It’s more than just writing. Content marketing is a tool that improves both your organic and paid traffic. It determines where you fall in the search ranks, and it establishes your credibility in the marketplace.
Every article is written must be for two audiences: the general public, and the search engines. Too often, clients seek me out because they want to “start a blog” or change the wording on a landing page. Most of them don’t realize that content marketing is so much more than that. Writing quality content for your website should be an important part of your overall marketing strategy.
4 Reasons You Need a Content Marketing Strategy
First, let me explain why everyone should develop a content marketing plan.
- Improve Ranking – Search Engines give value to good content and rank websites accordingly.
- Inbound Marketing – Quality content pulls customers to your website.
- Credibility – Authoritative writing establishes your reputation in a competitive marketplace.
- Customer Retention – Communicate promotions and new products to existing customers, for an increase in repeat business.
Let’s take a look at each of these reasons and explore them a little further.
Content Writing to Improve Search Engine Ranking
Think about your own Google habits. For instance, pretend you’re the owner of a small business who wants to start selling products over the internet. You might search for information on Google using the term “setting up an e-commerce site.” To illustrate this point, I did just that and over 10 million hits were returned. There is no way I am scrolling through all those websites. In fact, I’m unlikely even to get through 30 of them. The truth is that most people never make it past the second page of the search results.
Your website needs to be listed on the first two pages of search results for new clients to find you. While several factors come into play when determining rank, content factors heavily. Most people have a vague idea that keywords improve search ranking, but many don’t realize the amount of research and data analysis involved in finding the correct ones. Marketing strategists work closely with content specialists to ferret out niche markets and keyword phrases that have high search volume and low competition.
However, it goes even further than that. Once you have keywords defined, you have to research related search strings and phrases. Search engines link them together, as a means of measuring the value of your content. There are also format rules and writing tricks that increase your rank.
⇒ Why You Have to Play the Search Engine Game
Google is not a person. It doesn’t read every website and subjectively decides which one is good and which one isn’t. Instead, Google uses an algorithm that searches for certain keywords and related phrases. From there, Google (a computer) determines the purpose of your website. Remember that old programmer’s saying “garbage in garbage out”? Well, “garbage” writing, unfortunately, produces “garbage” results. Each website should be supported with original, engaging content designed to be informative. If it is properly categorized, sourced, and follows formatting rules, it can push you to the top of the search results.
Content to Hook the Potential Client
So, the first obstacle is to get your website ranked on the first two pages of the search results. Unfortunately, that’s not the only hurdle. Each page lists ten sites. Your website still faces competition, so you need to convince the searcher to click on your URL. They base their decision on which result to view on the summary under the URL (the meta description).
That little snippet is the first exposure a potential customer gets from a website, and it needs to be well-written. Condensing valuable keyword phrases and a call-to-action into 160 characters takes almost as much thought and planning as an entire article.
Your content specialist knows how to summarize and “sell” your site. Your site’s meta description could very well be the most important, non-paid advertising you get. Good descriptions help search engines categorize your site, and it convinces customers to click on your URL.
Content Marketing on Your Website
Your potential customer found your website in the search results and clicked on your URL. Now, what?
Depending on where you direct them, they might land on your homepage or a custom landing page. Regardless, there needs to be something that immediately catches their attention. They searched for information and clicked on the result. In their minds, it should immediately appear before them. If you force them to hunt through your website or they get distracted by irrelevant material, you run the risk of losing them. The mechanics of your site also play an important part in keeping them there. If your website takes too long to load – forget it. They won’t wait to see what you have to offer.
Hopefully, you utilized the services of a good web designer and developer. If you did, then your website should operate at peak performance, and function won’t be an issue. So, assuming your website is fully-functioning, eye-catching, and fast – the question becomes, “What does it have to offer your customers in the way of content?”
This is when a good content specialist becomes invaluable. Content specialists write landing pages that take into account the overall keyword strategy and marketing plan for the website. They summarize company services and help a customer navigate the site through hyperlinks. FAQ sections address common issues and make it easy for the visitor to find information.
Establish Credibility in the Market
Informative content in the form of blogs and articles establishes credibility in the marketplace. You want your customers to know that you are an expert in your industry. Don’t ever publish “fluff.” Instead, publish in-depth, informative material that assumes a certain level of intelligence in your reader. The trick is to take advanced material and break it down in a way that even a beginner understands. You don’t need to give away trade secrets but share enough that your customers feel comfortable that you know what you are talking about.
Content marketing is not “writing an article,” it is selling you (by establishing credibility) through written content, in a determined and strategic way.
Use Content Marketing to Increase Customer Retention
If your goal is to fill a bucket, you certainly don’t want one with holes in the bottom. No matter how much water you add to the top, you won’t increase the overall amount. Now, if you use a bucket without holes, soon you reach the top and overflow.
That’s your client base. Once you convert a potential client into a customer, you want to keep them. This is the only way to grow your business. Content marketing helps you keep your customers. Email campaigns and newsletters put valuable information in front of your clients. But, that’s not enough. Content marketing specialists need to know:
- How to keep email out of spam folders.
- What makes a customer click open the email.
- How to get them from the email back to the website.
- The best way to close the sale.
In today’s world, most consumers are leery of “sales material.” If you want to convince someone to buy your product, you need to give them in-depth, compelling reasons to do so. That is where content marketing comes into play.
Developing Your Marketing Plan
Content marketing is just one aspect of your overall marketing plan. Other tools such as Google Ads and Social Media Marketing are also valuable. The best way to get a handle on all of it is to find a web agency that incorporates all aspects of marketing into their strategy. Look for one with specialists in each area that work as a team. By combining their skills, they give you the most effective overall marketing plan for your business.
A good marketing plan sets you apart from the crowd, draws in customers, and keeps them coming back for more. Let your marketing specialists help you develop a plan that incorporates content marketing and grows your business.