Content marketing is like surfing. It takes time and patience to catch the right wave. If you put in the effort and wait for the swell to build, you’ll be enjoying the perfect ride time and time again.
But first things first, what do we actually mean by content marketing?
What is content marketing?
To put it simply, content marketing is a way of promoting your business via regular content you publish on your website, email campaigns and social media.
In today’s fast-paced society, internet speeds are increasing, new social media networks are popping up wherever you look, our attention spans are getting shorter, and information is coming at us from so many different sources, it can be a challenge to keep up with it all. Everything’s getting faster, bigger, louder and we expect more, more, more.
Traditional marketing methods simply don’t cut it anymore. Most businesses are becoming aware that they need to do things differently, think smarter and act quicker to stand out.
And that’s where content marketing comes in. According to the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content marketing is an ongoing process that’s all about communicating with your customers and potential customers without directly selling to them. The main aim is to educate and inform, although a little entertainment goes a long way too! If your readers feel educated by your content, they’ll start to trust you and you’ll begin to instil a sense of authority and expertise in your industry. Many of your readers will then reward you with their loyalty by becoming regular customers.
How does content marketing work?
Content marketing is a potent combination of multiple disciplines, including:
- business strategy
- lead generation
- web design
- SEO (search engine optimisation)
- email marketing
- social media
Each one of these disciplines can take years to learn and master. But don’t get disheartened – you don’t need to do everything at once!
To begin with, you need a decent website. And by decent we mean a simple site that clearly explains what you offer, why it’s of benefit and how people can buy it. We’d suggest using WordPress for this, as it has built-in themes allowing you to set up a basic site fairly easily. It’s also the world’s most popular content management system!
Then you need to start publishing regular content and the best way to do this is via a blog. Again, enter WordPress which – hey presto – already has a blogging platform built in! For tips on blog writing, check out our 7 steps to writing a great blog post.
Of course, there’s no point publishing regular content if no-one’s reading it, so the final basic step is to send your content out into the world. You can do this via a combination of email marketing and social media.
Why do I need to create regular content?
Publishing high quality, regular content is the key to content marketing.
It needs to be high quality so that your readers feel educated and remain attentive. Remember that information overload we mentioned earlier? The trick to being heard amidst the cacophony of your competitors is to publish content that provides meaning and value to your audience. They’ll only be interested if they think you have something worth saying. And your readers are fickle. If you publish a bad blog just once, the chances are first-time visitors won’t bother coming back for more.
It’s important that your content is published regularly, like clockwork. We’re bombarded with reminders, notifications, popups and email newsletters, and it’s the ones that consistently repeat their message that tend to get through. You must have experienced this yourself. Out of sight, out of mind, right? So, consistency is the key.
Another great reason to be publishing regular content is because search engines love it! The more you change the content on your website, the more search engines will reward you by increasing your rankings. Google loves organic SEO, which means the more relevant keywords and phrases you can naturally incorporate into your content, the better.
Of course, there’s some content on your site that doesn’t need to keep changing. In fact, ‘evergreen’ content is just as valuable. This is content that’s non-time-specific and actually increases in value over time, through being repeatedly referenced, linked to and shared. Examples of evergreen content include: FAQs, testimonials, case studies, how-to guides, beginners’ guides, etc. For more tips on evergreen content, read our article What is evergreen content and why should you create it?
How do I get started with content marketing?
OK, so at a basic level you know you need a website, a blog, some social media accounts and email marketing software. But, as you probably guessed, there’s a bit more to it than that!
Firstly, you need to do the groundwork. Content marketing simply won’t work without a solid foundation in place. And this means ensuring your website is set up right, as well as doing your research.
Before you start creating content you’ll need to:
- Organise your site architecture. The pages of your website need to be laid out in a clear and simple way so your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. Or, to put it another way, they find the pages you want them to find, which keeps them coming back and eventually buying from you.
