Content is King: Why Content Marketing is Important
Content is king. It’s been said many times, but it’s no less true just because it’s a little cliche. The whole idea of a content marketing strategy is to provide helpful, relevant, useful pieces of content to potential customers. So, what do you think of when you think of a content strategy?
Obviously, the web comes first. Not only is it the easiest place to host content, but it’s where business happens now. It doesn’t matter if you’re Amazon or a mom-and-pop mechanic, a web presence is no longer optional. Blogs, whitepapers, and pillar pages are all ways to spread educational content to your potential customers.
Social media is also no longer optional. Over two-thirds of American adults are now using social media, and that number is higher for the younger segments. Social media is how people learn, communicate, and shop, and you can’t afford not to be involved.
The number of content marketing examples is almost infinite — there’s emails, podcasts, infographics, videos, how-to guides, and tons more — but the driving force is the same. Content matters — and the most successful marketing strategies understand how to leverage it to connect with their customers.
The Content Marketing Essentials
Keep in mind that content marketing isn’t a fast fix.
Content isn’t about boosting your numbers for a quick, unsustainable spike. It’s about being genuinely helpful, useful, and available to the people who need you. When done right, content marketing can create very stable, long-term growth. But you have to put the work in.
Here are some of the best types of content organizations can leverage in their marketing strategies.
Step Up Your Socials
First things first: get your social media profiles in order. Think about which sites you’re on — Facebook is a must since its audience is simply too big to ignore, but beyond that, not every site will fit every business. Do you make software or something that doesn’t lend itself well to photos and videos? Instagram and Pinterest probably aren’t for you. Does your product sell mostly to teenagers? It’s probably safe to skip LinkedIn.
It’s also important to ask questions like: What kind of content are you posting? Text, videos, photos, links? How do people respond? How often are you posting? Too often, and you’ll get annoying, not often enough, and people will forget about you. Each social media platform has different best practices for how to stay in the front of your followers’ minds, so you’ll need to schedule accordingly.
On social media, as well as everywhere else, branding is crucial. To some extent, your profiles will have to fit the format of whatever platform you’re using, but you can still make sure your logo is high-resolution, your cover photo matches your brand, and your copy fits the voice and tone you use elsewhere. Make sure everything is spelled and capitalized correctly and consistently. Make sure your profile pictures are current, matching, and high-resolution. Lastly, add details like a mission statement, what you do, why you do it, and when you were founded. Make sure any useful information is obvious and up to date — including hours, website, contact phone, and email.
If you’re a restaurant, link to your menu. If you’re a brick-and-mortar, add a map to your location. It’s all about being as user-friendly as possible — think about the things your customers might want to know about you and anticipate those needs.
Publish a Blog
If your site doesn’t already have one, set up a blog. Blogging is one of the best ways to get traffic to your site, inform your customers, and demonstrate your authority and reliability on a topic. In today’s market, consumers do more and more research before they buy, and almost all of that research happens online. You want to be the resource they turn to.
If you already have a blog, do a quick audit. Make sure all the images — thumbnail, cover, inline, header, etc. — are high-resolution and crisp. Images should also be padded — add some white space on all sides so they aren’t too snug with the text.
When you write, make sure you’re using H1 and H2 tags. Changing font size, mixing up your colors, or making your subheadings bold might look good, but you still need the proper HTML behind the scenes to optimize your SEO.
Go over every word with a fine-toothed comb for grammar and spelling issues. Nobody’s perfect, but the more attention you give to the little things, the less likely that errors will sneak through. And don’t just rely on your browser’s spell-check. Tools like Grammarly, Hemingway, and Google Drive will search for grammar and structure mistakes as well as typos.
In addition to writing the blog, it’s also important to make sure your site is branded properly — more on how to do that here — and optimized to provide an easy, convenient, intuitive experience for the user. If your content strategy is working, you’ll be drawing people into your site — make sure the site is ready to receive it.
Use Email Strategically
Think about your email schedule. Are you sending a monthly newsletter or twice-a-week deals? In general, the longer your emails are, the less frequent they should be. Conversely, if emails are hyper-focused on a single product or promotion, you can send them more often. Experiment with frequency and keep an eye on your open and click rates to determine what works best for you.
Put a lot of thought into your subject lines. Readers can’t click through to your site if they don’t open the email, so your primary goal is to get them to open the email. It’s a fine line — too vague, and it’ll sound like clickbait, too specific, and they won’t feel the need to read it at all. Don’t be misleading, though — readers will get sick of you and unsubscribe if the email isn’t what the subject line promised.
Again, use the content you already have! When you write a blog post, turn it into an email as well! Include links in your emails to relevant whitepapers, videos, and buyer’s guides — or even include them in the body of the email itself. The more well-built your content is, the better it will serve to guide people down the funnel to become customers.
Outside of creating emails, it’s also important to ensure your email lists are up-to-date. Go through and cut any old or unsubscribed email addresses. If you’re using a tool like Mailchimp, it will cut bounced or unsubscribed email addresses automatically, but it’s still worth taking a look.
If you want to keep your message focused and conversion high, it might be worth cutting uninterested subscribers as well. Most email tools will generate reports of people who haven’t opened, let’s say, your last five emails. Send one last email asking why they aren’t reading — is the content not relevant? Are there too many emails? — and then cut them from the list as well.
Next, take a look at your email provider, like Constant Contact or Mailchimp. Is it still meeting your needs? Are there limitations that it has that you’re starting to find restrictive, like insufficient targeting or design capabilities? Don’t just stick with the old client because you’ve been using it for a while. Make sure you have the best tools for the job.
In the end, it all comes back to the content. If your content isn’t up to snuff, the best strategy in the world won’t keep you afloat. But if you provide high-quality, easy-to-read, useful content in whatever forms your customers want, your ROI will go up, and the KPIs mentioned above will keep rising.
Your customers are out there, looking for information, assistance, and solutions. Your job is to be there when they need you