Good 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.