In the last article we wrote about Content Marketing, we discussed the specifics of what makes good quality, laser focused content that will engage and inform your customers.
In this post we look at what the general characteristics of an excellent content marketing strategy should be.
I get asked on, a fairly frequent basis, what does it take to write high quality, perfectly optimised pieces of content that gets a small business noticed online. Now, as a content professional I’d like to say there is an exact blueprint you should follow, each and every time, for creating perfectly structured sentences, paragraphs and pages. But if I did, I would be lying to you.
Algorithms and Real People
The truth is if you want to create perfect content that generates large volumes of traffic for your website and business, your going to need some degree of writing ability, image design and video creation skills. It will also help if you have knowledge and passion about your subject matter, to give your content an extra edge. Remember, you’re not just developing content for the Google algorithms, you are also developing it for real people who you’ll want to become your customers. If you are not enthusiastic about what you’re doing then they’re going to pick this up and be less likely to engage with your pages.
The Guiding Principles of Content Marketing
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to content creation and your starting from scratch, there are some overall guiding principles you can follow that will place what your content ahead of that of your competitors.
1. Unique, not plagiarised!
The web is awash with content; much of it poor quality and copied. There really is no excuse for it . If you find it hard to create content yourself and are tempted to copy it from another website, then please don’t. It will affect your search engine rankings and allow your competitors to gain an upper hand.
Instead, outsource your content creation to a digital marketing and hosting company like thehostingpool.com and thedesignpool.ie where we have experienced content marketers who will ensure your content is unique and well optimised to attract your target audience.
Please note: not only is poor quality content a bad thing in its own right, but when the Google bots come to search and index your pages, they will penalise your ranking when they detect duplicate copy. With all the Google algorithm updates, the Google software has become more incisive in weeding out poor quality content and demoting offending websites further down the search engine rankings.
2. Giving direction
Inserting content into a website and not doing anything else with it, will limit how effective your web pages will be. What you need to understand is the creation of this content is only the first stage in what should be a two way process. You should, at the very least, provide your readers with some form of direction as to what they should do with your content once they’ve viewed it.
For example, if you’re an e-commerce website you’re going to want to pepper your content with buying phrases and actions like ‘Click to Purchase‘
If you’re a newspaper website then your content should be directing your readers to sign up for a paid subscription with a ‘Subscribe for more info’.
If your blogger you’ll want to place Share buttons on all your articles and videos to provide them with maximum exposure.
These Calls to Actions, or CTA’s, are vital in building relationships with your audience. Get your viewers involved in your network. Build relationships with your content because this way your audience will be more likely to interact with your business.
3. Make it interesting and engaging
Visitors to your websites should gain a greater insight and awareness about your business and industry after viewing your content. For example, if yours is a ‘How to Website’ , they should leave with a greater knowledge of whatever subject matter you are teaching. If you have a humorous site then your content should make them feel better about themselves once they leave.
Creating stories on your website or social media channels can be a great way of holding attention. The narrative could be how you created your company or brand. Alternatively, you could also post video stories on your pages from customers who’ve used your product or service.
Case studies are another great way to show how you helped a customer achieve something. For example, if you are a Digital Marketing company you may want to document how to you took a business from knowing nothing about Facebook, to using it as your main source of leads. Essentially the more you reveal about yourself, the more interest you will generate and the more trust you will build between yourself and potential customers.
4. Checking your facts
In the era of fake news, it has become much easier to misinterpret other people’s information. It has also become more common for people to ‘fabricate ‘ information in support of an argument. The bottom line is, don’t!
Make sure your statistics and quotes from other sources are checked and credit is given where credit is due.
Link to the original of any article you quote. This will not only provide your information and brand, with greater authority, but it will also provide you with a link source that will improve your SEO ranking.
5. Great content takes many different forms
Finally, when people hear the word ‘content’, they automatically think blogging. However, this would exclude the wide variety of other content forms that now exist. One only needs to view the great visual and video content that populates so many websites.
But its not just visual content that drives traffic. The rise of podcasting has seen an explosion in auditory content. Offshoots of this have been the popularity of Internet radio, niche podcast shows and the rise in the popularity of audio books.
So as important as word based content is, don’t discount image, video and sound as a way of engaging with your visitors.
In Part 3 of this series, we’ll look in more detail at the range of content formats that now exist and how you can use them for your business.
If you need help with your content marketing strategy, please call us on 01 230 3645
Digital Marketing /IT Specialist
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