Content Marketing: How Can My Business Create Great Content?

Creating content to back your content marketing strategy isn’t easy. Determining where to start can be daunting. Actually getting your company to create great content can be flat out overwhelming.

Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered. Here’s how…

Before you begin creating your content, you need to know two things:

  1. What your brand is all about, and
  2. What your audience wants.

Like so:
Content Marketing: Why & How to Create Great Content

About your brand: What is most compelling about your business? Consider what values you share with your potential customers. How does your business help and inspire more [insert value here] in the world? How does your mission impact the lives of your customers? Now you’re bridging the gap.

About your audience: Your audience is comprised of all the people who might buy from you, now and in the future. Think about all the consumers and business decision makers interested in your industry. They use the web to gather information before they buy. If you provide the information they want, they’re more likely to buy from you.

Find out what your customers want to know by paying attention to them. Ask for feedback. Hey, even log their complaints. Talk industry on social media and listen to other industry experts. Don’t guess. Learn.

Start by Working with Words

Great written content is a great place to start. Words are a wonderful double-whammy: they entice and inform your website visitors, plus they play a huge role in boosting your SEO. However, don’t underestimate the importance of eye-catching images. If you wed your words with compelling images, you’re well on your way to great content.

Study your customers and determine which subjects and formats most appeal to each market segment. Your customers might respond better to a video or a slide presentation than a wordy report, or they might prefer information delivered in a personable blog post. Use all the information you gather to produce informed content in the format your customers most enjoy.

Your best bet is to vary your presentation and monitor the results. Then, provide more of what they respond to best.

Feeling overwhelmed? Read this article to decide if outsourcing is the best solution for your company: To Outsource Content Marketing …or Not? 6 Questions to Help You Decide.

When executed properly, great content will pull in your people and push up your search ranking.

 

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Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Increase Your Referral Rate
  • Increase Your Social Media Reach
  • Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
  • Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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To Outsource Content Marketing …or Not? 6 Questions to Help You Decide

Doing everything in-house may be an appealing idea to a business owners, but that isn’t always advantageous. It pays to think critically about your business needs to determine how much of your marketing should remain in-house. Here are 6 questions to ask before deciding whether or not to outsource content marketing.

To Outsource Content Marketing …or Not? 6 Questions to Help You Decide

1. Is your staff in over their heads? If the actual legwork required to create all the pieces you need to execute your marketing strategy is overwhelming your staff—surely they have other responsibilities or perhaps it’s a bigger job than anticipated—you may want to consider outsourcing your content creation. If you’re sensing your employees don’t have time, outsourcing is definitely worth it. Through journalistic interviewing, you’ll get great content (not rushed!) to complete your marketing strategy and your employees will thank you.

2. Is your marketing department in need of quality writers? You may have a marketing department and a strategy worked out, but most companies don’t have dedicated writers on staff. Carving out time to write compelling content when you have other responsibilities can be challenging. Outsourcing your content marketing, leaves the in-house team free to develop campaigns, place advertising, and run other aspects of a complete marketing strategy. Deciding to outsource content marketing makes perfect sense. A content marketing agency will schedule posts, wrangle writers, and edit content for consistency and quality. A content marketing team works with your marketing department to create an editorial calendar, identify subjects and information your customers are searching for, and produce quality content on schedule.

3. Do you need temporary workers with honed writing skills? Maybe you’re covering most of your needs, but you need a little help—perhaps to cover writing blog posts while your marketing coordinator goes on vacation or medical leave, or maybe to write long-form content your marketing department can’t make time for.

You could hire a few temps to fill in, but content writing is a specific skill set and great content requires experienced writers. A good content marketing agency can fill the gaps and provide support to your team when they’re busy, without taking up valuable real estate in your office.

4. Does your current content resonate with your customer base? Filling a website with relevant and authoritative content can be a challenge. You may choose to gather topics in-house, based on social media listening, keyword research, and competitor intelligence, before engaging with a content marketing agency. Savvy content marketers will help you truly listen to your customers and research relevant keywords that speak to your customers’ pain points.

5. Are you relying solely on old-school marketing techniques? Some businesses are mired in history; still using the same marketing tactics that worked twenty years ago. A surprising number of SMB and B2B companies have no website or a website that’s little more than a brochure. Your website is a crazy-powerful marketing tool. If you’re not using it, you definitely need help with your content marketing efforts. Building an authoritative website is time-consuming…and ineffective if you lack SEO experts in-house.

Today’s most successful businesses rely on a multi-channel, integrated marketing approach that incorporates both traditional marketing methods, like print and direct mail, with today’s newest advances in digital marketing trends, like segmented email marketing, great SEO, and company blogging.

6. Are you a newly launched business? Content marketing agencies are flexible and can produce as much or as little content as needed—often a cost-effective option. You may want to tell your brand story with style. You may want to build a big library of resources at first, then scale back to scheduled blog posts later.

As your needs change, content marketing experts will create content that changes with your business, whether you need help with website copy, blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, or other helpful, relevant and informative content your clients are searching for.

