Bill Gates proclaimed “Content is king” back in 1996 and over two decades later, that phrase is more true than ever. Long gone are the days when you could just repeat keywords and keyword phrases in order to rank well in search results. Instead, search engines have evolved to factor user experience into search results rankings, and as such, it’s become very important for online content to be high quality, informative, and engaging.
Along that same vein, content marketing has proven to be an especially powerful and effective form of marketing that can be harnessed by businesses of all sizes. While it is effective, though, many small businesses tend to shy away from it as it’s often a time-intensive process. Not only does crafting good content take time, but it takes time to see results from content marketing as well. Don’t let those facts dissuade you from incorporating content into your current marketing strategy. With the right steps, you’ll be able to successfully use content as a marketing technique for your small business.
Benefits of Content Marketing
First and foremost, content marketing is affordable and cost-effective. Obviously, if you decide to create the content yourself, that’s the most affordable route. However, if that’s not an option, there are a number of freelance writers/content creators available online who can create quality content for you at a reasonable rate. Once the content is created and posted online, the indexing and ranking process begins. As we previously mentioned, this will take some time. But if it’s good content, it will work its way up in search results rankings. The higher your content piece is ranked, the more clicks it will get. Clicks and other factors signal to search engines that your content is reliable and of high quality, which in turn keep it high in search results. So, for a small investment of time and/or money, your content piece will be sending organic traffic to your site for quite some time.
In addition to increasing the amount of organic traffic your website gets, content marketing helps to build brand recognition and brand loyalty. Providing quality content translates to providing your customers and website visitors with added value. When your site includes a lot of informative content, this reflects well on your brand. The more often your site comes up in search results, the more your customers and potential customers get to know you. And when internet users find that they can rely on your site for trustworthy content, it’s much more likely that they’ll regularly visit your site.
Elements of a Successful Content Strategy
Before you start creating content, you need to figure out what topics will be the most beneficial and useful. Depending on your business, you may already have a good idea of some of the more common questions or issues that your target audience or customers have faced. Start a list with all of these topics and then go online to see what articles are out there that address them. If you come across something that you’ve been asked about a lot, and there aren’t any online resources that deal with the topic at hand, this is definitely a content piece you should create. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t create content that covers questions/issues that have been addressed by others. But topics without good online coverage should be at the top of your list because these give you an advantage over your competitors.
Speaking of your competitors, it’s always a good idea to take a look at what type of content they have and what topics they’ve discussed. You might notice that their pieces skip over important details or use a different point of view than you’d use. In these instances, it will benefit you to post content that fills in the gaps or presents an alternate view. When you’re covering the same or a similar topic as your competitors, strive to make your piece stand out.
As you’re researching topics online, don’t forget to look at the section in search results that covers the search terms related to your particular search. This section can give you additional topic ideas as well as some of the commonly used keywords. With regard to keywords, you’ll want to research those as well. Google Adwords has a keyword planner tool and there are lots of other free and paid keyword research options out there. These will help you to identify what terms people are searching for and if there’s a lot of competition for these terms. (The more competition there is, the harder it can be for your content to get ranked.)
Variety of Content Types
One of the cool things about using content for marketing purposes is that you’re not limited to a single format. There are lots of different content types out there that you can utilize. Blog articles are one of the most common types of content. Video is rapidly gaining in popularity. There are lots of people who prefer watching video to reading text, which is represented by the statistic that in 2016, video accounted for almost three-quarters of internet traffic. Other popular content formats include infographics and podcasts, among others.
It can be very advantageous to use multiple content formats in your marketing strategy. This can help to ensure that your information appeals to a wider audience. In addition, it helps you tackle one topic with several different techniques, which will help to extend the shelf life of your content. For example, a blog article might provide thorough coverage of Topic X. Your video on Topic X, however, gives a quick look at one or two subtopics. Finally, your Topic X infographic offers a clean look at the entire topic all at once. Now, you have more content to publish, more chances to get ranked in search results, and a greater likelihood that you’ll reach more people.
Don’t forget to take some time to think about how you’ll distribute all your newly created content. You can obviously just post it on your website and wait for it to be found by search engines and internet users. But let’s face it, that’s neither efficient nor effective. After you publish your content, you’ll need to get it out there to as many people as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is by posting links to your content on social media. There are lots of content distribution tools out there, both free and paid, that make it easy for you to publish your content on several social media accounts at the same time. Email newsletters are another great option for keeping your customers up to date on all your latest news and encouraging them to click-through to your site.
Once you’ve got a good idea of what content topics you’ll be covering and the formats you’ll be using, it’s time to make an editorial calendar. Your calendar needs to set forth a consistent schedule of when you’ll create, publish, and distribute your content pieces. Not only will it help to keep you on track in terms of marketing efforts, but blogs that are updated regularly tend to rank higher than those that aren’t. As there’s a lot out there on the internet, search engines pay more attention to sources that are maintained than those that aren’t in order to provide a better user experience.
Finally, using a content distribution tool in conjunction with your editorial calendar will make it extremely easy for you to schedule your social media posts as your calendar dictates. Most of these tools allow you to schedule posts weeks or months ahead of time. So, with just a few minutes of scheduling, you could have all of your content ready to be shown off on social media.
Are You Struggling with Content Marketing for Your Small Business?
Marketing can be challenging especially if you’re a small business owner. Green Monkey Marketing is here to help! We offer full-service marketing packages that can help your business get found online. To get started, just give us a call at (720) 389-0564 or fill out our Get Started Form.