- Add calls to action. Does every page of your site have a firm goal and clear call to action that you want your visitors to take? A call to action could be to visit another page, to sign up to your blog, to contact you or to buy now.
- Optimise your site’s performance. Does your website run as fast as it should? If you have large images, videos, or complicated themes, plugins or code, they could be slowing your site down. This can cause visitors to leave your site, meaning your content doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
- Carry out an SEO audit. Are all the pages and posts on your site search engine friendly? It’s important each page has the right information so your site is more likely to be found in a Google search. An SEO audit helps you take stock of where you are and where you want to get to.
- Set up analytics. It’s crucial to install a measuring tool on your website, such as Google Analytics. If you already have Google Analytics then this will tell you how your content and site generally are performing, so you can make informed decisions about what to do next.
Nailed the setup, and think you’re ready for content marketing? Think again… In order to create awesome content that grows your audience and becomes more valuable to your business over time, you’ll need to do the following:
- Competitor analysis. Do you know who your competitors are? What are they doing to grow their business? Is it working? Researching your competition is important for helping you understand your customers and differentiate yourself in your industry.
- Audience research. Knowing your target audience is essential in helping you understand what content you should be creating. A combination of feedback, surveys, and creating customer profiles can all help with this process.
- Keyword research. In order to improve your search rankings you need to know what search terms people are actually looking for. There’s no point optimising your site to be found for the term ‘Purple glass jewellery’ if no-one’s actually searching for that phrase!
- Topic research. Once you know your audience and keyword focus, you can start researching your topics. What’s trending in your industry right now? What problems are people facing? What topics would your audience find most interesting and valuable?
- Content schedule. Now that you’ve done all your research you can start putting together a content schedule. How often will you publish your content? What are your topics? Which categories do they come under? And how will you share your content?
If this all sounds like a lot of work, don’t panic! Our Essential Setup package does all the hard work for you. We’ll make sure your website is set up just right, then carry out all the research for you, to give you a solid foundation from which to launch your content marketing.
Once your foundation is in place, you can sign up to one of our monthly content marketing packages. All you do is supply the content; we take care of everything else. Our packages are designed to dissolve your marketing headaches so you can get back to doing what you’re good at.
As an added bonus, you can download our free Content Schedule when you sign up to our blog. It’s the perfect way to get organised with your content marketing. Simply complete the form at the bottom of this page.
How long does content marketing take?
As we said earlier, content marketing takes time and patience. You have to wait for the swell of the wave to build slowly.
We know how frustrating it feels to put all that work in, to be publishing regular content and sending it out into the world week after week after week. You might not see any tangible results for 3, 6 or even 9 months.
But trust us – don’t give up! As long as you’ve done your research and you’re sending the right content to the right audience, you will eventually start to see some traction.
Experience shows that it takes at least 9-12 months to really see good results from your content marketing efforts. That might seem like a long time, but we promise the rewards will be worth it. The visits to your website will start to increase, you’ll be growing your email list, your readers will start turning into leads, and your leads will eventually turn into customers.
With a bit of fixing here, a little research there, plenty of consistency and a lot of patience, you’ll be riding the swell of that content marketing wave with confidence while watching your business grow.
Our top tips for content marketing
Check out our top tips for riding the content marketing wave:
- Write your own content – no-one knows your business and customers like you do.
- Focus on fixing your website first, before tackling email marketing and social media.
- Check out our guides on How to write killer headlines for your blog and How to write email subject lines that get results.
- Start your email marketing by sending out an engagement campaign to your email list, however small this is.
- Create a lead magnet to engage your audience and start growing your email list. Check out our Introduction to lead magnets guide.
- Remember: social media isn’t just about sharing your own content; you need to engage with others too, so discuss, comment and ask questions.
- Don’t quit before the miracle happens. It takes time. Be patient. Remember: traction builds slowly like the swell of a wave!
If you’d like to find out more about our packages, simply Book a Free Consultation and we can start dissolving your marketing headaches today.