Done correctly, content marketing is one of the most beneficial ways to promote your company, generating 300% more leads than online advertising and increasing conversion rates by up to 600%. Such a staggering impact can have a transformative effect on any business. However, for it to work, it has to be implemented in the right way and in this post, we’ll explain the six golden rules for success.
1. Choose the right website platform
Over the long term, you will create quite a lot of content marketing materials to publish on your website and these may come in many forms: blog posts, infographics, images, video, etc. Before you begin making these, it is important to consider what you want to make, how you want to make it, and how best to manage all the different pieces you publish. These decisions will affect your choice of website platform.
One of the most versatile and easy to manage platforms is WordPress, which is ideal for posting blog posts, video and other media and where it is relatively simple to create categories, edit and update posts and integrate social media accounts. It’s also free to use and there is dedicated WordPress hosting available that can help content-heavy sites perform better.
2. Learn about your audience
Understanding your audience and their needs are the key ingredients of successful content marketing because the goal of your content is to provide them with solutions to their problems. If your business sells bikes, for example, it is helpful to understand the problems a bike purchaser might have. For example, they may not know about the different types of bikes available or what to look for when buying a child’s bike. If you know that these are the issues people choosing a bike are confronted with, you can create posts that solve those problems, such as, ‘Every bike type explained’ or ’10 things to look for when buying a child’s bike.’
How does this benefit the bike business? Firstly, the content is likely to appear in search engine results, increasing the number of visitors the site gets. When visitors read the post, they’ll see the company has mentioned and linked to the bikes they sell, increasing the likelihood there will be a sale. Such content also helps position the business as an expert in its field and, in doing so, increases the likelihood that the visitor will keep returning to the site for more information and potentially to make more purchases.
3. Have a plan and a calendar
Ideally, once you know the needs, problems and desires of your audience, you should have plenty of scope to create long-term plans for your content creation. You’ll know the main topics that you’ll need to create content about and the questions that need answering. You’ll also begin to see the relevant products and services you can promote in each of your posts.
However, to make sure that content is created in a meaningful way, you have to think of the order in which it needs to be published. Some topics naturally need discussing before others and some issues are of more importance. The long-term content plan you create for this will be a combination of meeting the needs of your audience and fulfilling the goals of your business.
Going further, your plan should also cover the types of content you need to create and how and where it will be posted, e.g., just on your website or on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
Finally, you need to create a medium-term content calendar that will put your annual content creation in order. This way, you can consider what’s the best content to post at particular times of the year.
4. Create unique content
The content that gets noticed the most is that which is fresh, engaging and which offers new ideas or advice. You should strive, therefore, to create materials which gives your own slant on things and which matches up to the values of your business and the needs of your visitors. This is where you get the chance to show off your own expertise and enhance the reputation of your company.
What you should avoid, at all costs, is copying content that is published elsewhere on the internet. If you plagiarise, you risk your website being penalised by search engines and disappearing from search results.
5. Engaging with your audience
When you publish content marketing materials, one of your aims is to build long-term connections with your audience. There are plenty of opportunities to do this, especially through responding to comments made on blog posts or social media. You can even ask questions or ask for comments in your posts to initiate dialogue.
If someone asks you a question or makes a comment that needs a response, try to reply quickly, certainly within 24 hours, to make your audience feel more valued. To prevent negative comments being posted on your website, set up your blog so that comments have to be approved before being published. This way, they will never go live. If you get negative comments on social media, ignore any that are not genuinely business-related and those that are should be answered in a professional and courteous way. Don’t get into slanging matches as this can give a bad impression of your company and entice others to troll you.
6. Keep track of how well your content is performing
You will know when your content is doing well when it starts to have an impact on your revenue. However, you shouldn’t just dive in and hope for the best. Instead, make sure you set up your Google Analytics to track the performance of your content marketing. This way, you can discover which topics or post types get the most views, engagement, product clickthroughs and conversions.
If something is working well, you can use this as a template for further improvements. If something isn’t, it gives you the opportunity to tweak it and see if it performs better. You can also use split testing to compare different versions of the same content to see which one has the most impact.
Over the years, content marketing has proven itself to be one of the most successful forms of marketing and is used by countless companies, big and small, to entice new visitors and turn them into loyal customers. However, to work, it needs to be done in the right manner. Hopefully, this post will have shown you the golden rules you should follow.
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