Content marketing is more competitive today than ever. If you can’t meet your content needs for whatever reason, deciding to outsource content marketing is a great solution. And hey, you don’t necessarily have to choose between in-house and outsourced marketing. You can outsource some tasks while keeping other efforts in-house. Work with your content marketing agency to create a relationship where you can easily scale up or down to produce as much (or as little) content as needed. You’ll get writing that’s well-researched, interesting, grammatically correct, and SEO-friendly—and it’ll help you attract and retain more great prospects and customers.

 

related-resources_01

Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Increase Your Referral Rate
  • Increase Your Social Media Reach
  • Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
  • Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

4 Key Ways a Blog Boosts Your Marketing Strategy

A recent study showed that more than 75% of B2B marketers use blogging as part of their marketing strategy, and best in class marketers rank it as “most effective.” While other tactics continue to work their way into successful marketing strategies, blogging remains a vital piece of the content puzzle.

Here are 4 key ways your blog boosts your content marketing strategy…

4 Reasons Your Blog is the Epicenter of Your Content Marketing Strategy: #1 SEO!#1: Your Blog Helps You Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
Blog content provides a consistent source of new information for search engines to find when your website is crawled. Regularly updated sites tend to appear higher in search engine rankings because they have more current and relevant information, compared to those that are rarely updated. Search engines consider content “freshness” when ranking websites.

Blogs@Intel focuses on a variety of content, but the majority of it centers on conferences and events. Since customers need to find event posts while they’re timely and relevant, posting events is an effective tactic to keep up a steady drip of content and ensure your website stays fresh.

#2: Your Blog Helps You Drive More Traffic
In 2014, for the third year in a row, B2B marketers cited web traffic as one of their top content marketing metrics. Companies that blog at least 15 times per month can see up to five times more traffic compared to those that don’t. With more content out there working to improve your search ranking, you’ll drive more organic traffic to your website. With more traffic, you’ll get increased exposure to your audience. Increased audience exposure means you’ll have a better chance of converting website visitors into paying customers.

#3: Your Blog Helps You Become an Authority in Your Industry
When you fill your company blog with useful and credible content, you position your business as an industry leader. In other words, your blog becomes the trusted source of information on your products and services. You can pull a great deal of content simply by answering customer FAQs: How to Kick-Start Your Business Blog.

Cisco has more than 12 blogs geared toward each of their customer segments. Content is produced by company employees and covers everything from marketing tips to industry trade news. By addressing key topics in each industry segment, Cisco has positioned itself as an industry leader across multiple channels. The valuable information they share is available to anyone who wants to learn more, providing Cisco with a way to connect to potential new customers, along with their established customer base.

#4: Your Blog Helps You Engage Customers to Build Community and Strengthen Relationships
Blogs provide an avenue for you to connect and deepen your connections with your customers. Connecting with customers directly on your website allows your clients to get you know you and your business. When a customer comments on your blog post, take time to respond to what they have to say. It shows you value their input and want to know what they think. Unlike most social media interactions, the comments on your blog remain visible for other potential customers to see, long after the conversation takes place.

American Express OPEN Forum is a great example of a blog and social forum. It’s designed to educate small business owners on all issues they face, but also provides a place for readers to come together and share their thoughts with one another.

content-marketingYour blog is the epicenter of your content marketing strategy. Discover the insights you need to engage your prospects and customers in the content marketing guide Side Door Thinking.

Learn how to:

  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
  • Earn Your Customers’ Loyalty & Business
  • Increase Your Referral Rate

guide

Download our FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover the insights you need to take a kindler, gentler — yet more effective — approach to your marketing. Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open.

Boost Business – Create the Perfect Mix of Copywriting and Content Marketing

Boost Business – Create the Perfect Mix of Copywriting and Content MarketingCopywriting and content marketing are the same thing right? Potato, potahto?

Nope.

You’ll hear the terms used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different:

Content Marketing – Creating valuable content with a marketing intent. This can be anything from blog posts and infographics, to eBooks and online videos.

Copywriting – Think of this more as a sales type of writing; it’s designed to make readers take a specific action. That might mean buying a product, signing up for a newsletter list, or calling a phone number for more information.

In the past these two terms were kept in separate corners, but online marketers found if you combine these forces, they’re much more effective.

Get in on the action. Check out these 6 tips and learn to play with a mix of content marketing and copywriting:

1. When someone says “content marketing” you may say “blog post.” While it’s true that is one vehicle, there are many other options. Consider infographics, online videos, podcasts, eBooks, webinars, and more. Take a tip from your high school public speaking class: know your audience. In your industry, how do you reach your readers? If they aren’t the blog-reading crowd, a blog post won’t be the most effective way to reach them.

2. The old advice “less is more” definitely applies here. Don’t write extra content just to fill up a page, it’s not going to score you any extra points. Readers appreciate short, sweet, and focused. Work smarter, not harder when it comes to content marketing – as in, write clearer, not more.

3. Use content marketing to educate your customers on what you offer, to create brand awareness and loyalty, and to engage your customers. You may even find new employees who want to come work for you.

