Content Marketing: Essential or Optional for Online Success?
Every time I turn on the computer these days I hear about the benefits of content marketing.
It’s widely publicized as one of the best methods for gaining website traffic, but is content marketing necessary to succeed?
The answer is no, it’s not necessary…
For instance, here are some things you could do instead:
- You could buy banner ads, Pay Per Click ads, and blog network ads… But, this costs money and time. You’ll need to closely manage your ads and analyze data to make sure you’re making a profit…
- Of course, you could hire “SEO specialists”… who often promise to do a lot, but can’t guarantee any results…
- You could pass out business cards, start an affiliate program, run an iPad contest, or anything you can dream up…
But, if you give content marketing a chance, you’ll see it’s more effective, easier to do, and less expensive than almost any other traffic technique available.
Why All The Fuss About Content Marketing?
According to ContentPlus.co.uk, content marketing is better than other methods—like paid advertising—because:
- Blogs on company sites result in 55 percent more visitors.
- Companies with blogs get 97 percent more inbound links.
- Sixty-three percent of companies say posting on social media increases their marketing effectiveness.
- A blog gives a site, on average, 434 percent more indexed pages.
- Blogs are 63 percent more likely to influence purchasing decisions than magazines and…
- Seventy percent of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads.
Those are some attention-demanding stats!
So while content marketing isn’t necessary, it is worth your time and attention.
How to Get Started with Content Marketing
Content marketing isn’t really complicated, but it does take time. Here are four things to keep in mind when writing your content:
1. Create valuable and interesting content.
Not sure what to write about? Answer the questions that your potential customers have, help them solve problems, give them interesting facts, and share other information that you think they’ll find valuable.
Over time you’ll get a feel for the content your audience likes best, but for now, do a little research to choose your topics:
- What kind of content is being shared the most in your industry?
- What are popular blogs in your industry writing about?
- What seems to get the most traction?
These questions—and their answers—should be enough to give you a few content ideas to start.
2. Put your content where people will see it.
To find out where your potential customers are, look to your competitors. What social media networks are they using? Do they have a lot of fans or followers that are in your target market? Start by sharing your content in the same places.
Also, consider guest posting on popular blogs and sites in your industry. Just remember, your content shouldn’t come across like an ad. Instead you should provide value first, and then ask for an action.
3. Interact, listen, and respond.
Content can be great on its own, but you can explode its effectiveness by starting discussions and getting people involved. And, being a thought leader in your community builds trust and helps potential customers get to know you.
Plus, by taking this approach, you can discover valuable insights about your customer and what they want and need.
4. Keep it up!
Once you start content marketing, don’t stop! It may seem like a lot of work, but keep these things in mind:
- You can re-purpose your content over and over into different types of media. For example, you can turn a popular blog post into a podcast, webinar, PowerPoint, or video presentation to reach more potential customers.
- Content you write today can bring you potential customers for years.
- You don’t need a ton of content. Quality beats quantity. For instance, two really great articles each month is better than 12 mediocre articles. To get the most out of every piece of content you write, promote it often and encourage others to share it.
If you don’t have a content marketing strategy in place there is no better time than now to get working on it—especially because it’s so flexible …
You can write as much or as little as you want. You can choose to build your content marketing strategy quickly or slowly. You can even hire someone to do the writing, or do it yourself. Either way, you won’t have to depend on costly advertising campaigns for traffic.
How to Measure the ROI of Content Marketing
Many companies—even big ones—have almost zero content online. It’s surprising, but maybe traditional advertising is still working well enough for them. Or maybe they’re worried about having a lack of analytical data with content marketing…
You see business owners are highly focused on one thing—profits. If there isn’t enough data to analyze they’ll have a hard time calculating their exact return on their investment (or ROI).
The good news is, when done correctly, you can measure the ROI of content marketing…
By going “old-school” with direct response methods.
What do I mean?
Well, all direct response copy has a call to action. That’s what makes it “direct response”… the reader can respond directly. When you add that element into your content marketing, you can measure its effectiveness. Here’s how to do it:
First, ask the reader to do something—share, buy, comment, answer a survey, etc.—in every single article or piece of content. The easier the activity, the higher your ROI. For example, 20% of the readers may share, but only 2% purchase. When you’re writing for your own site, you can track the effectiveness of your content with analytics. Go here to learn more.
But, let’s say you guest blog post for a website in your niche. To track the effectiveness of this content, use a unique URL every time. And, in the article, ask the reader to do something, like visit your website. Then, include a unique link—one you can track—so you’ll be able to see exactly how many people take action.
That’s it. See how simple it can be? So you have no excuses if you’ve been on the fence about content marketing. While not essential, it is worth the investment.