You may have heard about the concept of content marketing but is it all hype created for the sake of selling online marketing services to normal businesses? When you’re busy running your business, is it just another distraction?
Well, when those sales are coming through the door it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the activity it creates and you do have to shut out unnecessary distractions. However, if you’re not careful, while going through the motions of fulfilling your service it is easy to drop the ball on your marketing efforts.
In many businesses that have not established a consistent marketing plan this is exactly what happens. When the current batch of sales are completed there are absolutely no sales in the pipeline because the activities that brought in the sales were not continued.
To escape the feast and famine cycle you need to have a system in place that will keep bringing new prospects into your funnel.
One of the areas that many businesses neglect is the opportunity that content marketing presents. The aim of this article is to get you thinking about how it can fit into your business and how you will start producing your content.
The content you produce for marketing your business online serves three purposes:
- For new prospects it establishes your authority
- For existing clients it keeps them engaged
- It builds traffic from search engines over time
Establishing Your Authority With Content
When I’m consulting with clients, I tell them before everything else you need to appear credible. Often the people that are visiting your site are people that have either met you or been referred there by someone they know so, before worrying about generating online traffic, is there really anything there that differentiates you from your competitors. Are you converting as many of those visitors as you could be?
Sure, you will have your normal service pages and a claim to be better than everyone else, but so does every one of your competitors! So, what sets you apart?
It is the content that you are producing on a regular basis that shows you are an expert in what you do and gives them answers. You aren’t just telling them that you’re the authority in your niche, you’re showing them.
This content may take the form of articles you write and publish on your website or it could even be a video you recorded using your iPhone.
Whatever your style, just get started doing something on a regular basis. You might start off wondering what the content should be about….the funny thing is you are producing that content every day when you are answering client questions.
So the next time someone asks you a question, just think if they had that question it is likely someone else does, too, so use that opportunity to write an article about it or set up your iPhone to do a recording that can be embedded in your website.
Content Will Keep Existing Clients Engaged
As soon as you make a sale, do you move on or do you nurture the relationship with the people you have already done business with. It is common knowledge that it is easier to secure more sales through repeat and referral business than it is to be constantly looking for new sales leads.
So how do you maintain the relationship with these past clients?
Chances are the content you produce will also be of interest to them so you should be in contact with them on a regular basis with information they can use (not just your sales material).
Have you got an email database? Have you encouraged people to connect with you via social media? If you use these channels to syndicate the quality content you are providing on your website then they will return on a regular basis to read it.
And I ask you this, if people are returning to your website regularly and you are providing quality information without selling, who are they likely going to use the next time they have need of your product or service? And if they have a friend that needs what you offer, are they likely to mention you or the person that sold them something and they never heard from again?
Content Marketing is Google Friendly
So you have authority and you have engagement, then what follows is Google love. Google and the other search engines want to reward relevant content, they don’t want to reward the websites that were put up 5 years ago that have not changed since.
All the recent changes to the Google search formula have been aimed at making sure that the web pages that are the most relevant appear at the top of the search results, not those where the results have been “cooked” by search engine optimisation (SEO) specialists. Don’t get me wrong, there are going to be those competitive search terms that will need mad, ninja SEO skills but if you are smart you make be able to get your own little piece of the pie.
So there are a few things you are going to need to do to optimise your content marketing for long term Google ranking success, but for now I think that better be left for the next post. Right now, though, start gathering your ideas for what you can produce content for and in the next post I am going to give you some action steps for putting your content marketing into gear.