Getting Started with Content Marketing

From JAMES LANDERS:

Getting visitors—and hopefully customers—to your website means creating great content that will get you high ranking in Google search. …

Getting Started with Content Marketing

Due to the explosion of media choices, advances in technology and the accessibility of the Internet, traditional advertising strategies—even online strategies—are not producing the results they once did. Savvy business owners have adjusted their marketing strategies accordingly. Instead of “pushing” messages to consumers with a print or online ad, they are creating content that “pulls” consumers in at various stages of the buying cycle. When you create compelling content designed to attract and engage your prospects and convert them into customers, this is known as “content marketing.”

The Importance of Keywords

Before you create a single piece of content to market, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about the keywords someone would use to find a product or service like yours. Keyword research is critical, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated or time consuming. Start with the keywords you think someone would use to find your product/service. It’s a mistake to assume that everyone thinks like you, so put yourself in the mindset of your consumers. Or simply ask them what keyword they would use to find a site like yours and create a list.

Once you have a short list of phrases, you’ll want to prioritize them. A great way to do this is by monthly search volume, which is the total number of people using a keyword phrase in any given month. To find the monthly search volume this, visit Google’s free keyword tool and enter your words and phrases. Once you’ve prioritized your keywords, you’ll want to begin creating relevant content pages for your site that include these keywords or phrases.

The Importance of Relevant Content

Content marketing offers many benefits, but arguably the biggest is increased visibility in the organic search results on Google. Google ranks Web pages using a proprietary algorithm that compares the relevance of your site’s content to the search query used, as well as the authority, or credibility, of your site compared with other similar sites. In order for your website to be found in the organic search results, your website must be both relevant and credible (in this order). Here, we’ll discuss how to make your site relevant. 

If someone searches, “orange three legged elephants” and you have a page on your website about orange three legged elephants, it’s very likely that your website will rank high in Google’s organic search results.

Since content marketing is still a fairly new strategy, this is the perfect time to jump in and start building out your site with relevant, informative, and engaging content. At this point, most businesses (read: your competitors) have fewer than 100 pages on their website, there’s a major opportunity to get more website traffic, leads and sales—simply by creating more specific (relevant) Web pages using pre-identified keywords. Adding high-quality content like this is likely to drive more high-quality traffic and leads.

What Type of Content Should You Create?

The answer depends on your industry, your customers, and the resources you have at your disposal. If you’re selling a complex business service, you might focus your content-marketing efforts on creating case studies and white papers; both are commonly used to educate prospects. If you’re a consumer-oriented business like Vineyard Vines you can engage your customers by having them show off examples of your product. (The clothing retailer encourages website visitors to submit photos and then use their blog to bring to life the preppy coastal lifestyle.) As another example, Dr. Brian Paris, a chiropractor in Rockville, Md., created a Web-based TV channel to educate his patients and prospective patients (yes, Web videos count as content!).

No matter what type of business you have, at a minimum, you should plan to have:

  • One page on your website for each service/product you offer

  • A company blog with regular posts aimed at helping your prospective customers make the best buying decision

  • A news section on your site detailing significant company events and milestones

  • A section with case studies and/or white papers detailing various client success stories

Content marketing works because, increasingly, consumers are searching the Web for information to educate themselves before they buy a product or service. If you own a business, you likely know more about your product or service than your customers. By translating your knowledge into relevant, compelling content, you can establish yourself and your company as a go-to resource—an authority within your industry—and you’ll be much more likely to get your website on the first page of Google. Though this sounds simple, you should recognize that creating great content takes time and planning. Even if you’re a great writer, it might take years before you break through the noise and start to be referenced as an authority in your industry. Challenges aside, the long-term return provided by content marketing can justify the effort.

OPEN Cardmember James (Ben) Landers is the President of Blue Corona, a leading SEO company that helps business owners accurately track their advertising and get more leads and sales from the web.

Read more http://www.openforum.com/articles/getting-started-with-content-marketing