What Is Content Marketing?
In the simplest of terms, content marketing is the creation of content and other sorts of media and then publishing and sharing that content in order to get new customers as well as keep the ones you have now. Content marketing is nothing new, though, this is actually a tactic that is one of the oldest in the book.
John Deere actually launched a content marketing campaign by creating a magazine called The Furrow. This is a magazine, that to this day, is still in circulation and has become SO popular that it has somewhere around 1.2 million readers. What could you do with 1.2 million readers? How about 12,000? Or even 1200? Content marketing can help you achieve your goals in terms of monetary value, visitors to your website and more.
If you have a business or a website online content marketing should be a major part of your marketing campaigns. But, how do you get started with something like this if you’ve never done it before? One of the best ways to get started is to do what you would with any other campaign; research who your audience is and what it is they want from you or in turn what you want from them.
Why Is Content Marketing Beneficial?
It doesn’t matter if you are a freelance writer, create and sell apps for a living, sell shoes or help people build websites online, everyone needs content marketing in order to retain and attract customers. Here are just a few reasons why content marketing is so beneficial when it comes to your business.
Helps To Boost Your Brand Awareness
Chances are if you are just starting out, no one knows who you are! In order to get your name out there, as well as your brand, you absolutely need to be creating a content marketing strategy for your business. The biggest things you are going to make sure that you do are create interesting content on a regular basis (at least several times a week) and publishing it on your blog, your social profiles, other people’s blogs as guest posts, videos on YouTube and more. Once your brand gets out there a little more, more people will then be aware of your brand, who you are, what you offer AND you will also start to become an Authority (an expert) in your niche.
Helps To Build Trust As An Expert In Your Niche
Your business probably isn’t the only one available out there. Take plumbers, for instance, you can probably go look in the yellow pages right now for plumbers in Naples Florida and find thousands of other plumbers that have the same services and do the same things your business does. So what can set you apart from those thousands of other businesses? There are a few ways to stand out. First off, its important to not only create content just to create it, it should be informational, educational and interesting. Secondly, you should offer how-to guides on your blogs and your video profiles. This will show people that you genuinely want to help them with whatever problems they might be having at the time and that you can help them. Lastly, if you seem like an Authoritative person in your business and your niche, people will appreciate the fact that you are not only professional but that you truly have the knowledge and know how to help them in their time of need. All of these factors will also lead to something else; your reputation as being a professional leader in your industry.
Shareable Content Is As Good As Word Of Mouth
It used to be that when you had a business you had to rely on word of mouth to get more customers, make more money and be more successful. On the internet shareable content is just as good, if not better than word of mouth. Shareable content is, as mentioned above, content that is helpful, educational, interesting, etc. Creating shareable media through social sites like Facebook and twitter is a great way to get people interested and reading what you post on your social profiles AND since they are shareable social sites if they like the content enough or think its funny or helpful or educational – they can then share it to their friends. Don’t just rely on social networks though for sharing. Its also a good idea to post these shorter snippets on your blog and make them into longer more detailed blogs. Whether you use WordPress, Joomla, or another website creator, make sure that you install a plug in that allows people to SHARE content/blogs to their Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+, etc. This also spreads awareness!
Content Marketing Keeps Your Website Fresh!
There’s nothing worse for a consumer than needing a service or a product or even just an answer to their question, going to Google, putting their request in, finding your website, visiting it – only to realize it hasn’t been blogged on or updated in a month. Make sure that when you create a content marketing campaign that you stick with it. You should be posting at least 1 blog a week and you should be posting to your social sites 1-3 times a day, every single day. A lot of people find that this is simply too much for them to handle. One way to do content marketing but leave it to someone else more capable with more time on their hands is to hire an content marketing firm. These Content Marketing Firms have people that can run your marketing and content campaigns, write content for you, collect informational links and infographics, create their own infographics, post on your blog, post on your social profiles, etc. They essentially do everything for you if you want or only certain things. Obviously, this is going to cost money, but for many businesses they see that its worth it because they can spend their time doing more important in-house jobs like talking to customers, handling support tickets, setting up venues and events for products they offer, etc.
No one said content marketing was easy! If it was that easy, everyone would be doing, everyone would be rich, and no one would be reading articles like this one. Unfortunately, like the saying goes; anything in life worth having is worth working for! And work hard is exactly what you will need to do to make this work unless you hire someone to do all the work for you.
