A few times a week I find myself a few hours to hop online and research companies with blogs. What I’ve noticed is that about 90% of the content I see is garbage; as rude as that may sound, it’s simply the truth.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see people turning to content as a way to market their business.
How many people do you think are going to sign up to receive your newsletter or e-book if all your blog talks about is yourself?
I’ve seen marketing companies talk non-stop about their latest awards, lunch parties and creative projects that ‘tell their brand story’. And these are B2B marketing firms.
Let’s pause and think about that for a sec….
Why would anyone think their followers don’t have anything better to do than read about the latest team ping pong match?
What a gross underestimation of someone else’s precious time.
Don’t take this the wrong way because I’m happy to see employers treating their employees to fun experiences.
I think to myself, boy that must be a healthy work environment. But why would an audience want this kind of information?
To that end, I put together some first steps to help market your business with content.
1. THE END GOAL
To bring people to your site and sign up for your email list. You want to make people feel safe handing over one of the most precious things to them: their name and email address.
STATISTICS SAY THAT 30% OF NATURAL SIGN-UPS TO YOUR EMAIL LIST EVENTUALLY BUY FROM YOU
2. A WEBSITE AND THE QUESTIONS
If your business doesn’t have a website, it would be wise to get one as soon as possible.
Once you have a website going with at least your contact information and details about your company, product and services, start putting together a content marketing strategy.
Above all, keep it simple.
Here are some questions that can help you come up with content marketing solutions:
- Who is your target market (or buyer persona)?
- What are your customer’s pain points and what are their options?
- How can you eliminate these pain points by simply helping them through the process?
- Can you create a tutorial, webinar, how-to article or deck that walks people through the process to end their points of pain?
- Where are your customers located?
Stay focused on your content marketing direction by creating a publishing mission statement. The best way to create your statement is to answer “why?”.
Why are you creating content in the first place?
3. THE CONTENT
Make sure your content—whatever your format—is specifically targeted. Each article should be a valuable tool that focuses on a single point of pain for your customers.
You’ve heard the saying: you can’t please everyone.
Well, don’t try to address each person and problem with each piece of content.
4. OPTIMIZE FOR SEARCH ENGINES
Here’s where you make sure to focus on the key phrases, internal and external links, tags and metadata that will get you placed in an optimal position when customers search for you and your products online.
Titles and descriptions for each page of your website play a big part of this.
You may need to bring an SEO specialist on board to help you optimize your website, from metadata to content. Plus, there are countless webinars and blogs dedicated to SEO.
5. KEEP A CONSISTENT VOICE
You can have one writer (just you), or several, contributing to your content.
Allowing multiple people access to your website and database takes a lot of trust but it can be worth it to get a more colorful and fleshed-out depiction of your company and services.
What you want to do then is make sure that you are overseeing the content that gets pushed out.
Don’t just hand over your baby! This is your company after all and you can’t have content seeing the light of day that doesn’t match your brand story and mission statement.
6. PUTTING IT OUT THERE
Creating a blog can be a great vehicle for delivering value and quality SEO measures but to really boost your marketing efforts you need social media.
That said, do not jump on every popular social media channel and trend there is. You’ll just burn yourself out.
First, think about the question above in the question section.
Where are your customers at? 1000 Facebook likes aren’t going to do a thing if those fans aren’t being converted into sales.
That goes for any social media site. A good part of the reason that social media fails for companies is because the carriage is being put before the horse.
Don’t jump into a social media site that won’t offer value to your business; that’s just throwing time and money down the drain.
If you don’t have valuable, relevant and authentic content to share within the social media sites, no one is going to want to interact with you.
7. PROOF READ AND CRITIQUE
Find an outside source with an unbiased opinion to comb through your articles.
Typo’s happen and grammar can be tricky; when you’re consistently making mistakes, it becomes a theme that your audience will eventually connect with a lack of knowledge or competence.
Make sure your reader only sees your content as an authoritative source for industry news and ideas.
8. RINSE AND REPEAT
You will only see a return on your investment in content if you are consistent.
If you don’t have time to blog each day, then don’t do that.
Instead, have a blog that comes out once per week, on the same day, so that your audience knows when to expect your next golden nugget of expertise. Come up with some rules to stick to and you will gain your readers’ trust.
I like to use the 1 to 2 rule. For every article I write that is specific to my industry and services, I will create a couple pieces of content that shoulders my goals and original content.