Search engine optimisation (seo) should be a key factor in your content marketing strategy. If you have never heard of content marketing or you are not using content marketing in your digital marketing strategy you are sadly missing out on a great opportunity to market your business in a cost effective way.
You may be experiencing any or all of the following problems:
- Embarrassingly small traffic numbers
- Expensive pay per click advertising
- The electronic equivalent of tumbleweed blowing across your website or blog.
(You may need to read these articles to understand what content marketing is and how it can help your business, even with a very limited budget: content marketing versus traditional advertising; growing your business on the internet with content marketing; what is content marketing? )
Once you recognise the massive medium to long term benefits of content marketing you need to ensure that your website or blog is optimized for the search engines.
At it’s simplest, search engine optimisation is simply ensuring that the content on your site or blog is highly visible to the search engines and is ranking or capable of ranking well for keywords that are relevant to your business.
However there are a few critical facts that you need to understand about search engine optimisation from a content marketing perspective.
Firstly, and most importantly, the search engine crawlers (robots) can only read and “understand” text, the written word.
They cannot crawl or understand
- Graphic content
- Multimedia content.
All of these forms of content are vital for your website or blog. But the focus of your content marketing efforts should be on written text.
The keywords that appear on your website or blog are key. You should be targeting the keywords relevant to your business and market.
So the starting point of your search engine optimisation should be keyword research with the use of a free keyword tool from Google or Bing.
You need to focus on the keywords and phrases that searchers in your marketi are searching for. And these keywords are delivered up in large quantities by some simple research on the keyword tools mentioned above.
The characteristics of the keywords you choose to target on your site are as follows:
- Relevant-they should be relevant to your market
- Good search volume-there should be sufficient search volume to warrant the investment of your time or money or both
- The keywords should not be too competitive.
Good content on your website or blog should be the modus operandi of your digital marketing efforts.
Good content is unique, specific, and of good quality.
You should also optimize your multimedia content by tagging, descriptive titles and descriptions, and alt tags for your images. Providing transcripts of podcasts or audio files and comprehensive, contextual descriptions surrounding your videos are other ways to optimize the files which the search engines cannot read, watch or listen to.
Digital Marketing Options for Small Business
So, you can choose any of the following options to market your business on the internet:
- Buy traffic
- Generate free, organic traffic through content marketing and search engine optimisation
- Buy into the bullshit of social media marketing.
Choose your poison carefully.
And then only after seeing some demonstrable evidence supporting your choice.
Content marketing has been with us for a very long time. From product brochures to in flight magazines to company newsletters-many businesses have been publishing content since the invention of the printing press.
Content marketing is effective because it is “pull marketing” as opposed to in your face “push marketing”. The goal is to provide relevant, educational, engaging, helpful, entertaining (and sometimes funny) information to potential users of your products and services.
When leads and potential new clients come to you because they are interested in what you have to say making sales is easier, a lot easier.
Direct mail, cold calling, advertising, media planning and buying can be effective but expensive.
However the difference between attraction or permission marketing and push or interruption marketing is the difference between chalk and cheese.
- Helps people and creates value
- Builds brand recognition
- Builds credibility, trust, and recognition
- Creates loyalty
- Answers questions and solves customers problems
- Can establish an on-going relationship with your customers, both old and new.
Before the internet and digital marketing, publishing, printing, and distributing newsletters was expensive. Buying space in newspapers, magazines, on television or radio was a significant barrier to small businesses.
Not any more.
Digital Marketing Game Changer
Content marketing can now be achieved effectively and cheaply with the advent of digital which has been a game changer-for businesses large and small.
Hence the catastrophic change in the traditional media world with plummeting drops in circulation and advertising spend.
YouTube, blogs, websites, rss feeds, iTunes, slide sharing sites, social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ allow the smallest business to now become a publisher of content.
A publisher capable of providing all of the features and benefits outlined above.
Content Marketing Rules
Rule number 1 when it comes to content marketing is that there are no rules.
