You want more traffic, more leads and more sales, but want to take an approach which requires little cost. Perhaps your advertising budget is limited, or perhaps you just want a constant drip feed of visitors to your site through Google’s search rankings and social media.
Content marketing could be your solution.
Essentially, the trick behind successful content marketing is providing useful media to your audience for free, whilst not immediately expecting anything back. This content should be informative, entertaining and actionable, and should not include a sales pitch.
In two words? Provide value.
In your articles and blog posts, rather than attempting to sell to your readers immediately when they visit, you need to provide them with value, you should warm them up over time, attempting to bringing them back to content that will interest them in the future.
In his brilliant book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, Gary Vaynerchuk explains that 75% of your content should provide value rather than promoting your product or service, whether that be on your website or on your social media.
You should make it a habit to integrate an email opt-in form into your content, with a valuable incentive, such as a free ebook or pdf download, or an entry into a giveaway (if suitable) This will allow you to build a base of email subscribers, who you can email when you release a new article or promotion.
If you’re on Wordpress, I recommend a plugin and online software called ‘Mailchimp’. It allows you to create beautiful opt in forms as well as emails, and it securely stores your visitor's email addresses in a format you can export. If you’re on Umbraco, go with OptinMonster.
Content marketing only works when you prove you’re happy to provide value and expect nothing back.
As intrusive as this sounds, it is actually a very simple and completely legitimate process which will give you more insight into how people use your website and how they interact with your content.
If you haven’t got Google Analytics set up, make this your first priority.
Google Analytics is an absolutely essential tool for any webmaster, it allows you to:
If you’ve got Google Analytics set up, you can now move on to setting up a ‘heat map’ for each important page on your website. Important pages might include landing pages, contact forms and of course your content, such as blog posts and company news.
What a heat map does is give you a wealth of useful information on visitor behavior.
Unlike Google Analytics, heat maps allow you to see where exactly visitor’s mouses are going on the page, what elements they are clicking on and how far they are scrolling through your content:
Here are some examples of the insights heat maps could give your business
One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is that it is great at serving your social media channels and the users following them.
Well structured, useful, actionable content with a great headline can do wonders on social media, with many articles going viral and racking up thousands, if not tens of thousands of shares, likes and comments, and of course website visitors.
In fact, so effective is social at driving website traffic, entire companies have been founded on the concept, like Buzzfeed, which is now worth 1.5 BILLION dollars, and mainly drives revenue through advertising and brand/product endorsements.
That is the value of captured attention.
Buzzfeed churns out content that really resonates with different interest groups.
If you’re active on social media, you’ve no doubt seen articles with headlines like:
These headlines grab our attention quickly, and intrigue us into clicking. Often, these titles are exaggerated, and these types of articles are often known as ‘clickbait’. Still, we continue to devour this category of media, purely because the titles capture our attention, are sometimes relatable, and they make us think.
We’re always hungry for answers to questions, even if the questions are put into our head by somebody else. It’s human nature, if something is hidden, we want to find it.
When you’re brainstorming ideas for your content, start by creating a catchy headline that intrigues visitors and places a question in their head. The more relevant your content is to your audience, the more receptive your audience will be to the question, and the more likely your content will be viewed, praised and shared.
People underestimate the power of leveraging another person's audience. Content marketing is all about getting your message out to as many relevant people as possible, so reach out to influencers in your space.
This is a great way to add both credibility and reach to your content.
Let's say, for example, you are writing an article about ‘what social media will look like in 5 years’.
Go on Twitter, find someone who is big in the social media space, and tweet to them.
Let them know you’re writing an article and would value their insights on the subject. Many won’t turn you down, jumping at the chance to talk about what is likely one of their biggest passions.
Include their response in your content, link to their website or main social media page, and then let them know when you’ve published the article. This opens up the gates to further cooperation, and if you’re lucky, and your content is of good quality and deemed valuable, they might even share it to their social media pages.
But don’t let the relationship end there.
Regularly engaging and providing value to influencers will make them more likely to help you out in the future, whether that means them providing you with more insights, or even a one-to-one interview.
How do you plan to integrate these tips? Have you had any success with them already?
Share with us in the comments!