Why Content Matters
What is content marketing?
Your ultimate goal is to drive people to your website. There are numerous avenues to do this. You can use email marketing, social media, business cards, links and word of mouth to accomplish getting people to your site. But what do all of those avenues have in common? What is going to get the attention of your audience to persuade them to take the next step of clicking through to your site?
It’s all about content. Content marketing is about developing material to attract people to your online presence, and keep them there with the goal of conversion. The conversion may be in the form of a sale, signing up for a mailing list/membership or following you on one or more social platforms.
The materials can be in the form of blogging, documents, images or video. For example this blog post. A single blog post can contain video and images as well. It is best to create blog posts relevant to your site, especially if you are trying to sell a product or service.
Why Content Matters
The internet marketing game is evolving. What was a chess match of who can get the most links and stuff the most keywords is now about what the audience wants to see. The audience wants nuggets. A nugget in this context is a piece of information. Someone visiting your site is looking to get some information about who you are, what you do, how you do it, whether or not you are an expert and many times they are looking for pro-tips.
Different people prefer different methods of content delivery. I myself prefer reading and the occasional video if I am not grasping something as I read it. Others might be more inclined to view a video or image, or even an infographic. Your content should try to include all of the aforementioned to attract as many people as possible. If you are not doing everything you can to attract people then you will either not get anyone to your site, or they will come and not stay.
Think of it as a house party with no music, no food and nothing to do. Is anyone going to stay long? Probably only your closest family and friends, but they are likely using your services or products already anyway. If there is nothing to keep your audience’s attention then don’t expect to maintain an audience.
Today’s internet is about information. If someone is searching for your product or service they want information, and you want a conversion. Information is and always will be in the form of content. Without information your visitors will search elsewhere, and most likely that will be your competition.
10 tips to keep their attention
1. Promote your content-Another extremely important part of your internet marketing plan is Social Media. Whenever you create content you should be sharing it on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Those three are the biggest social media platforms today but if you are comfortable on those sites I would also expand to other platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
It’s not enough to just update that you have a new blog post. You will want to make that update interesting enough for your audience to click through. For example, for this blog post I may update with something along the lines of “Learn how to increase website visits in 10 simple steps”. You have to be creative with your posts but don’t lie about it. Your post should encourage them to click through and your content should engage them so they stay a while, with the end result ultimately being a conversion.
2. Use different formats for content. While the written word is great, remember a picture is worth a thousand words. A video might be worth 100,000 words. Infographics are an invaluable resource for your audience but make sure when creating an infographic that the facts are accurate and up to date. If you choose to use someone else’s infographic make sure that it also accurate, and that you credit the source.
Here is a list of different types of content you should use on your blog or site:
- Downloads (PDF)
3. Long posts-You should strive to make your blog entries as long as possible. The longer the update the more attention Google will give it. Some say that posts longer than 2000 words get more attention from Google than those that have less than 2000 words.
While a 2000 word post may not always be possible or efficient, it certainly can’t hurt. Keep in mind people like to digest information in small pieces so break the entry up into chunks wherever possible. Include some of the other content suggestions above to appeal to as many people as possible.
I can tell you that I have blog entries that are less than 1000 words that show up on the first page of Google Search using the keywords that I wanted to be found with. So part of the math will depend on how much competition you have for the content you are writing. I would avoid Twitter size updates as part of your content and suggest that all posts be at least 300 words, keeping the audience in mind because that is really who the post is for, not Google or any other search engine.
4. Consistent Blog Entries-Not offering your audience fresh content on a consistent basis will cause a decline in interaction. It may be difficult at times to come up with topics so here are a few suggestions to help with topic development:
- Read old blog posts on your blog for possible updates/new ideas
- Keep a list of ideas, whenever one pops in your head write it down
- Review trade publications for possible topics
- Review tools of the trade that you are currently or have used in the past
- Review your Social Media updates for possible ideas
- Give yourself some quiet time daily to brainstorm, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Without consistent updates you could potentially see a double digit decrease in traffic; percentage wise. You worked really hard to develop your audience, it would be a shame to lose them due to a lack of attention to your own website/blog.
5. Don’t get discouraged-you should not expect an immediate return on investment (ROI). It can take time before you truly see an impact from your content marketing plan. Don’t expect a post today to increase your sales volume tomorrow, it’s not realistic.
