What Is Content Marketing?
Content is information. Content Marketing, however, is the strategic use of that information to promote (increase visibility and targeted traffic) and help convert that targeted traffic into actual leads and sales. In other words, content marketing is information organized and used in such a way as to increase lead generation.
There is nothing new to content being a key ingredient to success online, but the strategies used and the emphasis placed on valuable content, original content, and content that is so useful that it is going to be shared by others is stronger than ever.
Video, Audio, images, & of course the written word can all be used in any content marketing campaign. Video is huge these days for a variety of reasons and should be used often.
Why Is Content Marketing Important To Small Businesses?
The short answer is visibility. Small businesses often struggle because they have a hard time obtaining new customers due to lack of exposure. Content marketing will allow you to stand out more online and will create a seat for you at the banquet table of customers wanting the services you provide. However, you will have to earn that seat.
How Can I Earn That Seat?
You will earn that seat by creating value. Once customers see that you are offering value and a unique sales proposition, they will gladly create a place for you at their table. In fact, they will put you at the front of the table if you give them enough value. Furthermore, Google will help you get that seat by announcing your name to those customers and showing them you are ready to help them accomplish their objectives. Once you have an established seat at your customers table, you can expand and dine at other tables with customers with different appetites for other services you offer. That’s right, you can have a seat at multiple tables simultaneously!
Relevance Is Key
The more weight and relevance the content on your site has compared to others in your industry, the more authority your domain will carry over time. Remember, the content you create is yours and cannot be taken away. It is worth the time and energy to do things the vast majority of your competitors are not.
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STRATEGIZE – The Key To Success!
The first thing to know is that in order for your content marketing strategy to be successful is that your content must have a purpose. Simply filling up pages with information that can be found everywhere else and is not truly aimed at helping others or providing any value is going to provide minimal results.
For small business owners, the content on your site should demonstrate that you are competent, capable, and build AUTHORITY. Authority of your business and the authority of your domain name in terms of rankings are critical to increased traffic, sales and ultimately revenues.
Create High Expectations
One well known fact is that customers want to do business with those they know and trust. When a new visitor comes to your site for the first time, they have neither knowledge of you or trust in you or what you do. We need to convince the visitor that even though they don’t know you, they can have a high expectation of success when engaging in your services.
Your website, if it conveys authority, will do this. If it doesn’t, most visitors will move on. So, let’s build our strategy around the objective of building up trust on the various services that your customers are seeking out. Keep in mind, the visitor may be skeptical, but they are looking for solutions or else they wouldn’t be searching. In other words, let’s give them what they are looking for!!!
Content marketing should have targets. What services or products do you want to promote? Break these services up into nicely defined topics and build original, interesting, and valuable information around those specifics. Broad pages will not rank as high and will not convert as well. If you are trying to promote your business, don’t just promote the sale, promote the information that everyone would like to know about that service. Remember to keep information about the target as the focus, not the sale of the target. There is a big difference. Very few people want to read sales speeches, but many will want to learn useful and valuable information about the topic they were seeking out.
Here is an example… If you are a Chimney Sweep and provide both cleaning and repair of Chimneys, I would have a page for both “Chimney Repair” and “Chimney Cleaning”. Both are solid search terms with plenty of volume, but the visitor will probably be focused on one or the other… not both. Separate them and provide valuable content on the process, the analysis, and the service. Add photos to the pages and for a real nice touch, add a testimonial or two to the bottom of the page with links to your testimonials page as well. Video would be a bonus, just like the video on this page. All of this separates you from competitors that may simply have “Chimney Repair and Cleaning” as a bullet point on their services page. If you were Google, what site would you rank higher?
Content Marketing tip…. In the example above, if you provide “environmentally safe chimney repair” and the search volumes warrant it, make a page specifically for this niche. Let’s say “Chimney Repair NJ” gets 800 searches per month and “environmentally safe chimney repair NJ” gets 20 searches per month. It may take 6 months or more (if ever) to rank on page 1 for “chimney repair NJ”. However, a page dedicated with robust content for “environmentally safe chimney repair” may rank within a few weeks or sooner and even though the volumes are lower, it is much better to come up #1 on Google for a key term or phrase with 20-30 searches per month than on page 6 with over 1000 searches per month.
Content Marketing is never complete. A website is never done. It needs to be made an ongoing part of your business unless you want others to jump right past you. A stagnant site is not good and it will affect rankings. Once your site has built robust services pages and then subpages off of those pages, just continue to blog or add a learning center to your website. Learning Centers are resource centers that provide an unlimited number of articles about your business and your industry. These articles can be added 1, 2, 3 times or more per week.
We recommend at least 4 blog posts per month for best results.
The Biggest NO-NO
Just like with other aspects of SEO, Google is trying to eliminate “cheating” the system and has multiple ways of “not rewarding” and in many cases “penalizing” cheaters. The biggest no-no is simply copying and pasting other’s work. The next no-no is just plugging in a bunch of key words into your articles but not making the articles worthy of reading. These techniques will ultimately catch up with you, so just make the wise decision of placing awesome information full of unique and useful information and you will be on your way to making your website shine like a star in the midnight sky!
Google purchased YouTube in 2006 for $1.6 billion dollars. Need I say more? If content is king then video is the king’s sword. In other words, use it. Do yourself a huge favor and start a YouTube channel if you haven’t already and begin adding solid video to it.
By streaming video on your site, you are adding content on that subject right to your webpage! The best part? It is free to do. Don’t simply embed video on your site. Make sure you load and stream the video through YouTube. This will allow for your videos to be shared easier, prevent interruption, and you will receive extra authority for streaming the video through YouTube.
One other important thing to note is that YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine behind Google on earth. If that doesn’t motivate you, I am not sure what will.
Share The Love – Be Social!
If you are a business owner and have Facebook Fan page, YouTube Channel, Twitter account, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social media channels, be sure to post links on those channels and share the information. Also, don’t be shy… Share it a few times at different times of the day. If the information is valuable, people who like your page will share the post or video and that will also send signals to Google that your content is valuable. What are we gaining? That’s right… AUTHORITY! You will find that as you do more, you will get the hang of it. Keep your personal and business channels separate. As you share your content, you will find loyal followers. Not only will your website gain authority, but you will be a trusted resource in your community.
If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss your project in detail, feel free to contact us at any time.