content marketing is owning, as opposed to renting media!

19230879_sGood content marketing has become essential to drawing and keeping visitors to any Web site. Whether you’re selling plumbing supplies, trying to attract customers to your medical practice or drumming up business for your new, vegetarian restaurant, well-conceived content marketing can help you rank well with search engines, establish your reputation as an expert in your field and, most importantly, help your bottom line.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the art and science of using text and visual content to promote your business without being overtly sales-oriented. Although the concept has been around since the 1930s, the use content marketing has really exploded since the advent of the Internet, especially in the last five years.

Content marketing can be in the form of articles, blog posts, white papers or eBooks as well as visual and audio content like videos, Google+ hangouts and podcasts. In contrast to newspaper writing, which reports rather than sells, good content marketing seeks to persuade the reader to use a product or service, ideally without being asked.

Essential components to content marketing

Just writing a few words, posting them on your Website and forgetting about them isn’t enough. Good content marketing requires regular effort and attention. Below are just a few things you’ll want to remember when working on content for your Website:

Make it interesting. People who visit a new Web site decide within 10-20 seconds whether they want to stay and read what’s on the site, according to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group. That’s not very much time to make an impression. Interesting content that differs from the rehashed, re-purposed content many sites use will attract readers and make them want to return again and again.

Be consistent. A good Web site takes a regular effort. It’s not good enough to write a dozen articles, post them and forget about the site. Not only will your search engine ranking plummet, but your existing readers will get bored and stop visiting after they realize there’s nothing new to be found on your site.

Don’t forget the visuals. One of the ways you can make your content more interesting is to add vibrant images that support your text. Don’t just rely on the same free stock images that everyone else is using. Take your own photos, if possible, or at least enhance the stock images you use to make them your own.

Foster an environment that nurtures creativity in your writers. You don’t want your Web site articles and posts to look just like everyone else’s content. That requires creativity. Whether you use a staff writer, write your own posts or work with freelancers, creating an office environment that encourages “thinking out of the box” is essential.

Make use of social media. Creating profiles for your company and posting information on one or more of the more than 400 social media sites can get your company noticed in ways that are impossible with traditional print and radio advertising. A good, interesting post that readers want to “share” with their friends can cause your small readership to expand greatly as their friends share the post with their friends and their friends’ friends, etc.

Great content marketing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to hone your writing skills and find out what works well for your particular product and Web site. However, with a little time and effort, your writing will not only attract readers and site visitors, but will increase your bottom line.

randy bowdent | f | g+

(image:123RF)

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17 thoughts on “content marketing is owning, as opposed to renting media!

  1. Pingback: content marketing is owning, as opposed to rent...

  2. LOVE that you said content marketing doesn’t happen overnight. I was listening to GaryVee talk last week here in NYC, and an audience member asked him how he could get more shares on his content. Gary’s advice was GREAT. He said that it took him FORVER to get where he was. And that we should be thankful for even ONE share because, hey, ONE person resonated with your content out of ALL of the content out there and decided to share it.
    It was certainly an ah-ha moment for me. Content marketing is so very hard, and sometimes we (me) get stuck on the amount of comments or shares or what have you. It’s important to calm down and realize that, like you said, it just doesn’t happen overnight!

    • I am happy to hear about that “ah-ha” moment Brooke, I have often been frustrated with what seems to be little reaction to the effort. I have realized that “my” content is the key and the more that I can create the more I rise above the noise. Slowly, but my volume moves up! So many confuse sharing and reposting others as their “content strategy” but that should be viewed as only and enhancer and support of your own. Keep creating and often and as you say “calm down” it does not happen over night. I always appreciate your visits and value them much. rcb

      • Sharing and reposting IS a part of a well rounded content strategy. The plumbing supply and local restaurant can’t sit and create content everyday all day, that doesn’t mean they can’t and shouldn’t have a content strategy that provides relevance and value to their audience and MOST importantly opens conversations.

        • I agree Robert that it is an important component of someone’s strategy as long as the restaurant and plumbing supply realize that if their strategy relies heavily on sharing and reposting over creating; curated content will never be demonstrative of their capabilities, expertise or experience. By featuring others’ relevant content, they could inadvertently be promoting their competition. Engagement with curated content can be lower than with content they have created by virtue of the fact that their audience could be engaging with it elsewhere. It might be more difficult to achieve their business objectives by solely posting curated content.
          THEIR content should offer a fresh prospective! However they do need to curate (share/repost) content from a variety of trusted sources in order to provide their readers other perspectives or insight that is inline with their brand message establishing creditability.

          Thanks for the read and input…

        • Yes, works well if web marketing is the main focus. For most SMB’s that don’t have the resources required for what you’re proposing, social media is what drives their online marketing. Content in that case (when resources limit creation) is designed to open conversations and build relationships, which are what make social media effective in the first place and what drives the typical consumer to purchase via the channel, not created content or being some industry “thought leader” in their local plumbing or eatery space.

          Shared or curated content should not be about other perspectives or insight related to their brand or industry, but rather content related to topics the intended target audience finds interesting and valuable. The reason many see poor engagement is due to the improper topics, not curated over created. A Plumber curating plumbing industry content is not helpful for a social media content strategy. Sharing unrelated, selfless content relevant to their prospective customer is. Mixing in posts, images and content about what they do periodically sees the best results, IMHO

        • I said and will stick with it for this discussion, curating content that builds value to the brand and strengthens the authority of the brand in the category is what any SMB should be seeking. Everyone in business has the same goal, to increase revenue. So, it is nice to get to know my plumber on a personal basis and extend an invitation to a party I may be hosting. But when I am looking for someone to fix the toilet that just started overflowing I want the company that can fix it and has established that in my mind. Not really interested in him sharing photos of lush flowers growing over a newly installed septic tank site! The importance of a content strategy is to unveil a brand’s story in a way to communicate the company’s passion and purpose.

  3. Pingback: Business Blogging: Selling By Conversation | Communicate [your] Skills

  4. Pingback: Listly List - Business Blogging: Selling by Conversation #conversation #blogging #business #marketing #socialmedia

  5. Randy,

    Many great points above!

    Putting all the intricacies into a post is surely important. But owning – not renting – our work is so very necessary.

    Posting & re-posting our work on our social media profiles is part of a strategy. But only part. So many spend time working only the social profiles, and forget to put their fabulous content on their own self-hosted site.

    Doing it, formatting it, syndicating it, etc. – Yes. But OWNING it is the most important.

    Thanks for your insights,

    ~Keri

    • Thanks for weighing in Keri and as reveled owning is key. I see so many doing a great job sharing great content but it is others work! Be a creator and a sharer, builds authority and creditability…

  6. Pingback: Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. | Monday Roundup: Content Counts - Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc.

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