The Unique Benefits of Content Marketing
How would you like to increase brand awareness and recognition, establish authority and expertise, create loyalty and trust? These are just some of the unique benefits of content marketing. It’s time to stop dabbling and jump in with both feet. Content creation is the keystone for all effective inbound marketing, long-lasting SEO, successful brand building, and far-reaching offline marketing.
Content creation used to just mean writing blogs, but these days the definition of effective content includes video, graphics, podcasting and a few other types of media. If you’re not confident about your writing or video skills don’t worry, read all the way to the end and you’ll find that this post includes solutions for that too.
Improve Your SEO With Content Marketing
Forget about trying to understand the arcane mysteries of the algorithms that Google and Facebook use. Normal humans aren’t meant to understand them, and if you do they change all the time anyway. It’s not worth wasting your time on because there is a way to beat them. Great content is valued by real people, and then shared by them. Don’t gamble that Facebook’s AI might spot your content and share it for.
Instead, put your energy into writing and producing creative, informative, and useful blog posts. Make videos that grab people by the eyeballs. Write posts that move people to take action. Create shareable graphics that inspire and influence your people. When you do that you start a process that will pay you back for years to come. Make videos that grab people by the eyeballs. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
The hidden benefit is that each new piece of content you produce adds to your body of work. You already know that all your posts are indexed by the search engines. One of the best things about creating all that content is that it simply becomes more valuable over time. Particularly if it is evergreen content that won’t get dated over time. Like expensive wine, your best blog posts increase in value as more and more people discover them. Some of my oldest blog posts have the most traction with Google, and still spark conversations with potential clients years later.
Ultimately, Google’s algorithms are designed to produce the most accurate results for search. If you concentrate on creating valuable content that is highly useful to your audience, over time Google will rank your content higher than less useful content, regardless of how many keywords they have stuffed in.
Increase Website Traffic from Social Channels
So you want more traffic to your website. You’re already posting on your social channels telling people to visit you but being told to do something gets boring to your community very quickly. And anyway, why should people visit your site? One visit is usually more than enough for most people to get what you’re about and decide to pigeonhole you. All this means your visitor bounce rate is higher than Mount Everest on a snowy day in January.
On the other hand, if your website was a handy resource full of interesting, thought-provoking and (most importantly) useful articles and videos that people want to keep returning to, that would make your site the kind of place that might earn itself a bookmark in your visitors’ browsers. If your blog contained content that was genuinely helpful to your chosen niche then it could just become a place that people would recommend to each other. We have to earn those eyeballs. If your blog contains genuinely useful #content it will become a place that people would recommend. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
Of course, having a constantly growing library of posts would give you an endless amount of content to share to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin or whatever your preferred platforms are. Just remember that your content must be located on your website so that each time you share it, you drive traffic to your site. It’s equally vital to maintain a high standard for your content creation because the longer your visitors stay on your site, the lower your bounce rate will get.
More Opportunities to Increase Engagement
The more interesting and thought-provoking your content, the more opportunity you will have to engage with your community. Whether that is on the post via a comments section, or on your social platforms, is not really important. The vital thing is to be involved with the issues that matter to your visitors and users. Where the engagement happens is up to them not you. Some people prefer to discuss on Snapchat, others on Linkedin. Just be ready to get involved when they want to, not merely when you want to.
Aside from this, you can get more involved with your niche by including members of your community in your content. That may include interviewing an influencer on your podcast or vlog. Or it may mean working on a collaborative work together. This is pretty common on YouTube but there’s no reason why you couldn’t collaborate on blogs too. There are too many benefits, such as increasing your audience reach, to ignore the opportunity.
Increase Dwell Times on Your Website
We’ve already touched on this above, but increasing the dwell time of visitors on your website is too important a subject to neglect. What is dwell time? If your bounce rate is a measure of how many people hit your site and quickly leave (within a few seconds typically), then dwell time can be described as a measure of how long your visitors tend to stay on your website. This is important for SEO as Search Engines will include that as a factor in how highly you’re ranked. It is also vital for you because it is a measure of how accurately you are meeting the needs of your visitors. The longer they stay on your site, the more interesting it must be to them.