Types Of Content Marketing
Above, we mentioned quite a few different types of content marketing but just so you have them all in ONE place, here are the most commonly used types of content marketing, as well as a little bit about each type.
These are like little images with stories, stats or informational snippets on them. Images and infographics get shared more than ANY other type of content! Want to make your own and do it on the cheap? Check out a website called Easel.ly This is a website where you can get really creative and informational with your infographics – and its… FREE. You can also choose to hire a graphic designer to create infographics for you as well, but this is going to be significantly more expensive. A paid infographic will cost around $600 and up. But, if you get it professionally done you can have a lot more options and features available to you and its a pro doing the drawing for you! Infographics can and should be used on your blogs and social profiles. You can also add them to white papers, ebooks and more. They add a break in the monotony of words and give people a chance to visually see a stat, or an idea, or a goal.
Yes, now this is serious! Memes are usually pretty funny or goofy and that’s sort of the point. These are little images with funny quotes, sayings or words on them. One funny one about marketing going on right now is a picture of Boromir (lord of the rings) who uses the line “One does not simply walk into Mordor.” But, in this meme its Boromir’s face and it says “One does not simply…. Get to the top of Google” Which is both very true and very funny. These can be found ALL over Google images, or you can also create your own with a meme generator. Just remember, these are meant to be funny, humorous, stupid, goofy, informational, etc. Not serious. These should primarily be used on your social profiles like Twitter, Facebook, even Pinterest. The more people that like it, the more that share it and the more your name gets out there.
This should be an obvious one and yet so many people miss out on it! Videos are a great way to reach your core audience and get them interested, but its also a cool way to, again, gain authority. You can do how-to videos, demos, a Q&A, and more. Google is also including more videos right in their search results, so make sure that you use your titles and keywords correctly!
You can never go wrong with lists! You can also never run out of ideas. For an SEO company for example; 10 Trends To Include On Your Website, 5 Ways To Rank Higher On Google, 7 Security Breaches You Need To Be Aware Of, etc. Numbered lists are incredibly popular, they’re very organized, and they can even be fun! First, you need to pick a topic and then you need to figure out a number that can coincide with that topic. Make sure that when you write your lists that you make a new paragraph every few sentences and that each “subheading” is bolded.
This is an obvious content marketing tactic of course! You should be blogging on your blog, yes, but you should also make sure that you include quality aspects like; a good informational title, keywords IN the blog, as well as tags on the blog. Articles also used to be a really big thing, but Google and other search engines tend to look down on this these days.
Content Marketing Trends In 2016
Every single year the trends in content marketing change so its important that you stay up to date with those tactics that are done and gone and new ones popping up. In 2016, here are just a few of the most popular and trend worthy content marketing tactics you should be paying attention to.
1. According to Jeff Bullas, one of the top trends for 2016 is going to be user generated content. This is going to be content that you don’t create, but that someone else does. Examples of this include; testimonials, reviews, feedback and more. Its user generated content by people that have bought your products, bought your services, or simply worked with you in some capacity. You can place these snippets of content on your main website (or a subpage) on your Facebook Fan Page, on your blog or just about anywhere else where people can see it.
2. Robert Allen who writes for Smart Insights agrees that promoted posts on social sites (paid posts) are going to be on the up-rise in 2016, as they were at the end of 2015. Facebook posts can be expected to see an increase of 80%, while promoted posts on LinkedIn will see an increase of 65%.
3. Likewise, John Aguiar says that in 2015 and 2016 another huge trend is going to be in social media marketing and content marketing. Social sites are a great way to distribute content.
4. Neil Patel says that in 2016 another big trend is going to be in re-purposing old content. If you had an article for instance that was posted on your blog and it got more views, comments and likes than some of your other posts; try to write another article that’s very similar in content and repost a new one to your blog. Or perhaps you had a post on Facebook that got shared a few hundred times, liked, commented on, etc. re-create another post similar to it and post that on your Fan Page or twitter account to re-interest and re-engage your visitors.
Content Marketing Hacks To Attract More Clients
If you are reading this you are either very new to content marketing (or marketing in general) or you are having a difficult go at getting visitors to your website, attracting new clients and of course making more money! Don’t worry, many businesses go through strides of difficulty when it comes to marketing, specifically content marketing. If you want to add growth to your content marketing and increase sales and traffic, consider checking out some of these content marketing hacks.