Apart from content being king and being capable of capturing the eyeballs, ears, attention, and engagement of your customers.
As a small business owner it is time for you to start thinking like a publisher and less like an advertiser. You will find it more effective, achievable, and cost effective in the short, medium, and long term.
This video looks at a concrete example of how content marketing works in promoting your website and business on the internet.
On Wednesday a young couple traveled from the south of Kildare to my office in Kilcock to ask me to represent them with a family law problem that they are having.
They had rung me a few days before but, in honesty, I didn’t expect them to show up.
Because to get to me they had to travel the length of the county and in the process drive past many other solicitors’ practices. They didn’t know me from Adam so why would they bother..
However, show up they did.
We discussed their problem and it was clear that they would need to obtain family law legal aid as neither of them were working and had a young family. I explained how this works-that they needed to go to the local family law office, fill out the forms required and then they would be presented with a list of solicitors who are on the panel for family law legal aid in the county.
I explained that if they wanted me to act for them then they would have to choose me from that list.
They replied “Oh yes, we want you to represent us..we like your style”.
After they had left the office I wondered to myself why they had said they liked my style as we had never clapped eyes on one another before Wednesday.
And then it struck me..
They had come across my solicitor’s website, http://BusinessAndLegal.ie, on which I publish a lot of content relating to common legal problems that people have. They had obviously read what I had written about their family law problem, had watched some videos and maybe looked at some PowerPoint presentations.
They may have visited my About page and seen my photograph and all of this information gave them an impression of “my style”.
Content marketing at work
When I thought about this encounter it made perfect sense.
Because all of the content that they consumed on my website, the text, video and PowerPoint presentation spoke to their particular problem in a language they understood.
I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me in a way because I am a firm believer in the power of “content marketing” but this particular encounter was the first time that anyone I had spoken to referred to my “style”.
And it made perfect sense.
Selling professional services on the internet
Selling yourself or your business on the internet is a two step process-first you have to earn the right to an audience to make your pitch and then you can make your pitch.
The single best way to earn the right to make your pitch is to give your prospective new customer or client something for free. This can be great content on your website, a free report or other giveaway, a free trial or whatever is appropriate for your particular business.
As long as it speaks to your prospective client’s problems in a way that they understand and which demonstrates your expertise and shows that you can help them-yes, them- you will create a huge competitive advantage over your competitors and grow your client base.
This is content marketing at work-it works for me and many others in diverse industries and geographical locations.
Try doing this in 140 characters on Twitter..
Filed under How to Win New Clients
Are you using Twitter to market your business? If so, I hope you are not guilty of “car crash marketing”.
Car crash marketing
Car crash marketing is the type of activity I see so many small business owners engaging in on sites such as Twitter.
It involves, at it’s kindest, attempting to draw attention to your business website by sending out plenty of tweets and hoping to attract visitors and ultimately sales.
If you are wondering about the value of such marketing ask yourself these questions:
- How many visitors are you attracting to your business?
- Are they targeted visitors to your business offering?
- How many of these visitors have been turned from leads into sales?
- How many have you developed a relationship with and developed a good “lifetime value”?
Even assuming that you are attracting some visitors to your site from Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are they hitting the “back” button on their browser once they land on your site?
The difference between this type of “marketing” and content marketing is like chalk and cheese.
Content marketing involves the provision of lots of useful content targeted at the problems and issues of your target market.
It involves providing solutions to your market’s problems and building a relationship with them and building lifetime value through repeat sales.
(See also the biggest mistake in social media marketing)
A website of substance
Most of all content marketing involves building a website of substance on sound foundations.
Foundations like great targeted content, building a relationship with your visitors and attracting lots of traffic from the search engines through the quality of your content.
Content marketing involves building great websites which attract both human and robot traffic and building a site you can be proud of.
Twitter, Facebook and similar sites can play a role in the marketing of your business.
But they should not be the focus of your efforts; your efforts should be focused on your web property, your website, to build something that you can be proud of and which will be a professional reflection of your business.
Filed under Online Marketing Ireland