traffic and few stops, your online presence requires visibility—and that visibility comes in the form of SEO (search engine optimization).
That is where content comes in. Useful content educates your client base, establishes you as a leader in your field, and increases your visibility on the internet. When potential customers search for related key words to your business, they will actually find your website.
Here is what you need to know.
Content Marketing and You
Content marketing and SEO have become business buzz words, but too few businesses have really established the two crucial components for success: statistics and strategy.
Statistics: How will you measure your ROI? Establishing a dollar value on exposure can be a challenge. Tools like Google Analytics and SEMRush will give you free intro-level data on your web traffic and keywords. Get familiar with analytics and how they translate into business dollars.
Done well, the right content can boost your bottom line by hundreds of percent.
Done poorly, it is as ineffective as any other dead fish marketing campaign.
Strategy: Content marketing is a long-term strategy, not an instant marketing band-aid. So deciding what your objectives are and how you will measure them will help you adapt a successful content marketing strategy.
Getting Started with Content Marketing
Once you have determined that you want to launch a content marketing strategy, and how you will measure its productivity, it is time to get started. Here are 3 easy steps to get you going:
- Research your competition. Without intent to imitate directly or copy at all, just see what else is out there. What are the key words they use and what kind of content generates the most traffic on competitor sites? How are your competitors engaging with web traffic, and what sites/social media sources are they using?
- Outline a content calendar. You won’t cover every topic at once, so what will your overall strategy, frequency of output, and key topics be? Once you’ve named these goals, you will also need to ensure you meet those deadlines, just as you would any other product or service deadline. Not having a calendar makes for irregular or unplanned, random content. Having a calendar is the basis of actual marketing strategy.
- Start generating content. Get going with your plan. Keep in mind this isn’t a 5k, it’s a marathon strategy. So keep going. Frequency and consistency are key to success and visibility in the content marketing game.
Once you have some content, start pushing it. You can blast email newsletters and blogs, push content on social media sites, or otherwise connect potential readership to your content marketing.
Also be willing to pivot your plan. If you anticipated success with a certain line of related content, but another avenue seems to engage readership more effectively, pivot your content calendar around those new content topics. Content marketing is the flow of a river, wearing down the edges, but flexible in its course.
If content marketing isn’t already part of your overall marketing strategy, and you do not have an in-house solution for content generation (no burgeoning writers on your team?), consider hiring an outside solution. Most marketing companies will include content generation as part of your overall branding strategy. If they do not, writers-for-hire or other resources are readily available.
Whatever the size of your business, a content marketing strategy, as part of your overall marketing plan, can help you grow to the next level.