Find Ideas That Go Viral
When something goes viral, its a picture, videos, article or whatever else that gets shared… a LOT. This doesn’t happen to everyone and its not a super common occurrence, but that’s more because people don’t know how to create a viral idea. This isn’t like catching lighting in a bottle and yet so many people treat it like it is. The main thing you want o remember about anything that goes viral is that A) it went viral for a reason and B) chances are that reason was because it made people feel a certain emotion. Here are everyday emotions that evoke content to go viral:
As you can see here, the top “feelings” are awe, laughter, and amusement. When it comes to creating content, remember that these 3 emotions are the ones that go viral the most! This is the reason why you might see a cute dog or cat meme or image that gets shared 100 times, liked 300 times and gets 20 comments versus a boring image that gets 3 views, no shares, no likes and no comments. Sometimes you have to move out of your comfort zone in order to create popular posts. Sometimes, even more commonly, you might have to move out of your niche to share posts that aren’t even relevant to you or your business. This is about breaking things up on your social profiles, showing that while yes, you are a professional, you also like a good laugh, are easy going, and are a person – just like the other people watching and reading your posts!
Write Longer More In-Depth Articles/Blogs
It used to be that when you wrote an article, white paper, ebook or even a blog, it could be whatever length you desired. No more. Not only are people wanting to read content pieces that are longer, more in-depth and more detailed, but Google is also suggesting that they want you to write longer pieces as well and that they will reward you for doing so. According to a website called SERPIQ articles that are 2000 words or more will have the best placement on the SERPs. Not only that but articles and blogs that are 3000 to 10,000 words long also get shared the most on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn. Articles that are 0-1000 words only get shared around 2000 times on Facebook, while articles that are 3000-10,000 words long get shared on Facebook at around 5500 times. Definitely, something to pay attention to when writing your next content piece. You could always set up a sort of trial test and write 5 shorter posts to see what attention and or engagement they get and then write out 5 longer posts at 1000 words and even more, 5 more posts that are 2000 words to 10,000 words. Keep track of your analytics and stats to see which ones get read the most, which ones get shared the most and which ones have the highest read time.
Use The Above The Fold Area Wisely
The above the fold area is the space you see when you first go on your website – BEFORE scrolling down. This is the first thing that you visitors will see when they visit your website and your blog so make sure that for your landing page you use that space creatively and for your blog, you design your code so that the blog title can be seen before scrolling down and of course, this should go without saying, make sure your titles are interesting and thought provoking. Give them a reason to scroll down! Also, on the side, but on the above the fold area, you can include your newsletter sign up, call to action buttons or even one or two of your social profiles. Useit.com has a graph in which they give you above the fold and below the fold stats and the percentage of viewing time spent on these areas. As you can see here:
The above the fold gets viewed more and more time is spent in this area than below the fold. This just goes to show how important your real estate space is above the fold. Use it to your advantage.
Use Quality Comments To Attract Attention
First rule of marketing: Never ever spam. It just makes you look unprofessional and to be honest, lame. However, quality, well thought out, interesting, fun, and educational comments are a good thing. Many people, such as Neil Patel swear by quality comments. In fact, Neil has stated that he generated $25,000 with just 249 quality comments on other people’s blogs. Not only did he allegedly make money from these comments but he also received visitors back to his website which led to those leads.
The Best Tools For Content Marketing!
If you want to create, generate and publish content, you absolutely need to check some of these tools out.
This is a website that helps curate content from around the globe from other marketers and its curated by the community. You can find some really great content ideas here and then meld them into your own ideas/
Another great tool, you can use this one to gain insight and stats on what kinds of content to develop that is popular right now. You can also do a search for hash tags that are relevant to your business or your expertise to see what topics come up and what people are talking about in your industry.
Both of these websites also have apps so that you can do work while on the go. You can do all sorts of things on these websites but the main purpose is to automate content and schedule content across an array of social sites including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook Pages, Pinterest and more. Hoot Suite also has a paid option for even more features, but most people will tell you that the free service is all you need.
This is an email marketing tool but its one of the easiest ones to use and it has a ton of features like giving you the ability to connect to your store using sites like Woo, Big Commerce and Shopify, drop and drag email campaigns that are super easy to use, advanced stats and analytics, the ability to integrate with other apps you might use like Facebook, Twitter, and even EventBrite. A lot of email marketing companies have come and gone, but Mail Chimp is probably one of my favorites and its been around since 2001.
