A Beginner’s Guide to Content
Customers come to us every day and ask…
how they can rank on the first page of Google…
Our consistent response is that they have to provide compelling content that readers will benefit from and post it in a place where Google can find it. This is an over-simplified response. One fact is true – to be found in Search, you have to create great content. This has spawned a marketing strategy known as Content Marketing.
Before we can talk about different types of content, let’s start by defining Content Marketing. Jason DeMers, a contributor to Forbes.com, does a great job defining Content Marketing. He defines it as “providing valuable information or content to current and potential customers for the purpose of building trust, branding, awareness, and positive sentiment.” People turn to the Internet for information. Whether they are looking for ways to grow their business online or remove a screw that has been stripped, they need answers. The strategy of providing those answers is what Content Marketing is all about.
We now know that content is critical. So what’s next? What is the best content to post online? Today, in the first part of the 3-part series, we are going talk about the different types of content that someone can post. We will then talk about where to post it. Finally we will discuss sharing techniques in our final post.
When most people think about Content Marketing, blogs are the first kind of content people think about. Blogs are an incredible way to post a lot of great content. However, they are not the answer for everyone. Just last night, I sat with a client who wanted to start a blog and I advised him against it in favor of a different strategy. Blogs can be on a platform like LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress.org and Tumblr or a part of your website. There are advantages to both. If they are are on LinkedIn, Google+ or Tumblr, they are part of a social network. If they are part of your website, there are amazing SEO and sales advantages. The key to blogging is community. You really want to create content that people want to read (and no one likes to read sales text) and will come back for. You want readers to share your content because it was so compelling. You want readers to be evangelists for your words. This will create community. This will create traffic. This will create results.
Social Media Posts
Posting on social media platforms can be an amazingly effective strategy. With 1.28 billion people on Facebook and more than 300 million professionals on LinkedIn, your best prospects and clients are there. Use a robust social media presence to distribute content. If you are blogging on your website, use social media to bring traffic to your blogs. Social media is so powerful if done right.
Online video is hot right now. YouTube is the number two search engine with more traffic than Bing or Yahoo. Instagram and Vine have made the sharing of short video simple. With the introduction of video onto smart phones and digital cameras, you no longer need thousands of dollars to produce a video. Just look at the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People of all digital ability levels learned quickly how to record a video and post it to their Facebook pages. Finally, some times it is just easier to learn by watching instead of reading. If you have been scared of video, try starting a YouTube channel and recording a video on your phone. You will be amazed at what you can do.
The beauty of an email newsletter is that once a client gives you an email address, it is yours. Gather those email addresses and send out an email newsletter with valuable content. Our email newsletter very rarely has sales pitches in it. We provide good information with links back to our website for more info. Once they get to our site, if they want information about our company, they can get it.
E-Books can be a very powerful marketing tool. You can write an 4-page, 40-page or 400-page e-book about most any topic. I have and you can download it here. You can sell an e-book online but often times a more effective approach would be to give it to potential customers in exchange for their contact information. This is a great strategy to build your email list.
Presentations are great opportunity that people often don’t leverage. SlideShare is an information sharing platform that was recently acquired by LinkedIn. It started out as a presentation sharing platform but has turned into so much more. I posted some of my presentations so that some of my audiences could download them. A month later, I noticed that people who had no relationship with me were find my content, liking it and sharing it. If you create product presentations, you need to check this out.
Other content types…
There are a number of other content types that you can use as well that we are not going spend a lot of time on but are definitely worth exploring. They are:
- White papers
Content Marketing World is our nation’s largest content marketing event is going on this week in Cleveland. It has inspired us to spend this week talking about Content Marketing. More important than the conference is the subject. Companies need to have some sort of content marketing strategy in place, large or small. If you need help developing a strategy, there are some great resources online. We are posting them throughout the week on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BoxlessMedia). If you need more help, call one of our social media strategists at (773) 313-3530.