A Quick Guide to Content Marketing

Written by | November 19, 2014 | Posted in Business, Marketing

Have you ever thought about the way you Google? Are you asking questions, or are you typing in long & specific search terms? Have you noticed that the more specific you get, the harder it is to find exactly what you are looking for? That is where successful content marketing comes into play.

You’ve likely heard the phrase ‘content marketing’ floating around lately, but what exactly is it and how can you put it to good use?

Last week, I ventured over to the Internet Summit conference in Raleigh to attend a (no surprise here) content marketing workshop, hosted by Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures. I’ve been using content marketing as part of my marketing strategy for a while now, but it was time for me to dig in a little deeper and learn more about how to use it to the best of my ability.

Now let’s talk about what I learned – yep, free of charge. I’ll tell you all about content marketing because we’re just awesome like that over here at Cuberis. Let me grab my notes and give you the highlights.

So, lets go back to some of my original questions – how frustrating is it when you are searching for something on Google and you just can’t find what you are looking for? Super frustrating. What about when you go to a business’ website and you can’t figure out an answer to a question you have? Chances are, if you can’t find what you are looking for from a business, you will move on to one of their competitors that does offer you all the information you are looking for. Do you see the opportunity here? I do – and so do many other savvy internet marketers.

Content marketing is the practice of providing useful and relevant information to your customers. When you execute content marketing successfully, it goes a little something like this:

  • Your customers have questions and/or want to learn more about a topic relevant to your business
  • You write answers to these questions/topics
  • Your customers are then more informed
  • You become a trusted resource and an expert in your industry
  • You become better than your competitors who don’t provide these resources

Going back to what Arnie said during his workshop: if you keep providing this useful information, your customers will reward you with loyalty. They will eventually buy from you. It may not be right away, as this type of marketing takes time to prove return on investment, but they will.

 

How do you know what information your customers are looking for? There are a few ways to find out. Arnie gave us some resources to check out, one being www.keywordtool.io. This site allows you to type in keywords relevant to your business to see what people are searching for. When you start doing this research, you will find more and more about what people are specifically typing in to get to your site, to read your content, to buy your product – and that is how you discover what topics are relevant for your customers.

So you can see here, I typed in “Content Marketing” and here are a few of the terms being searched for related to this keyword:

ContentMarketing_SearchResults

Take some time and use this keyword tool or other helpful sites like it. Write down any ideas you come up with and topics that you can write about.

So now that you’ve come up with a few ideas, how do you execute it? Who will write these blog posts & articles? What do you ultimately want your content to accomplish? What actions do you want your customers to take after reading your content? Arnie gave us some great suggestions on ways to hammer out these details.

What is the purpose of your content marketing efforts? 

Retention? Lead generation? To become a thought leader in your industry? All of the above? Nail that out so you can tailor your ultimate message to entice your customer to buy/interact/comment – whatever you want them to do with your business.

Who is your audience?

Are they current customers? New customers? Are they based in a specific location (ie: Raleigh, NC or the entire state of North Carolina or the entire country?) Are they seasonal? You’ll want to tailor your message to this audience. The more relevant it is to their specific needs, the more likely your content marketing efforts will pay off in the end.

Who are you?

How do you want to present this information? Will it be full of statistics or more conversational? Will your voice be humorous or will it be serious? Establish your brand’s voice and stick to it so your customers can understand who you are as a company.

Who will write the content?

Who on your team enjoys writing? Who is the expert on each topic and most of all – who is willing to contribute to your content marketing efforts? Use your employees to your advantage! Asking them to write an article or two each month will help you achieve the sweet spot in the blogging world – 10 to 15 articles a month. Yep. 10 to 15. Sounds like a lot because it is, but it will pay off in the end when your company gets higher and more frequent Google search results. That is ROI my friends. Always remember that Google rewards those who create fresh content often.

Now that you’ve done all this leg work, what‘s next? Create an editorial calendar (Thanks Arnie!) and a spreadsheet to keep all of your keyword research and topic ideas. Then, start writing on your blog (You don’t have a blog, you say? Go ahead and start one. Don’t know how? Shameless pitch, but we can help you with that).

This is a fairly high level overview, but really, it’s this simple: You write about topics that are relevant to your business and your customers, you provide information that answers questions to those who are asking, and you get rewarded by showing up more often in search results and ultimately earning more business.

A few other quick tips:

  • Create good subject lines & blog titles
  • Optimize the images that you use with keywords that are relevant to the photo/article. And don’t forget to actually use images. Images are fun and people share content with images more frequently than articles without.
  • Use links in your posts – these can be internal links to existing information you have created, or external links to outside information that is relevant.
  • Want your employees to keep writing for you? Reward them for it!
  • Use video. Youtube is one of the most searched websites. Film tutorials, interviews, fun things around the office, etc. People love video.
  • Don’t crank out content for the sake of creating content. Make sure it’s relevant and your audience will enjoy reading it.
  • Don’t post syndicated or duplicate content – Google doesn’t like this very much. Create your own original content.

Come on, go ahead – jump on the bandwagon because content marketing isn’t just a trendy buzzword, it’s here to stay and necessary for all businesses. It has to be a part of your overall marketing strategy or you will eventually lose out.

Thanks Arnie for a great workshop and for giving me something to write about that is relevant to our business. (See what I did there?) Hope you see you back at Internet Summit Raleigh next year!

Want to learn more about content marketing? Check out Virginia’s blog on content marketing vs regular content.