Some people say that Facebook ads are a good thing, others disagree. But, its actually more about what works for you versus some golden rule. Facebook advertising CAN be beneficial to you, it can give you the ability to spend very little and yet increase your visibility long range. If you use Promoted Posts you are essentially going to be utilizing a pay per post campaign that will get certain posts promoted and featured in front of a larger audience that will be both fans and non-fans. This will get you more likes on your fan page, and more social engagement on your post (likes, comments, shares, etc). It also might lead to people visiting any links within your post, checking your profile out a little more and yes, even visiting your website.
If you are really stuck on what to write about in your blog or what topics to include in your social posts, check out some of these content generators. They aren’t perfect by any means (they are computers after all!) but they will give you ideas that will create more ideas once you sit down and collaborate with someone else in your business.
We spoke about this one a little earlier. This is how you can create really cool, interesting and attractive infographics. Here are a few images taken from the website so you can see just how simple and plain or creative you can really get.
How it Works: Easel.ly is really … easy, because they give you pre-made infographics that you can then change the look and color of. But you can also make your own IF you are up to the challenge presented. Its fun, its easy and its also free. Make as many as you want and save and export whenever you want. If Easel.ly isn’t up your alley there are other websites to do this with, but personally, I love Easel.ly the best! Other websites to check out are; PikToChart, VennGage, and InfoGram. Jeff Bullas also has a list of the top 20 websites and tools for creating infographics for your website or business. You can see Jeff’s post here.
Not everyone is a Hemingway, and that’s okay. That’s what freelance writers are for! However, if you are going to do snippets on your social profiles, content on your website, blogs on your blogs, ebooks, white papers or anything else, its really important that you create quality content and you are only going to be able to do this IF you hire a writer. You can find Freelance writers all over the place, including Job sites like Freelancer.com and on other writer websites like Zerys, Text Broker, and iWriter. Make sure that you find someone who has a good rating and speaks the language that you want.
As you can clearly see from all of the information above, content marketing is beneficial, it is a necessary tool you should be including in your marketing plan, and it is something that you need to familiarize yourself with further. If you’ve had businesses online before, or even websites and they stalled to a screeching stop – no visitors, no money being made, no one talking about or calling your company, and you weren’t doing content marketing – you might need to sit down and think about why. Chances are this is the exact reason why you failed in the past. With content, you are just another business online – like 500,000 of the other ones. If you want to stand out, if you want to connect to your customers/readers/visitors, if you want to grow and expand your business and your companies reach, you absolutely need to have content marketing implemented into your marketing plan.
Again, if this is something you don’t know how to implement, or you aren’t sure where to start or this all seems so incredibly overwhelming; that’s okay. But make sure that you either add someone in house to your business that does know how to get started and implement a plan around content marketing or hire someone out of house that can do all of your planning, creating, and publishing for you, as well as managing all of these content types, social platforms, your blog and more. A content marketing firm can essentially do everything from come up with ideas to write about to publish them on your social sites and everything else in between.
There is a lot more to content marketing than just writing a blog and hoping for the best. This is going to be something you will need to be committed to doing and you will do so for a year or more. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to get involved in content marketing and then quitting because they don’t see any results happening. If only they would have waited a few more days, weeks or months, that could have marked their big break. Like with anything else related to marketing and promotion, you have to be able to think on your feet, be patient, and be persistent. Its also important that you keep track of your stats and analytics throughout your marketing plan for the content so you know where you need to shift, what websites are working the best for your marketing, who your audience is, what types of content that they like the most, what types of content makes them engage more with you, where your search traffic is coming from (Google, Ask, Facebook, other websites, etc).
Goals are also an important aspect to succeeding. Make sure that you sit down and define what goals you would like to accomplish and when you would like to accomplish them. For example, here are a few goals that might be on your list;
– Building trust and rapport with your audience.
– Build brand awareness
– Become better at support within your business
– To attract new visitors and new leads
– Get more people to sign up to your newsletter
– Build, Create or Develop more products and services within your business
– To get more people visiting, liking and engaging with your content
– To make more money; how much? In what time span?
– To build your reputation within the search engines like Google and Yahoo
Content marketing is being used more and more these days and many people such as yourself are truly starting to understand the power and the importance of it. Of course, what you need is going to differ from someone else, which is why its important to evaluate your needs, your goals, and your audience. In order to do this, you need to figure out how you are going to create content that is different from what everyone else in your niche is creating, you will also need to understand your audience (who they are, what they need, their demographics, etc) and you also need to understand what tactics are effective and which ones are not. This is not a one size fits all process. What you need might not be what someone else needs.
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