Content marketing is becoming an increasingly important area of focus for companies, big and small. There is a great deal of leverage to be had from having relevant, crisp and interesting content on your company website, blog and social media pages. These are, more often than not, the first stop that any interested person makes, when looking to learn more about a company. Advertising is an expensive exercise, telemarketing has limited scope; but the power of the web has changed buying behavior. The online space is the best way to market your company and products. As American author, entrepreneur and marketing evangelist Seth Godin puts it, "Content marketing is the only marketing left."
Content does not however, just mean writing - that is just one, albeit significant, aspect of content marketing. As important as well written and presented content is, the strategy, focus and consistency with which the content is handled, and the various channels that are employed to propagate that content, are what can really push your company forward.
Know who you're writing for
Know your audience and write for them, rather than around keywords or search engines. Never write for the search engine results, but for your intended visitors.
Start with your most powerful data/information and "hook" your readers. This will ensure they take the time to read or at least skim the entire content, rather than close your page in mere seconds.
Know what to say, and how to say it
For the most part, have textual content that is not time-constrained because that will get stale quickly. Focus on content that has longevity, so that it will retain reader interest in the long run. Ideally, your textual content shouldn't be time-based or news-related. Evergreen content - information that will still be relevant one, two or even five years from now - produces the best long-term results.
Also important: try to keep your content original and don't just regurgitate or reuse others' content. You will lose readers and credibility with such behavior.
Visual-ize your content
Visual content attracts attention and is more memorable - look to infographics, comics, pictures, videos and other pictorial content to supplement and complement the write ups you are doing on your blogs and website. Most people absorb information much better when it is presented to them in a visual manner. A professionally designed infographic, for example, will attract and educate your readers.
Plan and follow through
Before you start your content marketing efforts, you should create a content calendar. It is essential to have a content plan and follow through with it. Of course you will tweak it, but it is important you have a plan and track your progress.
By planning what content you are going to create and when you are going to release it, you will ensure that you'll continually grow and that there is a level of consistency and some correlation to your posts and updates. This will make not just Google and SEO sense, but will also attract and retain readers.
Track your progress
Constantly monitor analytics and adjust your content plan accordingly. It is important that you have a system in place to monitor how your different content strategies are performing.
Once you begin to add content on a frequent basis make sure to maintain consistent updates. The best way to get people to come back and read your content is through emails. Collect people's email addresses and notify them when you have an important update, interesting blog post or new infographic to share.
Spread the word
When you provide your website visitors with informative content they are more likely to share it. Share content across all your company's Social Media profiles, and ensure your settings allow your visitors to do the same.
It is important to note that writing content is only half the battle. The other half is promoting your content. You should spend as much time promoting your content as you do writing it.
And keep in mind that content marketing is not directly correlated to ROI. It can help you increase your sales, but indirectly, and has to go hand in hand with other sales and marketing strategies.
Take the time to plan out your content marketing strategy, create content that gives your readers a reason to come back, and you're sure to see results.