It’s all about working smart when it comes to Content Marketing.
As a business, you have to make decisions on:
- The type of Content Marketing for your business requirements
The best way to squeeze these requirements out of your budget
How best to strategize and implement your content marketing
How to analyse and determine best practice to gain long, term value
and: THE BIG ONE
What you want to tangibly ACHIEVE with your content marketing efforts.
When you think about all of the above, the prospect is daunting and it can be easy to put the idea, of utilising the online experience for your benefit, on the long finger.
The return on content marketing, if smartly done, can reap a multitude of rewards and none more so than, what we all want; an increased Return on Investment (ROI).
It would take a book to write about all of the above so we are going to start with simple ways you can evaluate your existing efforts and make baseline changes before your content marketing can take off.
Firstly though, let’s look at some of the reasons why content marketing can be so beneficial to your business.
Content Marketing Rewards
We have already written about the ways Content Marketing can add value to your business. They included:
Brand Value: There is a great opportunity to market your brand, its benefits and core values online. A lot of content is evergreen and can be accessed over long periods.
Creating content that consistently defines your brand can generate awareness and distinguish your brand as the go to business in your industry.
Website Traffic: This is an easy one. Of course when you consistently create fresh content, users are going to be drawn to these pages if they are interested in the content topic. That is if you have a strong social strategy in place.
Content is dead content if no one gets the opportunity to see it so get it shared online!
Remember, the content may get traffic to your website, but more is required to achieve your content marketing goals. Guide online users down a determined path with great Call to Actions on your website.
Impact on Search Rankings: Writing valuable content on a chosen topic and employing natural, yet strategic, use of relevant keywords within the content and also within the formatting will increase your ability to be seen in Search Engines.
Strengthen Client Relationships: It can be a lot more difficult for a client to capture and keep a newspaper, radio or TV Advertisement and, for the most part, why would they?
Digital content, depending on the subject matter, is Evergreen. Your potential clients can easily access and refer back to it online at the time they may need your services. A consistent flow of content that adds value combined with some real engagement results in relationship strength.
Educate on your Product or Service: Become the thought leader or the go to guy | gal in your particular field! Why not? Publishing content that creates awareness and insight into your industry in a manner that creates interest will resonate with people of a similar interest and they will look out for your future activity and engage.
Internal Cost Efficiency: Think about this. There are many ways that content marketing and engagement online can reduce costs in-house.
Self –help guides and How To videos can reduce the number of people directly taking up employees time with these questions. That time can then be spent creating more content!
It can also reduce communication costs as online chat reduces the need for physical phone calls. These are just a few examples of the many cost efficiencies that can be made.
A potentially lucrative ROI: The big one! Whilst everything else is still so important, you cannot operate a business that is not generating income.
Measurements can be made at every step of the online content marketing sales process. From the consistency and impressions/engagement of the content you produce that, when promoted, drives traffic to your website where fantastic Call To Actions convert the user from an online browser to potential client. If you work smart at every point in the process then the ROI can be huge.
These Content Marketing Rewards can only be achieved through a carefully planned long term strategy that incorporates your business goals, values and brand definition.
Content Marketing Decisions
What do You Need to Start?
Most business, at this stage of the game will already have some sort of online presence. This could be anything from a sparkly website and a full social media presence to a reliance on a Facebook and Twitter account. Whichever, it is a base from which to build on.
It is advisable at the start to get someone with digital expertise to:
- Evaluate your current digital situation
Devise a proposal for next steps
Calculate the cost of these next steps
We, at Content Plan, do this every day, however there are 5 online marketing baseline essentials you can look at to determine your online status yourself.
#1 Responsive Website
Is it responsive? Time and time again we look at fantastic websites with lots of great information and we find out that it isn’t a responsive design.
Check out your website on your mobile or tablet. Do you have to pinch and turn the screen to try to read the content? Yes?
Well, that’s not good.
Research shows that 80% of users own a smart phone and that 75% of users are accessing mobile internet services on their smart phone. This could be a huge chunk of your target market and your website is not set up for their ease of use!
If this is the case, then talk to your website designer and work out the best way forward to get your website responsive.
#2 Website Optimisation
Your website is your sales tool and you need to ensure that it is performing to the highest standard both on the surface and behind the scenes.
Before you take steps to optimise your site on the surface, you also need to ensure that it is performing to that standard at the back end. Enter Google Webmaster Tools.
This is a free tool by Google that will assist you in understanding what is going on within your website and enable you to make the changes needed to improve your rankings and drive more traffic to your site. Kissmetrics wrote a great guide on GWT here.
#3 Blog | Content Area
Your website may hold great content on its pages that ranks well in search. You may have paid a copywriter to ensure that the content standard is high. That is great and will work well for a first time visitor, but what if that visitor decides that your services are not currently required but may be in the future?
They may bookmark your site, or send your brand to the portion of the brain that remembers these things for the future …. But, most likely, not.
People need to be reminded that your brand exists and whilst static content on your site may help, the production of consistent, fresh content that can be shared through social platforms could be the timely reminder that this past visitor needs.
If you aren’t producing fresh content and getting it seen, then most likely your competitors are. This is why you need a page/space on your website where the content can sit, be archived and accessed and shared so that those interested in your business type will return.
This increased traffic to your site, if managed well, will become your future clients.
#4 Social Share Buttons
You would actually be surprised at the amount of websites with great content that do not have simple social buttons so that it can be easily shared online.
Those 80% of smart phone users are not going to be bothered with copy and paste. They want a one click trick, so make it easy for them and have social share buttons displayed prominently to extend the reach and let your content fly.
Your website designer can help you with this. If you are WordPress users then it’s a simple matter of installing a social share plug in. As well as static social buttons we also use a floating social bar that pops up at the end of our blog.
#5 Benchmark Analytics
There is absolutely no point in putting volumes of time, cost and effort into a content marketing plan if you do not have the metrics available to benchmark against.
Google Analytics is a starting point and a great one at that. It will track the number of visitors to your site, the length of time they stay there, the pages they view, their location and where they arrived at your site from, among other things.
This allows you to see how particular content performs in order to emulate that content for best practice purposes. It also enables you to see what isn’t working so you do not repeat the same mistakes. From these measurements you can apply tweaks to your content marketing strategy so that the results generate a greater ROI.
There are many more ways to examine your current online status and apply techniques for optimisation. We have shown you a few to start you on the road to content marketing success.
Once you have applied the necessary steps, it’s now time to start planning a great strategy and executing this consistently.
What other ways can you apply a baseline before you begin your content marketing strategy? We’d love to read your comments!
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