We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king,” but knowing what that means and how it can help promote your business online is misunderstood by many.
Content marketing is growing in importance fueled by standards set by Google’s continually updated search algorithms. Understanding what content you need, how to use it and what it will do for your business should be just the start of your online content marketing strategy.
To start, content marketing is the creation and sharing of content to promote a product or service. Content is a very powerful tool and will help you reach a larger audience, further developing your ability to gain new leads and new customers online. The idea is that content will help funnel customers to you, and good content will spark interest from the customer and they will become a solid lead for your business.
To attract new customers, marketers need to generate content that addresses the needs and desires of their prospective clients. After you are able to reach your prospective customers, it is all about establishing yourself or your business as an industry expert, developing trust and confidence with your potential customers.
Now, as many marketers know, this is easier said than done. Content creation is undoubtedly the most difficult part of any marketing plan, and creating strong content is even more difficult. Take the time to identify your customers’ needs and interests and how your business can meet these needs. Then work to develop a content marketing strategy and determine what content will best meet the needs of your customers.
If you are a new business or a small business with little marketing experience, the Internet is full of powerful resources that will help you identify the interests of customers in your industry. Search social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LindedIn and see what topics are popular or trending in your industry, and sites like Quora can help you determine what questions are being asked, allowing you to craft your content specifically to answer these questions. Craft your responses to highlight how your business can specifically address the needs of the customer.
The best content will address new industry trends while utilizing rich content that will improve your search performance through SEO. Make sure you are listening to your current and potential customers, and determining which content to generate will come easily.
After you understand what content to include, you will need to craft a plan complete with an editorial calendar that identifies how and when you are going to create the content. Content marketing can take on many forms including social media posts, e-books, white papers, blogs, photos or graphics, videos and website content. Consider each option and determine the best location for your content. Generally, most content created will be posted directly to your blog, but it should also be distributed through several channels to extend your reach and positioning within your industry.
This is a great question! A major component of effective content marketing is getting influential people to share your links, which means your content must not only be great, but that you must reach out to noteworthy people in your industry who blog and post visitor blogs.
Twitter and LinkedIn are effective ways to locate and connect with industry leaders and organizations. You should also comment and engage with industry leaders on their blogs. Become a member of their community and they will become familiar with you. Then, when it comes time to pitch a blog or idea to them, they will have an idea of who you are and how you can contribute to their blog.
Make sure you take the time to become familiar with whomever you are trying to connect with, and don’t give a hard sell. Getting your first link is the hardest and takes the most work. But once you get that first recognition from an industry leader, other links and connections will follow.
For all this to work, you will need a continuous flow of content for your website and blog. If you have taken the time to establish yourself as an expert in your industry and others are following and sharing your content, you need to offer regular updates to keep them engaged. Follow your editorial calendar and continue to follow new industry trends and you will soon find yourself ranking better in searches, getting more exposure—and getting more leads.