Everyone likes to get something for free and lots of people are searching for information and entertainment online. Content marketing turns these two truisms into an effective digital marketing strategy by drawing the attention of potential customers and guiding them towards a particular product or service.
The technique has been used in print for over a hundred years. In magazine publishing it’s often called an advertorial when a company buys advertising space and uses it to run a piece that looks like an editorial article. These are often popular with readers who feel they get more entertainment for their money, even if the piece is unashamedly biased towards a particular product and labelled as an advertisement.
What counts as content?
Any media counts as content. This is content. A video of your cat is content. A photo of Portsmouth harbour is content. The Chilcot Report (all 2 million words of it) is content. Content attracts and holds the attention. It should be intrinsically interesting and provide some value (entertainment, information, etc) to the reader.
Where does content come from?
- Create it yourself (like bloggers do)
- Pay a professional (like newspapers do)
- Get users to create it (like video sharing sites do)
- Use what you’re given (including info from PR companies and manufacturers)
- Use what you can find (e.g. republish public domain content)
- Share others’ creations (just make sure you’re not breaking copyright law!)
Some of these options will sound easier than others, which brings us to:
Quality over quantity
A lot of websites, from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the Guardian and the Hampshire Chronicle, rely solely on content. These sites typically make money through advertising, sponsored content and affiliate links. They attract attention to their content with digital marketing techniques, and then guide you towards certain products or services. They need high volumes of content to continually attract more attention and and hold more advertisements.
Even hundred-year-old newspapers are struggling to compete with the high volume of low quality content churned out by sites like Buzzfeed. Fortunately, quality and industry experience cut through the dross. Good content can give your digital marketing campaign a boost that quantity can’t.
Share your expertise
Businesses that actually produce products and supply services have a significant advantage over media companies because they have hands-on experience and industrial expertise as well as a narrow target market that they understand. Sharing your knowledge is a great way to create content and build a digital marketing campaign that enhances your reputation with new and existing customers.
As an example, many home owners are searching for DIY tips. A plumbing company can draw attention to their services by offering instructional videos for simple repairs, writing articles that explain jargon, and offering advice on when to DIY and when to call an expert. When a project goes awry or a home owner feels out of their depth, they’ll naturally turn to the expert they’ve come to trust.
Helping people find your content
A well planned digital marketing campaign can turn an unread blog into effective content marketing. Which tools are used to draw attention to your content will vary depending on your industry and content type. You can expect your marketing team to use some or all of:
- –Social media (such as Facebook and Twitter)
- Business networking sites (including LinkedIn)
- Video and image sharing sites (such as YouTube and Pinterest)
- Paid-for advertising
- Targeted content placement (e.g. on news sites or blogs)
- Press releases
- Changes to content style or formatting
- Use of keywords
- Changes to the underlying structure of your website
By building followers and encouraging the sharing of your content (or links to it), you’ll get more readers. By improving your SEO (search engine optimisation) you’ll rank higher in a search result for relevant terms and thus get more traffic. Good content naturally improves your SEO and good SEO makes your content more valuable.
First step – do this now
Brainstorm a list of content areas and types that could be valuable to your business. Don’t censor yourself – write down anything that comes to mind. You will edit and prioritise the list later. For example, a plumbing supply shop might start the list with:
- pictures of types of pipe we stock
- video showing how to unblock a U-bend
- article comparing different types of toolbox
- little game that helps people decide whether to DIY or call a professional
- video reviews of power tools
- …and 30 more things
Whatever your list looks like, creating the content that will be truly valuable for your website is sure to be a challenge. At boxChilli, web content and SEO are our areas of expertise so whether you’re going to DIY or want professional advice, we’re here to help