Content marketing has been a hot topic with clients and prospects. Content marketing is providing relevant, timely information to a well-defined marketplace with the intention of converting interest into opportunities. In a recent post on Social Media Today, Julia McCoy proclaims, “it is undeniable that content is the driving force behind building links and succeeding on social.”
For me, content is the key ingredient in successful online and offline marketing strategies. There are three things to consider when you are putting together an impactful content strategy.
1. Why is content important?
Need I say more? When someone searches for a product or service online, content is what ensures YOUR product or service ranks highest in search query returns. If you lack relevant content, you can be assured it’s your competitor’s product or service that will be found. In fact, Google has implemented multiple updates that filter out websites considered “low-quality.” Two significant updates, with many new versions since the initial releases, are called Google Panda Update and Google Penguin Update. These algorithms filter websites lacking fresh, diversified and quality content from their search results. Google has released a list on how to meet the “high-qualified site” guidelines.
But remember, you are first writing for your customers and second considering Google. Having content is great, but make sure it is material your customers will find valuable. If you are writing content that is important enough to your readers that they are searching for it, Google will bring your audience to you earlier in the buying cycle.
2. What content is important?
Useful content provides solutions to your customers’ problems. An important first step in developing your content strategy is identifying your customers’ interests as well as their pain points. Content development and curation is very time consuming. You want to be sure your content is beneficial to your audience. Creating buyer personas helps further define your readership so you can focus on developing content that is both valuable and relevant to your target market.
The internet is getting smarter every day and now has the ability to determine user intent when conducting an online search. This is called semantic searching and is further explained in techopedia’s definition: “Semantic search provides more meaningful search results by evaluating and understanding the search phrase and finding the most relevant results in a website, database or any other data repository.” Therefore, the more in tune you are with your customers’ needs, the more likely your content will be read by them.
For example, a manufacturer of mechanical seals could focus on:
- How to source comparable parts to provide customers a cost reduction
- Offshore vs. onshore: know when to do which
- How to avoid the unnecessary upsell
A shoe store could focus on:
- Leather shoe care for winter wear
- How to pick the right running shoe
- Seasonal trends – Best beach picks
This part of your content strategy is really geared to do two things: 1) position your organization as a subject matter expert, and 2) provide free but useful information to your prospects.
3. How should you serve up content?
Back to those buyer personas, knowing your target audience’s buying behaviors and preferences will determine which platforms are best for your organization. PRweb.com provides a great matrix of content marketing tactics and breaks them down by degree of difficulty.
Remember that buying behaviors are evolving, so regular touch-points and interviews with your buying audience will help you invest in the appropriate mediums.
Content marketing is an opportunity to educate potential buyers about the solutions you provide and questions they should be asking when researching your product or service. You are showcasing your products and services in a relevant and meaningful way, whether case studies or video blog tutorials. UK-based company Crowdbait says, “in any industry, the best sales person is the one who convinces you that you need their product or service and has you asking for it, rather than them trying to force it on you.” By sharing your content, you have started to build a relationship that will make it easier for customers to engage with you in the sales process.
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