Realistically it could take up to a year before you start to see any real results so it will take time and persistence. The most important aspect of your content marketing is sticktoitness. That’s right, I just invented a word. But you get the idea, you have to settle in for the long haul and not get discouraged by lack of immediate results. And if for some reason you notice a decline in traffic that just means you need to refine (optimize) something.
It’s best to get a third party to review your blog at that point, one that is impartial. There may be something that you are overlooking that is causing readership to decline. Some of those things include:
- Poor grammar/spelling
- Poor formatting
- Lack of variety in content
- Lack of consistent updates
- Inaccurate Facts
- Posts are not relevant to website
6. Google Authorship– Edit 5/28/18 Google Authorship is no longer operational. It has never been more important than now. If you have not set up Google Authorship you need to today. If you want your content to rank high in Google Search results you have to ensure that your Google Authorship profile links to your content and vice-versa. For more information on this click here.
Once set up properly Google Authorship makes you the authority on a subject. When you post something you are given priority over others who do not have a profile set up. Google has gone so far as to tell everyone that this is what will happen. It is really simple to set up and definitely worth the effort and time investment. It is an extension of your Google+ profile. The requirements for Google Authorship are:
- A blog
- An email address on the same domain as the blog (an alternative exists)
- A byline on the blog
- A Google account
- A link back to your Google+ account in the byline
- A link to your blog from your Google+ account
- Clear head-shot to be included on your Google+ profile
7. Respond to comments-So many times I have seen comments on blog posts that go unanswered. That means there is no engagement on behalf of the author. No engagement means you are likely losing your audience. If you are losing you are audience then traffic drops, and well…I think you get the picture.
By interacting with those commenting on your blog entries you are not only engaging your audience but you also help build a relationship and a community. You also potentially create a lasting impression, and shouldn’t one of your goals be brand development and recognition? Even negative comments should be replied to respectfully, be careful not to create a scenario that makes you look like a bad guy. Negative and argumentative reactions on your part can easily turn your audience off and may severely impact your conversion rate.
8. Avoid Duplicate Content-Google does not like duplicate content. While duplicate content does not get punished per-say, it can impact one or more of the articles that are duplicated. Google wants the writer of content to be the authority on the subject. If content is duplicated then Google may have a hard time confirming who the authority is.
When this happens then one or more of the articles may not rank in Google’s search engine at all, and Google decides which one it is. So while your goal may be to get your content in front of as many people as possible, you are actually hurting your chances of getting your material ranked on Google’s search engine result page.
You should not duplicate your own, or even worse, someone else’s content for any reason. The later is very unethical at best and both will cost you in the eyes of Google.
9. Link to Other Authorities-Don’t be afraid to share the wealth. If someone else is an expert on something you are writing about, or they have further details relevant to your content then by all means link to them. Even if they are a competitor it is best to give credit where credit is due. There is nothing wrong with paying respect to others who are also considered experts.
As a matter of fact it could lead to a partnership down the road. I have personally developed partnerships with competitors in the past simply by giving them credit, or referring to them as the expert on a matter. The partnerships led to growth for both parties involved helping everyone to become more successful. Who wouldn’t want that?
I touched on it earlier but taking ownership of something that is not yours is at the very least unethical, and in some cases illegal. If someone else did the leg work then give them the respect they deserve for putting in the time and research.
10. Titles Matter-A title should be short but meaningful. The title should also relate to the body of the blog entry. I am writing a blog entry about content marketing, my title should not be something like “How to throw a curve ball”.
The title should indicate what the reader will encounter in the blog post, maybe even a punchline if you can keep it under 60-70 characters. In this blog post I titled it “Why content Matters-10 tips for content development”. Instantly you know this article will tell you why content is so important in your marketing plan, and that you will receive 10 tips on how to develop content.
In short you are the expert on what your product or service is. You work in it everyday, you know the tools you use, you understand what the clients are looking for, you are the professional. Tell the world what you know. Write about your passion and let everyone know that you love what you do. Tell the world what makes you the expert and why. Give them tips on simple solutions and starting points.
Have fun with it, make it interesting and spruce it up with images and video. Make your blog all about your audience, because without an audience you are only writing for yourself.
One last note, make sure you proof read your blog entries before posting. I had to learn the hard way myself. Even if you are 100% sure that you did not make any mistakes read it over for grammar, formatting and spelling.
Now go develop some content.