So, if you’re wondering why your conversion rate is poor even if Google Analytics is telling you that you get a lot of visits to your website, it may be down to a high bounce rate and short dwell times. This is a big issue for many websites and should be a crucial metric for you if want to find out if your website is likely to attract more eyeballs.
We live in the “Attention Economy” because the attention of viewers and visitors can translate directly and indirectly into income. For YouTubers, attention is critical because ad revenue is directly affected by the number of viewers they get for each monetised video. In fact, there is a fairly tough hurdle which they have to jump over just to enable monetization on YouTube which is almost entirely based on attention rates. Remember, #ContentMarketing is not a quick fix solution for ailing websites. #OnlineMarketing Click To Tweet
Having relevant, useful, or entertaining content on your website is the best way I know to get attention, keep attention and draw bigger audiences in over time. Remember, content marketing is not a “quick fix” solution for ailing websites, but an intelligent strategy, implemented consistently over time, will produce long-lasting results.
Stay in Touch with Clients
If you are a freelancer or running a small business, it is vital to keep in touch with your clients. As Jeffrey Gitomer, America’s King of Sales, says “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends”, but then continues “All things being not quite so equal, people still want to do business with their friends.”
This is a fact of life and one that is even more true in the Internet Age. We would rather trust the recommendations of friends and relatives over that of a stranger. This is so obvious that we hardly need to state it, but time and again I meet businesses who neglect their relationship with clients. They only get in touch when there’s something new to sell.
Every time our content is read, viewed and shared it is another touchpoint between you and your community. That’s why it is so important to create, curate and communicate quality content.
Staying in touch is one thing, but the key word here is trust. We trust our friends to steer us right and the difference between a friend and a stranger is that when we communicate with our friends, we trust that they do not have an ulterior motive such as trying to make a sale. We talk to our friends even when we’re not buying.
Part of the value of a blog is the fact that your content is available to be consumed day or night at any time that is preferred by your audience. You don’t have to be physically available as you do on a phone call or when networking face to face. Each time a visitor to your website reads one of your posts, their trust level in you increases incrementally. Then, when you tweet or talk to them on Linkedin, another level of trust is added. By the time you meet in person, you already have a high level of trust built up with them. I have found this time and again when I’m meeting someone in person. Before I’ve even sat down in their office, rapport has already been established by their familiarity with my content.
Build Authority with Content Marketing
We trust our friends, but we also rely on expert knowledge to guide us through our lives. This is even more true when it comes to business. It can be hard to find a genuine authority on a subject. So we have to rely on a number of factors when we need an expert. First, we rely on the recommendations of friends. Secondly, we look for signs like qualifications, but not every area of expertise is represented by formal qualifications. Thirdly, and most importantly, we rely on our own judgement to assess the level of expertise of an individual or company. These are unreliable techniques and sometimes they don’t work very well. They most often fail when we simply do not have enough data to base our decision upon. We don’t know them well enough.
Often, the process can be bypassed completely. If we already know someone who is an authority in their niche we know that going directly to them would give us access to the expertise we seek. For example, we trust our friends to give us good advice, but if that advice is on a subject they know nothing about, our faith in their advice is going to be impaired. If you’re planning on buying a new laptop, you may ask a friend, but not the friend who is a technophobe. But your friend who also happens to be into gadgets, technology and is always upgrading her computer? She’s the expert friend you’ll ask and value every time. Each new #blog post published consolidates your level of #authority. #OnlineMarketing Click To Tweet
When we create content consistently within our area of expertise, regular readers will start to see us a kind of “proto-friend”. If our content consistently demonstrates that we know our subject well, our status as an authority becomes established. Each new post consolidates our level of authority. Our content helps to position us in the reader’s mind as an expert friend. The next step when one of your readers needs expert help is obvious. Why would they hesitate to get in touch?
One reason they may hesitate to use your expertise, even if you have already established Authority, is the question of Availability. Are you available to your potential clients?
Availability comes in a variety of forms. It could just mean including your telephone number or email address on each post. But you need to be better than that if you want to stand out from the mediocre. Being available means being present on the platforms that your clients prefer. Being available means engaging in relevant discussions and debate on the issues that matter to your chosen area of expertise.
