Content marketing is a term that is becoming increasingly popular, even to the point of replacing terms like ‘SEO’ in some instances. The web is founded on content and so it only follows that content should be useful for generating traffic to your site.
Content marketing takes several forms but the most common strategies are to add compelling content to your own site so that you keep bringing visitors back, to send out newsletters and to create content for other sites in the form of guest posts that will link back to you. This is content marketing at its simplest and when combined with a bit of SEO and social media marketing, it can be highly, highly effective.
The problem is, most people get it entirely wrong…
Where You Might be Going Wrong
The first mistake that most people make with content marketing is that they think only in the short term. Bloggers, webmasters and business owners have this idea in their minds that they will be able to write a generic post, share it on Facebook and then suddenly start seeing an increase in traffic and sales. This is not how content marketing works and even if you were lucky enough to have your first article go viral, it probably wouldn’t result in a huge number of conversions.
Content marketing, you see, is not about bringing lots of eyes to your website in the short term. Rather, it is about establishing yourself as a trusted expert in your field and developing a relationship with your readers. If someone has read two or three of your articles and decides they like what you have to say, then they might just consider subscribing to your newsletter or bookmarking your page so that you can build on that trust. Then if they need a product or service that you offer, they will remember you as someone they respect and who knows what they’re talking about, and they will come back to you to consider doing business. If you sell an informational product, it will only be once they have read tons of your free content that they consider paying to get more.
Content marketing is about being in it for the long haul – not about immediate results. This means you need to be consistent and you need to work really hard to ensure your content is compelling and informative.
How to Create Content That Impresses
Consistency isn’t going to be enough if your content doesn’t bring anything new to the table, even if it’s technically ‘good writing’. If you really want to start converting readers into customers, then you need to think about how you’re going to make your voice stand out amongst the chorus of other bloggers and social media ‘gurus’ in your industry.
The first important pointer is to take a ‘soft sell’ approach. While bombastic, Buzzfeed-esque article headings might get lots of clicks, they don’t communicate the kind of authority that you’re going for. It’s better to have three people click on your article and be genuinely moved by what you have to say than it is to have a thousand people visit and leave immediately because you’re basically spamming them.
Likewise, your articles need to stand out by saying something different, by being written in a creative manner or by providing a greater depth and breadth of information than the competition (and Google loves ‘in-depth’ resources at the moment). It’s shocking to think that webmasters still believe they can impress readers with articles listing the ‘Top 10 Bicep Exercises’ when there are approximately a billion other posts online saying the exact same thing. If you wouldn’t read it yourself, what makes you think your visitors have time to?
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is to stop focusing on getting visitors to your site. That’s not the point of content marketing. Instead, the objective is to build loyal fans and to gradually establish yourself as an expert in your field. This is potentially a slow process but in the long-run it will put you in a much stronger position and be far more profitable. Sometimes the numbers alone don’t tell the whole story…