4. As a business, you’ll still need copywriting and a marketing strategy to get your customers to interact with the content you’ve published. Combining copywriting techniques with content marketing gets readers to take actions, opt-in, and share your website with other people.

5. Think about the content that stirs up ideas for you – what is it about that infographic or blog post that you read that made you feel motivated? Tap into that feeling when you’re creating your content so you don’t get lost in the shuffle.

6. Make your call-to-action FIT. Here’s where content marketing comes full circle: you need a call-to-action but only when it feels appropriate. Don’t come out of left field and say, “Hey, buy my service!” Basically, cut the in-your-face sales tactics and be more about helping out. For example, if you’re producing an infographic about your new book, it only makes sense to include a way to buy that new book. Make sense? Click here for additional tips on crafting a compelling call-to-action (CTA).

Need help getting started?

Content is the beating heart of communication with your customers and prospects—but sometimes the process can feel like a maze to navigate. If you’re not comfortable handling content marketing and copywriting in-house, consider hiring a team of professionals to handle your marketing strategy and/or content creation.

Here’s what to look for, at minimum: A copywriter who understands both SEO and marketing techniques. It’s their job to dive into your industry, get to know your audience, and learn how to use online tools to attract them. Your new copywriter should also have a strong understanding of content marketing – that way you’ll get the perfect mix of copywriting and content marketing. You’ll boost your marketing strategy and boost your business, too.

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Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Want to learn more content marketing techniques and tips, plus how to best integrate content marketing into your marketing strategy at every stage in the buy cycle?

Download our FREE content marketing eBook Side Door Thinking.

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10 Paths to Outstanding Content Marketing

Content is the beating heart of communication with your customers and prospects—but sometimes the process can feel like a maze to navigate. Are you stuck at a fork in the road, not sure where to tread to create great content? From business blog posts to tiny tweets to comprehensive eBooks, if you want your customers to engage, share, and come back for more, your content needs to be compelling, current, and relevant to your industry and your audience.

No matter the road they take to get there—email marketing, web browsing, or social media—your content is what people see, share, and talk about. Great content drives traffic and creates buzz.

In a market drowning in information, how can you be sure you create a clear path to valuable content that your target market actually wants to experience?

Are you stuck at a fork in the road, not sure where to tread to create great content? Check out: 10 Paths to Outstanding Content Marketing

1. Stop overpublishing. Flooding your site with slapdash blog posts every day is not a substitute for quality and depth. Far too many businesses are cranking out shallow, self-indulgent blog posts without regard to quality—and they’re calling it content when it’s really just filler.

2. Address your FAQs. The best content answers your customers’ questions. It’s that simple. Provide your customers (and potential customers) with the info they want to know.

3. Narrow your focus. Some businesses indulge in scattershot content: linkbait, outrageous opinions—literally anything that might bring people to their site. You might attract traffic that way, but your conversions will be low. Be an expert—no, be THE expert—on your industry and on what your customers want to learn.

4. Consider the lifecycle of your customer relationship. Leads and customers will be at different stages of the Growth Cycle Marketing process when they experience your content. You’ll want to address customer questions at every stage in the buy cycle to successfully engage with that customer before, during and after the sale. Your existing customers are valuable, so be sure you continue to offer them new and interesting content. To better understand the Growth Cycle Marketing process, download our free guide.

5. Don’t worry about undermining your business. If you’re familiar with the “Nailed It!” meme, you know that sharing your recipe for success won’t hurt your business. Amateurs can’t do what you do—so don’t be afraid to show your stuff.

6. Make it portable. Always include buttons for easy sharing, tweeting, or embedding. If your content is good enough to share, make it easy to do so.

7. Make it diverse. Think of all the cool content formats you can create—short-form info bites, long-form whitepapers, videos, photos, reposts from other businesses and from your customers, case studies, infographics—the works. You have to think in 3D color, tone, and style to cast a wider net and attract more customers.

Side Door Thinking: Stop Knocking on the Front Door of Your Customer’s Mind When the Side Door Is Wide Open8. Hire professionals. Crafting your voice in writing or designing awesome graphics requires a specific and trained skill set. If you already have a frustrated writer with mad skills on board, great! If not, find a professional. Poorly written content with haphazard clipart makes you look unprofessional—and that’s really bad for business.

9. Forget ABC. Don’t confuse content for copy. “Always Be Closing” might work for Phil Dunphy, but it’s through the side door on the web. Stick with the 80/20 rule. 80% of your content should inform, engage, and entertain. 20% should sell in a direct manner. We suggest 20% or less for best results.

What is Marketing’s Impact on Innovation for Growth? Download this Free White Paper on Growth Cycle Marketing

10. Track your results. What good is great content if you don’t know how well it works? By tracking your pageviews, clickthroughs, and conversions, you can measure how your customers are responding to your content and use that information to provide more of what they like best.

Creating successful content requires talent, expertise, understanding your customer needs and wants, a comprehensive content strategy, and sometimes a little luck. The key is to start with your customers in mind and work from there. Keep your customers top of mind and you’ll make your own way down the path that leads to content marketing success.