But being available can also mean being accessible to your potential clients by creating content across a variety of media. If you are already writing blog posts, consider adding social videos, infographics or a podcast to your mix. We all have our own preferences when it comes to consuming content. Some of us prefer to read, but many of us prefer to watch a video, or listen to audio content in our car or whilst running.
Lower Your Marketing Costs
Advertising is expensive and produces short-term results. If you want to get any real results you need to first choose the right place to advertise. Press advertising these days has very poor reach, costs an arm and a leg and is pretty useless unless you pay for ads that will run for months. And even then, it’s almost impossible to measure the ROI reliably. Online advertising via Google, Facebook or Twitter is hard to get right and the results can be hit and miss unless you really know how to get it right.
So what can you do? Businesses still have to promote what they do and budgets are getting even tighter than ever. Content marketing is incredibly good value for money and can be leveraged by businesses of every size from single freelancers to multinational corporations. Minimum entry requirements are very low: if your website can include a blog on it, all you need is the willingness to start writing and the willpower to keep it up. #ContentMarketing is incredibly good value for money and can be leveraged by businesses of every size. #blogging #marketing Click To Tweet
After that, make sure you keep trying to improve (nobody starts off as an expert, no matter what your ego tells you). Adding a photograph or image helps make your posts more visually appealing and remember to keep your blog posts focused on your primary market niche. Don’t be tempted to wander off at a tangent which has no useful information for your readers. If you want to be more creative, try making videos on topics that may interest your potential clients. It’s perfectly okay to start by using your smartphone, the camera and microphone will be fine. When you want to step up your game, consider adding a decent microphone and quality lighting to your setup though.
Above all, keep in mind that you are engaging in a business activity. This is not the place to indulge yourself or use inappropriate language. You’re not Gary Vaynerchuk.
How to Blog Even if You Can’t Write
Not everyone can write like Ernest Hemingway or make a film like Steven Spielberg though. That’s just life. If your talents don’t lie in writing, scripting, or creating movies relax, there are still lots of really good options for you.
There are many talented copywriters and film makers out there looking for an opportunity to work with you. If your content marketing strategy requires regular blog posts that are focused on your niche, look for a freelance copywriter to work with. They will discuss your requirements and meet with you to discuss your blog, plan future posts and maybe even interview you, your staff and/or your clients to gather material which they can then craft into blog posts for you. When we ghost-write for clients, we typically create a content calendar and a flexible list of content titles based on topics that match the calendar. Effective #ContentMarketing means producing useful #content consistently and maintaining quality. #blogging #SocialVideo Click To Tweet
If you want to work with video, beware of agencies that want to bring in a whole crew and a roomful of equipment. This is how costs grow. Your goal should be to keep content creation costs as low as possible, or you’ll soon find it impossible to keep consistently producing content. If their cameras cost more than your car, take that as a clue: they’ll want to recover the cost of that expensive kit. Remember you’re paying for every bit of equipment and every member of the team they bring in.
On the other hand, filming in your car whilst holding your phone is no longer acceptable either. Maybe the first few times, but after that, you’ll find the poor audio and wobbly picture will put viewers off. You need to find a sweet spot to create professional-looking video at a manageable cost.
At Design Inspiration, we have put together a small portable setup with a smartphone, camera stabiliser and external lapel microphone that works really well. We use it when recording video blogs and social videos for our clients and it keeps costs very manageable so we can charge a fixed cost each time. Our clients like it because it’s not intimidating and most importantly, they can afford to keep adding to the vital library of resources that drives traffic to their website.
If you’re planning on starting a podcast, this can be very affordable. Start with a decent microphone (the Blue Yeti, available via Amazon is excellent quality) and you can use free software to make your recording. Audacity is easily obtained for Windows-based PCs and is reasonably simple to use.
In a world where traditional marketing methods are in decline or simply too expensive to employ, content marketing offers opportunities for businesses of every size. Content marketing may not be for you if you want quick results. However, for those willing to put in the effort to create, curate, and communicate content can be inexpensive, flexible and incredibly powerful over time. In a world where traditional #marketing is in decline #ContentMarketing offers opportunities for businesses of every size. Click To Tweet
The Next Step
Design Inspiration has over 25 years’ experience in getting businesses noticed online. If you want to have a no-obligation conversation about the ways we could help your business, get in touch with Design Inspiration via the form in the sidebar.